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Visa Faqs


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.

I have read that under APIS I am now required to provide the address at which I will stay in the United States. Is this correct?

Visitors to the United States have always been required to furnish to U.S. immigration the address at which they will stay in the United States. This information is currently collected from the arrival/departure record card, I-94 or I-94W that the visitor completes and presents to U.S. immigration on arrival in the United States. With the implementation of the Advanced Passenger Information System this data will be collected by the airlines and transmitted electronically to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in advance of the passengers arrival in the United States. Information concerning APIS is available from CBP at

What if I cannot provide an address at which I will stay in the U.S.?

The requirement that a traveler provide a U.S. address applies to all visitors to the United States whether they are traveling visa free under the Visa Waiver Program or are in possession of a valid visa.

We strongly recommend that you comply with this requirement and provide a U.S address. Should you arrive at the port of entry without any pre-booked accommodation, you will be required to pursue this matter with U.S. immigration.

What is the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS)?

This is a system where commercial air carriers or vessels collect and submit biographic data from a passport, visa, or other travel document, including the address at which the traveler will stay while in the U.S. prior to the passengers departure to the United States and electronically transmit that data to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection in advance of the air carrier's or vessel's arrival. The information consists of: complete name, date of birth, gender, country of citizenship, passport number, country of issuance and expiration date, country of residence and U.S. destination address.  Most of this information is contained in the machine readable zone of the traveler’s passport.  Information concerning APIS is available from CBP at

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.

I have a visa; do I also need a return ticket?

If you hold a visa of any classification, including a B-1/B-2 visa, you are not required to hold a return ticket; you may enter the United States on a one way ticket. All travelers should carry with them for presentation to U.S. officials, if required, evidence of funds sufficient for their visit and, with the exception of H and L visa holders, evidence that they have a residence abroad to which they intend returning at the end of their stay. Examples of such evidence include: traveler's checks; return tickets; copy of latest bank statement; letter from parents saying they will support you; evidence of current employment; evidence of enrollment at an academic institution.

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.

I have a holiday home in the United States; how long can I remain there?

If you travel to the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you may remain for up to 90 days. This period cannot be extended. If you travel to the United States on a visitor (B-2) visa, the period of time you will be allowed will be determined by the USCIS at the port of entry. Initially they can grant a stay of six months which can be extended for a further six months at their discretion. The USCIS has sole jurisdiction over such matters.

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) ?

The Embassy is unable to capture fingerprints for the AFSP at this time. However, there are currently five locations outside the U.S. where pilots can complete the fingerprint process by trained and background checked fingerprint collectors that meet TSA AFSP requirements. The Transportation Clearing House website has further information. Please see for more information.

Alternatively, in a substantial change to TSA policies on fingerprint collection, the TSA will now permit fingerprint collectors certified by NATA Compliance Services to fingerprint candidates who apply for training at the flight school where the collector is located, in addition to candidates who apply for training at other flight schools. For more information on the NATA Compliance Services certification process, please see

It is also possible to obtain preliminary approval from TSA by email so that the paperwork can be pursued to obtain a visa. This will allow you to travel to the U.S. and be fingerprinted when you arrive, allowing you to start ground school without having been printed and checked. The wait should be minimal (a few days at most) before you can start simulation and flight training. For further information, please email the AFSP helpdesk at or ring them on (001-703) 542-1222 Monday to Friday 8:30-16:30 Eastern Time.

For more information on the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP), please visit the TSA website.

How can I cancel my visa appointment?

If you are applying for an immigrant visa and you wish to cancel the scheduled appointment, you should write to the Immigrant Visa Branch at 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1K 6AH. It is important to note that if you are unable to attend the scheduled appointment it could be several months before the Embassy is able to offer you another date.

If you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa and you wish to cancel the appointment, you can do so online up to 24 hours before the appointment.  Visit to log in to your account and cancel the appointment. You can then rebook using the online appointment booking system


I require an earlier Visa appointment than the one I have booked

You must visit, log in to your profile and select "Request Expedite".  You will be required to provide a reason for your request, which will be reviewed by the Embassy.  We receive a large number of requests for expedited appointments.  Therefore we have set up and enforce criteria for what constitutes a genuine emergency or legitimate reason to expedite an application. We accommodate a large number of them. However, we can't accommodate all of them.

I was informed on the day of my appointment that my visa application requires additional administrative processing. Please update me on the status of my case, as I need to travel to the United States.

Applicants are given a rough estimate on the day of their appointment as to how long they should expect processing to take. However, please note that every application is dealt with on a case-by-case basis and some applications take significantly longer to process than others. We are aware that individual applicants may experience inconvenience and hardship if their application takes longer to process than they expected. If you were informed on the day of your interview that your application is subject to additional administrative processing, you should allow at least 60 days for this stage of the visa process to be completed. This office will not be able to respond to queries where the application required additional administrative processing and has been pending for less than two months. If you have previously corresponded with this office and have received e-mail that your administrative processing is still incomplete, please do not re-contact this address except to notify us of an address change.

Where is the Embassy located?

The Embassy is located on Grosvenor Square which is in Mayfair. Please refer to this map of the area and information on how you can find the Embassy.

If I am issued a visa can my spouse work?

If you are applying for immigration and your spouse is deriving status from the petition filed on your behalf, on entering the United States on an immigrant visa s/he will become eligible to take up employment. Further information is available from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) which will process your application for a Permanent Resident Card on your entry into the United States.

If you are applying for a nonimmigrant L or E visa, your spouse may be eligible to seek employment authorization on a derivative visa. Further information is available from the USCIS on your arrival in the United States.

The spouse of a J-1 visa holder may not work in the United States on a derivative J-2 visa unless permission has been obtained in advance from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. An application for permission to work can only be made after the J-2 visa holder's arrival in the United States and will be considered in light of policies then in effect.

Spouses deriving status in other nonimmigrant visa categories will be required to qualify for temporary work visas in their own right if they wish to seek employment.