Customs and Border Protection strongly recommends that any traveler to the United States check his or her ESTA status prior to making any travel reservations or travelling to the United States. You must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your planned departure from the United States unless exempted by country-specific agreements.
In addition, you must have an e-passport to use the VWP. An e-passport is an enhanced secure passport with an embedded electronic chip. The chip can be scanned to match the identity of the traveler to the passport. You can readily identify an e-passport, by a symbol on the cover. See the example below. More information about e-passports is available on the DHS website.
If you use an emergency or temporary passport to enter the United States on the VWP, the passport must be an e-passport. Yes, you may apply for a visitor B visa, if you prefer to do so or if you are not elegible for VWP travel. Additionally, you need to apply for a visa if you will be traveling on a private aircraft or other non-VWP approved air or sea carrier.
Review the approved carriers list. Also, if you intend to stay longer than 90 days, then you need to apply for a visa. A recent visa refusal for any reason could result in denial of ESTA authorization, additional review at the port of entry, or denial of admission to the United States. If you are uncertain if you qualify for VWP travel, you may apply for a visa.
If you are admitted to the United States under the VWP, you may take a short trip to Canada, Mexico, or a nearby island and generally be readmitted to the United States under the VWP for the remainder of the original 90 days granted upon your initial arrival in the United States. Therefore, the length of time of your total stay, including the short trip, must be 90 days or less. See the CBP website.
Learn more on the CBP website. Requirements include, but are not limited to:. If you enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, you are not permitted to extend your stay in the United States beyond the initial admission period. You must depart the United States on or before the date on your admission stamp when you entered the United States.
See Extend Your Stay on the U. Chinese citizens also do not need a visa if they complete Form I for temporary admission into the Northern Mariana Islands. You are about to leave travel. Department of State. Links to external websites are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as an endorsement by the U. Department of State of the views or products contained therein.
If you wish to remain on travel. Cancel GO. Russia Travel Advisory. Ukraine Crisis. A citizen of the United States is an " American ". In English, the word " American " rarely refers to topics or subjects not directly connected with the United States. It has been generally accepted that the first inhabitants of North America migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 12, years ago; however, some evidence suggests an even earlier date of arrival.
Over time, indigenous cultures in North America grew increasingly complex, and some, such as the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture in the southeast, developed advanced agriculture , architecture , and complex societies. Estimating the native population of North America at the time of European contact is difficult. Ubelaker of the Smithsonian Institution estimated that there was a population of 92, in the south Atlantic states and a population of , in the Gulf states,  but most academics regard this figure as too low.
Dobyns believed the populations were much higher, suggesting around 1. Claims of very early colonization of coastal New England by the Norse are disputed and controversial. Even earlier, Christopher Columbus had landed in Puerto Rico on his voyage , and San Juan was settled by the Spanish a decade later. Documents such as the Mayflower Compact and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut established precedents for representative self-government and constitutionalism that would develop throughout the American colonies.
Russian America once spanned much of the present-day state of Alaska. In the early days of colonization, many European settlers were subject to food shortages, disease, and attacks from Native Americans. Native Americans were also often at war with neighboring tribes and European settlers.
In many cases, however, the natives and settlers came to depend on one another. Settlers traded for food and animal pelts; natives for guns, tools and other European goods. European missionaries and others felt it was important to "civilize" the Native Americans and urged them to adopt European agricultural practices and lifestyles.
European settlers also began trafficking of African slaves into Colonial America via the transatlantic slave trade. During the Seven Years' War — , known in the U. With the creation of the Province of Quebec , Canada's francophone population would remain isolated from the English-speaking colonial dependencies of Nova Scotia , Newfoundland and the Thirteen Colonies. Excluding the Native Americans who lived there, the Thirteen Colonies had a population of over 2.
Despite continuing new arrivals, the rate of natural increase was such that by the s only a small minority of Americans had been born overseas. The American Revolutionary War fought by the Thirteen Colonies against the British Empire was the first successful war of independence by a non-European entity against a European power in modern history.
