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My family and I are planning to go to the US next summer for a holiday, the first we've ever had outside Europe.

We live in Guernsey but have British citizenship (since Guernsey is a British crown dependency), but we're waiting until my father receives his bonus in the New Year in order to determine whether we will go or not.

However I'm slightly worried that we have left obtaining our travel visas for the US far too late, as some travel websites state that it can take up to a year to obtain travel visas for the US.

Is this true? If not, how long does it usually take for a British citizen to obtain a US travel visa?

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    Do you have a source for these websites? And are you going for more than 3 months? – Mark Mayo Dec 7 '14 at 11:30
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    @MarkMayo No, for two weeks maximum. – AStopher Dec 7 '14 at 11:32
  • @cybermonkey then you don't need a visa! Woohoo! :D Have provided an answer below. – Mark Mayo Dec 7 '14 at 11:35
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Good news. As a British citizen, assuming you're visiting for under 90 days, you don't need a visa. You can apply through the Visa Waiver Program under the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

From the US Embassy in London:

British citizens: please note that from 12 January 2009 all nationals and citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries - including the UK - will be required by law to obtain an ESTA travel authorization prior to traveling to the United States under the VWP. Our Visa section has full details of this on their Visa Waiver Program & ESTA.

It's very easy to apply, costs $14, and is valid for 2 years.

You can apply for it online. I've done two applications in the past 4 years, and both were approved within days (normally immediately, but the first time had some issue with their system confirming payment had gone through).

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