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US Imposed New Tourist Tax On Travelers From Visa-Waiver Countries

From Sept. 8, travelers flying to the US which do not requires visas will be required to pay a $14 “operational and travel promotion.” According to US Customs and Border Protection website, people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries must pay when applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

The new tourist tax that was implemented today received criticism from European Union as “inconsistent with the commitment of the U.S. to facilitate transatlantic mobility.” The tourist fee affects air and sea travelers from VWP countries such as Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The total fee for a new or renewed ESTA will be $14. The breakdown includes $US10 tax and $US4 to recover the cost of the ESTA system. ESTA approval, which went into effect in early 2009, allows travelers to enter the United States without a full travel visa, which can cost over $100. The ESTA authorization lasts for two years (or until the individual’s passport expires), and is valid for multiple entries.