Americans had developed an ideology of " republicanism ", asserting that government rested on the will of the people as expressed in their local legislatures. They demanded their " rights as Englishmen " and " no taxation without representation ".
The British insisted on administering the empire through Parliament, and the conflict escalated into war. The Second Continental Congress , an assembly representing the United Colonies , unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, ; this day is celebrated annually as Independence Day.
After its defeat at the Siege of Yorktown in , Britain signed a peace treaty. American sovereignty became internationally recognized, and the country was granted all lands east of the Mississippi River. Tensions with Britain remained, however, leading to the War of , which was fought to a draw.
Going into force in , this constitution reorganized the federal government into three branches, on the principle of creating salutary checks and balances. George Washington , who had led the Continental Army to victory, was the first president elected under the new constitution. The Bill of Rights , forbidding federal restriction of personal freedoms and guaranteeing a range of legal protections, was adopted in Although the federal government outlawed American participation in the Atlantic slave trade in , after , cultivation of the highly profitable cotton crop exploded in the Deep South , and along with it, the slave population.
In the North, it energized multiple social reform movements, including abolitionism ;  in the South, Methodists and Baptists proselytized among slave populations. Beginning in the late 18th century, American settlers began to expand westward ,  prompting a long series of American Indian Wars. The California Gold Rush of — spurred migration to the Pacific coast, which led to the California Genocide  and the creation of additional western states.
Nonetheless, large-scale conflicts continued throughout the West into the s. Irreconcilable sectional conflict regarding the enslavement of Africans and African Americans ultimately led to the American Civil War. The ensuing war would become the deadliest military conflict in American history, resulting in the deaths of approximately , soldiers as well as upwards of 50, civilians.
Nevertheless, as casualties mounted after and Lincoln delivered his Emancipation Proclamation , the main purpose of the war from the Union's viewpoint became the abolition of slavery. Indeed, when the Union ultimately won the war in April , each of the states in the defeated South was required to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment , which prohibited slavery except as penal labor.
Two other amendments were also ratified, ensuring citizenship and voting rights for blacks. Reconstruction began in earnest following the war. While President Lincoln attempted to foster friendship and forgiveness between the Union and the former Confederacy, his assassination on April 14, drove a wedge between North and South again. Republicans in the federal government made it their goal to oversee the rebuilding of the South and to ensure the rights of African Americans.
They persisted until the Compromise of when the Republicans agreed to cease protecting the rights of African Americans in the South in order for Democrats to concede the presidential election of Southern white Democrats, calling themselves " Redeemers ", took control of the South after the end of Reconstruction, beginning the nadir of American race relations. From to , the Redeemers established so-called Jim Crow laws , disenfranchising most blacks and some impoverished whites throughout the region.
Blacks would face racial segregation nationwide, especially in the South. In the North, urbanization and an unprecedented influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe supplied a surplus of labor for the country's industrialization and transformed its culture. The later invention of electric light and the telephone would also affect communication and urban life. Additionally, the Trail of Tears in the s exemplified the Indian removal policy that forcibly resettled Indians.
This further expanded acreage under mechanical cultivation, increasing surpluses for international markets. Virgin Islands were purchased from Denmark in Rapid economic development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries fostered the rise of many prominent industrialists. Tycoons like Cornelius Vanderbilt , John D. Rockefeller , and Andrew Carnegie led the nation's progress in the railroad , petroleum , and steel industries. Banking became a major part of the economy, with J.
Morgan playing a notable role. The American economy boomed, becoming the world's largest. The United States remained neutral from the outbreak of World War I in until when it joined the war as an "associated power" alongside the Allies of World War I , helping to turn the tide against the Central Powers. However, the Senate refused to approve this and did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles that established the League of Nations. In , the women's rights movement won passage of a constitutional amendment granting women's suffrage.
