USA holidaymakers traveling from the UK could be set to face visa difficulties as the US government tightens their immigration rules concerning passports and ePassports.
USA holidays have been made more complicated for UK tourists as the UK government tightens its rules for entry requirement. This is the latest travel advice.
As well as a valid passport, Britons heading to the US currently need to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) through the Visa Waiver Programme. This allows travel to the US for up to 90 days.
Possession of an ESTA means tourists to the USA do not have to apply for a full visa.
However, under tough new rules, visitors who do not have a “biometric passport” or “ePassport” will have to obtain a full visa before travel, making the entry process much more long-winded.
Travelers assume if they’ve been granted at ESTA they will automatically be allowed into the US.
However, this cannot always be guaranteed. For instance, last year, a British Muslim family was removed from a flight to Los Angeles despite having been granted ESTAs online.
They were not told why they had been removed or why they couldn’t enter the US.
This is a rare occurrence but they are instances where ESTA holders are denied entry.
Such explanations include the holder has previously remained in the US beyond the amount of time allowable on their documentation.
Or, on a previous visit, the person worked without the correct permit.
Another explanation is the holder’s previous requests had been denied or that answers on the ESTA application were deemed incorrect or fraudulent.
Alternatively, the holder had a criminal record that they did not admit to during application.
A final explanation is that the holder had the same name and/or details of a convicted or wanted criminal.
If your application is denied there is no way of appealing the process, states the ESTA website.
However, it’s possible to apply for a B2 or B1 visa which are specific visas to grant entry under business, medical and transit circumstances
If this is not an option, you should try to find out why your entry was denied and fix the problem.
A third solution – though rarely successful – is to apply for a waiver which admits to the reason for the denial but asks the immigration services to overlook this reason and admit entry.
For this, it’s best to have a family in the USA who are willing to act as sponsors.
Those looking for further advice should seek help from the UK’s American Embassy which offers information and guidelines, although cannot help with individual cases.
Turkey has also recently changed the way visas are purchased. Tourists and business travelers will have to apply for an e-visa before they travel.
Kiosks and designated areas to buy the travel document will no longer be available on arrival in Turkey.
Travelers can get an e-Visa online before travel through the official Republic of Turkey e-Visa website.