ESTA for New York: Visa Requirements & Application

NYC Visa: Travelling to New York with an ESTA

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A New York ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) is required if you are traveling to New York for tourism, business, or medical purposes. You do not need a New York visa if you are visiting for less than 90 days. You should apply for your ESTA at least 3 days before you are departing for New York.
New York City is the most famous city in world. It has various nicknames including the City that Never Sleeps and The Big Apple. It has a wealth of amazing tourist attractions within a short distance of each other and is one of the most popular tourist destinations for visitors from countries across the world.

Top Tourist Attractions in New York

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Statue of Liberty

Seeing this iconic statue is a must for any trip to New York. You can enjoy the magnificence close up through a tour or simply take a look when you take a boat over to Staten Island.
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Central Park

There is plenty to do around Central Park and to see everything you might want to hire a bike or jump in a horse and carriage. There is a zoo, boating lake, picnic areas and loads of different attractions.
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Times Square and Broadway

In the heart of the city lies the bright lights of Times Square and Broadway. This is where all of the world’s best shows will be on so make sure to book your tickets early.
There is so much to see and do in New York that you will need to cram as much into your trip as possible. Popular sightseeing attractions include the Statue of Liberty, the Rockefeller Center , the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square and Brooklyn Bridge.
For those who like to include cultural activities in your trip, a visit to Broadway for a show is a must. There are also some amazing museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, the 9/11 Memorial and the American Museum of Natural History.
There are so many different ways to see the best bits of the city – you can take bus tours, go on boat trips, or even take helicopter rides. You can hire bikes to see Central Park or get a horse and carriage!

Visa Waiver Program (ESTA)

In order to be able to enjoy all of the amazing attractions in New York, you must obtain some form of visa, as you need travel authorization as part of the visa requirements to enter the United States. Sending a New York visa application is quick and easy if you are eligible for an ESTA. It takes just ten minutes to complete your ESTA for New York, filling in your personal details and passport details and answering a set of eligibility questions.

Eligibility for Visa to New York

If you are from one of the 38 countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program then you can apply for an ESTA for your trip to New York. Other requirements include the purposes for your trip must be for business or tourism, as studying or working in the US would only be possible through the relevant visa.
Also, if you are intending on staying in New York, or anywhere else in the US for longer than 90 days then the ESTA will not be sufficient, as it would exceed the 90 day limit. In this case, you would need to apply for Category B1 (business purposes) or Category B2 (tourism) visa instead.

Types of visa for New York

For visits to the US for less than 90 days, the ESTA application is the easiest and quickest way to get travel authorization. This can be completed and confirmed in just a few hours, but sometimes the processing time does take a few days. You should check whether you are eligible for an ESTA visa before you apply for a B1 or B2 visa as this could save you a lot of time and the effort of travelling to and attending an interview at the US embassy.
B1 Business visa – This is for going to US for business meetings, conferences, not to gain employment whilst in the US for a US company.
B2 Tourism visa – If your trip is just for leisure purposes i.e. a holiday and to do tourist activities then a B2 tourist visa is needed.

