Documentation for travelling to the USA from Europe is a fundamental aspect that must be taken into account when preparing for your trip. International travel insurance is essential for enjoying this vibrant country, which is replete with incredible natural parks.

Whether you’re travelling for tourism or planning a trip for study or business purposes, you should arrange all the necessary documentation before travelling. This will ensure a smooth entry into the USA without any issues.

Therefore, in this guide, you will easily find all the information you need to travel from Portugal to the USA, including, of course, updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shall we start?

Requirements for travelling to the USA

As we know, for a long time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was necessary to fulfil specific requirements to travel to the USA. However, as of May 12, 2023, all requirements have been lifted. Now, you only need the usual documents that were mandatory before the pandemic. We will provide you with all the information about them in the next section.

Manhattan Bridge, New York, USA

Passport, a mandatory requirement for travelling to the USA

Regardless of the purpose of your trip, whether for tourism, study, or work, a passport is a necessary document for travelling to the USA that you must have with you, as your National Identity Card will not be valid there.

Similar to many other countries, your passport should remain valid for at least six months after you enter the USA and should have at least two blank pages for use by American authorities.

beach with palm trees in miami

Is a Visa necessary for travelling to the USA?

Another document that might generate some doubts among European citizens planning to travel to the USA is the visa. Do I need a visa for the USA? What authorization should I apply for? How do I obtain it?

If your trip is for tourism or business purposes and your stay in the country is less than 90 consecutive days, you do not need a visa to travel to the USA.

For these types of tourist trips, which are most likely your case, you can easily obtain an “ESTA” permit, which we will discuss in the following section.

If your trip is not for tourism and you are seeking information about the required documents for travelling to the USA in that case, it’s best to contact the embassy and also consult the different types of visas available on the official website of the U.S. government.

In summary, these are the main visas that can be applied for:

  • Visitor Visa: There is a B-1 business visa, a B-2 tourist visa, and a combined visa. This type of visa excludes those entering the country for study, engaging in paid activities, arriving in the country as an airline/boat crew member, entering the country for media work, or seeking permanent residence.
  • Green Card: Intended for those who wish to enter the country and remain permanently for one of the various permitted reasons. There are many types of visas in the USA, depending on each individual’s case, which you can refer to the official website.

ESTA for the USA – What it is and how to obtain it

As mentioned above, if the purpose of your trip is tourism, you don’t need a visa, and the document you’ll need for travelling to the USA is the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

Getting it is quite simple, but keep in mind some important facts:

  • The ESTA allows you to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 consecutive days within 24 months. This means that if you travel to New York for 15 days this year, you won’t need to obtain another ESTA for two years and can still enter using the same document.
  • Obtaining an ESTA is quick and easy. It’s recommended to do it at least three days before your departure flight so that authorities have enough time to send the document to your email.
  • It’s a document for tourism purposes; for paid work or studies, you’ll need to obtain the corresponding visa.
  • Your passport must have been issued after 2006, have at least two blank pages, and be valid for at least 6 months after you arrive in the United States.
  • This travel document for the United States is for those entering the country by sea or air; in the case of entering by land, you’ll need the I-94 form. This is provided when you cross the Mexican or Canadian border; you can also apply online on the official website. It also allows you to stay in the country for up to 90 days.
  • Even if you’re only transiting through the U.S. for a layover at an airport and not leaving the airport, the ESTA is still mandatory.

Travel Insurance, an essential document for travelling to the USA

It’s common knowledge that the USA ranks among the most expensive countries in the world when it comes to healthcare costs. With ambulance fees starting at $1,300, hospital stays not dipping below $3,500, and staggering bills of over $8,000 for cases such as broken bones, sprains, and even minor surgeries, it’s no surprise that the U.S. government itself have identified travel insurance as one of the essential documents for travelling to the USA. Without it, a simple misstep while exploring could transform into a hefty bill in the thousands of euros, disrupting both your journey and your bank account.

