Entry requirements

The Visa Waiver Program

immigration

The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and UK to enter the USA without a visa for visits of 90 days or less.

You do however need to buy an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authourization) online before you fly - currently around $14 per person and lasts for 2 years. It means that all travellers must apply for clearance to fly - you will not be allowed to check in for your flight if you do not have one. Payment must be by valid credit card - authourisation is usually immediate but can take up to 72 hours so it is worth applying as soon as you have booked flights.

It allows unlimited travel in to the USA during the two years but you need to up date your travel arrangement details for each return trip you make. You need to supply an address and phone number where you will be staying whilst in US in case Immigration need to contact you during the first few days of your stay.

Please ignore any companies advertising assistance (with a charge) in applying for an ESTA - they are not officially recognised bodies.

At Immigration you will be asked to confirm a few details such as is your trip holiday (vacation) or business and an electronic thumb print and photo of adults is required. You will need proof of a return ticket. Your passport will be stamped with a date which is 90 days in the future - this is the last date that you can legally remain in the country. Do not ignore this.

On arrival you will also need a completed Customs declaration - this is handed in to Officals once you have cleared Immigration and collected your luggage. Please be advised that there are certain items that you cannot bring in the US and you and your luggage can be searched on arrival. There is a list of items but in the main it is food - this also includes jars of baby food so try to use all of this on the plane before you land, fruit both fresh and dried, and meats. Baby milk power is permitted. If in doubt ask on the plane before you land and if unsure put it in the rubbish (trash).

If you are taking an indirect flight from the UK to Florida, and transit via Canada, you will also need to purchase an eTA - the Canadian version of the US ESTA. This comes into effect March 2016. Transit in Canada means getting off a plane and changing to another, if you remain on the plane then you do not need an eTA. Also you have an opportunity to clear USA immigration in Canada if you transit with an indirect flight, being able to to arrive in Orlando MCO as a domestic traveller.

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