Tighter security and pre-screening checks for travellers means that anyone intending to fly to the UK, USA or Canada must provide certain information ahead of time. The following information is a guideline to what information is required as part of the pre-screening process.
NB. Once you have obtained the necessary paperwork (e.g. ESTA approval for the USA or eTA for Canada), you should bring the confirmation with you as it may be required at check-in.
All airlines must, by law, collect Advanced Passenger Information (API/APIS) from passengers prior to travel. When flying to the UK or Canada, API information is collected from travellers before check-in.
For passengers travelling to the USA, you are required to provide Advanced Passenger Information (APIS) within 72 hours of your flight departure time. The easiest way to register Advanced Passenger Information is online with your carrier.
If you book a flight within 72 hours of departure, you will need to provide this information as part of your flight booking process. Anyone who is unable to provide satisfactory information will be refused permission to travel and will not be allowed to board the plane.
As part of the API/APIS, you will need to provide the following information:
You will need to provide your passport details at check-in.
In addition to the API, non-residents who do not have a visa must apply online for a US Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) or Canadian eTA well ahead of time. To apply for ESTA, go to the official government website and make an online application at least 72 hours before departure.
Canada has introduced a new entry requirement, known as Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. You can apply online here.
If you have a Visa or US Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), you will need to present it for inspection as part of the check-in process. Any approved ESTA/eTA is linked electronically to your passport. However, you should print out and bring your confirmation with you, just in case.
When flying to the US, you will also need to provide the following additional information
NB: Depending upon the duration and purpose of your visit, a visa may be required. See information regarding ESTA and the Visa Waiver Program below.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires you to provide your full name, date of birth, and gender for the purpose of watch list screening, under the authority of 49 U.S.C. section 114, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and 49 C.F.R parts 1540 and 1560. You may also provide your Redress Number, if available. Failure to provide your full name, date of birth, and gender may result in denial of transport or denial of authority to enter the boarding area. TSA may share information you provide with law enforcement or intelligence agencies or others under its published system of records notice. For more on TSA privacy policies, or to review the system of records notice and the privacy impact assessment, please see the TSA website at www.tsa.gov.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of member countries to travel to the US without applying for a specific visa. Since 2009, all passengers who are eligible to visit the US under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for an Electronic System Travel Authorisation (ESTA) well ahead of their intended departure. U.S. citizens and travellers holding a Visa do not need to apply for ESTA.
ESTA applications can be made online and most are approved within minutes. However, the US government recommends that applications are made at least 72 hours before departing. A fee is applicable.
For more information about ESTA and the VWP, check out the official website for the Department of Homeland Security.
Please note: Once you have ESTA or eTA approval, you should print it out and carry it with your passport. You may be required to present it at check-in.
The US Visa Waiver Program is only suitable for the following travel purposes:
Passengers who book a one-way flight to the USA will need to provide the following at check-in:
If a passenger cannot provide this evidence, they may be denied boarding at the initial departure airport.
For further information regarding travel to the USA, the following links may be useful:
If you are a citizen of a VWP member country, you can apply online for your ESTA here.
If you are not a citizen of a VWP member country, or your visit does not meet the criteria, you will need to apply for a Visa. Please contact the US Embassy website for further information.