Travelling to the States just got a little more expensive…

The fee for foreigners to enter the United States has just increased by a considerable 50 per cent.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced an increase in the fee for inbound travellers entering the US using the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA).

This is the first increase in the price of an ESTA since 2015.

What is ESTA?

The ESTA is an automated check system to ensure eligibility of people wishing to visit the states Visa Free (using their visa waiver program).

It has been a requirement since 2008 to apply for ESTA prior to travelling.

In total there are 40 countries, including most European countries (and the UK) that partake in the USA Visa Waiver Program.  This allows both leisure and business travellers to enter the US for stays of a maximum of 90 days – all without needing to get a pre approved visa.

How to apply for ESTA

It is highly recommended to apply at least 72 hours before a trip, although it can be done any time prior to boarding. Most airlines will check it is in place prior to check-in.

You apply online here. If you have booked with a travel agency or tour operator, it may be worth checking if they have already applied for you.

How much is the new ESTA

The new fee levied on USA visitors that qualify for the Visa Waiver Program and using the ESTA is set to increase from $14 (£11) to $21 (£16.75).

What if my ESTA is rejected?

If you believe you were incorrectly denied, you may go to the DHS/TRIP Web site and file a redress request through the DHS Travel Redress Inquiry Program. If you think you may have answered “Yes” incorrectly and were denied as a result, you should contact CBP directly. Further information is available on their website .