US to charge £9 for Esta compulsory travel entry form
The US government is to start charging UK travellers $14 (£9) to apply for permission to enter the country. The compulsory Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (Esta) is free at present, but from 9 September visitors to the US will have to pay for it.
We know this has been in the pipeline for months. It's quite a reasonable price to pay, and as ZFT says it's insignificant compared to our ridiculous APD, supposedly for 'environmental' reasons. At least some, if not all, of the ESTA charge will go on promoting tourism. It's worth noting that if you enter the states by land you have to pay a $6 administration fee, but don't have to complete an ESTA.
As a UK citizen going to the USA for a short holiday I have to obtain a visa or, if I'm considered suitable, can apply for the visa waiver scheme.
I will also have to pay £9 to enter the country.
A US citizen coming to the UK for short holiday does not need a visa and there is no charge to enter the country.
Seems a bit one-sided but as our prime minister has told the world we are junior partners to the USA I suppose we must doff our hats to the mighty Sam and accept the fact gratefully that we are allowed to enter his country at all - those who want to go that is.
Air passenger duty applies to everyone, whether British or overseas nationality, who flies from a UK airport so that is at least even-handed even if the duty itself is controversial.
Normally these charges and requirements are reciprocal so it is possible that the UK may introduce a charge.
As it is my compatriots (fortunately I have an EU passport) have to pay R816 for a short term visa or nearly R3000 for a 2 year one to visit the UK, whereas UK citizens do not pay for a holiday visa to SA. There is also the time involved, it's all a bit aggravating but it's the fault of our own Department of Home Affairs who allowed criminals to get ther filthy hands on blank passports which were then issued to non-South Africans.
if you go on to the web site, it specifically states:
All passengers traveling under the Visa Waiver Program are required to have an approved travel authorization prior to traveling to the United States by air or sea. Even non-ticketed infants are required to have an approved travel authorization, if they do not have a visa for travel to the United States. An application may be submitted by a third party on behalf of a Visa Waiver Program traveler.
As Capetonian says, South Africans have been shafted by the UK govt for a fee and so I expect the SA govt to return the favour. I have many SA friends and they can ill afford the Visa when travelling/staying here is seriously expensive for them. As far as I know, the Brits have not instituted a similar scheme against the other former colonies of OZ/NZ/Canada.
I recall in the early 1990s my lady needed a Visa to visit India, even though it was clearly a bureaucratic exercise just to keep people employed and generate income to pay for their employment.
In the current financial crisis, I expect many more countries to do this.
For India and China, you need a Visa, as well as letters of invitation. For Turkey, you get your Visa on entry. It cost me £10 in May. A guy from Eire and one from the Netherlands paid €15, while France and Italy were free. The US guy paid $20.
I arrived in Seattle (from London) on a UK passport on 30 July having completed my ESTA some time before and did NOT have to complete an I-94W.
I'll be interested to see how they KNOW I've left the USA if I don't have the little tear off bit to give to the airline (mind you, I'm leaving the USA to enter Canada on a cruise ship but the principle still applies).
Australia charges AU$20 for an electronic travel authority applicable to theses countries:
Hong Kong SAR
United States of America
However electronic visa applications from these countries are free:
Andorra Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Monaco The Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Republic of San Marino Slovak Republic Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom - British Citizen Vatican City