Traveling to the USA with a laptop

laptop in hand luggage to usa

Since its inauguration, the Trump administration has issued various directives related to traveling to the US. One of these came to be known as the ‘laptop ban’, which prohibited taking laptops on-board US-bound flights from certain airports in North Africa and the Middle East.

However, in July 2017 the controversial ban came to an end. It lasted for four months. This does not mean that there are now no regulations in relation to what you can take onto a US-bound plane.

A separate directive was issued stating that airlines which failed to meet certain standards could face the return of restrictions on electronics.

Travelers need to obtain an ESTA visa to enter the US. The US government introduced this in 2009 to increase security.

It is important to be aware of what you can and cannot take with you when traveling to the US. With all the recent news regarding this issue it can be confusing.

Rules on taking laptops to the USA

Can you take your laptop on a plane to the US? Yes, you can. The US laptop ban ended in July 2017. Passengers from the countries listed in the original directive can take laptops on a plane bound for the US. Though there are some regulations regarding laptops and other electronic devices.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) states that you can travel to the USA with a laptop on board but they must be removed from bags or suitcases, and be placed in a separate tray for scanning at the airport security checkpoint. Travelers may also be asked to open and switch on their laptop to prove they are real.

Spare laptop batteries (lithium ion and lithium metal batteries) cannot be packed in your checked baggage. However, they can be taken only be taken on board in your hand luggage according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

You cannot use laptops on a plane during takeoff or when landing, though you can use them mid-flight. Though some airlines offer wifi, it is worth downloading anything you need before setting off.

Taking other electronics to the USA

In the past, it was only necessary to take your laptop out of your bag at an airport security checkpoint. Today you may be asked to take all your gadgets out of your luggage.

According to the TSA’s procedural guidelines, passengers must remove all electronics larger than a smartphone from their hand luggage. This is to allow the X-ray machine to get a clearer view.

Travelers may also need to remove other items from their baggage. Liquids (including pastes and gels) greater than 100mm in quantity, cannot be taken on board. Liquids under 100mm, need to be put into transparent bags and taken out of hand luggage for inspection.

To save time and hassle, passengers should organize themselves with these regulations in mind, before setting off. The TSA states that these extra security measures do not apply to passengers in TSA✓ lanes.

Trump’s laptop ban

The laptop ban is over. It originally applied to specific airports in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Kuwait, Morocco, and Dubai.

The ban on portable electronic devices posed problems for airlines as they feared it would deter travelers from visiting the United States. Passengers expect to be able to use laptops during flights for work and entertainment.

The ban was implemented in March 2017, as a reaction to fears that Islamic State was developing explosives that could be concealed in larger electronic devices.

Travelers planning on visiting the US need to complete an ESTA form in order to obtain travel authorization to enter the states.

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