Everything you need to know to travel to the United States for the first time

Everything you need to know to travel to the United States for the first time

United Statesand especially cities such as New York, Miami or San Francisco, are very popular destinations for travelers. But first of all it is essential to know some previous considerations, from the necessary documentation to the areas that are best avoided, as well as the products that are prohibited at customs.

What documentation is needed to travel to the United States?

All travelers, including minors, will need to carry a passport with biometric data, i.e., electronic (all Spanish passports currently issued are electronic) for travel to the USA.

On the other hand, Spaniards traveling to the American country for tourism or business are exempt from obtaining a visa. What must be done instead is to complete online the travel authorization form (ESTA). The ESTA application may be submitted electronically at any time prior to travel, although the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends that it be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel. ESTA authorization is valid for a period of two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, if earlier than two years, and the maximum period of stay in the U.S. is 90 days.

Jackson Heights, New York

It is very important to note that people who have traveled to. Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. from 1 March 2011 or to Cuba as of January 12, 2021 or have dual nationality of Spain and one of these countries, will not be able to travel with an ESTA document and therefore must apply for an ESTA document. visa. Exceptions are military and government officials who have traveled to these countries in an official capacity and journalists and members of humanitarian NGOs on business travel.

Security: areas to avoid

As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs points out, there are a few. high-risk areas in terms of safety and which are best avoided. For example, in New York it is recommended not to walk at night in the neighborhoods of Harlem, Randall’s Island, Mott Haven, Port Morris, East New York and Brownsville, and the parks, including Central Park.

Other cities also recommend avoiding neighborhoods such as Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan in. Boston; the west and south side in Chicagoand Los Angeles Downtown and Southcentral in Los Angeles.

Health insurance

Before traveling to the U.S. it should be noted that health coverage is neither universal nor free. Due to the high cost of medical treatmentit is highly advisable to take out health insurance for our trip and thus avoid paying large sums of money if we need to go to a health center.

Where to exchange currency?

First of all, please note that only the following are accepted. 10.000 $ eat customs, while higher amounts must be declared. On the other hand, if we exchange the money in the North American country, the commissions will be higher at the airport than in a official exchange office or at a bank. Moreover, we should never do it with a private individual.

Products banned at customs: can you take serrano ham?

At U.S. customs, there are very strict controls to prevent the entry of agricultural and livestock products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits the entry of fruits, vegetables, fresh, dried and canned meat, and any other products derived from them (Serrano hamchorizo, chorizo, black pudding, loin, sausage, etc.), as well as products prepared with meat, such as cans of fabada, stew, and the like.

Driving license

Spain does not have an agreement with the U.S. for the validity of the Spanish driver’s license in that country, therefore travelers will have to obtain previously at the DGT the international driving permitwhich is valid for one year. Failure to do so may result in penalties by local traffic authorities.

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Kayleigh Williams