How Long Can a British Citizen Stay in The US?

How Long Can a UK Citizen Stay in the US?

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A large number of British citizens visit the USA each year. They travel for various reasons: work, study, sightseeing, etc. Of course, for all of them, it is very important under which conditions they can travel, which visa they will need and how long they can stay in the USA.

The information in this article will answer those and other important questions about traveling to the USA from the UK.

Do You Need a US Visa as a British Citizen?

The US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables eligible nationals of 40 countries to visit the US for up to 90 days on business or vacation without obtaining a visa. Since the UK is one of the VWP participating nations British nationals can visit the US without a visa so long as they have ESTA permission.

Activities such as attending conferences, negotiations or business meetings, commercial visits to customers or suppliers, and treatments are approved with ESTA. All other activities require the issuance of a relevant visa.

Temporary Stay in the US for British Citizens

British citizens who intend to stay in the United States for longer than 90 days could be eligible for a non-immigrant visa.

Nonimmigrant Visas

A nonimmigrant visa permits temporary entrance into the United States. Depending on the visa that is most appropriate for the visitor traveling to the US for a temporary stay, the nonimmigrant visa's validity period ranges from three months to ten years. Numerous nonimmigrant visas may also have their original validity period extended.

Different types of nonimmigrant visas are available for use in the US and can be used to work, live, study, or join with relatives. The most frequently used visas are those listed below:

  • B1 Visa - A visitor visa is required for foreigners visiting the US for short business purposes. Here are some examples of when this visa is used: taking part in business conferences or consultations, attending a conference or convention for business, and contract negotiations.
  • B2 visa Nonimmigrant B-2 visitor visas are available to foreign nationals coming to the US temporarily for business, pleasure, or tourism.
  • F1 visa (for students) - Foreign students who want to study in the US can apply for an F1 visa. This type of visa is valid for the entire duration of the studies;
  • K3 visa - This is a visa for spouses of US citizens. Its validity is two years, after which it can be extended in increments of two years.
  • K1 visa - This is a type of visa for the fiancé of a US citizen and is valid for up to 90 days.A US citizen who intends to bring their foreign partner to the United States to marry may be eligible for a 90-day K1 fiancé visa.
  • H1B Visa - also know as the Specialty Workers Visa is designed for highly skilled foreign nationals who intend to work in the USA. It has a duration of 3 years, with the possibility of being extended up to 6 years.
  • I visa - This visa is required for all media representatives and journalists who intend to practice their profession in the USA.
  • L1 visa - he L1 visa enables multinational corporations to relocate important employees to the US for employment in an existing subsidiary, affiliate, parent, or branch. Before a worker can apply for an L1 visa, their employer must submit an L1 visa petition to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the worker's behalf. The petitioner could be a foreign or US-based business.
  • E-1 & E-2 visas - Those traveling to the US to either engage in trade or invest in a business must obtain this type of visa.

United Kingdom: Part of the US Visa Waiver Program

The UK has been an active member of the Visa Waiver Program since 1988. This means that UK citizens can travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) without a visa, as long as they do not plan to stay for more than 90 days.

ESTA Travel Authorisation

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) was created in 2009 to help determine eligibility to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) and to give US Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the ability to pre-screen travelers for a variety of forbidden flights and databases of criminals and terrorists.

The ESTA for UK citizens can be used for transit, tourism, business, or medical purposes. With this type of travel authorisation, the visit to the USA must not exceed 90 days.

Some visitors might not be eligible for entrance into the US without a visa under the VWP. Persons with a criminal record (even if they are eligible for a pardon, amnesty, or other act of clemency), those with certain serious communicable diseases, those who have been denied entry to the US or have been deported from the US, or those who have previously overstayed their visa waiver program are among those who fall under this category.

People also cannot travel on the VWP if they have been or were physically present in Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011, according to the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. (with some exceptions for trips for diplomatic or military purposes in support of a VWP country).

What Are the ESTA Requirements for British citizens?

According to ESTA requirements for British citizens, the applicant must have an electronic, machine-readable passport. The travel must be for permitted business, vacation, or transit visits lasting less than 90 days. The applicant must come either by land, air, or sea. ESTA applicants must own credit or debit cards in order to make the ESTA payment.

What’s the Difference Between an ESTA and a U.S. Visa?

An Electric System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is required for travellers to the United States who want to stay less than 90 days for tourism or short-term business. On the other hand, a visa is a "permission" that enables long-term residence in the United States for purposes of business, as an exchange student, or as an employee.

So, the main difference between an ESTA and a visa is the length of stay in the US they allow users. However, ESTA has many advantages over a visa as it is much simpler to obtain. Applying is extremely simple and can be done online, plus the processing |time is very fast.

When Is Applying for ESTA Appropriate When Traveling to the US?

Below, we will list the activities for which it is appropriate to use ESTA. None of the activities listed below can last longer than 90 days, as already stated in this article:
  • When traveling only for sightseeing: Individual, family, and group travel, visits to friends' and relatives' residences, volunteer work, unpaid participation in competitions or events;
  • Short business trip: Attending meetings, conferences, seminars, or other activities that are specialized in education, science, or other fields without receiving payment;
  • During US transit to a third country (including temporary transit or transfer).

When Is Applying for a Visa Appropriate When Traveling to the US?

Here are the activities for which it is appropriate to use a visa:

  • When a person wants to stay in the US for more than 90 days: Regardless of the reason, a person who wishes to stay longer than 90 days in the US must apply for a visa (Visa B2);
  • When the purpose of travel to the US is employment or other paid business purposes: Even if the trip lasts less than 90 days, if the person is traveling for paid work, he must have a visa;
  • When a person wants to study in the USA;
  • When an individual intends to remain in the U.S. for an extended period of time for a residence related to a specialized field, special skill, or artistic field.

Permanent Residency for British Citizens in the US

To remain in the United States indefinitely, a British citizen must first get an immigrant visa, often known as a Green Card. The full immigrant visa application process can take years and is extremely difficult to obtain.

British nationals may be qualified for a variety of Green Cards, including family-based (allows foreign relatives of US citizens to obtain green cards in the country. A family-based green card may be available to spouses, parents, kids, and siblings of Americans with green cards or citizens of the United States) and employment-based Green Cards (In order to obtain this type of Green Card, a person must have a bachelor's degree or at least two years of work experience).

How Can Help?

ESTA is much simpler to obtain in comparison to the traditional forms of visas. You can easily apply for your ESTA through and save your time and money if you’re looking to visit the US. offers you an extremely simple application form, agent support at all times, and a money-back guarantee.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.

British Citizens in the US FAQs

If British nationals stay in the US through ESTA, they can stay for a maximum of 90 days. The ESTA lasts for 2 years and during that time period, they can visit the USA an unlimited number of times, with the obligation that no visit can last longer than 90 days. If British nationals use a visa to stay in the US, then they can stay longer than 90 days, depending on the type of visa they have been granted.
British citizens can live permanently in America provided they obtain an immigrant visa, commonly known as a green card. The most well-known types of green cards are family-based and employment-based green cards.
In order to stay in the US for more than three months, an individual must apply for and receive the appropriate visa.

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