USA – open to all, well, almost…

Whilst British citizens can go to the USA easily with the ESTA, there’s one man who can only see his country through the eyes of a statue. 

This week, a statue of Edward Snowden was paraded around Manhattan. For the infamous American computer professional, this is the only way for him to see his own country, as he is no longer allowed to set foot on US soil.

On the other hand, as a British citizen, you have many possibilities in terms of travelling to the USA and uncovering this vast country high and low. These are the most common requests:

ESTA authorisation Visa

Tourism or business trips / Educational courses of less than 18 hours per week  

Business purposes (B1 visa) or tourism (B2 visa)  

Maximum length of stay: 90 days

Length of stay exceeds 90 days

Received online in less than 24 hours

Compulsory interview at an American embassy in London, Edinburgh or Belfast

Visa required if:
  • You are entering the USA via a private plane or ship.
  • You only have a one-way ticket.

As you can see, ESTA authorisation is the easiest travel authorisation to get hold of. It is provided as part of the Visa Exemption Programme for the USA, and 38 countries, including the UK, benefit from this scheme.

But let’s go back to the unfortunate case of Edward Snowden:

As part of the Art in Odd Places festival, the young artist Jim Dessicino unveiled the 3-metre statue of the famous ‘whistle-blower’ in the middle of Central Park. Snowden is currently living in Russia, where he has a three-year residency.

Dessicino turns Snowden's story into a debatable work of Art. The irony of the statue is that the majority of Americans don’t recognise Snowden’s face, and that tourists are the ones who are taking pictures next to his concrete doppleganger.

Now you’ll know what to visit on your next trip to the USA! Don’t delay in requesting your ESTA application, the Snowden statue will be visible at the Delaware Center of Contemporary Art for three months only. 

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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