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VISAS

THE MAJORITY OF BRITISH TRAVELLERS CAN CONTINUE TO TRAVEL TO THE US WITHOUT A VISA

 
New visa rules for travel to the USA have been widely reported in the UK media over the last few days and many people are confused as to whether they need a tourist visa or not.

At present, British holidaymakers do not need a tourist visa under the US Visa Waiver programme and this will continue for UK travellers provided that they hold a machine readable passport (two typeface lines at the bottom of the biographical page) that was issued in the UK before 25th October 2004 and is valid at the time of travel. Most UK holidaymakers can therefore continue to travel under the visa waiver scheme.

UK travellers who obtain or renew a UK passport after 26th October 2004 and before the introduction of biometric data passports will need a visa to enter the USA. This must be applied for in person at the US Embassy at a cost of 67.

ABTA and Visit USA suggest that those travellers whose passports are due to expire during and following the 26th October changeover date and before 2006 when biometric passports should be available, can avoid any potential problems by renewing their passports at any time preceding 26th October 2004.

In addition from 26th October 2004, all children must have their own documentation to enter the US and can no longer travel on a parent's passport.