The first step to an international trip is to read our Traveler’s Checklist to find out things to consider before you go. Pay special attention to our safety and security information and assess for yourself the risk of traveling to a particular country or region. Some U.S. citizens with special considerations – such as students, women, and LGBTI travelers – may face additional challenges when abroad. If you do decide to travel, make a plan for what to do if something goes wrong overseas.
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Citizens from countries participating in the US Visa Waiver Program who wish to travel by air to the United States must obtain prior approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). ESTA is used by the U.S. government to screen eligible residents of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries before they board a plane to the U.S to determine whether or not they pose a law enforcement or security risk. VWP passengers are encouraged to apply for an ESTA when beginning to plan travel to the United States, using the convenient ESTA online form External site which may not meet accessibility guidelines. Passengers will be required to present proof of ESTA registration at time of check in and those who have not obtained prior approval via ESTA before departure will be denied boarding.
Travel dates back to antiquity where wealthy Greeks and Romans would travel for leisure to their summer homes and villas in cities such as Pompeii and Baiae. While early travel tended to be slower, more dangerous, and more dominated by trade and migration, cultural and technological advances over many years have tended to mean that travel has become easier and more accessible. Mankind has come a long way in transportation since Christopher Columbus sailed to the new world from Spain in 1492, an expedition which took over 10 weeks to arrive at the final destination; to the 21st century where aircraft allow travel from Spain to the United States overnight.