The United States of America is often referred to as the United Stated, the US, America or the USA. It has a population of more than 300 million. It is bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The United States has 50 states, but Alaska and Hawaii are not part of the main continental section. The country was founded on July 4, 1776 after gaining independence from Britain in the American Revolutionary War. In the 1860s under President Abraham Lincoln, the country fought an internal Civil War with one of the issues being the abolition of slavery. During the mid 1900s, the United States emerged as a leading world power.
Travel visa requirements for entry to the United States are not straight forward, even for citizens
entitled to a visa waiver. Canada and Bermuda are exempt and don't require any paperwork
other than their passport. The US Department of State web site indicates 38 countries are eligible for their Visa Waiver Program. A passport from one of these 38 countries is not sufficient though. To be Waiver eligible an ESTA Electronic System for Travel Authorization must be completed. There are also requirements for digital chips and images depending on the date of issue of the passport, so refer to the US Department of State web site. The web site also has the Nonimmigrant Visa Application online application form for those requiring a visa or check your specific country at VisaHQ. For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.
The imposition of special fees by the US to process citizens of some countries has led other
nations to respond by imposing Reciprocity fees when US citizens visit those countries.
The Argentinian Reciprocity fee is an excellent example.
The US dollar (USD) is the most widely accepted currency in the world.
The climate of the United States varies greatly. Southern states are hot in summer and
comfortable in winter. Northern states experience extreme cold in winter. The Atlantic
and Pacific Oceans moderate the winter temperatures, so areas such as Seattle have heavy rainfall in
winter despite their northerly latitude. Tourists find California and Florida to be attractive
destinations in winter. Skiers prefer the Rocky Mountains and Cascade ranges at that time of
year. In the summer the national parks such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and the Glacier Park are
popular. Las Vegas is perfect in spring and fall, but with its air conditioned inter-connected buildings, it
is popular year round. New York is exciting regardless of the weather. Meanwhile Hawaii is
roughly the same temperature all year long.