If your passport shows you are a British Subject you will need a Visa. This particularly applies if you are Irish, but have a British Subject passport. In both these cases, you must check with the US Embassy or nearest consulate. Anyone in doubt and all other passport holders should check with a US Embassy or consulate.
To qualify for the US Visa Waiver programme you must NOT :
- Be suffering from any communicable disease, physical or mental disorder or be a drug abuser or addict.
- Have been arrested or convicted for any offence or crime. This includes spent convictions or an arrest not resulting in a conviction.
- Have ever been involved in espionage or sabotage, terrorist activities, genocide or been involved in anyway with Nazi Germany or its allies between 1933 and 1945.
- Seeking work in the US, have been excluded or deported from the US, been previously removed from the US or attempted to procure a visa or entry into the US by fraud or misrepresentation.
- Been detained, retained or withheld custody of a child from a US citizen granted custody of the child.
- Been denied a US Visa or entry into the US or had a US visa cancelled.
- Have asserted immunity from prosecution.
Under certain circumstances (eg. if you have a criminal record) you may require a visa and you could be refused entry into the USA.
It is mandatory for anyone travelling to or transferring through the US under the Visa Waiver Program, to obtain approval to travel no later than 72 hours prior to travel by completing an online process ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) scheme.
The cost of an ESTA is currently approx $14 per person and can be obtained by visiting https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov or the Visit USA Website at www.visitusa.org.uk where further information on the scheme and up to date fee can also be found. Once completed & approved, the ESTA application is valid for two years and allows multiple visits without the need to reapply. Travellers can apply for an ESTA even if they have no firm plans to travel to the US.
Failure to obtain an ESTA could result in the passenger being denied boarding by the airline.
The ESTA is very similar to the automated visa that you purchase to enter Australia and is completely paperless.
The US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) allows most British Citizen passport holders to visit the US for up to 90 days. The types of journey that are permissible under the VWP include tourism, certain types of business visit and transit to another country. If you have a British passport that describes your nationality as something other than ‘British Citizen’ you will need to get a visa.
Getting an ESTA is a separate process to providing your airline with advance passenger information (details of your passport, country of residence, address of your first night’s accommodation in the US etc).
Advance Passenger Information
As a carrier to the US we are obliged to transmit Advance Passenger Information (API) about passengers prior to the departure of flights to the United States.
Specifically, there is a requirement for all passengers to provide their country of residence and (for non-US residents) details of their full address (street name and number, city, zip code and state) for the first night's accommodation in the US. Passengers travelling to the US continue to require a machine-readable passport or valid visa.
We would ask that all passengers continue to provide their valid travel documents and details of their full US destination address for US Immigration. There is no requirement for passengers to arrive at the airport any earlier than usual.
You can also find out more about API through the US Customs and Border Protection website by going to www.customs.gov/xp/cgov/home.xml