News Travel

USA hikes ESTA fee for travellers by 50%

If you need a new ESTA for travel to the USA, it'll now set you back US$21 instead of US$14, adding to trip costs on top of mandatory pre-departure testing fees.

If you’re planning a trip to the USA, there’s some bad news in store with the country this week increasing the cost of its mandatory Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application for inbound tourists from 40 countries, including Singapore and Australia.

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The price was increased on 26th May 2022 from US$14 (S$19) to US$21 (S$29), with less than two days notice provided.

This is the first time the fee for an ESTA has increased since 2015, when it was hiked from US$10 to US$14.

An ESTA continues to be valid for multiple entries (up to 90 days per trip) to the USA over a two-year period, so if you already have an approved ESTA you do not have to re-apply yet, but you will face the increased fee once you need a new one.

An ESTA for entry to the USA will now cost you S$29. (Photo: Jonathan Riley)

Don’t forget testing costs

The new cost of an ESTA means a family of four will face an extra US$28 (S$38) to visit the US, for a total cost of US$84 (S$115).

Additionally, the USA still requires pre-departure COVID-19 testing, in the form of a PCR or ART test taken within one calendar day of your flight departure date, allowing you between 24-48 hours to have your swab, depending on your flight departure time. Those aged under two are exempt from the test.