How to Get a Visa for New York | A Guide for People in the UK

Visa for New York Arrival

New York is currently one of the best tourist destinations in the world. It's known for having huge skyscrapers and endless entertainment options.

As many people that visit New York claim, being there feels like you're in the heart of everything. If you have the means to travel there, this is definitely a destination you can't miss during your lifetime.

Now, if you want to visit New York from the UK, you will need certain documentation to enter. This page will cover everything you need to know about visiting New York from the UK, including whether you need a visa to visit this place or not, answering eligibility questions, and other travel requirements.

Do You Need a Visa to Visit New York?

Visa for New York City

Not exactly. According to the UK government, you can enter the US with either an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) or a visitor's visa.

If you're not sure of what travel document you need to get started, feel free to check the US State Department's website for more information. You can also get to the nearest US embassy in your area.

In most cases, getting an ESTA as a travel authorisation document will be faster than getting a visa, as the process to get a visa tends to involve interviews and other paperwork.

What Is the Difference Between a Visa and an ESTA?

Visa for New York ESTA

To get things straight: a visa and an ESTA aren't the same thing. First, if you want to apply for the ESTA system, your country must be part of the US's Visa Waiver Program (thankfully, the UK is).

Countries that aren't part of the Visa Waiver Program must file for a visa. Now, what's the difference between an ESTA and a US visa? Let's cover them in the following categories:

Application Process

Submitting an ESTA Application is much faster and easier than with a US visa. With an ESTA application, all you have to do is go into the ESTA website, fill in your personal information, and answer some questions.

Once you pay for ESTA's fees, the US administration department will review your new application within 72 hours.

On the other hand, getting a visa as a travel authorisation document is harder. First, you must determine whether you need a guest visa, an exchange visa, or a student visa (although there are other types of non-immigrant visas).

Unlike an ESTA application, the US administration department can take up to 180 to assign you an appointment for your interview. Moreover, the cost to apply for a non-immigrant visa is much higher than an ESTA.

Validity Period

An ESTA Visa is valid for up to two years. You can visit New York as many times as you want during this period, although you can't stay in the country for over 90 days at a time.

On the contrary, depending on how much time you get on your visa, it can be valid from one month up to 10 years. Here, you can stay for up to six months at a time, which is much longer than with an ESTA.


The ESTA website requires people to renew their document every two years. Moreover, if the person received an emergency or temporary passport, they must renew their ESTA approval too.

Other circumstances that require you to renew your ESTA include:

• If you changed your name, gender, country, or citizenship.

• If you changed any of your answers on the ESTA application.

However, a visa doesn't expire along with your passport. Even if your passport expires, you can use your visa for as long as it's valid, as long as you already have a new passport to travel.

How Much Is a Visa or ESTA to Visit New York?

Visa for New York How Much

It depends on the type of visa you want to get. If you're getting a standard visitor's visa, you will have to pay a fee of $160 plus any travel expenses you may need if you live far away from an embassy.

On the other hand, if you're going for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), you only have to pay $21 (which is around £17) for the application. Moreover, there are many payment method alternatives to choose from, including:

• MasterCard


• American Express

• PayPal

• Discover

If you're planning to get either an ESTA or a visa, remember that the former is much more affordable and faster to file than the latter.

What Is the Visa Waiver Program?

Visa for New York Visa Waiver

The VWP was administered by the Department of Homeland Security under consultation with the US State Department.

This program allows citizens of over 40 countries to travel to New York and any other state in the US for business or tourism and stay up to 90 days without the need for a visa.

Those who plan on working, studying, or staying in the US for over 90 days must apply for a visa with their nearest US embassy.

Is the UK a Visa Waiver Program Country?

Yes! The United Kingdom is part of the US's Visa Waiver Program. This means that you can apply for either a visa or an ESTA to enter New York City.

How to File for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) or a Visa with a Valid Passport

Visa for New York Application Form

If you're not planning to stay over 90 days in New York, we suggest you get an ESTA, as it's much more affordable and easier to apply to.

Still, this section will cover how you can get either a visa or an ESTA to enter New York, including entry requirements and any other further information you may need.

It's vital to note that, if you already have a visa to enter the US, you don't need an ESTA, and vice versa.

Applying for an ESTA

Visa for New York ESTA Form

1. Click on apply button. There, you can apply for either yourself or a group of two or more people. Remember you must have a valid passport from a Visa Waiver country.

2. File the application online. As per the entry requirements, you must provide the following information: home address, phone number, email address, contact phone and email details for an emergency point of contact, and optionallyany social media accounts you've had over the last five years. You may be asked for further information or to answer eligibility questions surrounding your travel.

3. We suggest you make a note of your application number to check how your application is going whenever you want.

4. Make your payment with your preferred payment method or through your travel agent. Those who get their ESTA denied may get a partial refund.

5. If you get your ESTA approved, you can use it for two years. You don't have to print your ESTA information, as it will be sent to your carrier automatically.

People with a prior arrest or criminal conviction should apply for a visa instead of an ESTA. The same goes for those who were previously deported from the country.

It's important to note that an ESTA isn't the same as a Global Entry authorisation.

You should submit your application at least 72 hours before travelling to prevent any problems with your travel ticket.

Applying for a VISA

Visa for New York US Embassy

Choose the type of visa you want to get for NY depending on your needs. Here, we'll assume you'll travel as a tourist.

1. Fill in Form DS-160 through the Consular Electronic Application Center or with the help of an agent. This form will ask for personal information, including your name, marital status, nationality, and more.

2. Pay your application fee and schedule your interview date (if possible). You may have to wait until the platform assigns you a date.

3. Gather the necessary documents. This includes your DS-160 confirmation page, passport, US visa photo, an ACRO certificate, a letter from a physician (if applicable), an invitation letter (if you're applying for a B-2 visa), and any previous US visas you may have had in the past.

4. Attend your interview on time. Here, the embassy or consulate member will examine your documents and ask you some questions regarding your trip.

5. If you get approved, you may have to wait a few days to get your visa while your passport and application get processed. You will get your visa delivered, so don't worry about having to go to the embassy again.

6. On the other hand, if you don't get approved, you will have to wait some time before re-applying.

Bottom Line

Visa for New York Conclusion

We hope this has helped you understand how to get to New York and any other state in the USA. If you're a UK citizen, it's advisable to get an ESTA instead of a visa, as it's easier and more affordable.

Still, feel free to apply for the document you feel is more appropriate for your needs.