Update to US and Canada Visa Requirements

Emergency Assistance
Travel News 09 Feb 2016

Flying in or out of the United States?

As of December 2015, new legislation has passed making two important changes to these requirements

1. Travellers with certain dual citizenship

Customers travelling to the USA who are citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and also citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, cannot enter the country under the VWP. They must obtain a visitor visa. This means that any UK citizen, travelling on a UK passport who is normally eligible for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) will have to apply at their nearest US Consulate for a visitor visa if they are also a citizen of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria.

2. Travellers who have visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since 01 March 2011

Entry to the USA by people (of any nationality) who have visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since 01 March 2011. These people, even if from a Visa Waiver Program country, will also be required to obtain a visitor visa for the USA.

  • The only exception to this ruling is if the customer visited one or more of these countries as part of their military service.
  • For all other customers, whether their visit was to see friends/family, as tourists or aid/health workers; a visitor visa will be required.

ESTA - the fee for using the USA's compulsory online immigration system Esta at $14. The fee must be paid by credit card or debit card at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and the system accepts only MasterCard, VISA, American Express and Discover. 

APIS - the TSA's Secure Flight Program requires identification information ahead of time in order to verify passenger names against the 'Watch list' and the 'No fly' list. The additional information is aimed at reducing the number of mis-matches and therefore disruptions to you the passenger. What does this mean for you? If you do not provide the information:

  • You cannot board a flight to, from, within or via the USA without giving this information.
  • You may experience significant delay at the airport possibly causing you to miss your flight or be denied booking.
  • Bookings without the secure flight data 72h prior to travel (or at time of booking within this period) may be cancelled without warning.
  • Your Travel Manager MUST enter the data into the PNR (booking) for all passengers travelling to, from within or via the USA at least 72 hours prior to travel or immediately for late bookings made within 72 hours of travel.

The good news is that the basic APIS information contains the required information for secure flight, therefore if you have entered APIS additional information is not required unless you have a 'redress' or 'known passenger' number.

Flying in or out of Canada 

Canada is introducing an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) from 15 March 2016. Under Canada’s eTA program, citizens from countries other than the United States, who do not need a visa to enter Canada, will need to obtain an online authorisation before entering the country by air, unless otherwise exempted. The process fee for application for an eTA is CAD$7.

The list of nationalities requiring an eTA can be viewed HERE

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