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Things to know before you arrive in Utah

VISA Requirements/Restrictions

All international visitors to Utah and the USA must apply for a visa or obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) visa waiver. To find out whether you are eligible under the Visa Waiver Programme visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. An ESTA application takes approximately 72 hours to process, costs $14 and is valid for two years.

Currency

Credit cards are accepted by most businesses, but it’s a good idea to carry some US Dollars as well. Banks which offer fair rates on currency exchange are available throughout the state. ATMs are also widely available. There are currency exchange counters at Salt Lake International Airport and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Taxes

Sales tax around Utah is typically between 6.5% and 7% with some exceptions. Salt Lake County sales tax is 6.85% and the statewide food tax is 3.0%. Tax is added to your bill in restaurants and at shop counters.

Tipping

In the USA it is customary to trip for all services, this includes serving staff in restaurants, bar tenders, hotel staff, local guides and taxi, Uber or Lyft drivers. A guideline is to tip between 15% and 20% in restaurants, a dollar per drink at a bar, guides between 10% and 20%, taxi drivers between 15% and 20% and a few dollars for an Uber or Lyft driver.

Time zone

Utah is in the Mountain Time Zone (Greenwich Mean Time minus seven hours). The state observes daylight saving from early March to early November.

Weather

On average, Utah weather is quite temperate. Utah is a semiarid state with dry, high country air and plenty of sunshine. There is more than 3,350 meters of elevation variation across Utah so the weather varies depending on where you are, from the unique desert climate of the American Southwest to whiteout snow conditions on high Rocky Mountain roads.

Utah is best experienced with an extra bottle of water, some sunscreen and a hat to provide some shade. It is also important to stay hydrated and avoid altitude sickness.

Spring
Spring in Utah can be dramatic with clouds and a quick rain shower or snow flurry one moment, and warm sunshine in the next. A coat will be required for time in the mountain and a raincoat and layers will be needed in the south of the state.

Summer
Summer consists of warm days and nights. The weather in Utah's national parks and across the south is hot. July and August are the hottest month and an early start is recommended so you can rest in the shade in the afternoon.

Autumn
Autumn in Utah is an array of colour with the odd thunderstorm. You will need your layers for the evening.

Winter
In winter it’s colder but surprisingly pleasant. Most of Utah's snow is generally reserved for the mountains, but even the national parks receive the the occasional dusting of snow.

Alcohol laws

The legal age for the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages is 21 years old. Photographic proof of age is required – for international travellers this must be your passport. Liquor stores sell packaged alcohol between Monday and Saturday, with hours varying by location. Supermarkets are only licensed to sell packaged alcohol up to 4% ABV. Most restaurants, bars and nightclubs are licensed to serve a full line of beverages during working hours; some have permits to sell beer and wine only. Due to local Tribal Laws, alcohol cannot be sold on some Reservations, such as the Navajo Reservation at Monument Valley. 

Smoking rules

By law, you must be 19 or older to purchase tobacco products in the state of Utah. As part of the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed indoor places of public access and publicly owned buildings and offices, with a few exceptions.

Accessibility

For information on accessibility in Utah for those with disabilities, visit our Accessibility page.

In case of an emergency

In an emergency situation, contact the local police, ambulance service or fire department by dialling 911, which is free from any telephone.