he United States Department of Homeland Security has announced that British travelers will be charged a fee related to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA.

As of the 9th of September, British visitors will have to pay US$14 to apply to ESTA. This fee is used to promote tourism to the United States as well as to cover processing fees.

While the application can take as many as 72 hours to be approved, the online system usually hands out approvals within minutes.

The ESTA visa is a web-based program that allows the United States government to review applications before the person boards a plane headed for the United States. Approval must be given to the person at least three days before they leave, and is mandatory for all countries that are listed under the Visa Waiver Program. An ESTA approval allows visitors to come to the United States, but is not a visa itself and does not guarantee a person will be able to enter. ESTA approvals are valid for two years and for multiple entries into the United States, but each trip can only be 90 days long in duration. There is no minimum requirement for time between trips.

Even though most ESTA approvals last two years, visitors to the United States must get a new ESTA approval if they have gotten a new passport, have changed their name or gender, changed their country of citizenship or have been convicted of a crime or developed a contagious disease.

Because an improperly filled out or erroneous ESTA application can result in a traveler not being able to travel to the United States and can severely impact travel plans, it’s make sure your documents are in complete order before making the trip.

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