Holidaymakers face stiff charges and misery if travel advice is ignored

By | Category: Travel news

Millions of travellers to the States could face disappointment at the airport

Inspired to head Stateside after CD-Traveller’s recent ‘America’ week? Go – but in the knowledge that four million travellers who are planning a holiday or to do business in the United States of America this year, are being warned about the unnecessary costs they could face if they don’t check their eligibility to enter the country. Those who ignore advice surrounding travel authorisation could be refused permission to travel – without any refunds for costs already paid.

The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), which assesses a person’s eligibility to enter the USA under the rules of its Visa Waiver Program (VWP), was introduced on a voluntary basis in August 2008 as a further layer of security measures implemented since the 11 September 2001 terror attacks. It became compulsory for non-visa-issued travellers from the UK, and other qualifying countries, in January 2009.

 

Although initially free, a charge was introduced in September 2010, causing hoards of people to rush to register in the summer of that year to beat the cost. As the ESTA lasts a maximum of two years, hundreds of thousands of people will now have ESTAs that are due to lapse, so must get a new one online before they intend to visit America.

ESTA approval doesn’t guarantee entry into the US, but authorises travel to the country. It costs US$14 (£9), which includes a US$4 administration fee and a US$10 acceptance charge. Rejection still costs the US$4 administration fee. Applications can only be made online and paid with a credit card. However people are warned not to fall for copycat sites that charge more than $14 to process an application.

Planning ahead and using the official Department for Homeland Security’s site (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html) will save money and misery.

 

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