What are the visa rules on traveling from the UK to the United States?


Quick Answer

Travelers who hold UK passport and are traveling to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less do not need a visa to enter the country, according to the U.S. State Department. However, they must obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA. Visas are necessary for those entering the United States for employment, study for credit, media work, journalism, stays longer than 90 days and permanent residence.

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Full Answer

The UK and the United States are strong allies and belong to a number of the same international organizations. Both countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, or VWP, which allows citizens of participating countries visa-free travel for certain stays related to tourism and business that last under 90 days, as the U.S. State Department explains. Those who plan to stay longer than 90 days, work, go to school or permanently live in the United States must obtain a visa.

Those traveling to the United States without a visa under the VWP must obtain an ESTA. These are available through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through its website at CBP.gov. As of 2015, the fee is $14 for processing and authorization, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. An ESTA authorization is valid for multiple trips over a two-year period or until the traveler's UK passport expires. If the ESTA expires while a traveler is in the United States, it does not affect the traveler's departure.

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