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 passengers 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”