ABTA is encouraging customers travelling to the USA to apply online for their ESTA before charges of $14 per person come in on 8 September. By applying early a family of four will save $56, approximately £40. All customers travelling under the Visa Waiver Program must have a valid ESTA to gain entry to the USA.
The US Government has introduced the charge to fund promotion of the USA and with on average 4 million visitors arriving in the USA from the UK, British visitors will contribute up to $56 million a year at a time when consumer budgets are under pressure and the pound has suffered from an unfavourable exchange rate against the dollar.
Luke Pollard ABTA Head of Public Affairs said: “We fully support the US Government’s wish to encourage people to visit their country. However charging visitors $14 each to fund this drive seems a rather odd way of doing so. Customers should go online to obtain their ESTA before 8 September to avoid the charge. An ESTA is valid for two years, so if you intend to visit the USA in the next 24 months go online now”
To apply for an ESTA go online to https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov