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US Visas and travel during the Christmas period urges foreign visitors to the US to plan in advance for trips to the US during the coming weeks, as the holiday season is always a busy time with more travellers than normal visiting families and relatives in the US.

Visitors should ensure they have the correct travel documents, and that their passports are valid for at least six months after the date they plan to leave the US. As it is a busy time of year, prepare to spend more time queuing and transferring between flights. It is also possible that there may be an increased presence of immigration officials during this busy time, and that you may be questioned in relation to your visit to the US.

Visa waiver Program

Visitors who plan to enter the US via the Visa Waiver Program must gain authorisation via the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) which can be found online. The ESTA has been set up by the Department of Homeland Security and is free to use

The Visa Waiver Program only applies to citizens of certain countries who will be staying in the US for 90 days or less, and allows business visitors and tourists to enter the US without having to apply for a B-1/B-2 visit visa at an US Embassy or Consulate.


Migrants travelling with a petition-based visa such as an H-1B or L-1A/L-1B must also travel with the original copy of the I-797 form (Notice of Approval) which is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)

Those who require a US visa to re-enter the country should ensure that the visa must still be valid and not have expired. The visa must also have details of the relevant non-immigrant visa status.

Since the Christmas period is a busy time for travelling, there may be additional security checks and delays when applying for visa issuance, so please keep this in mind. Applications usually have to be made in person, at a pre-arranged appointment where the applicant will face a short interview. Background checks will then be carried out, and usually the visa will be returned within 3-6 days, however in certain circumstances this may take longer – especially with the increased volume of applications during the Christmas period.

During the Christmas period advanced planning is even more critical for travelling to the US. If you would like to apply for a US visa, or discuss your visa options for travelling to the US, can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with 26 years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.