A Guide To Traveling To The US For British Citizens

January 31, 2020

You will no doubt have heard quite a bit on the news about Donald Trump’s tough approach on the US immigration system and how he has introduced many changes that impact non-US citizens wishing to visit the US since he became President. With these changes coming about on a regular basis, it is a good idea to keep informed about anything that might affect you if you are planning to visit the US in the near future. This guide should help you to prepare for your potential trip:

Medical Insurance 

The UK has the NHS to provide medical care without charging those who need it but in the US there is no similar scheme. If you are moving to the US and have an accident or become ill and require medical attention, you will get billed for it. Without having appropriate medical insurance for your trip, you could end up being charged thousands of pounds, depending on the type of services you use. Before planning any trip to the US, make sure that you take out insurance that will cover your medical bills if you require medical attention.

Driving In The US

The majority of car hire companies will only rent a car to a UK driver’s license holder if they are 21 or over. However, some companies will only hire cars to drivers that are 25 and over, so you should check before you assume you can hire a car. Generally, you will only ever be asked for your UK drivers’ license to enable you to drive in the US, although it can be worthwhile obtaining an international driving permitto have extra peace of mind. There are also a number of things that are different about driving in the US to be aware of, including that steering wheels are on the left, cars drive on the right and it is legal to turn right at a red light unless there is a sign that says you cannot.

Travel Authorization

Non-US citizens require a form of travel authorization such as a visa to enter the US. The UK is part of the Visa Waiver Program, which means UK citizens are able to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) instead of the more complex process of applying for a visa. You will require either an ESTA or a US visa if you are entering the US, so make sure that you apply for the relevant one well in advance of your travel date. 

State Laws

The different states across the US operate different laws, so you should check anything you are not sure about before you enter. For example, laws about drinking, gambling, and others can vary quite significantly depending on which state you are in.

Before planning your visit to the US, make sure that you are fully prepared by being aware of these requirements and differences.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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