US to charge UK travellers £9 entry fee

by William ASTON on August 9, 2010

The US will begin charging UK residents travelling to the US almost £10 to apply for an entry visa when entering the country.

Beginning on 8 September this year, UK travellers will have to pay £9 or $14 in order to apply using the mandatory Electronic System for Etsa – the US travel authorisation body. From each fee paid $10 will be put towards a fund promoting US tourism. The remaining four dollars will be used for administration costs.

The Esta form must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to travel to the US and allows air passengers to gain pre approval for entry into the US. At present, the form is free and is good for up to two years after approval. The new fees will not apply to those who have already obtained a form that has not yet expired.

Creator of MoneySavingExpert, Martin Lewis said that anyone considering travel to the US in the near future should apply before the fees are put in place. Mr Lewis added that since the authorisation lasts for two years, visitors can avoid a fee by applying now.

The Esta form was brought in during January 2009 and was made compulsory for travels arriving by air as of January 2010. Under the scheme, 35 countries can apply for ‘visa waive’ status using the system. It has replaced the green I-94 card that passengers were required to fill-in prior to landing. It is estimated that four million Brits visit the US per annum.  

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