Travelling to the US? Read this

If you’re travelling to the USA for your honeymoon (or indeed, for any reason) then you need to make sure that you apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) prior to travelling. Previously, you just needed to fill in a landing card before arrival which you handed in to the border official in your destination airport – it’s now essential to get “authorisation”  in advance, online, or you’ll suddenly find yourself unable to get to the US.

From this Wednesday (8th September), a new charge of $14 (roughly £9) is being introduced for each ESTA. As each ESTA is valid for two years, if you know you’re going to be travelling to the USA between now and September 2012 (or even if you don’t), then it’s worth applying for authorisation over the next couple of days while it’s still free. ESTA’s are valid for multiple visits to the USA during the two year period, unless your passport expires during that time, in which case you will need to make a new application.

The form is very simple and straightforward, and you’ll need your passport to hand to fill in a few of the details. You’ll probably get immediate authorisation after filling the form in, but it’s best to fill it in at least 72 hours before travelling just in case.

To get your ESTA, go here.

**Note that an ESTA is required by all passengers wishing to travel to the USA under the “Visa Waiver Program” (which includes the UK) – if you’re unsure if your country is included under this, check the list here.

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