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Visa Free Travel to the USA


The United States operates a Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), available to most British Citizen passport holders travelling on business, pleasure or transit from where they normally reside and who intend to stay in the US for less than 90 days.


Some travellers are not eligible to enter the United States visa free under the VWP.  These include people who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, those with criminal records, certain serious communicable illnesses, those who have been refused admission into, or have been deported from, the United States, or have previously overstayed on the visa waiver program.  Such travellers must apply for special restricted visas to travel without a visa.  A passport indicating that the bearer is a BRITISH SUBJECT, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas) Citizen or British Protected Person does not qualify for travel without a visa.  This includes Irish citizens who have a British Subjects passport.



When travelling to the US under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) you must hold a valid, individual machine readable passport if you are a citizen of one of the following countries: the United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

New passport requirements now take effect for passports issued on or after 26 October 2005. US authorities will require all countries participating in the VWP to issue passports with a digital photo of the passport holder's face printed on the data page of the passport. Passengers wishing to travel on the VWP without digital photos issued after 26 October 2005 will require a visa to enter the US.

All countries participating in the VWP, with the exception of France, Italy and Austria, will issue passports with digital photos from 26 October 2005. However, passengers from France, Italy and Austria holding passports issued after this date will need to obtain a visa prior to travelling to the US.

From 12th January 2009 all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travellers are now required to obtain a travel authorization via the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) website prior to travelling to the United States under the VWP. The VWP allows visitors from participating countries to travel to the U.S for business or pleasure for 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa.

If you want to apply for an electronic travel authority, please visit the ESTA website, 72 hours in advance of your journey, at:



U.S. Visas are not currently required by British Citizens holding a full and valid machine readable passport if travelling on the services of a scheduled airline and staying no longer than 90 days.  This waiver of visa requirement does not include Irish Citizens with British Subject passports.  Should you enter the USA on the Visa Waiver Programme, you will be admitted to stay in the United States only until the date on which your passport expires, or 90 days, whichever is the shortest duration.  If you are entering the United States on a Visitors Visa, your British Citizens passport need remain valid only during the duration of your stay in the United States.  It is not necessary for your passport to be valid for 6 months after your return from the USA  ALL children, including infants, must have their own machine readable passport, issued in their own name, in order to be able to enter the United States on the Visa Waiver Programme.  Also ALL British Citizens passports must be machine readable.   If your passport was issued on/after October 26 2006, it must also be a Biometric Passport.  Should you require clarification on any aspect of our passport and visa requirements, please do not hesitate to contact our office or refer to the website or   The Foreign & Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit may have issued information about your holiday destination. You are advised to check this information on



Visa’s applications have to be made by personal appointment at the US embassy in London so please allow plenty of time before you travel if you need to obtain a visa.


For further information please contact the US Embassy Operator Assisted Visa Information Service call 09042-450100 Monday through Friday, between 8.00 am and 8.00 pm, and Saturday, between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm. This is NOT a London number. It does not require any other prefix or dialling code. Calls are charged at £1.20/min.  The service is not available on British public holidays.  The UK Passport Advice line Service is available 24hours a day 7 days per week on 0300 222 0000.  Alternately visit the websites at or


This information is extracted from information provided by the Embassy of the United States of America and the UK Passport agency.

We endeavour to keep you informed of any changes to passport and visa requirements however all passport, visa, travel insurance and health certificates are your responsibility and Florida Owner Rentals do not accept any responsibility for any delay or expense incurred through loss or any irregularities in your documents.