British citizens must apply for U.S. visas at their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, though most British citizen passport holders do not require a visa to travel to the United States for up to 90 days under the Visa Waiver Programme. This program applies to travel for the purpose of tourism, transit to another country or certain types of business visits. A visa must be applied for prior to entry if a British passport has been extended by 12 months.
A U.S. visa issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate entitles the holder to travel to the United States but does not guarantee entry, which is determined by an immigration inspector at the port of entry. British citizens must apply for nonimmigrant visas for the purpose of work, study or some types of business travel. An immigrant visa and Permanent Resident Card, or green card, is necessary to take up indefinite or permanent residence in the United States.
Anyone with a criminal record or arrest record should contact a U.S. embassy or consulate before travel to the United States, as restrictions apply to passports with certain security features. British Citizens should provide details of their air or sea arrival online at least 72 hours prior to travel via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Failure to do so may result in refusal of entry.