U.S. to Increase ESTA Fee for Inbound International Travelers
It was recently announced that the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will increase the fee it levies on inbound international travelers using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization – otherwise known as ESTA – to visit the country, from $14 to $21. The new fee will take effect on May 26, 2022, per a CBP spokesperson.
The increased rate, which includes a $4 operational fee, was published in a notice in the Federal Register. The Register clarified that the travel promotion part of the charge was increasing from $10 to $17.
The ESTA program was established in 2009 and allows entry to both business travelers and other visitors arriving from 40 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for stays up to 90 days without having to acquire a U.S. visa.
CBP uses ESTA to assess whether arriving international travelers are eligible for visa-free entry to the country, with each authorization valid for two years. Most European countries participate in the VWP.
The increased ESTA fee will be extended to 2027, according to the notice, which also stated that this was the first increase since 2015.
Part of the proceeds of the ESTA fee also support Brand USA, a public-private entity formed to promote the United States as a tourist destination.
Eligible travelers interested in learning more about and applying for the waver can visit the official ESTA application website.