Planning to visit the United States? “I’ve rafted the Grand Canyon and slept under the Nevada sky…”

Here’s the next installment in our series of blog posts about consular team members’ experiences in the United States.

I’ve been lucky enough to go on holiday to the United States several times as a Visa Waiver Program traveler. I’ve rafted the Grand Canyon and slept under the Nevada sky, been locked up in Alcatraz (only on a tour!) and seen the Statue of Liberty from the streets of Manhattan.

It’s so hard to choose, but I think the trip to Nevada was my favourite.  My first stop was Las Vegas and you know what they say: ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…except when writing on the Embassy’s blog!’  With all the shows, hotels, and attractions there was so much to do even though I wasn’t there to gamble.

Las-Vegas-Strip-Night-Grand-300x200

I then traveled to the Four Corners so I could stand in four states at once, followed by a visit to the Hoover Dam and a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.  In the canyon, I rafted down the Colorado River and camped on the river bank.  After an overnight stop in a hotel – where it seemed like I washed away most of the Arizona desert – I flew home.

Grand-Canyon-River-Straight-300x225

For the first time, I didn’t have to worry about handing in the green I-94W form on my departure.  The I-94W form is no longer needed to fly under the Visa Waiver Program. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) sent and approved all the necessary information even before I arrived.  It’s all electronic, I can check the status at any time and – best of all – it should still be valid for my next trip. I just have to decide where to go!  Any suggestions?

Lady Liberty statue in New York

Interested in a vacation in the United States?  Our website athttp://london.usembassy.gov/niv/vwp.html has detailed information and an interactive wizard to help you decide if you are eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.  You’ll also learn about the ESTA registration that you’ll need to submit if you’re traveling visa free by air or sea.

If you’re not eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, you will need a nonimmigrant visa for your visit. The B-2 tourist visa covers a range of travel plans such as holiday, visiting friends and family and attending a wedding. Check out our website athttp://london.usembassy.gov/niv/niv_visa_categories.html for information about the visa application process in London or Belfast.  There’s also a list of other visa categories in case you have a different reason for travel.

If you’ve still got a green Form I-94W or a white Form I-94 in your passport from a previous trip, visithttp://london.usembassy.gov/niv_i97/i-94.html for advice.

Do you have photos of a holiday to the United States?  You may be interested in the competition being run by @USAinUK #MyUSATravel.  See http://london.usembassy.gov/events/2014/2014_003.html for details.