One of the most frequent questions asked by those wishing to obtain travel authorisation to the United States concern the cost of the ESTA application. Of course, and as we shall later cover more in detail, this application is not free, as could be expected you will need to pay for the cost of the necessary administrative fees. To better understand the price of an ESTA application we have prepared some explanations as detailed below.Apply for ESTA
It is totally logical that the ESTA authorisation application is payable. