Third largest of the world’s continent, North America attracts millions of tourists each year. It is the most talked about land and is designed for dreamers. North America has something for every traveler personality. You can search the canyons of Nevada and soak in the chaos in Times Square. Whether you are visiting North America for business or leisure, there are certain travel permits you will have to take.

Individuals who wish to travel to the North America need to apply for a visa. For a temporary stay, you need nonimmigrant visa and for a permanent stay, you need an immigrant visa. Visitor visas are offered to those who want to enter the country temporarily for the purpose of business or tourism. There are a number of steps you need to follow in order to apply for a U.S visa. ESTA is an automated system which will determine the eligibility of the visitors to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program of the Government. The application requires biometric information and answers to the VWP eligibility questions and the application needs to be submitted prior to travel.

Apply today and get your ESTA Authorization by email!


If you are arriving to the U.S. from Mexico, Canada and Bermuda

You can enter the North America through sea, air and land from these countries. You will have to show a valid passport, a U.S. passport card, a driver license or a Trusted Traveler Program card. If you are a permanent resident of the U.S., you will have to show the permanent resident card and your passport is not needed.


If you are arriving from other countries

Travelers will need a valid passport and a U.S. visa on arrival.

Apart from the visa, there are many other travel regulations you need to follow.



Every country has a customs area and there are certain custom rules you need to keep in mind. Your belongings might be searched even if you do not declare anything. You are allowed to bring the duty-free items up to 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars per individuals above the age of 18. With regard to alcoholic beverages, you can carry up to one liter of the same and purchases and gifts valued at a maximum of $100 will be allowed. If you are carrying cash more than $10,000 in any currency, you will have to declare the same.

Do not carry counterfeit goods like firearms, cuban cigars, automobiles, agricultural products, cultural artifacts, property and drugs or drug related equipment. If you carry drugs, it will result in prosecution.


Traveling with pets

A lot of people travel to the U.S with their pets and inquire about the rules related to the same. The imports are subject to agriculture, health, quarantine and wildlife requirements. The pets brought to the country will be examined at the port of entry for evidence of any diseases which could be transmitted to humans. A rabies vaccination certificate is necessary to be carried along with the pet. There is no specific requirement for a vaccination certificate for domestic cats. There are no restrictions or specific requirements for guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets and hamsters brought into the country if they are and appear to be in good health. Monkeys cannot be imported as a pet under any circumstances. Non-endangered species of fish can be imported for personal use. Commercial importers will need to get a permit from the authority. Games as well as trophies from other countries should enter through a designated entry and should be accompanied by a valid hunting license, stamp, tags and other export document from the country.  Citizens of the United States can import game free of duty and are only allowed to import migratory game birds which have been legally killed.

Check here the requirements to applying for ESTA Authorization.


Traveling with food

Those entering the North America can bring food like meats, fruits or other agricultural products based on the region from which they are traveling. There are certain restrictions placed on some products in order to protect the health of the community and to preserve the environment. All food products must be declared and a failure to do so will result in a fine amounting to $10,000. You can carry the foods listed below:

  • Condiments – ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, Marmite and Vegemite in addition to prepared sauces that do not contain any meat products.
  • Bread, crackers, cookies, cereal, granola bars, cakes and other baked and processed products.
  • Vegetable oil and olive oil.
  • Chocolate and candy
  • Cheese- Solid cheese, butter oil, butter, milk products like sour cream and yogurt, Feta cheese, cheese in brine, Camembert, Mozzarella, Brie and Buffalo Mozzarella. Cheese containing meat is not allowed.
  • Canned goods as well as goods in vacuum packed jars are permissible.
  • Fish – Personal amount of fish, abalone, shrimp and other seafood is allowed and it could be fresh, smoked, dried, cooked, frozen or canned.
  • Dried Fruit – You can carry barberry, apricot, dates, gooseberries, prunes, peaches, currants, figs, raisins, zereshk and tomatillos.
  • Milk products as well as liquid milk which is meant for the consumption of infants or young children is admissible if carried in a reasonable amount or small quantity.
  • Power drinks sealed in the original containers.
  • Juices – commercially canned.
  • Tea – commercially packed and ready to be boiled or microwaved in liquid. You cannot carry coca, loose citrus leaves or barberry.
  • Coffee – Roasted or unroasted.
  • Spices – Majority dry spices are permissible expect for lemon, orange, lime, lemongrass and other citrus leaves and seeds.
  • Honey – comb honey, bee bread, royal jelly or propolis if not intended to be fed to the bees.
  • Noodles – They should not contain meat or eggs in the spice packet.
  • Rice – White rice, brown rice, basmati rice, polished rice, husked rice, rice flour and other products which do not have hull attached. Failure to declare rice will result in a penalty. Noncommercial quantity of rice from those countries where Khapra beetle exists is prohibited from entering U.S.
  • Flour – Rice, wheat, cornmeal and oat.
  • Mushrooms – Fresh, dried and above the ground parts which are clean and free of soil.
  • Nuts – All types of nuts are allowed if they have been cooked, boiled, oven dried, ground, pureed, steamed or roasted. Others will be allowed if they are free from the husks like betel, almonds, Java olives, cashews, pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, gingko nuts and others.
  • Bakery items – Chocolate, candy, dry mixes, instant pudding mixes, instant cake mixes, liquid drink mixes are admissible.


Fruits and Vegetables

Each and every vegetable and fruit need to be declared and should be presented for inspection irrespective of the admissibility status. If you are carrying fresh fruits and vegetables, they need to be cleaned and might be prohibited if they carry any insects or diseases.

Below mentioned items are admissible:

  • Coconuts – husks completely removed and are not sprouted
  • Aloe – above the ground part
  • Garlic -peeled cloves
  • Ginger – clean roots
  • Tamarind bean pod
  • John’s bread pod
  • Water Chestnut – corm or nut only.


Animal products and animal by-products

Meat, egg, poultry and meat including products made with these materials are prohibited from entering the country. Fresh, dried, cooked and cured meat is prohibited from most countries. You can carry canned meat except ovine meats and caprine except from Canada and countries which are affected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Products which contain raw egg ingredients are prohibited from most of the regions. Travelers can carry fully cooked eggs from Mexico. If you are carrying pork, it should be commercially canned and labeled in an unopened container. Pork as well as pork products are not admissible from Mexico.

The above-mentioned rules change from time to time depending on the type of country you are traveling from and the disease prevailing in a specific region. However, these are the current rules for carrying food and pets to North America.


See more: Travelling with an ESTA – What to expect at the airport