Applying for a visa to New York

The first step is to complete an online visa application (DS-160 form). Once this has been submitted you will need to schedule an interview at the embassy or consulate. You may have to wait a while for an appointment, depending on how busy they are at that time.
Following the interview and the presentation of your requested documents, you will receive confirmation of whether your visa has been approved and if so, your visa will be sent to you to use when you visit New York and the rest of the US.
Airports
There are three main airports in the New York area – John F Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark. La Guardia is close to Manhattan so is close to all of the main attractions but this is a small airport for local flights only. Newark is further out from the city but has good train links. If you are getting a taxi from Newark into the city then you can expect it to take around an hour. JFK is the airport that most travelers use to arrive in New York as it is the biggest and has the most flight options. The traffic can be very congested so always leave plenty of time for getting to JFK to avoid missing your flight.
Work Opportunities
Many people move to the US to follow their dreams, not just actors and singers but also people who love the idea of working in the stunning city. If you are thinking of moving to the US then you will need to be aware of the different types of visa that are available.
For example, if you wanted to visit for a period of less than 90 days then you can apply for an ESTA if you are arriving from one of the countries listed under the Visa Waiver Program will need to be aware of the different types of visa that are available.
This is an easy way to complete online form that will give you a decision quickly regarding whether you are granted permission to travel to the US.
The ESTA covers travel for both business and tourist purposes, so if you wanted to see how you like New York for a few months before you make the full decision to move over, you can get permission to stay in the US for up to 90 days.
Transport To Get Around New York
When you are visiting New York there are many different ways to get around the city and you may want to consider using a mix of strong different transport options] to allow you to visit all of the places on your itinerary.
The subway
The subway is a very famous and popular form of transport across NYC and there are sub stations on almost every corner! So, if you are spending the afternoon in Central Park and then want to head to Brooklyn Bridge, you can just jump on the subway. Buying a MetroCard is going to work out cheapest if you are planning on using the subway a lot during your visit. You can get a 7-day MetroCard for $29 or a single ride is $2.50.
It is important to remember that this type of transport is going to be very busy, especially round peak times on the lines that go to the busier parts of the city. Local users of the subway will often be rushing about to get to and from work, so make sure that you look out for the escalator etiquette of standing to the right side of escalators to enable those rushing people to walk up the left-hand side. If you stand still on the left-hand side, then you are likely to get asked to move by disgruntled subway users.
New York Pass
It is worth looking into getting a New York Pass because as well as providing entry to the majority of NYC’s top attractions, there are also transport options included. The Hop On, Hop Off bus is ideal for getting from one attraction to the next and has a tour guide onboard to provide information about the areas you travel through. There is also the Hop On, Hop Off water taxi and you can get on the Statue of Liberty ferry too. If you were already planning on going to the attractions such as Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and 9/11 Memorial and Museum then your pass will include entry for those and a long list of other great attractions and transport options.
Taxicabs
You will probably have seen the famous yellow colored New York taxi cabs on films and when you get to NYC you won’t be disappointed because there really are plenty of them on the streets for you to hail over when you need them. Busy places like near the airports, stations and tourist attractions will have lots of taxis waiting for passengers.
Walking
If you really want to see as much of New York City as possible, nothing beats walking around the city so that you can walk through all of the different areas. Whilst the subway is convenient for getting to places quickly, as it is underground you won’t see any of the places that you pass by.
The High Line is a public park that has been built on an old rail line and is a great way to walk through the West Side of Manhattan. As it is elevated just above the streets, you get a different perspective to just walking along the streets. For those who like art and nature, you should definitely pay the High Line a visit.
Cycling
Whilst cycling along the main streets of New York can be a bit too busy for tourists, there are plenty of routes that are ideal for cycling. There are a number of bicycle hire shops where you can hire a bike by the hour or for a day or more. There is a cycle route through Central Park that is a fun way to see the park, also the routes along Hudson River make for a great cycling tour. Hudson River Greenway offers a more picturesque trail that takes you further out of the city for stunning views.
Sport Venues
Sports fans have plenty of stadiums to choose from to take in strong some American sports, as New York is home to some of the most iconic sports stadia in the world. The Yankee Stadium is a must for any keen baseball fans, whilst the tennis fans can’t miss the opportunity to visit Flushing Meadows.
Madison Square Garden is a regular host of major sporting events as well as music concerts and other massive events. New York Knicks play at Madison Square Garden, so if you want to take in a basketball game then this is your best option during the basketball season. You can also catch some ice hockey at this famous venue, as it is home to the New York Rangers.

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.

FAQ

Yes. British citizens are under an American visa-waiver program, and if you have a British passport you don’t need a specific US Visa for UK citizens to enter the US, you only need an ESTA.
No. Even the eligible nationals or citizens of countries that participate in the VWP require either an ESTA or a visa to transit the United States. If a traveler is only planning to transit through the United States en route to another country when he or she completes the ESTA application, the traveler should enter the words "In Transit" and his or her final destination in the address lines under the heading “Address While In The United States.”
You should complete an online visa application (DS-160 form) as the first step of the process. Once this has been submitted you will need to schedule an interview at the embassy or consulate.
Following the interview and the presentation of your requested documents, you will receive confirmation of whether your visa has been approved and if so, your visa will be sent to you to use when you visit New York and the rest of the US.
ESTA is an approved travel authorization and it is not a visa.
Individuals traveling on valid visas are not required to apply for a travel authorization (ESTA).

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