Beginning September 8, 2010, travelers applying for ESTA will pay a $14.00 fee. The fee is payable online at the ESTA website by credit card or debit card. Each approved ESTA application will be valid for two years. This applies only to those travelling without a visa on the visa waiver program, ie Slovakia and other Visa Waiver Program members. The current cost of application for a tourist visa to the United States for non-Visa Waiver countries is $140.
What is the new fee charged to travelers?
It is $14.00. Since the implementation of ESTA, DHS has had discretion to charge a fee to cover administrative costs. DHA determined that cost to be $4.00 per registration. The TPA fee adds an additional $10.00.
When will the fee go into effect?
ESTA registrations on or after September 8, 2010, will be subject to the fee.
How do travelers pay the fee?
At this time, payment is required through the following credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover. Payments can also be made with a debit card that holds the Visa or Mastercard symbol. Please check with your bank on the compatibility of your debit card. We are continuing to explore other payment measures. The ESTA registration form already in use will walk users through the payment process.
What types of privacy protection exist on the website?
“Pay.gov” uses advanced encryption to protect transactions while applicants are logged in. When accessing a profile, any account numbers entered will be masked on-screen.
How long are ESTA approvals valid?
Each approved ESTA application will be valid for a period of two years unless the traveler’s passport expires sooner. It allows for multiple visits to the United States within that application.
If I have a valid ESTA, will I have to re-register when the new fees go into effect?
No, existing ESTA registrations remain valid for travel through their expiration date.
Is ESTA approval like a visa?
An ESTA approval is not a visa under U.S. law, nor does it confer the same benefits as a visa.
Will this attract more international visitors to the United States?
Oxford Economics, a leading economic forecasting consultancy, estimates that the TPA program will generate $4 billion in new visitor spending, and lead to the creation of 40,000 new jobs.
Why do VWP countries have to fund this travel promotion program through ESTA fees?
Some countries fund tourism promotion through airline or hotel taxes. The Travel Promotion Act legislation specified that the U.S. government fund this program through a $10 fee added to ESTA registration.