Travelling to the US for business or a holiday? - | Hudson McKenzie

Travelling to the US for business or a holiday?

May 16, 2016 | Immigration, Latest Thinking, News

Don’t be caught out by the changes for the United States that have affected tens of thousands of people travelling there.

All eligible international travellers wanting to travel to the United States for 90 days or less under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must apply for authorisation online, known as Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The application process is quick and simple and you get a decision straightaway.

Last week we saw thousands of Britons being denied the right to travel as the US authorities discreetly announced a change whereby those who do not hold a biometric passport will not be able to travel to the US. There was little announcement made regarding the change which was introduced on 1st April 2016, in an attempt to reduce terrorism.

Who does this change affect?

Anyone who was issued a passport up between June and October 2006 will be affected as they would have been issued with an “old style” passport and not an ePassport. The ePassports contain an electronic chip which holds personal data, and has a logo on the front which is a rectangle with a circle in the middle, if your passport does not have this then apply for a new passport before attempting to travel.

My application for an ESTA has been approved with my “old style” passport

Many travellers will find that they have been granted an ESTA even if they hold the “old style” passport, don’t attempt to travel as you will not be allowed to board the aircraft and will need to apply for a new ePassport and a new ESTA to enable them to travel.

A few travellers attempted travel based on the above assumptions and were unsuccessful and this led to them spending hundreds of pounds to get a new passport and have their flights changed.

No-one wants to be caught out by this change, whether they are travelling for Business or Leisure, so ensure you have the right passport and ESTA in place to permit travel.

For further information, please contact one of our Immigration Lawyers on 020 3318 5794 or email at