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U.S. to Start Collecting Fees From Visitors Next Month

August 10, 2010 — U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Sept. 8 plans to begin collecting through the newly established Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) a US$14 fee once every two years from travelers entering the United States from visa-waiver countries. The fees will fund a new federal tourism bureau established this year by the Travel Promotion Act, reports PCMA.org.

That law called for a $10 fee to be collected through ESTA to fund 50 percent of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, whose mission is to promote the United States to "travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners, foreign governments, travel media, and other international stakeholders" through advertising, outreach, and education, with private industry funding the other half. However, the U.S. Travel Association said it expects the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to add a $4 administrative fee to cover CBP costs, bringing the total cost for authorizations to $14, according to PCMA.org.

Use of ESTA has been free since DHS early last year mandated the program, through which users submit biographic data prior to entry, replacing paper forms. The European Union counts as its members 23 of the 36 countries that participate in the visa-waiver program, reports PCMA.org.

 

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