travel question of the day: Simon Calder on passport requirements for the United States | The independent


QI am leaving for the United States in September and coming back on October 6, 2016. My passport is valid until March 7, 2017. I already have a valid Esta for this trip with my current passport details. Do I need to renew my passport before traveling, and if I do, would renewing my passport have an effect on the current Esta I have?

Neil walton

A The really important consideration for travelers to the United States is that the passport should be biometric, meaning it has the camera symbol on the bottom of the front cover. This means that it contains an electronic chip with a scan of your passport photo and other information.

Considering the expiration date of your passport, it is almost certainly admissible: the last non-biometric UK passports were issued in the fall of 2006, although some of them are valid until 2017.

If the passport is correct, stay as you are. It is valid until and including the expiration date for travel to the United States. While you would have plenty of time to get a new passport, it would also involve the expense and hassle of getting a new Esta. (Esta stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which US authorities require for anyone traveling to America without a visa.) An Esta cannot be transferred from one passport to another.

Every day, our travel correspondent Simon Calder answers a reader’s question. Just send yours to [email protected] or tweet @simoncalder

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