ESTA Fee to Begin for Visa Waiver Travelers
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reminded Visa Waiver Program travelers the $14 fee for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization applications will begin Wednesday, Sept. 8. A fee of $4 will recover the costs incurred by CBP of providing and administering the ESTA system and is in addition to the mandatory $10 travel promotion fee established by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. The total fee for a new or renewed ESTA will be $14. All payments for electronic travel authorization applications must be made by credit card or debit card when applying for or renewing an ESTA. The ESTA system accepts the following credit/debit cards: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover. Payment arrangements may be made through a third party, such as a travel agent, since the name on the credit card does not have to match the name of the traveler. The ESTA application will not be submitted for processing until all payment information is received. ESTA is an electronic travel authorization that all nationals of VWP countries must obtain prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under the VWP. This travel authorization has been mandatory since Jan. 12, 2009. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. Once approved, authorizations are generally valid for multiple entries into the U.S. for up to two years or until the applicant’s passport expires or other specific circumstances give rise to a need to reapply, whichever comes first. Travelers with an approved ESTA will not need to pay the ESTA fee when updating an ESTA application. However, travelers with new passports and re-applying for an ESTA will need to pay the ESTA fee. The VWP is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and enables eligible nationals of 36 designated countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Additional information regarding the VWP is available online.