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