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Visiting The United States
 
Updated: 26 November 2014

Do I need a tourist visa?

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)

    Travel advisories as of November 2014:

     • TSA Winter holiday travel 2014
     • The latest checklist is the TSA Summer Checklist 2014  (PDF, 1 page)
     • MyTSA mobile app for iOS and Android

    Travellers wishing to inform themselves about TSA programs and methods will find this on our TSA page. Some generic information is below:

    Secure Flight
    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. 

    Visas @ state.gov
    A Department of State source of information about U.S. visa policy and procedures.

    US-VISIT
    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 [44](0)20 8339 6122
    Alaska [44](0)1483 500006
    Arizona [44}(0)20 8741 7256
    Arkansas [44] (0) 7928 1600
    California [44](0)20 7257 6180
    Capital Region USA (DC,MD,VA) [44](0)20 8339 6048
    Central Florida [44](0)1373 466707
    Colorado [44](0) 8456 020574
    Daytona Beach, Florida [44](0)20 7932 2471
    Florida [44](0)20 7932 2406
    Florida Keys & Key West [44](0)1564 794555
    Florida's Space Coast [44] (0)1293 449145
    Fort Lauderdale [44](0)1628 778863
    Georgia [44] (0) 1444 483767
    Great Lakes (IL,IN,MI,MN,OH,WI) [44](0)8456020574
    Illinois [44](0) 8456020574
    Kansas 08450 533 280
    Kentucky [44](0)20 7681 6270
    Kissimmee-St. Cloud [44](0)1732 875722
    Lee County, Florida [44](0)1273 832832
    Los Angeles, California [44](0)20 7318 9555
    Louisiana & New Orleans [44](0) 208 313 1717
    Maine 0800 032 6208 (free from the UK)
    Massachusetts [44](0)1689 827451
    Miami, Florida [44](0)1444 443355
    Mississippi [44](0)1462 440787
    Missouri [44](0)8456020574
    Nevada & Las Vegas [44](0)207 367 0979
    New England (CT,ME,MA,NH,RI,VT) [44] (0)20 82377977
    New York City [44](0)20 7367 0934
    New York State [44](0)20 7629 6891
    North Carolina [44](0)20 7367 0937
    Orlando 0800 018 6799
    Palm Beach County, Florida [44](0)20 7644 6117
    Pennsylvania [44](0) 8456 020 574
    Rhythms of the South
    (Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans)
    [44](0)1326 250213
    Rocky Mountain (ID,MT,SD,WY) 09063 640655 (Consumer line, calls charged at 60p per minute)
    Sarasota,FL [44](0)20 7257 8858
    South Carolina [44](0)20 8460 8693
    St Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida [44](0)20 8339 6121
    Tennessee [44](0)1462 440784
    Texas [44](0)20 7978 5233
    Utah [44](0)0)8456020574
    Virginia [44](0)20 8339 6048
    Washington DC [44](0)20 8339 6048
    Washington State [44](0)20 7978 5233
    West Virginia [44](0)20 8994 0978

    Links to individual state and territorial Tourism Offices can be found as part of the site SeeAmerica.org which is operated by the Travel Industry Association of America

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.?

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?

    The Weather Channel, a 24 hour cable channel, and the national newspaper USA Today are among a number of websites providing current weather reports and 5 day forecasts for U.S. cities.

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 [1] (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?