Foreigners need a valid passport with a digital reading strip to travel to the U.S. With this numeric reading strip a machine can check your passport. Your passport must be valid till at least 6 months after your return. Children of all ages must have their own passport.
Some travellers can be part of the "Visa Waiver Program (VWP) which means that they do not need a visa for the U.S. Under the condition that you apply digitally for a ESTA
travel authorization, that your stay in the U.S. will not exceed 90 days and that you are not going to work. You can not use the VWP if an access to the U.S. was previously refused, if you stayed too long at a previous visit or if you have a criminal record.
Canada has a similar program: ETA
When you travel to Canada (or via Canada) with an electronic passport issued by a country under the Visa Waiver Program, you must apply for an ETA travel authorization. Before you go to Canada aboard a plane or ship, you need to get an electronic travel authorization via ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization).
Because of the terrorist threat, the rules for a U.S. entry have been tightened by the U.S. government since 2009. Belgians or Dutch can only travel visa free to the U.S. if they request approval through ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Any passport holder (including children!) must do an electronic application
. The costs are around $15 and it takes about fifteen minutes to complete. You will usually immediatelly receive the approval, but no later than 72 hours. In the application you must specify ‘residence address’ in the U.S. – you are allowed to use your first overnight address or the address of the car- or camper rental depot.
The rules for access to the U.S. are strictly observed. No valid passport or no ESTA application means no access and no opportunity to claim your cancellation. An emergency passport without a chip (called e-passport) is no longer a valid travel document.
During your intercontinental flight to the U.S. you have to fill out a green I-94 Immigration form. As your residence address you note your first night address or the address of the car- or motorhome rental depot. When you hand over the I-94 form upon arrival you get a departure form. This form can best be kept in your passport, and you must hand it over at the departure airport.
* Please note, these are our own suggestions. We are not responsible for any changes in the law.
- Website with the
U.S. Embassies, Consulates and Diplomatic Missions
- Websites of the
foreign Embassies in the U.S.