Before jet-setting to the US and having the time of your life, first things first; take care of your travelling administration and have a peace of mind. What do we mean by travelling administration? Well, this is where travel authorization comes in the picture. As a UK citizen, your country is one of the countries under the Visa Waiver program. What this means is that you don’t have to get a visa to go to the US, but it does mean that you have to use the ESTA application system to get into the US.
All you need to know about ESTA System
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization is an electronic system that allows citizens from Visa Waiver countries to enter the US without a visa. UK is eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, thus your requirement to apply for document for entry into the US. Why the application for travel authorization into the US? It is a formality for the US government to pre-screen applicants before entrance into the US. This system is a quick, efficient online system where countries under the Visa Waiver Program have to apply before landing into US soil.
The easiest and quickest way to apply is online. It takes under 5 minutes to complete. To apply, you need to have your passport details in handy. Also required for the process is your flight details – ticket and flight number information. Upon application, make a copy of your ESTA application. It will be available on your computer screen after application. It is important to note that this number will NOT be emailed to you or sent via any other communication medium. It is therefore imperative to either print it out immediately after it appears on your screen, or you write it down.
Get this copy and keep it on your person for the day you will enter the US. It is highly recommended to apply at least 72 hours before travelling to the US. As a Visa Waiver country, it is mandatory to apply, as this serves as a pre-screening process for the US government. Your authorization document is valid for two years. With that said, the rules apply that if you exhaust your 90 day period in the US, you would need to apply for a new document. Should you apply and realize that the information you input in your original application has changed, you can simply update it online prior to departure to the US.
One important thing to note is that each traveler must have their own authorization number, this is compulsory. For instance, if you are a family of 5 with 3 children, all 5 of you must have individual ESTA numbers.
To round this all up to make sure you have all the required documents, here is a list below to check yourself against the information you have at hand:
• Your ESTA number (printed copy on your person)
• Valid passport
• Flight ticket
Take care of the administration and have a beautiful stay in the US!