Background: The USA bans entry to non-citizens unless they obtain a waiver visa. Aim: To establish how many people with HIV infection travelled to the USA, whether they were aware of the travel restriction, whether they travelled with a waiver visa and HIV inclusive medical insurance and how they managed with their antiretroviral medication (ARV). Design: Collation of data from cross-sectional studies conducted independently at three different medical centres, Manchester, Brighton and London, using a structured self-completion questionnaire. Results: The overall response rate was 66.6% (1113 respondents). 349 (31%) had travelled to the USA since testing HIV positive, of whom only 14.3% travelled with a waiver visa. 64% and 62% of the respondents at Manchester and Brighton were aware of the need of a waiver visa. 68.5% (212) were on ARV medication at the time of travel and, of these, 11.3% stopped their medication. Of those taking ARV medication, only 25% took a doctors' letter, 11.7% posted their medication in advance. Of those discontinuing treatment (n = 27), 55.5% sought medical advice before stopping, 11 were on NNRTI-based regimen and one developed NNRTI-based mutation. Only 27% took up HIV inclusive medical insurance. Many patients reported negative practical and emotional experiences resulting from travel restrictions. Conclusion: The majority of HIV patients travel to the USA without the waiver visa, with nearly half doing so with insufficient planning and advice. A significant minority (11.3%) stop their medication in an unplanned manner, risking the development of drug resistence. © 2006 British HIV Association.