Essential Travel Advice
It is your responsibility to make sure you have all the travel documents you need, such as passports, visas and inoculation certificates. If you do not have the right documentation you could be denied boarding the plane – and you may not be entitled to a refund or travel on a future flight. If you manage to board the plane, you may be refused entry into the Country when you arrive at your destination and could be flown straight back. If so, you will not be entitled to a refund. Some Countries also specify that you have a minimum period of validity left on your passport.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up to date information and foreign travel advice on health, safety, security and local laws as well as current passport and visa information at www.gov.uk/travelaware to help British travellers make informed choices about travelling abroad and to be prepared for an overseas holiday.
For the latest travel advice from the FCO we strongly recommend that you check www.gov.uk/travelaware at the time of booking and closer to departure as well as following @FCOtravel on Twitter and at Facebook.com/FCOtravel on Facebook.
We also recommend that you register to receive email alerts relating to changes in Foreign Office Travel Advice for the country or countries you will be travelling to at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Take a look at the UK Government’s handy summary of the basic Travel Aware Essentials you need to consider when travelling abroad.
When travelling outside the UK, please look at current travel health advice from National Travel Health Network and Centre.
Visiting &/or transiting the United States of America including Hawaiian Islands
Passports must be valid for the intended length of stay in the USA, i.e. beyond the pre-booked return date. However, passengers are strongly advised to renew their passports before travelling if it has six months validity or less.
Visa Waiver Program & ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation)
Visitors from the UK may enter the USA via the Visa Waiver Program, provided they have a machine-readable passport (issued up to 26 October 2006) or a machine-readable passport with integrated circuit chip (passports issued after 26 October 2006) & are staying no longer than 90 days for travel and tourism purpose, hold fully paid onward travel and have sufficient funds to maintain yourself during your stay.
Important Update: The U.S. Authorities have made changes to their entry requirements which will affect any dual nationality customer who has a passport issued by a country which is eligible under the U.S. visa Waiver Programme AND a passport issued by Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria. These customers with dual nationality will no longer be able to enter the U.S. using an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Programme. In addition any customer who has an ESTA and that has visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since March 1, 2011 should also expect not to be able to use the Visa Waiver Programme. These customers will require a U.S. visa for future travel to the United States, and should contact their local US Embassy.
Mandatory ESTA Approval
For travel on or after 12 January 2009, passengers intending to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Program will be required to obtain authorisation through ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) prior to boarding a US-bound aircraft – each person, regardless of age, is required to obtain independent ESTA approval. ESTA approval is NOT a visa & does NOT guarantee admission to the USA – it is simply an approval for a traveller to board a US-bound aircraft & upon arrival, immigration is subject to normal terms & conditions.
Applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel & should be made online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/. The application process may take up to 15-20 minutes & authorisation is normally granted immediately, but may take up to 72 hours. Once granted, authorisation is valid for 2 years or until the expiry of the passport (whichever is first). It is valid for multiple entries into the USA although if the destination address or itinerary is different from that submitted in the ESTA approval, this information may be easily updated via the ESTA website. A current fee of USD 14.00 applies to each applicant that can be paid by credit card.
Visas are required by passengers who do not have suitable machine-readable passports, are not British Citizens, do not qualify for entry using the Visa Waiver Program or whose ESTA Approval has not been granted. For further information visit www.usembassy.org.uk
Visiting &/or transiting Canada
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required, but if your passport has less than 6 months validity remaining when you arrive in Canada it may take longer to pass through immigration control.
British Citizens don’t usually need a visa to visit Canada for short periods. If you have a different type of British nationality or intend to travel for a longer period, check entry requirements with the Canadian High Commission. When you arrive, you will need to be able to show that you have enough funds available to support yourself during your stay, even if you’re staying with family and friends. If you have any doubts about whether you’re eligibility, contact the Canadian High Commission before you travel.
Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)
From March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa. For more information about the eTA system, and to apply online, visit the official Canadian government website. If you’re travelling by land or sea, you won’t need an eTA when you enter Canada. However, you must travel with acceptable travel documents and identification.
Travelling with children
If you are travelling with children, and only one parent is present, you should carry a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent. Immigration officers have the right to question children using simple and appropriate language to establish whether there are any concerns about child abduction. A letter of consent may help to dispel potential concerns. For further information check with the Canadian High Commission or the Canada Border Services Agency.
Visiting the United States of America
If you intend to travel on to the United States you should check the entry requirements of the US authorities. Travelers who have been admitted to the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme and make a short trip to Canada are usually readmitted to the United States under the VWP as long as they still meet the requirements. Granting entry under the VWP is a matter for the US authorities. You can check the US entry requirements on the website of the US Customs and Border Protection.