Summary: From 9 September 2010, UK travellers looking to enter the United States will be charged £9 to apply for the compulsory ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation).
Who will be affected?
Travellers from any of the 35 countries with a US "visa waiver status" (which includes the UK), will be charged for this service. The ESTA has been compulsory for UK travellers since January 2009 and can be filled in online.
Where will my money go?
Ten of the $14 (£9) will go towards promoting US tourism, while the other $4 will cover administration fees.
Where do I go to get an ESTA application?
Payment options for ESTA applications are limited to credit or debit cards. The following credit/debit cards will be accepted: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover.
If you are unable to access the Internet, you may also have a third party (relative or travel agent) pay the required fee online on your behalf.
What happens if I don't get an ESTA before I travel?
All Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) travellers are required by law to obtain authorisation prior to travel via the ESTA.
Therefore, without approval from the ESTA, you won't be granted permission to enter the US.
Background information about the ESTA travel form:
- The ESTA is currently free and lasts for two years or until the person's passport expires
- It can take up to 72 hours for air passengers to be given approval to enter the US after completing an ESTA application
- The ESTA replaced the green I-94 card which travellers were required to fill in on their flight into America
ESTA online application for entry to the USA
IMPORTANT CHANGE ** TO UNITED STATES ENTRY REQUIREMENTS ** FOR ALL HOLIDAY MAKERS ** FROM JANUARY 2009
If you are planning a trip to the United States from January 12th 2009, be advised that the entry procedure has now changed. From the new year, anyone planning to enter the United States under the Visa Waver Scheme must register online under the new Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) at least 72 hours before they fly. The forms are available from the ESTA website https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta
You must complete an ESTA application at least 72 hours before flying
Any traveller who fails to complete an ESTA application at least 3 days before departure will almost certainly be refused entry into the country under new US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations. If you are even considering visiting the States, it's worth filling out an ESTA application now as they are valid for two years.
Important: If you are refused entry because you do not hold the correct travel documents or have had your application for ESTA rejected - you will NOT be covered by your travel insurance policy.
Who Should Apply For An ESTA? The ESTA ruling applies to anyone travelling to the US under the visa waiver scheme, which allows British Citizen passport holders to visit the country for up to 90 days without a visa.
Why Do I Need An ESTA? The ESTA is a compulsory pre-checking scheme enabling the Department of Homeland Security to determine whether an individual is eligible to enter the United States before they fly.
What Do I Need To Include In My ESTA Application? Travellers are required to enter their personal information into an online form: including name, DOB and passport details, as well as travel information such as the flight number and destination address in the US.
How Long Is An ESTA Valid For? ESTAs are valid for 2 years and will allow multiple visits to the US within that time period, without reapplication.
How Much Does An ESTA Cost? Nothing, it's free.
How Do I Apply For An ESTA? For more information or to apply for ESTA please visit: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta