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UK PASSPORTS & THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAMME (VWP)

For the most up to date information regarding the Visa Waiver Programme, please visit the London US Embassy website by clicking on the state seal opposite:

All UK passengers intending to enter the USA on the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) are required to obtain an ESTA Authorisation on-line prior to travel and to present a machine-readable passport (MRP) at immigration upon arrival in the USA.

Passengers travelling to the USA with a non-machine readable passport require a valid US entry visa.

Children cannot benefit from the Visa Waiver Programme unless they hold THEIR OWN M.R.P.  Children currently included on their parent’s passport should obtain their own MRP prior to travelling to the USA.

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There are several styles of MRP issued over the past years, thus you must ensure yours is of a valid type:

Visa Waiver Program: Passport Requirements Timeline

Applying for a US Visa is a lengthy process, can take several weeks and may require a visit to the US Embassy in London. Therefore it is strongly recommended that all UK nationals who hold a non-machine readable passport should obtain a MRP before their next visit to the USA.

A MRP has the holders personal details, e.g. name, date of birth, nationality and their passport number contained in two lines of text at the base of the photo page. This text may be read by machine.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON ELIGIBILITY FOR V.W.P.

You must make yourself aware of any possible restrictions that would stop you entering the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme - please use the following link for more details and to determine whether you need to apply for a Visa through the US Embassy:

QUALIFICATIONS FOR VISA FREE TRAVEL

There is also now a handy Visa Waiver Wizard to help you determine whether you are eligible to use VWP or not:

Visa Waiver Wizard

 

More information can be found elsewhere on the USA Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website: 

US-VISIT

 

 

 

 

ESTA - Electronic System for Travel Authorisation

This system requires all passenger details to be entered into an on-line system before arriving at the airport and leaving the UK, and if accepted will generate travel authorisations for each passenger.  Application requirements became stricter during 2014 and 2015.

If your registration is successful, it will be valid for multiple applications for two years or until the date on which your passport expires, which ever comes first. 

More about ESTA:

www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/esta

BEWARE OF THIRD PARTIES APPLYING FOR YOUR ESTA ON YOUR BEHALF - YOU WILL BE SHARING PERSONAL INFORMATION AND THEY MAY CHARGE YOU FOR THEIR "SERVICE". AN ESTA CURRENTLY COSTS $14 DIRECT WITH THE US CUSTOMS BORDER PROTECTION WEBSITE

Note: Green I-94W forms will still be required at land points of entry into the USA until further notice

 

UK Passport OfficePlease visit the UK Passport Office website, by clicking on the logo to the right, for more details on this subject and information on how to apply for or renew an existing passport.

 

Last Updated: Monday 22nd December 2015

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