Sunday, January 11, 2009

U.S. Wedding Travel

Over the last few months, we have been traveling back and forth to Europe quite a bit. Through our travels, we’ve met many young people from Europe traveling to the U.S. for destination weddings.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. In the U.S., there are more locations, more options, more venues and more vendors. Given the weaknesses of the U.S. dollar against the Euro, it’s also a lot cheaper for them (although the dollar has bounced back a little over the last two months).

With that said, there are big changes to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program coming tomorrow. The Visa Waiver Program is for residents of certain countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa – mostly Western European countries.

Effective tomorrow, if you are part of the Visa Waiver Program (i.e., you don’t need a visa to travel to the U.S.), you must still register with the U.S. Government. This new registration system is called ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). You can fill the form out on the Internet and approvals take seconds. Once completed, you will be able to travel to the U.S.

The program is designed to give U.S. law enforcement more time to screen for potential terrorists. Unfortunately, this means it takes more time for non-U.S. residents to enter the U.S. (and more hassles).

If you are thinking about a destination wedding in the U.S., you should be aware of this additional step you will need to go through. And if you are a destination wedding vendor in the U.S., you should consider mentioning this to your foreign clients so they aren’t caught by surprise.

2 comments:

Sherrlyn Borkgren said...

Sherrlyn of http://www.lovesimplyhappens.blogspot.com says. . . First I want to say what a wonderful idea for a blog. I am a wedding photographer who has mostly shot destination weddings. As of yet I haven't had anyone asking about the visas for in the US but thanks for the tip.

Destination Weddings in Cabo said...

great tip - when i think of destination weddings i automatically think about traveling outside the US, but there are also destination weddings TO the US!

great post and great blog overall. this is an excellent resource for anyone planning a destination wedding.