US tourist visa

I’ve read the government website but I got bored and it didn’t really answer my questions, so great travellers of DiS, please help me.

I’m planning to go to the US for 2-3 months, will be travelling in via Australia and back out to the the UK. I don’t think I’ll know my travel in date till a few weeks before (when I’m in Oz) and don’t plan to know my return home date till I’m in the US.


How do I get a tourist visa for under 3 months (I.e. can I do it all online without a postal address?)
How far in advance can it be done / does it have to be done?
Will I need to know my dates / have proof of travel?

Many thanks in advance :grinning:

You just need the esta i believe. It’s good for a year (or two possibly?). You do it online and it usually only takes a day or two to come through. You have to give a hotel or residential address though.

Ta. For at least part of the trip I’m going to do an organised tour, the rest I won’t nescessarily know hotels till I get there - do I just have to book one for the first few days I’ll get there or do you have to be covered for the whole time?

You need an ESTA, which is the 90 day visa waiver. It’s an online application with instant approval (was for me anyway) and it lasts for 2 years. You need an address here and an address for when you get to the US. It costs $12.


Couple of years ago I had to transit through a US airport and didn’t twig I needed an ESTA, as you effectively enter the US and pass through immigration before re-checking in on the next flight. Did it on my phone at Heathrow before I flew out - that was a fun couple of hours waiting for the email to come through. But yeah you need an ESTA

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you don’t need an address for an esta (i don’t think?) they’ll ask you for one at immigration though, just give them the name of the first hotel you’re staying at and they’re happy enough.

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As far as i remember you just have to give one address so ive always given the wife’s parents’ or a friends address even though i wasnt staying there the whole time. I guess just wherever you’re gonna stay first yeah.

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Brill, as always you’ve been a great help DiS.

I think, and don’t quote me on this, you just need to be seen to lobby McDonalds for their szechuan sauce.


Last time i did it i forgot til the last minute and sat anxiously waiting for it for two days before realising it went to my junk mail :frog:

i was on a work trip and panicking i’d miss my flght and balls up the project i was working on. Lady at the check-in desk was pretty reassuring, apparently it happens quite a lot.

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Got lucky there, I did one earlier this year and didn’t hear back for two days.

I’m not sure what I did for the US address on mine because our accommodation fell through, I think I just put in an area.