After his election as president in , Franklin D. Roosevelt responded with the New Deal. On December 7, , the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor , prompting the United States to join the Allies against the Axis powers , and in the following year, to intern about ,  U. During the war, the United States was one of the " Four Powers "  who met to plan the postwar world, along with Britain, the Soviet Union, and China.
The United States played a leading role in the Bretton Woods and Yalta conferences, which signed agreements on new international financial institutions and Europe's postwar reorganization. As an Allied victory was won in Europe , a international conference held in San Francisco produced the United Nations Charter , which became active after the war. After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union competed for power, influence, and prestige during what became known as the Cold War , driven by an ideological divide between capitalism and communism.
The U. While the U. The United States often opposed Third World movements that it viewed as Soviet-sponsored and occasionally pursued direct action for regime change against left-wing governments, occasionally supporting authoritarian right-wing regimes. At home, the U.
After a surge in female labor participation, especially in the s, by , the majority of women aged 16 and over were employed. Millions moved from farms and inner cities to large suburban housing developments. The launch of a " War on Poverty " expanded entitlements and welfare spending, including the creation of Medicare and Medicaid , two programs that provide health coverage to the elderly and poor, respectively, and the means-tested Food Stamp Program and Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
The s and early s saw the onset of stagflation. After his election, President Ronald Reagan responded to economic stagnation with free-market oriented reforms. Fearing the spread of instability, in August, President George H. Bush launched and led the Gulf War against Iraq; waged until February by coalition forces from 34 nations, it ended in the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait and restoration of the monarchy.
Originating within U. Bush launched the War on Terror , which included a nearly year war in Afghanistan from to and the — Iraq War. Government policy designed to promote affordable housing,  widespread failures in corporate and regulatory governance,  and historically low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve  led to the United States housing bubble in ; this culminated with the financial crisis of — and the Great Recession , the nation's largest economic contraction since the Great Depression.
Republican Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president in , a result viewed as one of the biggest political upsets in American history. The 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia occupy a combined area of 3,, square miles 8,, km 2. Of this area, 2,, square miles 7,, km 2 is contiguous land, composing Virgin Islands together cover 9, square miles 23, km 2. The United States is the world's third- or fourth-largest nation by total area land and water , ranking behind Russia and Canada and nearly equal to China.
The ranking varies depending on how two territories disputed by China and India are counted, and how the total size of the United States is measured. The coastal plain of the Atlantic seaboard gives way further inland to deciduous forests and the rolling hills of the Piedmont. The flat, fertile prairie of the Great Plains stretches to the west, interrupted by a highland region in the southeast.
The Rocky Mountains , west of the Great Plains, extend north to south across the country, peaking around 14, feet 4, m in Colorado. The lowest and highest points in the contiguous United States are in the state of California ,  and only about 84 miles km apart.
The supervolcano underlying Yellowstone National Park in the Rockies is the continent's largest volcanic feature. The United States, with its large size and geographic variety, includes most climate types. To the east of the th meridian , the climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south. Much of the Western mountains have an alpine climate. The climate is arid in the Great Basin, desert in the Southwest, Mediterranean in coastal California , and oceanic in coastal Oregon and Washington and southern Alaska.
Most of Alaska is subarctic or polar. Hawaii and the southern tip of Florida are tropical , as well as its territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific. There are 63 national parks and hundreds of other federally managed parks, forests, and wilderness areas, which are managed by the National Park Service.
Environmental issues include debates on oil and nuclear energy , dealing with air and water pollution, the economic costs of protecting wildlife , logging and deforestation ,   and climate change. The United States is a federal republic of 50 states , a federal district , five territories and several uninhabited island possessions. It is a federal republic and a representative democracy "in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law.
In the American federalist system , citizens are usually subject to three levels of government : federal, state, and local. The local government 's duties are commonly split between county and municipal governments. In almost all cases, executive and legislative officials are elected by a plurality vote of citizens by district.
