Ready to go to the USA? Read these important tips first!

Summer is approaching and the desire to go abroad is becoming irresistible! If you like the idea of organising a trip to the USA, let us remind you that, since 2009, all that is needed of British citizens is a simple Travel Authorisation called ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) which you can request online in just a few minutes, and which will be with you in less than 24 hours. The ESTA lasts for two years from the moment you get it.

The following points are the questions we have been asked most frequently this week; take a look at our answers and we hope they are useful!

Completing the application is not very difficult, but since November 2014 some additional information has been added to the form for the sake of international security, such as: the name of your parents; other names (for married women, for example, who have taken the name of their spouses); your city of birth (and not only the state/region); a contact address in the US (whether it’s private or a hotel, for example); the answers to which can cause some confusion among applicants.

In this regard, if you are not too familiar with using the internet or if you are afraid of filling something in wrong, you are in the right place! On we are ready to help in preparing your documentation! We offer you the help of an expert on hand to check, and if necessary correct, yours answers before forwarding it to the US authorities.

Although you can safely count on our help, below we will give you some extra "tips" that will essentially help you to fill out the form in less time. 

When including a contact address in the US, we know that this may not yet be known when you are applying for your ESTA, as you may not have organised your accommodation at this stage. However, this information is mandatory and you still have to enter a response. If you do not yet know the destination, and thus have no ‘reference’ contact, insert the word UNKNOWN. Please also be advised that, once you do have the relevant information, you can communicate it to our Customer Service team who will be able to update it. The same applies if you decide to visit the US for a second time during the two-year period of your authorisation: you can update us on your new destination and we can add it to your ESTA!

If you are simply in transit in the United States do you still need to enter contact information? Or in the case of visiting multiple destinations within the US, which address should you write?

In the first case, if a traveller only intends to transit through the United States to go to another country. after completing the ESTA application form you must select ‘yes’ to the question “Is your travel to the US occurring in transit to another country?”

In the second case, you can also just enter the first destination, and if you do not know the exact address of the hotel, simply write the name.

If you're travelling with your whole family, an individual ESTA request is required for every travelling member of your family. There is no comprehensive ESTA Authorisation for groups. This also applies to children, who must have a personal authorisation along with their passports.  In fact, keep in mind that in order to get ESTA Authorisation, and then to be able to enter the United States, young children of any age must have their INDIVIDUAL passports, as the passport of a parent does not suffice.

There are so many questions in the form that some might wonder why, so be aware that the ultimate goal is always SECURITY. The Visa Waiver Programme aims to reach increasingly high safety standards, designed to prevent terrorists and other criminals from exploiting this service. Therefore,  do not lose patience in answering certain questions, and know that you can depend on our reliable Customer Service operators who are always ready to help and wish you a pleasant journey! 

Travelling to the United States? Do you have your pre-planning checklist in order? Visit our ESTA Guide for more information about obtaining your travel permit. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your comments or questions for travel assistance.

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