Countries may restrict travel or bring in rules at short notice. Check with your travel company or airline for changes.
If you test positive for COVID-19 while in the USA, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Visit TravelHealthPro (from the UK’s National Travel Health Network and Centre) for general COVID-19 advice for travellers.
If you are visiting the USA your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. You don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
Global Entry programme
The US Customs and Border Protection programme Global Entry allows pre-approved travellers through border control faster at some US airports. If you’re a British citizen, you can register to get a UK background check on GOV.UK. If you pass the background checks, you’ll be invited to apply for Global Entry.
You will need either an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver or a visa to enter or transit the USA as a visitor.
You are not normally eligible for an ESTA visa waiver if you have been in the following countries on or after March 2011:
- North Korea
You cannot apply for an ESTA visa waiver if you have travelled to or been in Cuba after 1 January 2021. You must instead apply for a US visa.
You cannot apply for an ESTA visa waiver if you:
- have been arrested (even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction)
- have a criminal record
- have been refused admission into, or have been deported from the USA
- have previously overstayed under an ESTA visa waiver
Check the US State Department website for more information on US visas.
Applying for a visa
Visit the US Embassy for details on how to apply for a visa.
US visa appointments
Visa appointments at the US Embassy in London are limited. Plan your application as far ahead as possible before travel. If you need to travel urgently, you can request an expedited interview through the US Embassy’s appointment service provider.
Visit the US Embassy’s website for more information on visa appointments.
Children and young people
- have a valid visa or ESTA visa waiver on arrival
- be able to provide evidence about the purpose, location and length of their visit if asked by immigration officials
- have written consent from one or both parents if travelling alone, with only one parent, or with someone who is not a parent or legal guardian
The US authorities can stop you entering the country if they have safeguarding concerns about a child. If this happens, the US authorities will take the child into their care. Their return from the USA could take months. The FCDO cannot speed up the return of British nationals who are under 18 from the USA.
The US Government provides information about children under-18 travelling to the USA. If you have any questions, contact the US Embassy.