The cost of an ESTA to enter the US will increase this month

May 23, 2022

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Going to America is about to get that bit more expensive, as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is set to raise the cost of an ESTA by £5.60.

Currently, anybody wishing to enter the States for a stay of fewer than 90 days has to pay $14 (£11.10), which includes a $4 (£3.18)  handling fee, for the privilege.

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From Thursday 26 May, that price will increase by $7 (£5.50), bringing the cost of a 90-day trip to the country to $21 (£16.70) according to a CBP spokesperson who confirmed the rise in price with TPG via email.

Still, at least Brits can still travel to Europe without having to pay a fee. At least for now anyway, from the middle of 2023, the European Union’s own Esta-style “visitor tax” for Brits travelling to mainland Europe will also come into play.

The European Travel Information and Authorization System will introduce mandatory registration and a €7 (£5.97) fee for visitors to most European countries as of May next year. While some people have called this a “visitor tax,” the stated reason for the program is improved security.

Related: When will Brits need to pay to enter Europe and how much will ETIAS cost me?

According to then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker when ETIAS was announced in 2016, “We need to know who is crossing our borders. This way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here.”

ETIAS states the system will be able to “Assist in detecting and decreasing crime and terrorism” and “Impede irregular migration.” With the system, Brits and visitors from 62 other countries will still be able to travel visa-free in most European nations.

What Is an ESTA?

ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and it’s used to determine the eligibility of a foreign national to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Related: Arriving in the USA Without an ESTA — TPG Staff Mistake Story

The VWP was introduced in 2006 to enable nationals of 38 countries across the globe to gain easier access to travel to the US for business or leisure without going through the lengthy process of applying for a proper visa.

How Do I Apply for an ESTA?

There is only one official government site to apply for an ESTA.

It is a relatively straightforward process. You simply fill in your travel information (destination, intended length of stay, U.S. address, passport details etc), pay the fee and submit.

Related: How long do I need on my passport to travel? A country-by-country breakdown

It can take anywhere from a couple of hours to three days for the ESTA to be granted. And until it is, you will not be allowed to clear customs upon landing.

Featured image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

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