USA: ESTA Prices to Increase

White House Washington D.C., USA

Most EU citizens are able to travel to the USA using an ESTA. (Short for Electronic System for Travel Authorization). For many years, it was US$14 (~€13), however, it is about to increase to US$21 (~€20) in the coming days.

BTN Europe reports that one of the components, the travel promotion fee will increase from US$10 (~€9) to US$17 (~€16), while the US$4 (~€4) operational fee remains unchanged.

The increase has already appeared in the US Federal Register with May 20 as the implementation date. However, a spokesperson told BTN Europe that the increase would take effect on May 26. The price should not increase until 2027, according to the notice.

Warning

There are many rip-off companies that look like the official ESTA website. Please take caution, as they can ask for much more money. You should never pay more than US$21 (~€20) (US$14 (~€13) until May 26) and should always use esta.cbp.dhs.gov!

The ESTA

The United States introduced an electronic travel authorization in 2009 to tighten entry from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries. Currently, the citizens of 40 countries have to fill in an ESTA application to travel to the United States. This includes all EU citizens, except Bulgarians, Cypriots, Romanians and Hungarian citizens born outside of Hungary.

The ESTA does not guarantee entry into the US and can be denied in some circumstances (visiting eight countries). It does not replace a visa. You can stay 90 days in the US but stays in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and Caribbean islands also count towards the 90 days.

Nationals of these countries are eligible for ESTA

Passengers travelling to the US by air still need to show a test made 24 hours before departure in addition to full vaccination.

Information & Tips for USA

The USA offers many sights, natural wonders and cultural significance. Thanks to numerous airlines offering flights across the Atlantic, it is always pretty inexpensive to get there. Alternatively, you can also cross the Atlantic by boat.

Immigration, ESTA & Visa Requirements

The USA has one of the strictest entry regulations in the world. Most EU citizens, among others, are lucky to be able to participate in the so-called Visa Waiver Program. If you get an electronic entry permit (ESTA)  for about €12, you don’t need a visa for entry.

The Best Time to Visit

Due to its sheer size, the perfect time to visit the USA varies greatly from region to region. In winter, Florida is very popular due to the mild temperatures. In the summer the West and East Coasts are flooded by tourists which drives up the prices for hotels and flights and during the Indian Summer in late autumn New England is a very popular destination. The hurricane season between July and September can be dangerous in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Florida and the southern states are regularly struck by these tropical storms. Blizzards occur from the East Coast to the Midwest during the winter months and regularly put air traffic and public life on hold.

Climate diagram for New York City, New York (Source: WMO World Weather Information Service)
Climate diagram for Los Angeles, California (Source: WMO World Weather Information Service)
Climate diagram for Miami, Florida (Source: WMO World Weather Information Service)

Currency

The US dollar is widely used throughout the world and accepted as a currency in most tourist hotspots worldwide. That being said, carrying cash isn’t necessary in the US, all you need is a credit card! These are very common in the USA and are accepted pretty much everywhere without any issues. If you already have a credit card in your wallet, you should make sure that it does not charge a foreign currency fee if possible. Carrying a few dollars in cash doesn’t hurt though. You might need cash e.g. for the bus ticket if you want to buy it directly from the driver. Most of the time you even have to give exact change.

→ All Dealz for USA

Cover Picture: Johannes Kinast

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