Published: Jan 01, 2018, Updated: Feb 18, 2018
If you like great food, great music and a vibrant cultural experience, then New Orleans is the place to be. Visiting New Orleans, you will experience the sights, sounds and tastes of one of the world’s unique cities. This guide provides a brief overview of tourism activities as well as information on if you will need an ESTA or a visa for New Orleans.
ESTA or a U.S. visa for visiting New Orleans?
Don’t know if you need an ESTA or a visa for New Orleans? If you intend on visiting New Orleans for business, pleasure, a family visit or to work, you must obtain a valid travel authorization which will grant you entry to the U.S. for the purpose set out in the visa classification for which you have applied. The only exception to the visa rule is extended to citizen or nationals of a select number of countries by way of the Visa Waiver Program or VWP. The Visa Waiver Program used to be administered manually upon entry to the US but this process has now been automated via registration of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA, to properly security clear travellers prior to leaving their port of origin. The Visa Waiver Program is only available for visitors intending to visit the US for tourism, business, transit or medical purposes.
What is the difference between ESTA and a visa?
The difference between an ESTA and a visa is that the traveller admitted under ESTA or the VWP is restricted to a period of no more than 90 days and this period cannot be extended. A tourist visa can be extended provided the applicant satisfies the criteria for the classification of visa applied for in the extension. Another difference between ESTA and visa is that only those with e-passports can apply even if they are citizens of countries that are members of the VWP. This is the case because the advanced biometric data contained within e-passports is integrated with ESTA to ensure safer borders. Those planning to visit the US who are citizens of VWP countries are advised to apply online for ESTA clearance before concluding their travel plans. Even though ESTA typically responds instantly it is far safer to complete an ESTA application as soon as you know you are ready to book your travel. Your approved ESTA will last for a period of two years from the date of issue. Multiple visits during the two-year period are allowed. If you have received your ESTA or U.S. visa for New Orleans you can prepare for your visit.
The music of New Orleans
For many, New Orleans is the home of jazz. To hear and experience jazz, most visitors head for the clubs on Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. Apart from jazz, New Orleans is a city that has many other styles of music that have grown out of its rich cultural mix. Near to the French Quarter is Frenchmen Street, New Orleans’ musical district. If you have the opportunity to visit any of the clubs on Frenchman Street, you will be in for a musical treat. Whatever your musical tastes are, you can hear and experience a wide range of musical styles. Another place to visit is the famous Louis Armstrong Park. The park often plays host to free concerts where you can listen and dance to live music. Also, each year the city hosts the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, known locally as Jazz Fest.
The historic French Quarter stands on some of the highest ground in New Orleans. Apart from being the oldest part of the city, it’s also considered to be the city’s cultural hub. The locals know the area as the ‘Quarter’. The Quarter is a mix of the styles and influence of the American, Spanish, French, and Creole people. With its many shops, clubs, restaurants and attractions, this lively area offers visitors the chance of a good time. If you want to see the sights of the French Quarter and make the most of your time, there are a variety of tours available. Whether your interests lie in the 18th-century architecture, the haunted houses or the popular bars, there is something for everyone.
Seeing the sights
If you’re looking to see the sights of New Orleans, the city offers a variety of ways to get around. It offers everything from bicycles and pedicabs, taxis and limousines, to the Ferry and streetcars. For a slower pace, you can also see the city sights on foot.
A great way for you to see New Orleans is by streetcar. Since the 1800s, New Orleans streetcars have been an important part of the city experience. It has five streetcar lines. The St Charles Line is the longest. At over 150 years, it is the oldest continuously running streetcar line in the world. At over 13 miles long its old streetcars run through some of the oldest parts of the city passing well-known landmarks and monuments. Each streetcar that runs on the line is a historic landmark. The city’s other streetcar lines are the Canal Street Line, the Riverfront Line and the modern Rampart/St Claude Line and Loyola Line. The Canal Street Line takes both local and visitors on a five and a half mile route through the city. With its two branches, you can visit places like the city park, the historic cemeteries and the New Orleans Museum of Art. If you’re arriving by bus or train, there is the Loyola Line. Opened in 2013, the line takes you from the Union Passenger Terminal into the heart of the city and its major hotels.
If you’re thinking of visiting New Orleans, the city has much to offer. With its historic architecture, its great food and its remarkable music it’s easy to enjoy the rich and vibrant culture. Before you start packing your bags, make sure you have the right travel authorization and that your ESTA or visa application has been approved.
If you hold a passport from a visa waiver country such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or other Western European Country, you may be eligible to obtain an ESTA for tourist, business, medical or transit purposes. Get started on your application, otherwise, visit the FAQ to learn more about the ESTA