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All passengers who fly to the US, even if they are only in transit (changing planes) must apply for an online ESTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation System) visa before travel. Previously, the visa was free of charge but a couple of days ago a charge for the visa was introduced. There are a lot of websites out there offering visa services and they will charge you the cost of the visa plus an admin charge, so typically they are not good value. The official website is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and this is the best port of call to avoid any unnecessary fees.

You also might find the following information useful:

Passports must be valid for 90 days from date of entry to or transit in the US. ALL passengers must have a machine-readable passport. If your British passport is machine-readable it will have at the foot of the personal information page (at the back of the passport) two lines of text as letters, numbers and chevrons (>>>). If there are no lines of text, the passport is not machine-readable and you need a visa. Avoid locking your suitcases if you are transiting via the states - their customs officials retain the right to break into them.

See my colleague Claire's guide to transitting Miami Airport. Not for the faint-hearted!

 

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Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Lina
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Sallly
    Sally Dodge - Travel Expert

    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

  • Kathryn
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Charlotte
    Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert

    Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.

  • Chris
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

  • Ben
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

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