ESTA For US Travel Will Now Cost You Money

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ESTA For US Travel Will Now Cost You Money

We’ve told you before how travelling to the US doesn’t generally need a visa, but does require you to acquire an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval. As of September 8, that will no longer be a free service: you’ll have to pay $US14 for the privilege.

The US government points out that Australia charges a similar fee for visitors here, so it’s not exactly rational to complain. A more practical barrier for some people is that payment will only be possible by credit card.

Regardless, make sure you have a ESTA if you’re planning to travel under the visa waiver scheme: if you don’t, you won’t be allowed on the plane when you hit the airport. Applying for a visa is more complicated and expensive, and so only makes sense if it’s a requirement, as it is for journalists and people from countries which don’t take part in the waiver program.

You only need to pay the ESTA fee once in a two-year period; after that, it’s good for multiple trips. Be sure to check our list of other traps to avoid when travelling to the USA.

ESTA

Comments

  • I went through the forms online in January this year heading through the US from Canada. Only to arrive at the airport and told I needed to fill out the old green card! I handed over the confirmation numbers, the lady insisted, all passengers must fill out a green card. Annoying, but would be worse if I had paid the fee twice for my daughter and myself also. Hope this gets sorted out once they begin charging.

    • This has always been the case — the ESTA is a requirement but doesn’t obviate the need to fill out the physical card. (Same applies with full visas, though the white card for visa holders does have a few less questions.)

  • Angus Kidman
    August 16, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    This has always been the case — the ESTA is a requirement but doesn’t obviate the need to fill out the physical card. (Same applies with full visas, though the white card for visa holders does have a few less questions.)

    This used to be the case however I flew from Sydney to the States on 17 July and was advised inflight that anyone who applied online for ESTA did not need to complete the IW-94 form. I cleared LA customs with no problems whatsoever.

  • Depends on the web, the cost of ESTA is higher or lower. On the official website, the cost is $ 14, but there are other immigration agencies or travel companies transacting ESTA a slightly higher price. The range is from $14 to $100.
    It is very important to choose a good web ESTA to process without problem.

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