New 10 pound charge to enter USA announced

The US is to start charging UK travellers nearly £10 to apply for permission to enter the country, it has emerged.

From September 8, people will have to pay 14 dollars (£9) to use the compulsory Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (Esta).

Of the fee, 10 dollars will apparently go to a fund to promote US tourism with four dollars covering administration.

The Esta form takes up to 72 hours to be approved and gives air passengers prior approval for entry to the US.

It is currently free to obtain, and lasts for two years. People who already have a valid form will not have to pay until their current one expires.

The Esta scheme was introduced in January 2009 but made mandatory from January 2010.

It applies to 35 countries with US "visa waiver" status, and replaced the green I-94 card which passengers used to fill in on their flight to the US.

An estimated four million Britons visit the US each year.

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