The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the U. Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. Article One protects the right to the writ of habeas corpus. The Constitution has been amended 27 times;  the first ten amendments, which make up the Bill of Rights , and the Fourteenth Amendment form the central basis of Americans' individual rights. All laws and governmental procedures are subject to judicial review , and any law can be voided if the courts determine that it violates the Constitution.
The principle of judicial review, not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, was established by the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison  in a decision handed down by Chief Justice John Marshall. The House of Representatives has voting members, each representing a congressional district for a two-year term.
House seats are apportioned among the states by population. Each state then draws single-member districts to conform with the census apportionment. The District of Columbia and the five major U. The Senate has members with each state having two senators, elected at-large to six-year terms; one-third of Senate seats are up for election every two years.
The president is not elected by direct vote , but by an indirect electoral college system in which the determining votes are apportioned to the states and the District of Columbia. The 50 states are the principal political divisions in the country. Each state holds jurisdiction over a defined geographic territory, where it shares sovereignty with the federal government.
They are subdivided into counties or county equivalents and further divided into municipalities. The District of Columbia is a federal district that contains the capital of the United States, the city of Washington. Each state has presidential electors equal to the number of their representatives and senators in Congress; the District of Columbia has three because of the 23rd Amendment. The United States also observes tribal sovereignty of the American Indian nations to a limited degree, as it does with the states' sovereignty.
American Indians are U. Congress and the federal courts. Like the states they have a great deal of autonomy, but also like the states, tribes are not allowed to make war, engage in their own foreign relations, or print and issue currency. Citizenship is granted at birth in all states, the District of Columbia, and all major U. The United States has operated under a two-party system for most of its history. Since the general election of , the major parties have been the Democratic Party , founded in , and the Republican Party , founded in In American political culture , the center-right Republican Party is considered " conservative " and the center-left Democratic Party is considered " liberal ".
The " red states " of the South and parts of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains are relatively conservative. Democrat Joe Biden , the winner of the presidential election and former vice president, is serving as the 46th president of the United States. The House consists of Democrats and Republicans.
Among the D. The United States has an established structure of foreign relations. Almost all countries have embassies in Washington, D. Likewise, nearly all nations host American diplomatic missions. Colombia is traditionally considered by the United States as its most loyal ally in South America. Taxation in the United States is progressive ,   and is levied at the federal, state, and local government levels.
This includes taxes on income, payroll, property, sales, imports, estates, and gifts, as well as various fees. Taxation in the United States is based on citizenship, not residency. The United States is one of the few countries in the world to do so.
In , taxes collected by federal, state and municipal governments amounted to In , the United States had the largest external debt in the world. The president is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces and appoints its leaders, the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Coast Guard , also a branch of the armed forces, is normally administered by the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime and can be transferred to the Department of the Navy in wartime. Armed Forces reported 1. Military service in the United States is voluntary, although conscription may occur in wartime through the Selective Service System.
The Air Force can strike targets across the globe through its fleet of strategic bombers , maintains the air defense across the United States, and provides close air support to Army and Marine Corps ground forces. The United States is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states , and one of nine countries to possess nuclear weapons. It has the world's second-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons , after that of Russia.
Law enforcement in the United States is primarily the responsibility of local police departments and sheriff 's offices, with state police providing broader services. Marshals Service have specialized duties, including protecting civil rights , national security and enforcing U.
Ramsey , former Philadelphia, Pennsylvania police chief, appearing on Meet the Press , there are about 18, U. A cross-sectional analysis of the World Health Organization Mortality Database from showed that United States homicide rates "were 7. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate and largest prison population in the world. Although most nations have abolished capital punishment ,  it is sanctioned in the United States for certain federal and military crimes, and at the state level in 28 states, though three states have moratoriums on carrying out the penalty imposed by their governors.
