Going To Vegas
Visiting visa

Planning a trip to Vegas? Here's what you need to know about your visiting visa

Fri, Aug 19, 2016

Las Vegas is a destination which is at the forefront of many a traveller’s mind. This is a place which is high on the bucket wish list, and whether you dream of visiting that famous “welcome to …” sign, or you want to gamble your way to fortune, Vegas is packed with things to see and do, all with a very neon-lit and crazy vibe to the background!

Of course, you need to look into your passport and entry requirements before you plan to go anywhere, in order to save problems at the customs desk when you arrive. 

In terms of visiting any destination in the USA, you will need a visa, so it’s important to check this all out well ahead of time.

Let’s check out your requirements, so they’re clear in your head before you plan your whirlwind Vegas trip.

First things first – your passport.

In order to visit the USA, you need at least six months’ validity left on your passport after the date you return back home. Once you have that sorted out, you need to head online to check out which kind of visa you need. It’s a good idea to set a reminder on your phone or computer’s calendar to remind you when it’s time to renew your passport, 6 months in advance, so you’re never caught out like this.

Generally speaking, most people will require what is called an ESTA. An ESTA is an electronic visa, which grants you permission to travel to the USA, although strictly speaking it doesn’t grant you guaranteed entry; you could still theoretically be turned down at the customs desk on arrival, however provided you have the correct visa in your hand, this is highly unlikely.

An ESTA is part of the Visa Waiver Program and should be done at least 72 hours prior to your flight date, however it’s always best to do it well ahead of time, just in case of any problems. It is possible to be declined, and in that case you will need to visit the US Embassy and apply for a more formal visa; this can be a lengthy process, so make sure you start your visa arrangements ahead of time, just in case.

Now, not every country is part of the Visa Waiver Program, which is why it is important for you to check your country of origin against the eligible list; most European countries, the UK, New Zealand, Australia etc, are all part of this arrangement however.

An ESTA, once granted, allows you multiple entry visits into the USA, however a stay must not go over the 90 days’ mark. Also be aware that you must show proof of exit of the US within 90 days of arriving. You may be required to show this at the border. It’s also worth noting that your 90 days is inclusive of any time spent in Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean so, if you’re on an extended trip, you must do the math to make sure you’re not caught out by this provision. The process is quick and easy, however should only be done on the official ESTA website; be sure to check you’re not using a counterfeit site, as there are a few out there which will charge you more and you will have a fake document in your hand at the end of it.

Whilst it’s not necessary to print out the ESTA once granted, it is admissible; at least print out the reference number when you are granted your ESTA, and take it with you.

If you are planning on staying for longer than 90 days, then you will need to apply for a totally different visa, however generally speaking, anyone heading to Vegas will probably be flat out from exhaustion by this point!