If you are thinking about taking a trip to the US, then there are some important factors to consider before you book your trip. Whether you are planning a short tourist holiday or want to travel around the different states in the US, here is what you will need to do.
Apply for a visa
The US border control laws require that non-US citizens have some form of visa to authorize travel to the US. For citizens from countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program, an ESTA can be applied for but citizens from other countries require a visa, which you can read more about on the website.
A Nonimmigrant visa application must be completed and then the applicant must also attend an interview at the US Embassy/Consulate. If the application is approved then you will be granted a visa for your trip. If you receive a tourist visa then it is important that you only are only in the US for tourism, i.e. studying or working in the US is not permitted.
ESTA can be applied for requesting authorization from the United States government to travel to the US. The user must fill out a form containing personal information, such as name, address, and passport details, as well as questions regarding safety and security. If approved, users receive an email with their ESTA approval authentication number. An ESTA is typically valid for two years or until the expiration of your passport. It’s important to note that even if you have been approved previously via ESTA, you will need to re-apply if any of the information provided changes or if you plan on traveling with a new passport.
Preplan your transport arrangements
If you are traveling from one state to another, you will need to select the most appropriate transport. Internal flights in the US can usually be fairly cost-effective and much quicker than taking a Greyhound Bus or driving if you are going a considerable distance.
If you are planning on driving a car whilst in the US, it is recommended that you apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) before your trip, as many US states require that you have this and some car rental companies will not let you hire a car unless you show your IDP.
Check the state law differences
There are different laws such as driving laws, drinking, and gambling. If you are planning on going to different states, then you should check the state laws for the ones you are visiting.
Gambling is legal in every state except Hawaii and Utah, whilst the legal minimum age for drinking alcohol is 21 in most states but some have laws such as allowing people under 21 to drink alcohol on private premises i.e. not selling the alcohol on the premises.
Plan your itinerary
There are so many amazing places across the US to visit, from New York City on the east coast to LA on the west. If you are looking for a sunshine holiday, then Florida and California have some great beaches and warm weather to enjoy most of the year.
If you are thinking of a trip to NYC then you might want to invest in a New York City Pass, which gives you entry to the main attractions and includes transport options. Or if you want to watch a show, you should book in advance of your trip to avoid disappointment.
Traveling to the US is a really exciting experience but it is important to be well prepared and to check for any changes to the US Border Protection rules that may affect your travel plans.