Supreme Court ruling in Furman v. Georgia that struck down the previous practice. Since the decision, however, there have been more than 1, executions, although of those convicted and sentenced since Furman have been exonerated, as tabulated by the Death Penalty Information Center.
According to the International Monetary Fund , the U. The United States is the largest importer of goods and second-largest exporter ,  though exports per capita are relatively low. In , the total U. From to , U. In , the private sector was estimated to constitute With The largest private employment sector is health care and social assistance, with It has a smaller welfare state and redistributes less income through government action than most other high-income countries.
The United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation  and is one of a few countries in the world without paid family leave as a legal right. The United States has been a leader in technological innovation since the late 19th century and scientific research since the midth century.
Methods for producing interchangeable parts were developed by the U. War Department by the Federal Armories during the first half of the 19th century. This technology, along with the establishment of a machine tool industry, enabled the U. Factory electrification in the early 20th century and introduction of the assembly line and other labor-saving techniques created the system of mass production. In , Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first U. Thomas Edison 's research laboratory , one of the first of its kind, developed the phonograph , the first long-lasting light bulb , and the first viable movie camera.
In the early 20th century, the automobile companies of Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford popularized the assembly line. The Wright brothers , in , made the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight. The invention of the transistor in the s, a key active component in practically all modern electronics , led to many technological developments and a significant expansion of the U.
Accounting for 4. After years of stagnation, median household income reached a record high in following two consecutive years of record growth. Income inequality remains at record highs however, with the top fifth of earners taking home more than half of all overall income. There were about , sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in the U. Of those impoverished, Personal transportation is dominated by automobiles, which operate on a network of 4 million miles 6.
The civil airline industry is entirely privately owned and has been largely deregulated since , while most major airports are publicly owned. The United States has the longest rail network in the world, nearly all standard gauge. The network handles mostly freight, with intercity passenger service provided by the government-subsidized Amtrak to all but four states. Transportation is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
The country ranks as the world's second-highest emitter of greenhouse gases, exceeded only by China. Census Bureau reported ,, residents as of April 1,
US: The group is happy. But since the original poster was speaking about the US, the question in the context of American English is implied. It is also historical. Sometime around the Civil War, or shortly thereafter, the United States, a union of independent states plural , became a concept and a single entity singular. Ever since, whenever it is singular mentioned, it has been customary to refer to it as a single entity singular.
That said, there's enough ambiguity left in the matter to use the plural form "in these the United States" - with or without the article. Sign up to join this community. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top. Stack Overflow for Teams — Start collaborating and sharing organizational knowledge.
Create a free Team Why Teams? Learn more. Asked 6 years, 6 months ago. Modified 6 years, 6 months ago. Viewed 7k times. Improve this question. Matthew Matthew 19 1 1 silver badge 2 2 bronze badges. The USA can be regarded as a country singular or a union of states plural so both. However, "The USA don't" grates in my ear. On the other hand, "These United States don't" sounds just fine. TsSkTo: That's probably because the other, far more natural, name, America, can be used to circumvent the ambiguity.
Ricky It's also a misnomer as America is a continent not a country, even if it's often used colloquially to describe the USA. In the end, call it what you want, we'll know what you're talking about. North America is. England is not a country but a province, and a part of - whatever it is these days; but we've been saying England for quite a few centuries now. Australia is a continent. I can't even remember what the official name of that country is. Where is the capital ofthe country located?
In what part ofthe country is it very hot? What part of the country has the tropical climate? Usa borders on Canada and Mexico. The Great Lakes are situated in central North America. It also includes Alaska in the north and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. It also has a sea-boarder with Russia.
The coldest regions are in the north. The climate of Alaska is arctic.
The United States is a federal presidential-constitutional republic with three separate branches of government, including a bicameral legislature. The authorities in the USA set and enforce entry rules. All travellers. You will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa. The United States is the fourth largest country in the world in area (after Russia, Canada, and China). The national capital is Washington.