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UK-USA ESTA Travel Soon Possible?

10:42 Fri 11th Jun 2021 |

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Recently, the US and UK government revealed they are in talks to allow travel between the two countries once more. The timing of the news indicates that both countries want to take full advantage of the upcoming summer holidays.

Why the USA is so popular for UK tourists

In 2019, close to 5 million British citizens travelled to the USA. Of the non-European tourist destinations, the USA ranks at the top. The reasons for this are many. We share a common language which makes getting around a lot easier, a shared history, and of course simply because the USA has a lot to offer tourists. From the sprawling metropolises like New York to vast natural parks and endless roads, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find something right up your alley when visiting the USA.

Conversely, the UK is a popular destination for American tourists. In 2019, close to 4 million Americans visited the UK. US citizens do not require a visa when visiting the UK. If they possess a US passport, they can stay in the UK for up to 6 months. The only requirement is that the passport is valid beyond the intended stay.

ESTA instead of visa

Another reason why Brits favour the USA is because of its visa system. A large reason why European countries remain the most popular holiday destinations for Brits is we don’t need a visa to travel to those countries. Brits can stay in EU countries for up to 90 days in an overall 180-day period. If for some reason the EU would make visas mandatory for British citizens, no doubt tourist numbers would drop substantially.

The USA has somewhat of a similar situation. British visitors also do not need a visa when travelling to the USA. However, instead of travelling without a permit entirely, they must instead submit an ESTA application. The ESTA is a special type of permit which allows you to circumvent the USA’s lengthy (and often expensive) visa system if you qualify for it. Currently, close to 40 countries are included in the USA’s ESTA system, which includes the UK and Ireland.

The reason why this is so beneficial is because an ESTA is quite a bit cheaper than a visa. An ESTA also does not require a visit to the US embassy for an interview. Instead, it is acquired through an online application. By filling out the online form and making the required payment, the USA’s border protection agency can instantly tell whether a visitor poses a safety threat. Since this is usually not the case, the ESTA will be approved, usually the same day.

2021 UK-USA travel likely possible

As mentioned above, the governments of both countries revealed they have been in talks on re-opening travel between the UK and the USA. Both countries have had stellar vaccination programs. 43% of the American population has been fully vaccinated. The UK is not far behind with 42%. It is therefore no surprise that the countries are in talks to open up their borders for each other. As things stand, a summer holiday in the USA looks very likely for Brits.

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