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Frequently asked questions
We will be adding to this list as time goes on, with the most popular questions we get asked on Instagram
Do I need 6 months remaining on my passport to go to America?
No! This hasn't been needed for a long time. As long as your passport covers the duration of your trip, that is sufficient.
That said, I like to have at least a couple of weeks remaining after my planned journey home, just in case of any delays - particularly important in this COVID crazy world! (speaking as someone who caught COVID and got stuck in the US for a while, unable to fly home)
Also, if you are flying indirect and connecting in a European country, you will need 3 months (Schengen area countries) or 6 months remaining on your passport.
Do I need my middle name on my ESTA?
The name on your ESTA needs to match your passport exactly - so if your middle name is on your passport, it needs to be on your ESTA application.
I already got my ESTA and it's been approved, but I missed my middle name. Should I re-apply?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this.
Here's the facts to help you make the decision:
- An approved ESTA is NOT a guarantee of entry to the USA.
- If your middle name is on your passport, it absolutely should be on your ESTA application.
- If it isn't, there is a chance - albeit small - that you could face issues at the border when attempting to enter the USA, if the CBP Officer spots the discrepancy.
- Those issues could range from an extended questioning session at the desk, to being taken into one of the side rooms for more of an interrogation, t0, worst case, being denied entry.
- IF you are denied entry you will be deported back to the UK. Until boarding that flight you will be held in custody. Given the timings of flights to the USA this could mean being held overnight. This will NOT be a fun experience, and additionally you will likely be banned from travelling to the USA on an ESTA again, meaning in future you will need to apply for a visa.
Based on those facts, I personally would never risk it - travel to the USA is too important a part of my life to risk being denied entry or banned for something that I could've easily fixed.
If you are travelling soon - i.e. so soon you wouldn't have time to apply for a visa if your replacement ESTA application is denied (due to a mistake or just 'one of those things') - I totally understand if you are reticent to throw away your approved ESTA and risk applying for a new one.
You essentially have to balance the risk of each course of action and make your own decision. I'll happily advise on the facts of the situation, visa waiting times, etc, but can't make the decision for you.
If, however, you have plenty of time before you travel (i.e. 6-9 months or more), I would DEFINITELY re-apply, as there's time to get a visa if it goes wrong, and you're removing the risk of being denied entry on arrival and deported.
Are there any COVID-era rules left when travelling to the USA? Testing, vaccination, etc? (Updated Oct 2023)
Yes and no!
Thankfully the horror that was Pre-Departure Testing has gone, and incoming travellers to the USA no longer need to be vaccinated / show proof of vaccination.
Cue confetti explosions and rapturous cheering!
There is only one remaining element of all the reams of covid rules and regulations that have applied between November 2021 and June 2023 - we still have to provide our contact tracing information.
However, this is no arduous task - we simply provide our accommodation details to our airline to satisfy this requirement, which we've had to do for years anyway under the guise of providing 'API' - or Advanced Passenger Information.
So really, everything is back to how it was pre-covid - bar the flight pricing of course!