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  #41  
Old 07.09.2010, 13:33
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US Visa Waiver Programme starts charging tomorrow

If you're from a Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) country you need to submit a request through ESTA. This has been free but from tomorrow starts charging $14.

You can submit a request now and it will remain valid for the next two years. Today is your last chance to do this for free.

http://travel.state.gov/visa/questio...news_4413.html

http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/esta/
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  #42  
Old 15.09.2010, 00:12
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USA's new "E.S.T.A." system.

Hello EF,

Apologies if this has landed in the wrong part of the forum. I searched and didn't come up with any past conversions about the USA's new E.S.T.A. system for travelers.

Specifically, what I'm looking for is an answer to this elusive question:

Does my Swiss wife need to go through the process of signing up via the ESTA system before our trip to the USA even if she has a current USA Visa in her Swiss passport?

We were in the USA last November as the E.S.T.A. system was transitioning into use. Nobody could answer any questions for us at that point. Seemed like E.S.T.A. was a big mystery to everyone at the time.

Thanks in advance for any insights you're able to share.
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  #43  
Old 15.09.2010, 00:17
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Re: USA's new "E.S.T.A." system.

My understanding is that ESTA is for visa waiver travellers. If you have a visa, you don't need to register there.

This is not immigration legal advice, though.
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  #44  
Old 15.09.2010, 00:21
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Re: USA's new "E.S.T.A." system.

I concur with pabcbc. It's definitely for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). If your wife's visa is still valid, she doesn't need an ESTA. As you probably know, Switzerland participates in the US VWP, so when your wife's visa expires, she need only apply for an ESTA next time she wants to visit the US.

The first answer in this Q&A on the US government's ESTA website confirms that holders of a current US visa don't need an ESTA to visit the States.

Another annoying aspect of the new ESTA -- the US now charges $14 (generously, only $10 if you are refused) to issue the authority. It was free until recently.

Note that once issued, an ESTA is valid for two years.

Last edited by Guest; 15.09.2010 at 00:32. Reason: Added links
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  #45  
Old 15.09.2010, 00:50
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Re: USA's new "E.S.T.A." system.

The fact that your wife has a visa suggests to me that she was in the US at one point studying or working or marrying you. If your trip now entails just a visit, you may need the ESTA. Look at this from the ESTA page:
----------------------------------------------------------
I have a visa? No. ESTA is not required for people traveling to the U.S. with a valid visa. However, if you have a visa, but are traveling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) instead of your visa, then you will need to apply for ESTA. For instance, if you have an F1 visa, but are coming to the U.S. for business or pleasure for no more than 90 days, (and are a citizen of a VWP country) then you would be traveling under the VWP, which requires you to apply for ESTA before you travel.
-----------------------------------------------------------
So what kind of visa does your wife have, and is her travelling to the US relevant to her existing visa. For example, if she has a valid F1 visa (a student visa, I think), and she's just coming for a visit, that's not a valid use of the F1 visa, in which case she should apply for the ESTA. That's exactly what the response above says.

My husband had an H1-B when we first got married. We went to Holland to visit his family. Before we left Holland, we had to go to the consulate in Amsterdam to replace his H1-B visa because he'd changed employers in the US. His original H1-B was valid, but because he changed employers, he would be entering the US with a different intention (to work for another employer). Yes, I know it sounds like stupid crap, but if you get a cranky USCIS guy when coming in, he or she can make your life really quite miserable by asking a lot of questions. . And it's always getting into the US that's the problem. Usually leaving is a lot easier.

If your wife is just going to the US on a visit, and it's a different use of her US visa (e.g., she's not studying or working), then I'd just pay the $14 and do the ESTA. You might get through no problem without it, or you might get stuck.

I'm generally disrespectful of a lot of crazy bureaucracy. I just don't mess with USCIS.
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  #46  
Old 15.09.2010, 01:01
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Re: USA's new "E.S.T.A." system.

Good advice there from edot -- it does all depend on what type of visa your wife has.

Signing up for the ESTA takes only 5 minutes or so and you should get an immediate response (acceptance -- generally!). All your wife would need is her passport and travel details (flight information).

By the way, once the ESTA is granted, take a note of the authorisation number as you need to quote it to update your ESTA next time you travel. Technically, you are supposed to update the travel details each time you travel to the US. Having said that, I generally don't bother and haven't been challenged yet; I've had five trips to the US this year under the VWP.
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  #47  
Old 15.09.2010, 08:58
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

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How much did the Russkies charge me for a friggin' tourist visa?

I reckon it was quite a bit more than the USD 14 being discussed here
this USD 14 is for people travelling without visa. US would charge "the Russkies" USD 140 for a friggin tourist visa.
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  #48  
Old 15.09.2010, 10:54
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

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this USD 14 is for people travelling without visa. US would charge "the Russkies" USD 140 for a friggin tourist visa.
Seriously, for those who are third-country nationals and have gone through the hassle of getting visas for more "civilized" countries (300+ CHF for a one year visa to the UK, joy!), people complaining about a 14 USD fee that gives you access for two years are looking slightly silly here.
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  #49  
Old 15.09.2010, 11:36
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

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What is annoying about this, is that the American can't just come out and say its a tax on tourism and disguise it as yet another ineffective security measure that does nothing to make America a safer place.

In 2001 2752 died through the 9-11 attacks
Since 2001 1209 American solders have died in Afghanistan

In 2009 9369 murders were committed in the US using firearms.

