Post-Brexit Travel to USA from UK: What to Expect

There is no doubt, leaving the EU will affect all Britons in one way or another! Especially those who spend their fair share of time traveling abroad.

And if you are planning on traveling abroad, you might want to do it now.

Because very soon it might be quite the hassle to do so!

You see, traveling to other EU countries was Visa-free so far. And so was traveling to the USA, because all you needed was an ESTA approval. But after Brexit, there could be a new British travel document coming into effect, which means good old waiting for an approval for a couple of months and paying bigger fees.

So what exactly will change and when will it happen?

And of course, should you be worried about visiting the USA?

The short answer is NO.

Here’s why!


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UK Is Leaving The EU

The whole story of Brexit has been pretty controversial so far. And as the talks regarding the process continue, we are all still puzzled.

What most affects the UK is everything governed by the EU where the UK participates in. This means that all laws, programs etc will change when the process of leaving the EU is finished. And of course, it also applies to everything travel related.

It is still not clear when the process will finish and when all of these changes will come into effect. And because the negotiations between Great Britain and the EU are still going on, we do not know for sure, what the results will be.

Of course, this leaves us all wondering about the post-Brexit life and freedom to travel. As well as other factors that could in some way affect your travels.

Still, there are some things we can predict with a relatively high accuracy. And some that we know for a fact.

This is how the situation might look!

Post-Brexit UK

The post-Brexit UK will without a doubt be a different place.

Some might not agree with this statement, but things will definitely change. Especially for those, who are traveling or doing business abroad. Simply because the UK will be no more under the same regulations that EU provided for its citizens.

This means that UK passports could lose their so far high ranking in the Freedom to Travel Rank which indicates the value of different passports when it comes to traveling.

And this is exactly why among travel enthusiasts a popular answer to the question: “why stay in the EU?”, is the freedom to travel and the need to maintain it! And there is no doubt that this will be affected to a certain degree.

However, Brexit cannot directly affect travel to the USA by UK citizens.

At least for now!

Post-Brexit travel to US

After the process of UK leaving the EU is finished, travelers will face some major changes. There is a good reason to think that a new British travel document could be needed to go abroad. At least when going to countries, that the UK will not negotiate simplified travel rules.


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But so far all of this is just speculations because there is no clear message from the UK government nor the EU on what could actually happen.

However, there are some things we know!

What do we know for a fact

Some might be concerned about how Brexit will affect the Visa Waiver Program because it allows for hassle-free travel to US since all you need is an ESTA application. The concerns are there because a good part of the VWP countries are also a part of the EU. Therefore it might seem like this program is regulated by the EU.

However, the ESTA VWP regulations will not change even after Brexit.

This conventional travel document is based on rules implemented by the USA and has been created to improve freedom of international travel.

Therefore, for now on, ESTA is the authorization you need when traveling to the USA if all specifics of your trip corresponds to the rules of ESTA.

For any other reason, you will have to obtain a Visa.

And as we discussed earlier, there is a chance that the situation with ESTA authorization for UK citizens might change in the future. If this does happen, obtaining a Visa will become a thing for all UK travelers.

But so far, these are just speculations about what could happen.

For now, the situation is this! When traveling to the US, if you are a citizen of the UK, your travel authorization will be regulated by VWP and as the document of authorization, you will need an ESTA. There is only one thing that could change this. And that is the view of the US government on how to regulate travel freedom when it comes down to entering the USA.

Travel to USA with ESTA

Let’s put aside all speculations and guesses about what could happen and what could change over time.

For now, we know for sure that Brexit will not directly affect your travel to USA with ESTA. Simple because the ESTA VWP countries included in the program are not regulated by the EU.

There is no doubt that these are good news for everyone who is planning to travel to US in the near future or those, who make the journey on regular basis. ESTA makes a significant difference in how traveling to USA happens because there is no to obtain a Visa.

The process it a lot shorter and costs less for the traveler.

However, the VWP countries are not set in stone and the list could change in the future. And the USA will have the power to decide which countries to include and which to exclude from the list.

There is no real reason to think that the UK could lose its place in the VWP after Brexit or anytime in the future. But if the USA and UK cannot establish good relations after Brexit, this kind of scenario is very real.

Therefore we can say that the real problem with Brexit and what is going to happen in the post-Brexit era is the uncertainty.

Anyway, what would happen if the US would decide to change the list of VWP countries and UK would lose its place?


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Travel to USA with Visa

For travelers, this might be the biggest convert when it comes to leaving the EU.

Simply because, if the process of Brexit indirectly affects the VWP, citizens of the UK might need to obtain Visas to travel to the USA in the future. After being adapted to the simple process of acquiring an ESTA, this might be a true hassle.

However, there is no certainty what might happen in the future.

Travel in the near future

As mentioned before, Brexit should have no effect on the process of traveling to the US from the UK in the near future.

But because of the uncertainty, there is a good reason to plan your travel sooner rather than later. For now, it is easy and takes little time to acquire an ESTA which allows you to travel to the US under certain rules.

If you have any more questions about how Brexit could affect your travel plans to the USA from the UK, feel free to contact us.