What’s happening with US ESTA fees?
On 24 May 2022 US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced a $7 increase in the government fee charged to travellers intending to travel to the US with an approved ESTA.
The ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) by air, land, or sea. The VWP enables eligible nationals of 40 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa if they have an approved ESTA.
CBP indicated that they will begin collecting the new government fee amount on 26 May 2022. This is the first ESTA government fee increase since 2015.
Why is the fee going up?
The US government fee is made up of two parts—the operational fee and the travel promotion fee. The operational fee remains unchanged at $4. This part of the fee funds the operation of the ESTA program.
The remainder of the fee, called the travel promotion fee, funds the Corporation for Travel Promotion (d.b.a. Brand USA), a public-private partnership tasked with promoting tourism in the United States. The US government is increasing the “travel promotion fee” part of the overall government fee by $7 (from $10 to $17).
What is sherpa° doing in response to the fee increase?
In response to the $7 government fee increase, we'll add a corresponding increase to ESTA application fees on sherpa°. This will take effect as soon as we observe the new government fee being applied by CBP.
As a sherpa° eVisa partner, what do I need to do?
We recommend that partners check the validity of any current traveller communications that reference the ESTA programme. For now, nothing else is changing—only the fee.
The good news is that there’s no further action required from our partners in order to transition to the new fee structure. The change will happen automatically once the new government fee is in effect.
We do not expect any significant impact on partner revenue. In its announcement, CBP anticipates that the fee increase will not adversely affect travel to the United States. As always, our goal is to balance partner revenue opportunities with exceptional traveller experiences.
What else do I need to know?
Finally, travellers that currently hold an approved ESTA do not need to re-apply at this time, as an ESTA is valid for up to two years.
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