From September 8, British travellers to the USA will be hit with yet another tax, as the ESTA application, which anybody who doesn’t already have a visa needs to make, will no longer be free. Every applicant will have to pay $14, or around £10.
Although £10 for something that lasts two years and is valid for multiple visits is not much in itself, some find it galling that Brits have to pay for a US visa waiver – but there is no reciprocal arrangement. And there’s a certain irony in the fact that some of the money raised by ESTA is going towards promoting the USA abroad.
But what’s probably of even more concern to British holidaymakers is that Air Passenger Duty (APD) goes up again in November, with long haul hit the hardest. So APD on a flight to, say, Miami will be £60, up from £45. A family of four cruising from Miami this November, then, could be facing a price hike of £100 (£40 for the ESTAs and £60 for increased APD), with no obvious return on that £100.
We don’t yet know what the new coalition government is going to do with APD but put it this way: it’s unlikely to be reduced.
Meanwhile, even if you’re only vaguely contemplating a cruise from a US port over the next couple of years, it won’t hurt to get that ESTA application done this weekend!
Or do extra fees like this put you off travelling long haul or visiting the USA, even? Let us know!