Visiting The United States
Updated: 26 November 2014
Do I need a tourist visa?
Currently, many British citizens traveling on a valid, individual machine readable passport, with a return or onward ticket, and who are staying for less than 90 days, qualify for the Visa Waiver Program and can travel visa-free with only an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
There are conditions, so please review the information concering visa free travel on the American Embassy London's Nonimmigrant Visas Services page.
Official Travel Information
See the Transportation Security Administration's TSA
For Travelers (TSA.gov).
General information for visitors to the U.S.A. is as follows:
• Traveling during Events and Holidays
• Travelers with Disabilities & Medical conditions
• Traveling with food or gifts
• Traveling with valuables or special items
• Permitted liquids list (3-1-1 rule)
Travellers wishing to inform themselves about TSA programs and methods will find this on our TSA page. Some generic information is below:
Under the Secure Flight program, TSA prescreens required passenger data, full name, date of birth, gender, and Redress Number (if available), against government watch lists for international and domestic flights into, out of, within, and over the United States. In addition to facilitating secure travel for all passengers, the program helps prevent the misidentification of passengers who have names similar to individuals on government watch lists by providing an intergrated redress procedure.
Customs and Border Protection
Information for travelers to the United States who are visiting for the purpose of working, studying, business travel or immigration.
A Department of State source of information about U.S. visa policy and procedures.
The Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT Program is part of a continuum of security measures that begins overseas and continues through a visitor’s arrival in and departure from the United States.
I still have the Green card (I-94) or White card (I-94W) in my possession! What should I do?
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.
Where can I obtain tourist information for the U.S. ?
The U.S. no longer operates a national tourist office in the United Kingdom. The U.S. Travel & Tourism Administration in Washington has also ceased to exist. There is currently no central office for tourist information either within the American Embassy in London, or elsewhere in the U.K.
The Visit USA Association, a private non-profit group, offers a selection of information and literature on U.S. travel. Visit USA do not offer visa information
A number of tourist destinations have representation in the U.K. Following is a list of contact telephone numbers. Do please remember that none of the below are qualified to answer visa-related information for which you should go to http://london.usembassy.gov/visa_contact_information.html
|City or State||Contact number|
|Alabama||(0)20 8339 6122|
|Arizona||[44}(0)20 8741 7256|
|Arkansas|| (0) 7928 1600|
|California||(0)20 7257 6180|
|Capital Region USA (DC,MD,VA)||(0)20 8339 6048|
|Central Florida||(0)1373 466707|
|Colorado||(0) 8456 020574|
|Daytona Beach, Florida||(0)20 7932 2471|
|Florida||(0)20 7932 2406|
|Florida Keys & Key West||(0)1564 794555|
|Florida's Space Coast|| (0)1293 449145|
|Fort Lauderdale||(0)1628 778863|
|Georgia|| (0) 1444 483767|
|Great Lakes (IL,IN,MI,MN,OH,WI)||(0)8456020574|
|Kansas||08450 533 280|
|Kentucky||(0)20 7681 6270|
|Kissimmee-St. Cloud||(0)1732 875722|
|Lee County, Florida||(0)1273 832832|
|Los Angeles, California||(0)20 7318 9555|
|Louisiana & New Orleans||(0) 208 313 1717|
|Maine||0800 032 6208 (free from the UK)|
|Miami, Florida||(0)1444 443355|
|Nevada & Las Vegas||(0)207 367 0979
|New England (CT,ME,MA,NH,RI,VT)|| (0)20 82377977|
|New York City||(0)20 7367 0934|
|New York State||(0)20 7629 6891|
|North Carolina||(0)20 7367 0937|
|Orlando||0800 018 6799|
|Palm Beach County, Florida||(0)20 7644 6117|
|Pennsylvania||(0) 8456 020 574
|Rhythms of the South
(Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans)
|Rocky Mountain (ID,MT,SD,WY)||09063 640655 (Consumer line, calls charged at 60p per minute)|
|Sarasota,FL||(0)20 7257 8858|
|South Carolina||(0)20 8460 8693|
|St Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida||(0)20 8339 6121|
|Texas||(0)20 7978 5233|
|Virginia||(0)20 8339 6048|
|Washington DC||(0)20 8339 6048|
|Washington State||(0)20 7978 5233|
|West Virginia||(0)20 8994 0978|
Where can I find information about the National Parks of the U.S.?
The National Park Service Website provides general information about visiting National Parks in the U.S. together with an alphabetical list of parks with detailed, park-specific information.
Will my British driver's license be adequate for renting a car?
The U.S.A. has an agreement with most countries whereby the renter's full national driving license may be used for a period of up to one year in the U.S.A. This applies to the full U.K. driving license. Provisional licenses are not acceptable.
Most car rental companies require that you have held a full license for at least one year, regardless of age. The minimum age for renting a car is normally 21 although it can be as high as 25. Often an additional charge is levied on drivers who are under 25 years of age.
International Driving Permits (see: postofffice.co.uk) are generally not required in the U.S.A but it is helpful to carry one. If they are taken, they are only valid in conjunction with a full national driving license. They should not be accepted on their own. It is recommended that drivers who possess a full national license that is in script other than Roman, i.e. Cyrillic or Arabic, should also obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Young drivers may wish to obtain an International Driving Permit to use as a photo ID, in place of a passport, for entry into bars and nightclubs where the minimum age for entry is 21 years.
If you have endorsements on your license, do check with your rental company that these do not present a problem.
We suggest that you check the requirements of your prospective automobile rental company by contacting them direct.
How can I obtain a disabled parking permit for my car while visiting the U.S.?
More information on disabled parking permits as well as contact information for many states is available on our disabled parking permits for visitors page.
How old do I need to be to buy an alcoholic drink or gamble in the U.S.?
The minimum age for buying and consuming alcohol in the U.S.A. is 21 years, as it is for gambling or entering casinos. Photo ID may also be required for entry to bars and nightclubs (see International Driving Permits above).
What's the weather like where I'm going?
How can I obtain tickets to tour the White House?
The American Embassy in London cannot provide tickets to tour the White House. Please be aware that it is difficult for non-U.S. citizens to visit the White House as tourists. Further information is available from The White House web site, or from the 24-hour Visitors Office Info Line at  (202) 456-7041.
How many British tourists visited the U.S. last year?
The International Trade Administration's Tourism Industries Office has issued a report indicating that there were 3.8 million visits to the U.S. by United Kingdom residents in 2013 out of a total of 69.8 million. See also the Tourism Industries one-pager Fast Facts (PDF).
Many other travel statistics can be found on the Tourism Industries Office website.
I have a British passport and want to get married in the United States. Can you help me?
If you as a British passport holder or British citizen want to get married in the United States you need to check the information provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth office on Getting Married Abroad. You should also get in touch with the British Embassy in Washington or the nearest British Consulate in the United States.
- Before attempting to register under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), please first check your eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program.