US hikes cost of visa waiver to $21

The cost of visa waivers for travel to the US is being raised by $7 to $21.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed the fee for inbound international travellers to the US using the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) would rise from $14.

The hike is due to be imposed from tomorrow (Thursday) and will run until September, 2027.

The US Department of Homeland Security said that $17 from the increased fee would fund travel promotion to 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.

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