Passport stamps could affect your next holiday and add £145 to cost

Since Brexit, those holding a British passport have seen more stamps than ever in their passports as each country they visit leaves a dated mark on its pages.

But, it’s not a stamp from the European Union that could end up affecting the cost of your holidays in upcoming years.

Those hoping to holiday in the United States – whether that be a week at Walt Disney World in Florida or a few days in New York – will be the ones hit hard.

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Most Brits taking a trip to the USA for 90 days or less can apply for a visa waiver rather than needing to get a fully-fledged visa to enter the country.

Also known as an ESTA, such waivers cost just $21 – that’s £18.73 with the current exchange rate.

But, if you’ve been to any country on the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list you are not eligible for an ESTA.

And, in the final days of his office President Trump added Cuba – a popular tourist designation in recent years – to the list.

That means that if you’ve been to Cuba since March 2011 you will have to pay for a full visa to enter the USA.

While Cuba is not included in the list of countries under the rule on the website, the ESTA home page does ask if you have visited since this date.

To get a B-2 visa (that’s what’s needed for a holiday to the US) you’ll have to pay a whopping £145 instead of the cheaper ESTA fee.

You’ll also need to head to the US Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Belfast to apply for the visa in person.

This means last minute deals and breaks to the US are out of the question as it can take “several months” to get an appointment, according to the Telegraph.

The FCDO page states: "Due to the continuing impact of COVID-19, visa appointments at the US Embassy in London remain limited. Therefore, in making an application, you are strongly advised to plan as far ahead as possible before your date of travel.

"If you have an urgent need to travel, you can request an expedited interview through the US Embassy’s appointment service provider."

This is also the case for anyone who has travelled to another country on the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list.

These include: Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen.

If you have travelled to any of these countries since March 2011 – whether your passport was stamped or not – it is best to get the B-2 visa as ESTAs can be revoked if you are found to have visited them after being accepted on the waiver scheme.

It is also recommended that if you travel to the US from Cuba you "take supporting documents about the purpose of your trip to Cuba in case you’re questioned by US immigration officials at the port of entry on arrival in the USA".

You can visit the’s US travel page for more information.


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