U.S. Issues First ESTA Price Increase Since 2015
The United States is increasing the cost of the ESTA waiver visa for incoming tourists. There have been rumors of a price increase for several months, but the final rule is effective from May 20, 2022.
The ESTA is an online system whereby nonimmigrant visitors planning to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must obtain an electronic travel authorization before traveling to the United States.
The New ESTA Price
The Department of Homeland Security will increase the price of the ESTA from $14 to $21. The Federal Register announced the increased fee—which contains a $4 operational fee—in a recent statement.
The Department of Homeland Security said the travel promotion part of the charge was rising from $10 to $17. The additional $7 of the ESTA fee will support Brand USA. They are a public-private organization created to promote the United States as a tourism destination.
The new fee will begin on May 26, 2022.
It’s the first increase since 2015, and it will continue until 2027.
What Is The ESTA?
The ESTA is an automated system that judges the eligibility of travelers to the U.S.A under the Visa Waiver Program. The ESTA application contains biographic information and answers which help the Department of Homeland Security decide upon a traveler’s eligibility.
All travelers must submit their ESTA application before traveling to the United States. However, the Department of Homeland Security recommends travelers apply for an ESTA way before their journey begins.
Some travelers wait until the last minute, witness delays in approval, and have to postpone their trip. Travelers can avoid this by sorting their ESTA out early.
Travelers from the following nations can apply for an ESTA visa:
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- The United Kingdom
FAQ Questions About The ESTA
What Do I Need For An ESTA?
- Travelers must have an E-passport to apply for an ESTA visa; this rule started on April 1, 2016.
- In addition, the passport must have a machine-readable zone on the biographic page.
An E-passport includes an embedded electronic chip, which enables U.S. border officials to identify the ESTA. If you have an E-passport—which most travelers do in 2022—you’ll see a unique international symbol on the front cover.
How Do I Apply For The ESTA?
Travelers should visit the ESTA website to apply for the ESTA. Travelers don’t need to visit their local U.S. embassy or consulate; it’s a completely web-based system.
Is The ESTA Waiver A Visa?
No. Travelers with an approved ESTA don’t have a visa. Travelers with valid visas don’t need to apply for an ESTA.
Who Needs To Apply For An ESTA?
All nations of eligible ESTA countries (as listed above) can apply for an ESTA to travel to the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
How Does It Take For The ESTA To Be Approved?
It can take up to 72 hours for your ESTA to be approved. If there are problems with your application, it may take longer.
That’s why we recommend you apply for an ESTA as soon as you book your trip to the United States. Sometimes, your ESTA may be approved within minutes, but you shouldn’t risk it.
Despite the small price increase, the ESTA remains an excellent way for tourists to enter the United States with little stress.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories