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Do I need a visa to travel?

If you’re planning a holiday or a trip abroad, you’ll want to ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork. If you arrive at the airport without the appropriate documentation, you may not be permitted to fly and your trip could be in ruins. In worse case scenarios, you could arrive at your destination but be prevented from entering the country if you don’t have the relevant documents in hand.

Whilst most people are aware that they need a valid passport in order to travel from one country to another, they aren’t always aware of visa requirements. Whilst you may not need a visa for a standard family holiday within certain countries, it’s always best to check before you book your flights. This can help to avoid potentially cancelled trips and costly rescheduling.

When do I need a visa?

Although there are a number of countries which require you to have a visa before you’re permitted to enter, perhaps the most notable one is the United States of America. With so many people travelling to the country for work, business or pleasure, it’s essential that they are aware of the authorisation requirements.

Traditionally, all entrants were required to have a visa when travelling to the US. In order to make travelling easier, however, the US have introduced the Visa Waiver Program, or VWP. Designed to reduce bureaucracy and remove unnecessary burdens on travellers, the Visa Waiver Program enables you to travel to the States without having a visa.

Many people can get confused about what an ESTA visa is, but remember, if you’re travelling through America, you’ll still need a visa or acceptance into the Visa Waiver Program, even if the US isn’t your final destination.

Am I eligible for Visa Waiver Program?

The VWP is only available to citizens from certain countries so you’ll need to ensure that you fit the eligibility criteria before you apply to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program. Currently, citizens from over 25 countries are permitted to enter the country without a visa, providing they’ve been accepted under the VWP.

Fortunately, both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are signed up to the US scheme and this should make travelling to the US significantly easier for residents of either country.

Furthermore, the VWP only applies if you’ll be staying in the country for 90 days or less. Providing you don’t intend to remain in the country for longer than this, the VWP covers your stay in the US.

Of course, if you’re already in possession of a valid visa, you won’t need to apply to enter the country under the VWP. Instead, your existing visa, along with your passport, should enable you to travel to the US without additional documentation.

How do I apply for the Visa Waiver Program?

Prior to travelling, you’ll need to apply via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). An ESTA application can be processed relatively quickly and, if successful, you’ll be permitted to travel under the VWP, without the need for a traditional American visa.

Although an ESTA application can be approved fairly quickly, it’s vital that you ensure you submit all the required information. Failure to do so could result in your application being denied or, worse still, inaccurate details could render your eligibility invalid.

Using our professional service, however, can increase your chances of making a successful ESTA application. Our experience and expertise ensure that we’re familiar with the requirements of an ESTA application and we can scrutinise your application for potential issues, prior to submitting it.


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