International travel document requirements
Each customer traveling across any international boundary is solely responsible for obtaining all necessary travel documents, including any required visas, and for complying with the laws of each country flown from (the departure country), through (any transit country) and into (the destination country) as stated in Rule 19 of the Contract of Carriage. Please also note that security regulations may require us to provide government agencies access to certain personal data disclosed to us, and we may do so as outlined in Rule 30 of the Contract of Carriage.
Certain countries, including the United States, have travel document requirements for departure. Please note these requirements may be different from travel document requirements for entry into the destination country and for transit through a country.
U.S. law requires all customers, regardless of citizenship, age or destination, to hold a secure document to depart the United States by air (one-way or roundtrip itinerary). A secure document is a passport, U.S. permanent resident card, or Stateless travel document, Re-Entry Permit, NEXUS card, U.S Merchant Mariner Card, military ID or emergency travel document issued by an embassy or consulate. U.S. passport cards are not valid for air travel outside the United States. For more details, review the Document Requirements for Air Travel information published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
Customers are reminded that the passport, visa and health requirements page does not include any travel document requirements for departure, which may be different.
All non-U.S. citizens planning to travel to the U.S. should visit travel.state.gov for additional information.
All destination countries, including the United States, have travel document requirements for entry. In addition to any travel document requirements for departure, customers must satisfy travel document requirements for entry into the destination country and, depending on the itinerary, for transit through a country. Note that some countries require passports to be valid for at least six months.
Passport, visa and health requirements for entry into destination countries and for transit through a country are provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on united.com as a courtesy and must be verified before travel.
For entry into the United States, additional information may be found on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
Customers seeking entry into the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) can review additional information on the U.S. Department of State website.
In addition, all VWP travelers are required to obtain an authorization via ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before traveling to the U.S. Travelers who do not obtain ESTA authorization prior to travel may be denied aircraft boarding. Travelers applying for ESTA will be subject to an ESTA application fee. Apply and learn more on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.
The Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) collects, stores and analyzes biometric data for the DHS. OBIM procedures currently apply to all international visitors entering the United States, including VWP participants. Find additional information on the DHS website. (Note: Prior to March 2013, the CBP collected biometric data through the United States Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program.)
The I-94 form, applies to all non-U.S. citizens arriving in the U.S., except for the following travelers:
- U.S. citizens
- Returning resident aliens
- Canadian citizens
- Non-U.S. citizens entering the United States under the VWP
CBP has automated the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record to streamline the U.S. arrival process for international visitors.
The CBP will scan a traveler’s passport, which generates an electronic arrival record with data previously required on the paper I-94 form. Travelers will not need to do anything differently upon exiting the U.S. The departure will be recorded electronically with information provided by the carrier or CBP.
Learn more at www.cbp.gov/I94.
Important note on flights via the U.S.
U.S. regulations always require travelers to comply with customs and immigration procedures at their first point of entry into the U.S. Travelers will need to have all required documents with them upon arrival — even if the U.S. is not their final destination. If travelers have more than one U.S. stopover, they will not need to clear customs again.
Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)
U.S. law requires airlines operating international flights to or from the United States to provide travel document data for all customers via APIS. The United States also requires reporting the visiting address of all customers who are non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. residents traveling to the United States.
Condition of passports
Passports must be in good condition. United may not accept passengers for international travel and may deny boarding if a passport is damaged beyond normal wear and tear and/or there is evidence of intentional or material alterations or mutilations. Examples of conditions of passports that may result in denied boarding include passports with significant tears, holes or stains, as well as any changes, obliterations or alterations, or any other damage that affects the integrity of the passport and/or the identification of the holder, such as the name, date of birth, citizenship and document number. For example, a passport with faded data, missing or severely torn, cut or chewed pages or cover, missing picture, picture which can be removed from under the laminate or one which requires tape or staples to hold it together, or which has been substantially damaged by liquids, chemicals or fire, may result in denied boarding. To ensure your travel plans are not interrupted, please make sure your passport is in good condition before you leave. For more information about U.S. passports, please visit the U.S. Department of State website.