I have more chance of being shot in American through ineffective gun control laws than an American has dying through the actions of a terrorist.

America should be paying tourists £10 for risking their lives.....
I've lived in the US for 5 1/2 years...played ball in Brooklyn, Gun Hill park in the Bronx...stayed with friends on Crenshaw Blvd in LA....etc. I've been and lived in notorious places around the globe...and yet the only place where I've had to physically defend myself was in Switzerland. America was always a very safe place for me....somethign I cannot say for Switzerland.
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  #50  
Old 28.09.2010, 16:54
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

EU version of the ESTA fee on the horizon?

Hopefully.


"Taxation without Representation" - EU up in Arms over US Travel Tax - Spiegel Online
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  #51  
Old 30.03.2011, 10:55
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Authorization to travel to US - cost $14

So everytime I want to go to the United States, I must fill in this on-line form, pay $14 (charged to my credit card) and hope it works?

This is soooooo frustrating.

The website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
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  #52  
Old 30.03.2011, 11:04
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

not every time, it's valid 2 years
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  #53  
Old 30.03.2011, 11:25
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

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not every time, it's valid 2 years
So what's the point of it?
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  #54  
Old 30.03.2011, 11:40
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

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So what's the point of it?
So they can stop most of the "problematic" people before they arrive at the airports and less time is wasted on questioning. Have you gone through the process? I thought it was pretty painless. Once you fill out the form (which you still had to do when it was free), approval literally takes 1 minute, and it's 2 years of visa-free travel to the US. $14 dollars is for handling and administration fees. Compared to most administrative things we are subjected to in Switzerland, it's an absolute bargain and done in a lightning flash.

Yes, it could have stayed free, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I used to pay hundreds of francs for travel visas before I became a CH citizen, so I have a hard time feeling sorry for anyone complaining about paying 14 bucks (especially with the USD being worth what it is now) for two years of hassle-free travel to a country. Most people on this forum are going to spend more at lunch.
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  #55  
Old 30.03.2011, 11:44
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

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So they can stop most of the "problematic" people before they arrive at the airports and less time is wasted on questioning. Have you gone through the process? I thought it was pretty painless. Once you fill out the form (which you still had to do when it was free), approval literally takes 1 minute, and it's 2 years of visa-free travel to the US. $14 dollars is for handling and administration fees. Compared to most administrative things we are subjected to in Switzerland, it's an absolute bargain and done in a lightning flash.

Yes, it could have stayed free, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I used to pay hundreds of francs for travel visas before I became a CH citizen, so I have a hard time feeling sorry for anyone complaining about paying 14 bucks (especially with the USD being worth what it is now) for two years of hassle-free travel to a country. Most people on this forum are going to spend more at lunch.
I disagree. For foreign visitors, the process makes travelling to the US daunting and beaurocratic. Definitely not inviting.
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  #56  
Old 30.03.2011, 12:07
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

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I disagree. For foreign visitors, the process makes travelling to the US daunting and beaurocratic. Definitely not inviting.
Well, it depends on one's perspective. From your profile I see you're Swiss and American, and if I was in your place I'd probably think the same thing. With that passport combination, I doubt you've had much trouble traveling anywhere in your life.

I'm not bitter, mind you, but just for reference, this is what I (and all non-EU, non-US, or non-Canadian nationals) used to go through as a Russian citizen if I wanted to travel to the UK:

1) Fill out an online form (much more extensive and an intrusive than the visa-free US one), and set up an appointment to go the UK Visa service in Geneva, during work hours (so taking time off of work).

2) Before arriving at my appointment, prepare photocopies of my passport, CH permit, proof of employment, and invitation letter from my girlfriend's relatives in the UK. I then had to pay for the documents to be sent out (250 francs for a 6 month visa, or 350 francs for a 1-year visa), with no guarantee that it would get accepted. They took my biometric information, like fingerprints and an eye scan.

3) A week later I had to go to pick up my passport with the visa, once again during work hours.

Non-EU nationals wanting to travel to the US have to go through the same thing. The process you describe as "daunting and beauracratic" is a luxury enjoyed by Europeans.

Many tourist destinations like India require even Swiss, UK, and US tourists to get pre-paid visas before arrival. Despite this, other tourists I met there found the country inviting enough.
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  #57  
Old 25.10.2011, 21:33
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

U.S. reviving $5.50 tariff on Canadian travellers

Canada and Mexico had been exempt from the fee since 1997 under the North American Free Trade Agreement, but American politicians needing fresh cash for government coffers have resurrected it.

More

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  #58  
Old 15.04.2012, 07:02
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

After a tough decade for tourism, the US seeks new ways to attract travellers.

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The marketing effort grows out of a 2010 law, the Travel Promotion Act. The US Travel Association had noted that the US share of global travel had declined between 2000-2010 and that the country's economy was losing billions of dollars in visitor spending as a result.

The law created a non-profit travel promotion corporation, known as Brand USA, which is financed with public and private money, to run the marketing campaign.

The goal of Brand USA, set to last until September 2015, is to generate "a tremendous amount of inbound tourism that turns into an economic driver
Mind the USD14 fee for visa waiver nationals

NYT article

http://www.thebrandusa.com/

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  #59  
Old 15.04.2012, 09:32
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Re: They have GOT to be kidding [Visa fees to enter the US]

So, you guys want me back to the US?

Fine, then stop fingerprinting me like a criminal when entering the country and stop rummaging through my bags in my absence!

I'll be back in a heartbeat.

It's not that hard, is it?
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