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Miscellaneous - Travel to the United States

My child, who is under the age of 18, is traveling to the U.S. and will be accompanied by only one parent/by an adult who is not his/her parent. Do I require the permission of the other parent/Am I required to give my permission for my child to travel?

Adults traveling in or out of the United States with children under the age of 18 should be aware that because of increasing incidents of child abductions in disputed custody cases and as possible victims of child pornography, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly recommends that unless the child is accompanied by both parents:

  • the adult have a note from the child's other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, or friends, a note signed by both parents) stating "I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter. He/She/They has my permission to do so."  CBP also suggests that this note be notarized.

While CBP may not ask to see this documentation, if they do ask, and you do not have it, you may be detained until the circumstances of the child traveling without both parents can be fully assessed. If there is no second parent with legal claims to the child (deceased, sole custody, etc.) any other relevant paperwork, such as a court decision, birth certificate naming only one parent, death certificate, etc., would be useful.

Is it correct that I should not lock my luggage?

In some cases screeners will have to open your baggage as part of the screening process. If your bag is unlocked then a Transport and Security Administration (TSA) screener will simply open and screen the baggage. However, if you decide to lock your checked baggage and TSA cannot open your checked baggage through other means, then the locks may have to be broken. TSA is not liable for damage caused to locked bags that must be opened for security purposes.

TSA suggests that you help prevent the need to break your locks by using a TSA recognized locking mechanism. These "special" locks can be opened by TSA using tools provided to us by the luggage industry members. You may wish to visit the TSA website for further information.

I have experienced delays checking in for a flight due to the No Fly list clearance procedures.

Any passenger who believes he/she has been delayed or denied boarding; delayed or denied entry into the U.S. at a port of entry; or been subject to enhanced screening or inspection may seek redress through the DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) at DHS TRIP provides a single portal for travelers to seek redress for adverse screening experiences and to resolve possible watch list misidentification issues.

I am experiencing problems at the port of entry when I enter the United States as I believe that I have been mistakenly identified with someone with a similar name as that held by U.S. immigration/ due to incorrect arrival and departure information.

If you believe that you have been mistakenly identified with someone with a similar name as that held by U.S. immigration, you may write a letter of explanation to the following address: Customs and Border Protection, Border Security and Facilitation, Room 5.4.D, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington D.C. 22209. You may also write to this address if you are having problems entering the United States due to incorrect arrival and departure information. Follow this link for further information.

You will receive a reply, which you may present to the immigration official at the port of entry. In addition, if you regularly travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you may wish to consider applying for a visa.

You should note that such action does not guarantee that you will not be subject to further questioning.

I did not hand in the I-94/W when I last left the United States

If you have left the United States and are still in possession of the I-94 or I-94W it is in your best interest to forward it to the appropriate authorities so that your record is corrected and that you do not experience any problems on future travel to the United States as a result. If the card is no longer in your possession, it is still possible to amend your departure record. More details.

Do I need any vaccinations?

Vaccinations are no longer required for temporary travel to the United States. However, if you are intending to study or work, you should contact the school or prospective employer as they may have specific requirements.

What do I do about health insurance?

There is no equivalent of the National Health Service in the United States. Visitors and temporary residents are required to pay their own medical costs. As a result it is advisable to take out health insurance. Temporary visitors to the United States can obtain accident and sickness insurance before departing the United Kingdom. Most local insurance brokers as well as many travel agents can arrange such coverage with insurance firms in the United Kingdom. Those planning on remaining in the United States for any length of time or permanently may obtain health insurance after arrival there. Sometimes it is available through an employer, as many companies arrange group insurance for their employees.

Where can I find information on taking prescription medicine into the United States?

Information on taking prescription medicine into the United States is available from the U.S. Customs at the Embassy. You will also find information on what food products may be taken into the United States and the requirements for bring a cat or dog into the country.

Where can I obtain maps and travel information for the United States?

Visit USA Association: phone number 09069 101020 (calls cost £1/min.) provides recorded and live information on topics including: essential tips for first time visitors to the United States; visa information; literature/map requests; phone numbers for U.S. states and cities with a representative in the UK; major airlines flying to the United States, companies specializing in car/bike/motor-home rental; plus Greyhound bus and Amtrak; major theme parks, and hotels.

Additional information concerning the National Parks, tickets for the White House and Space Shuttle launches is available from the Embassy's website.

Can I drive while in the United States?

Motorists visiting the United States from countries which have ratified the Convention on Road Traffic (the Convention has been ratified by Great Britain), may use their valid drivers licenses to drive in the United States. Visitors who intend to hire an automobile in the U.S. are advised to obtain an International Drivers Permit prior to their departure from the United Kingdom. This permit may be obtained from any office of the Automobile Association.

Those taking up temporary residence must obtain driving licenses from the appropriate State authority upon their arrival at their destination. The Embassy does not have any information concerning the laws of the various States on requirements for issuance of driving licenses.

How can I obtain a disabled parking permit for my car while visiting the U.S.?

Requirements for disabled permits for visiting motorists vary from state to state. See here for further information.

I wish to undertake flight training in the United States. Can the Embassy perform fingerprinting for the TSA's Alien Flight School Program (AFSP)

Embassy London does not currently offer a fingerprinting service for the TSA's Alien Flight School Program (AFSP). For more information, please look at the TSA Alient Flight School website.