If you are traveling to Australia, you must hold a valid passport and may also be required to hold a visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). For more information, visit the Australian Government website.
Upon arrival into Australia, many travelers will be eligible to use an automated passport control kiosk, SmartGate, which provides the option of self-service processing through passport control checks. For more information on the program and to check your eligibility, visit the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service website.
If you are planning to carry funds into or out of Australia, you must adhere to the following regulations:
- If asked by a Customs officer or police officer, you must report cheques, traveler’s cheques, money orders and any other negotiable instruments of any amount.
- You must always report cash amounts of 10,000 AUD or more (or foreign currency equivalent) using a form available at Customs. There is no limit to the amount of funds that you can carry into or out of Australia. Visit www.austrac.gov.au for more information.
Electronic travel authorization
As of March 15, 2016, certain travelers who do not need a visa to enter Canada are required to have an electronic travel authorization (eTA) to fly to the country. Entry requirements will not change for all other methods of travel. Please note that U.S. citizens do not need an eTA or a visa, but U.S. permanent residents need an eTA before flying to Canada.
Go to canada.ca/eTA for more information or to apply.
Canada Passenger Protect Program
Since June 18, 2007, airlines have been required by regulation to implement Transport Canada's Passenger Protect Program. All passengers older than 12 must provide identification for comparison to a Specified Passenger List. Please go to www.passengerprotect.gc.ca for additional information.
Due to this Transport Canada regulation, all passengers traveling to or from Canada will be required to provide ID at the gate prior to boarding.
The Honduran Immigration Authority has implemented a biometric passenger registration process that includes an online customs and immigration form that should be completed before arriving in Honduras. Travelers no longer need to complete the paper immigration form and can complete the pre-registration form at http://prechequeo.inm.gob.hn/Login.
If you’re traveling to New Zealand and you’re a citizen of the U.S., Canada or other visa-waived countries, you’ll need a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) to enter the country. Approval for the NZeTA can take up to 72 hours, so we recommend applying when you book your trip or as soon as possible. Learn more about New Zealand travel requirements.
Beginning September 1, 2021, certain travelers, including U.S. citizens, who don’t need a visa to enter South Korea are required to have an electronic travel authorization (K-ETA) to fly to the country. Travelers should apply for the K-ETA at least 24 hours before boarding their flight to South Korea. Learn more or apply
United Kingdom Registered Traveler service
United Kingdom Border Force offers the Registered Traveler program to expedite the processing of preapproved low-risk international travelers entering the UK. Members of the program will benefit from speedier transit through the airport, including being able to use ePassport gates if they have a biometric passport or joining the queue designated for EU/EEA nationals, thereby significantly reducing wait time when entering the UK. Additional information can be found on the UK Border Agency site: https://www.gov.uk/registered-traveller.
For travel within the United States
Travelers 18 years of age and older are required to show a valid, current U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID that contains the following: name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature. These IDs include:
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- DHS "Trusted Traveler" cards (Global Entry®, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- U.S. Military ID
- Permanent Resident Card
- Border Crossing Card
- DHS-designated enhanced driver's license
- Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by a Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) that meet REAL ID requirements
- Native American Tribal Photo ID
- Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
- Registered Traveler Card (that contains name, date of birth, gender, expiration date, and a tamper-resistant feature)
- Foreign government-issued passport
- Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card
- Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
Travelers who don’t present an acceptable ID may be subject to additional screening. Starting May 3, 2023, travelers won’t be allowed through the security checkpoint if they don’t have a REAL-ID compliant license or one of the other acceptable forms of identification listed above.
Beginning May 2017, TSA is conducting a pilot using Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) at the security checkpoint in some U.S. airports. CAT verifies the authenticity of a passenger’s photo ID and validates information from the ID against TSA’s Secure Flight vetting system. TSA will permanently delete the data from the CAT systems within 24 hours of the flight departure time. You can refer to the DHS Privacy Impact Assessment, or for additional information about this pilot, please contact TSA.
Nationals of China traveling to the U.S
Nationals of China holding a 10-year B1/B2, B1 or B2 (visitor) visa are required to complete an EVUS enrollment in order to enter the U.S. For more information and to enroll, visit the EVUS site