New York(4 Posts)
Now DCs are older and enjoy traveling, I would like to venture outside Europe and fancy New York.
How much hassle is it to get there?
Do we need new style passports? And isn't there a visa type thing that we need to have and pay for?
Whats the security like to get in, if we go for a long weekend will we spend half of it in a queue to get through security?
Its dead easy to get too. Loads of flights from the UK and amount of competition on the route means there are always deals to be had. Flying time is 7 hours or so.
Yes, you will need the new style passports with the microchip otherwise I believe you will need a visa. Until a couple of years ago, you had to complete a 'visa waiver' immigration form on the plane. This has now been replaced by the ESTA scheme which requires you to be approved for travel to the US before you board the flights. You can complete the forms here and will need one per pax:
I think they cost about $20 each. They last for 2 years and you can go back in and update them with information for each trip you take in that 2 year period- you don't need a new one each time you go to the US.
Queueing times at immigration really depend on the time of day you arrive and the number of other international flights arriving at the same time. In my experience Newark was quicker than JFK.
New York is a fantastic city with something for everyone. It does however get very cold in winter and August is very very hot and humid.
You probably don't needs visa but you will need to register with ETSA for a visa waiver.
Your passports are probably fine, there are several designs which are machine readable, we have 3 in our family and they are all fine.
Security queues can be long, but they seem to be pretty efficient, and do open more booths if you need it.
I took my older two to NYC when they were small, 5 and 3, and even flew back alone with it, and it was fine.
If you go in winter be prepared for Cold and Damp (but not really cold), if in summer it can get hot and sweaty.
You each need to have a machine readable passport (with the barcode in it at the back of said document. This is scanned at US immigration).
You will also each need an ESTA, only use the official website that Perdita has provided details of. There are a lot of scammers out there so only use the official website. ESTAs are valid for 2 years from date of issue and cost is $14 US; around £9-£10 per person.
Arriving into JFK for instance can be a PITA as the staff there are seemingly more than happy to shout at arriving passengers and standing in line is a given. Newark can be easier to fly into; lines into immigration seem to flow faster.
If you can go for longer than say three days do so. If you do go to the US inform your credit card provider beforehand so your credit card does not have a stop marker placed on it.
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