In today’s world, travelling to the USA without travel insurance is unwise. If having a good policy used to be important, the advent of COVID-19 has made it even more crucial. If you happen to be unlucky enough to contract COVID-19, we’ll stand by your side in case you need hospitalization or quarantine.

people in santa monica at sunset in california, USA

So, what is the best travel insurance for the USA?

At IATI, we offer a travel policy specifically designed for this destination: the IATI Total Comfort, the best travel insurance for the USA, featuring comprehensive coverage, including:

  • Up to 500,000 euros in medical coverage and assistance.
  • COVID-19 coverage, including assistance, hotel recovery, repatriation, or trip cancellation expenses with coverage up to 5,000 euros. Theft and damage to baggage up to 2,500 euros.
  • Coverage for adventure sports.
  • Trip cancellation for various reasons.
  • Coverage for expenses due to losses and transportation delays.

Don’t wait any longer; get your travel insurance for the United States right now and enjoy your journey securely in the best hands. We’ve got you covered.

Mandatory Vaccinations for Travel to the United States

No specific vaccinations are required to entry into the USA. However, health authorities recommend that you travel with an updated vaccination schedule (including basic vaccines such as MMR, measles, mumps, and tetanus). To ensure your safety, you can consult a doctor or visit the nearest international vaccination center.

Driver’s License for the USA

Unlike in the majority of countries where the answer to the question “Is an international driver’s license required for travel?” can be a straightforward “Yes” or “No,” here the answer is “It depends on the State.”

While in the vast majority of states, driving with a European driver’s license is possible, and an international driver’s license isn’t a mandatory requirement for travelling to the USA, most states recommend and suggest that visitors obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). This is because having an IDP can greatly facilitate interactions with authorities and, in some states, it’s a requirement.

Since obtaining an IDP is relatively easy and it can make your travel experience much smoother, we recommend getting one and including it in your travel documents if you plan to drive in the country.

Here’s the official website where you can check the traffic rules for each state.

Credit/Debit Cards for Traveling to the USA

Upon arriving in the United States, you won’t be able to use your euros in the stores you wish to visit since the official currency is the dollar. While having some dollars on hand when you arrive is always useful for a convenient airport exit or any other immediate need, you can use your bank cards in most places in the USA.

However, it’s important to note that most cards charge high fees for withdrawing money abroad. So, how can you avoid these fees and save a significant amount of money during your trip? The answer lies in new fee-free bank cards, such as Revolut. These cards are incredibly handy for making payments and withdrawing money in another country.

green forest in hawaii, USA

Documents and Requirements for Traveling to the USA

Overview and Frequently Asked Questions

To sum up this article, we have addressed your key questions:

Are there any restrictions on travelling to the USA due to COVID-19?

No, since May 2023 there are no restrictions for travelling to the USA.

Do I need a visa to travel to the United States?

If you’re travelling as a tourist and planning to stay in the country for less than 90 days, you don’t need a visa. Instead, you’ll need to apply for an ESTA.

Is travel insurance necessary?

US authorities emphasize the need for travel insurance with extensive coverage, such as IATI Total Comfort.

Which documents are recommended for travelling to the USA?

Your passport (as the National Identity Card won’t suffice), ESTA if you’re a tourist staying for less than 90 days, travel insurance like IATI Total Comfort, and a driver’s license if you plan to rent a car.

Are there any mandatory vaccines for the USA?

No, there aren’t.

Is a Portuguese driver’s license valid in the USA?

In many states, yes, but it’s recommended to have an International Driving Permit to ease any paperwork.

seattle seen from above at sunset, USA

Remember, one of the keys to travelling safely to the United States is doing so with the best travel insurance. Now more important than ever, nobody wants to find themselves in a complicated situation in a country with very expensive healthcare. This is why IATI Estrela, the best travel insurance for the US, is your perfect travel companion. With it, you’ll be covered for medical expenses up to 500,000 euros, including those arising from COVID-19 and engaging in adventure sports. Don’t hesitate any longer; subscribe to your insurance now and travel with peace of mind with IATI.

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