US announces major travel requirements change for UK tourists

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has said travellers to the US using the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) will face a $14 price increase per traveller from $7 to $21, Birmingham Live reports.

The ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Authorization via ESTA does not determine whether or not a traveller is admissible to the United States.

The US Department of Homeland Security said that $17 from the increased fee would fund travel promotion for the US, while $4 covered the cost of providing and administering the system.

ESTA allows travellers from 40 countries participating in the visa waiver programme to enter the US for stays of up to 90 days without having to acquire a visa. US Customs data shows ESTA applications slumped to just 1.2 million last year from 6.3 million in 2020 and a 15.1 million high in pre-pandemic 2019.

A similar scheme will soon take place in the EU, says Birmingham Live. Travellers from the UK will have to pay a fee for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System). 

The new application is an electronic travel permit that has been introduced to enhance security and enforce the borders of the Schengen zone and is expected to start at the end of 2022. The new visa waiver is expected to be valid for three years and allow unlimited entries into the EU.

UK travellers will need to complete the short ETIAS online application form. The application form should not take longer than 10 minutes to complete.

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