State Dept. Introduces ESTA Fee for Visa Waiver Travelers
The Department of State released a cable (PDF) to the field in August 2010 that provides information on implementation of the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (TPA), signed into law on March 4, 2010, and fee collection for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Under the TPA, fees collected from international travelers from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries, matched by private sector contributions, will fund the Corporation for Travel Promotion. The fees will be collected through the ESTA system, which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) administers.
On August 6, 2010, the DHS announced an interim final rule that requires travelers from VWP countries to pay operational and travel promotion fees when applying for ESTA beginning September 8, 2010. The total fee will be $14, with $4 to recover the cost of administering the ESTA system and $10 as mandated in the TPA.