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US immigration law: Do I need a visa to visit Louisiana?

From delicious food to historical sites, Louisiana has a lot to offer for those planning to visit. While visiting the state from another country might seem quite alluring, the prospect of securing the necessary visas to do so can feel overwhelming. However, under U.S. immigration law, certain individuals may travel to the United States without a visa.

The Visa Waiver Program is an important part of immigration law. It allows citizens from 38 different countries to travel to the United States so long as their travel purposes are other permitted by visitor (B) visas. Travelers need to also have authorization for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA. The ESTA is used by Customs and Border Protection to ensure a person's eligibility for travel on business or tourism, so those traveling in a group -- even family members -- must have their own ESTA.

An ESTA will sometimes need to be updated. In general, they are valid for two years and after that must be renewed. Other causes for an update include obtaining a new passport, a name change, citizenship change or a change in any answers since the initial application. Even if a person changes his or her citizenship to another country included in the waiver program, the ESTA must still be updated.

Successfully obtaining an ESTA can make traveling to Louisiana much easier than applying for and waiting for visa approval. However, like with all things involving U.S. immigration law, the process might not always be clear. It is important for those utilizing this route to the United States to ensure that they fully understand the process, or risk being denied entry.

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