US VISA

I had dinner with Mark and Becca last night, and whilst chatting they mentioned that I would need a visa for the states, and that they thought they were limited to 60 days, whilst my trip is due to be around 80 days…eek!  I looked into it this morning, and found out the following..

  • Britain is part of the US’s Visa Wavier Program
  • This allows visitors to the US to not have to go through the rigamorle of filling out all the forms/documentation required for a full VISA (yay!)
  • It has certain limitations (including time limits, as M&B mentioned) but visitors for pleasure/tourism/visiting family/friends (aka me) are allowed to stay for 90days.
  • I need to check if my current ESTA is still valid, and if not, renew it, at least 45 days before travelling.
  • (also, for ref, I have an electronic passport)

Also two things to note:

  1. my stay starts as soon as I hit US soil, ie if I fly through New York on my way to Vancouver, then that is the start of the 90-day VISA (though since the whole trip is intended as 80 days, that’s not the end of the world),
  2. I cannot extend my trip on the Visa Waiver Program, so if there’s any doubt about the length, a different type of visa would be better.  (I think this is highly unlikely to be a problem — I have my masters’ 10-year anniversary get-together the week after I’m planning on getting back, and I’m planning on booking specific – rather than moveable – flights, so..)
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