New ESTA Fee for Visa Waiver Program
Sept. 3, 2010
Effective Sept. 8, 2010, foreign nationals visiting the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) will be required to pay a fee of $14 when they submit an application for travel approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) declared this interim final rule in order to promote tourism to the United States and cover processing fees. Ten dollars of the fee funds U.S. tourism marketing efforts and the remaining $4 covers administrative expenses. The new ESTA fee applies to all 36 countries under the VWP, including Japan. Individuals who received ESTA authorization before September 8 are not required to pay the fee until their authorization expires.
ESTA is an electronic online system used to determine the preliminary eligibility of visitors who travel to the United States under the VWP. An ESTA application may be submitted at any time prior to travel, and is valid for two years or until a foreign national acquires a new passport, whichever occurs first. An ESTA authorization allows a foreign national to travel to the U.S. multiple times during the duration of the authorization.
This travel authorization has been mandatory since Jan. 12, 2009.