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ESTA charge

Community Veteran
Posts: 3,826
Thanks: 44
Fixes: 1
Registered: 24-09-2008

ESTA charge

A charge on ESTA (USA visa - Electronic System for Travel Authorization )  will begin 8th September. I've heard figures of $14 - $20
Until then ESTA's are free and valid for 2 years
The online application does not need proposed travel dates, just a valid passport.
If you even thinking of travel to the USA its worth the 5 minutes filling in the online form.
15 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: ESTA charge

and beware, that is only if you go through the official channels, the Scam merchants are operating and charging more already
the official channels have .org in their address, there is a uk one  .org.uk
examples
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Travel
ESTA is a free, automated system that determines the eligibility of ... International visitors to the U.S. from Visa Waiver Program countries are now ... Video: Electronic System for Travel Authorization: Get It and Go featured see also ...
www.cbp.gov/esta - Cached - Similar
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Embassy of the United States London, UK - Visa Waiver Wizard
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) ... currently entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program or with a visa are subject to inspection. ...
london.usembassy.gov/cons_new/visa/niv/esta.html - Cached - Similar
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ESTA - Electronic System for Travel Authorization | USA Visa
4 Jan 2010 ... With the new Electronic System for Travel Authorization all Visa Waiver travelers must pre-register their U.S. visit and be approved to ...
www.esta.co.uk/ - Cached - Similar
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Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
Apply for the Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA). The ESTA application is online and takes ... ESTA (U.S. Travel Authorization) is not a visa. ...
www.esta.us/esta.html - Cached - Similar
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ESTA: Electronic System for Travel Authorisation
ESTA: Electronic System for Travel Authorisation · US Visa and Entry ... Visa Waiver Programme travellers arriving in the USA without such approval, ...
www.visitusa.org.uk › Visitors - Cached - Similar
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ESTA Application USA: Assistance with Electronic System for Travel ...
ESTA Application for USA Visa Waiver Countries. ESTA USA Advisors for ESTA ... ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and has become ...
www.estaapply.co.uk/ - Cached
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,551
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: ESTA charge

I have had an ESTA since they were first introduced.  You do not need one if you have a  US Visa.  The charge from 8th September is $14.  It is the policy of the US Government to charge for such documents and not place a cost on their citizens.  They did a free trial to get  people signed up and have now started using the ESTA's for entry purposes.  It will eventually do away with the I-94W at some point in the near future.
The official US site for applying for an ESTA is:
ESTA
There is a link on this page to the application.
It's a very straightforward application and my approval came back instantly.  It is only available to you if are a citizen or eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country. The UK is.
nadger
Rising Star
Posts: 4,498
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Registered: 13-04-2007

Re: ESTA charge

No intention of going to USA ( couldn't afford the travel insurance) but I wonder if the indefinite visa I got in the 70s would still be valid.
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,551
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: ESTA charge

I have an indefinite visa also in an old passport.  At one time they would allow you to carry on using it after the passport expired but then insisted a visa had to be in a valid passport.  I think it costs around £100 for a full visa now and necessitates a visit to the US Embassy which is a hassle.
The 'free' travel insurance I get with my Lloyds Bank account covers me for the US so I don't have a problem with insurance.  A friend just took out annual cover inclusive of the US and skiing for under £50 but he is a spring chicken Wink Wink
nadger
Rising Star
Posts: 4,498
Thanks: 46
Registered: 13-04-2007

Re: ESTA charge

Back in the 70s we had a friend who worked for BEA ( later BA) and she handled aircrew documentation.
When our passports were up for renewal they went by courier to Petty France, were collected from there the next day and taken to US embassy and back to us within a couple of days  Smiley

Community Veteran
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Registered: 24-09-2008

Re: ESTA charge

Quote from: artmo
I think it costs around £100 for a full visa now and necessitates a visit to the US Embassy which is a hassle.

@artmo, your correct (about the cost and hassle), my current Visa cost £100 for the application, not the visa, the visa is free, its the processing they charge for, paying the £100 for the application to be processed is not a "right" to a visa, involves queuing and a couple of interviews at Grosvenor Square.
There are drawbacks, the time between applying (and sending of your passport) and the interview, can be 6-8 weeks, which if you want to continue to travel involves a second passport.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: ESTA charge

Quote from: artmo
The charge from 8th September is $14.  ...  It will eventually do away with the I-94W at some point in the near future.

Have just come back from the US this week, indeed all I needed was my passport, they still make you fill in the 'customs declaration' form though.
As long as the ESTA is valid for 2 years, its not a huge problem.
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randpwar
Grafter
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: ESTA charge

What is the effect of completing these forms? What do they actually do? We completed these forms electronically before visiting the States before Easter this year and (I’m working from memory here) took copies and kept them with our passports etc, however, they were never asked for or even looked at when I offered them. We even answered the ‘Is the main reason for your visit terrorism?’ sensibly, again from memory I think it was on this form. BTW ‘main reason’ ??!!  It does sound a bit like ‘Well we’ll have a look around Disney then travel a bit and then, oh I dunno, I thought we’d set fire to a few municipal buildings’ Given that if a person was going to enter the States in order to commit an act of  terrorism that they would lie on these forms anyway, what is the point of them?
Community Veteran
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Re: ESTA charge

Quote from: randpwar
What is the effect of completing these forms?

The perception of security.
Honestly there are so many loopholes in the system it is crazy, last week my flight home from San Francisco was diverted to Chicago, we stopped there for 18 hours while the plane was fixed and to get a landing slot at Heathrow.
I wont go into the whole details, but nobody at security batted an eyelid as I walked through Chicago airport security on the 8th, holding a ticket stub showing a flight from San Francisco on the 7th. I did ask a few of them, 'does this ticket look odd to you' ... all I got were a few shrugs!
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: ESTA charge

Once you have an ESTA it can be accessed by Immigration on their system so there is no need to show them a copy.  However, It's best to keep a copy on you in case there is a problem.
Remember  if you had a problem with your ESTA then you would not be allowed to board your flight in the UK as this is part of the checks done at UK airports.
randpwar
Grafter
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: ESTA charge

I realise you’re giving good advice artmo and, should we return to the States, I would always complete the form and keep a copy ‘just in case’,  but realistically how does it help security? What is the point of the form? What does it do that the rest of customs security doesn’t?
itsme
Grafter
Posts: 5,924
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Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: ESTA charge

The ESTA will be use to stop people boarding the plane. The system before ESTA the USA were supplied with the information when the plane was in flight so potentially a terrorist was already on the plane. With ESTA an electronic passport is required, which supposedly adds to the security.
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,551
Thanks: 193
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: ESTA charge

Yes, at the time they issue the ESTA they check you out on whatever database they use.  This has to be done at least 2 days prior to flying so they have an opportunity to not issue an ESTA and therefore prevent you from boarding a plane to the US.  Also when you get to the US they will take your fingerprints and a photo.
They don't ask for a hard copy of your ESTA as they have it on their system. 
Community Veteran
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: ESTA charge

Quote from: artmo
This has to be done at least 2 days prior to flying so they have an opportunity to not issue an ESTA and therefore prevent you from boarding a plane to the US.  Also when you get to the US they will take your fingerprints and a photo.

I am not sure that joined up logic exists right now, last week at the airport I was asked if I had filled in an ESTA, the check in desk did not have that information, so I could get on the plane.
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