Travelling to the US? Register for ESTA before 8 September to avoid new charges

6 August 2010

Bitterwallet - $14 fee for ESTA from 8 SeptemberIf you haven't travelled to the US in the past 18 months and you're due to soon, you'll need to register with ESTA - the Electronic System for Travel Authorization - and you need to do it before 8 September to avoid your trip costing extra.

ESTA is a scheme which all international visitors travelling under the visa waiver programme must register with. It was introduced to 'enhance security' at the beginning of 2009; if you've travelled to the US between then and now, then you should have already registered, which means you don't have to do so again for two years afterwards.

But according to the Travel Trade Gazette, the scheme will begin charging travellers $14 to register from 8 September. Not a huge amount, but for a family of four that's another £35 or so. According to TTG, $4 of the fee will pay administration costs, and the remaining $10 will fund a new organisation to promote tourism.

Reading through the ESTA FAQs, no mention is currently mentioned about being charged to register, which suggests the fee will only apply to new registrations after 8 September, rather than a fee applied retrospectively to registrations made beforehand. So if the report from TTG is accurate, and you think you'll be travelling to the US in the next couple of years, it might be worth registering for free now to avoid the fee and any future increases.

TOPICS:   Travel

14 comments

  • sdp
    "According to TTG, $4 of the fee will pay administration costs, and the remaining $10 will fund a new organisation to promote tourism." What the f*ck? First thing on this new organisation's "to-do" list... REMOVE A $10 TAX TO VISIT YOUR COUNTRY. That'll promote tourism. Ridiculous.
  • Simbaaaaaaa
    So your going to pay £400+ on flights, and £100's on hotels but you can't cough up £10 for a bit of tax? Perhaps you should try going somewhere poorer as the USA is clearly far too expensive for your taste.
  • Spark
    If this is genuine (which I'm not sure about because this has been mentioned/spammed about before) then I can't see this policy lasting for very long, about as long as US Visit did most likely.
  • Captain P.
    Think I might just stop going to the US, they're not exactly welcoming these days...
  • PaulH
    I want to travel to the US to sample all the tasty borgers Bitterwallet has been advertising over the past week...
  • Spark
    They were never exactly welcoming but then again the UK isn't either. The only country I have visited in recent years with immigration officials who are anything like normal human beings is France.
  • Amanda H.
    Why would we want to visit the US? Apart from the double down?
  • Al
    I assume everyone complaining about this realises that the UK, from 1st November, are slapping £15 per visit on us going to America? The $14 for 2 years of 'visa waiver' doesn't seem so bad ...
  • blagga
    Unfortunately, "dis" is real. I travel to the US once a month and I'd heard this many time before. What we're not discussing is the fact that despite filling this ESTA in, you STILL have to fill in all your passport details with the airline in order to be able to check in AND STILL then fill in the green I97 form (or whatever it is) that asks you to tick a box to declare whether or not you were affiliated to the Nazi Holocaust or have an intention to commit a gross act of terrorism. The ESTA is basically a pre-screen to make sure that all three form-filling exercises tally when you get to the 2 hour long immigration queue upon arrival. Every time I go there, they ask me what I do for a living. I'm so tempted to say "pelican scrubber" and see the reaction. But then again, Abu Graib is a nasty place in the summer....
  • sdp
    "So your going to pay £400+ on flights, and £100’s on hotels but you can’t cough up £10 for a bit of tax? Perhaps you should try going somewhere poorer as the USA is clearly far too expensive for your taste." I think you meant "you're", but never mind. For what it's worth, an extra $10 on a visit isn't going to bankrupt me...some of us aren't totally driven by money but have principles. I guess you're just too stupid to spot the blatant irony of having to pay a tax for visiting a country that is then spent on funding some sort of tourism quango.
  • Iain
    So basically what they're doing is getting vistors/tourists to subsidise their tourist industry? OK! Seems kinda ironic to me! The way you get treated when you arrive in the States nowadays it's surprising that they still have a tourist industry!
  • warwick h.
    Considering the travel taxes Gordon and his mob and now this bunch have placed on us and the £10 Turkey thieves from you it would appear nobody except the Greeks wants a tourist industry and they have whacked everything up 20%. I.O.W. is looking better every year.
  • Ten B.
    [...] Travelling to the US? Register for ESTA before 8 September to avoid new charges [...]
  • Al
    @blagga - the green I-94 form is being dropped as ESTA replaces it, there's just a 'transitional period' at the moment.

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