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Student Life: Advice For UK Students Visiting The US

Many students choose to do some travelling before they start a full-time job, or look into studying in the US at some point.

Whilst studying in the US can be an exciting opportunity, there are a number of considerations and requirements that may help you to decide whether it is the right option for you. 

Firstly, you will need to take into account the associated costs of studying and living in the US, as well as your travel expenses.

If you have a specific course in mind, then do all of the research you can to find out the fees and the accommodation options.

The study fees might be a lot more than you are expecting, so you need to work out if it is the right option for you.

Another factor is that unlike the free NHS system that is available in the UK, healthcare in the US can be very expensive.

If you travel to the US without medical insurance, then you are taking a large gamble and could end up in a lot of debt should you have an accident or illness that requires medical attention.

So before you travel, make sure that you sort the relevant insurance out to avoid costly medical bills.

If you are thinking of travelling to the US after you finish university then you will need to work out the type of visa you require for your visit.

If you are looking for a student visa then you are able to apply for a category F or M visa, depending on the type of study you are applying for.

If you are simply planning to travel to the US for a shorter period, then the Visa Waiver Program’s ESTA visa might be the best option.

The ESTA covers travel to the US for a period of up to 90 days in which time you are able to travel around the US for tourist and work purposes, if that is something you are looking to do.

So an ESTA is the perfect option if you are looking to travel around the US for less than 90 days or you want to fly into the US to spend some time there before heading onto another part of the world for your trip.

Applying for an ESTA

You can apply for an ESTA using the online form at

The form is made up of a few different sections that you will need to complete, including personal information, some medical questions and some questions regarding and criminal convictions and countries you have visited.

Take care when you are completing your visa that you answer all of the questions marked with an asterisk, as missing mandatory questions out will lead to your application being declined.

The ESTA process will usually take less than 72 hours (although it can be much quicker), but it is recommended that you give at least 72 hours before you are planning to fly before submitting your ESTA application.