My guide, “5 Steps to tour the White House for foreigners“, has been very successful in helping people do exactly what the title suggests. However, I frequently receive questions regarding certain parts of the application process and thought it would be best to answer the most common ones here. I have divided it into two sections – general questions and questions about the security clearance form. Hopefully these answers will make the process easier for some people.
I will continue to update this post if more questions come to light.
Can foreigners actually tour the White House?
Yes, yes, yes! It saddens me that I still see people write on travel forums that foreigners cannot go on tours. This is simply untrue. I am proof of that – and so are the many other people who have had success following my guide. If your embassy knocks you back, you just need to follow my steps instead.
Can I request a specific time for my tour?
No, Congresswoman Norton’s website states that you must have full availability on the days you apply, as you cannot request a specific time.
Do I need to provide my passport details?
From my personal experience, you do not have to provide your passport details. They did check my passport at the White House before I went on the tour, though (presumably to make sure my name and date of birth matched up with the information I had previously provided).
I sent my request, but Congresswoman Norton’s office has replied and said they can only process tours for DC residents – now what?
This never happened to me, but quite a few people have since told me that it has happened to them. However, many of these people have still been successful in securing a tour. It would appear that you do not need to worry if you receive this message.
Do I have to apply through Congresswoman Norton?
No, you can choose to apply through any congressperson. Before I applied for my tour, I spent hours reading through forums about White House tours and found that Congresswoman Norton’s name came up the most frequently with relation to people being successful in securing a tour. So, I decided to apply through her and it worked! Many other people have also since had the same luck.
The form will not let me enter my date of birth properly – what do I do?
To be honest, I am not sure about this one. I have received a few comments from people who have had this issue, even when typing the date in the American format of MM/DD/YYYY. Unfortunately, I do not know how to fix it. I would suggest noting your full birthday in the American format somewhere on the form or in the email attaching the form, explaining that you had an issue typing it into the ‘DOB’ section.
What do I write under ‘SSN’ (Social Security Number)?
I left that section blank and I did not have any issues.
What do I write under ‘Country’?
I am from Australia, so I simply wrote ‘AU’. In the email I sent to the Congresswoman’s office attaching the security form, I made sure to explain that I was Australian and included my full Australian residential address. I am not sure whether this is necessary, but I wanted to be safe.
What do I write in the ‘City’ and ‘State’ sections?
I put ‘Washington’ as the city and ‘DC’ as the state, as that is where I was staying at the time of the tour.
Do I have to fill out a security form per person or one for the group?
You only need to fill out one security form for the group with which you are planning to do the tour. Just enter each person’s details in a new row.
Should you have any question that I have not answered, feel free to leave it below or on the page for my guide. Best of luck!