US to charge for ESTA

13 Aug 2010 by AndrewGough

The US has announced it will soon start charging for ESTA applications, the preliminary check that forms part of the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP).

The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), which became mandatory in January this year (see online news January 13), is currently free of charge. But that is set to change come September 8 with the introduction of a new $14 fee.

According to the US embassy in London, the $14 includes $4 to recover administration costs and a mandatory $10 travel promotion fee “established by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009”.

An online ESTA application can be made without firm travel plans, so it’s worth doing so before September 8 to avoid the fee. The ESTA is then valid for two years.

Citizens of countries eligible for travel under VWP must have received ESTA approval before travelling to the US.

VWP allows travel without the need for a visa. For more information visit

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