Travelling to the USA

17/05/2016


Check your passport




Chip.jpg If you are planning a visit to the US this year and you have gone to a lot of effort to organise your artificial nutrition and paperwork, take a few minutes to check your passport.
The rules changed on 1st April 2016, meaning that you can t enter the US on an ESTA unless you have an e-passport. E-passports contain a chip and will have the symbol in the image (above), on the front cover.

If your passport was issued on or after 26th October 2006, it should have a chip in it (and therefore the symbol above on the front cover). If it does and it s still valid, you can apply for an ESTA as normal.

If you don t have an e-passport, the cheapest and easiest option is to renew your passport to get one with a chip in (£72.50 from the Passport Office, usually takes three weeks) before applying via the normal route.

If you don t do that, you can apply for a tourism visa from the US Embassy which can take three to six weeks to clear and costs $160 (about £114).

This applies even if you got an ESTA less than two years ago on your current non-chipped passport. Even though ESTAs are valid for two years, it will be cancelled unless your passport has a chip in it.

Check and make sure you don t get left having to turn around and come home after all the planning for your much deserved holiday/trip.



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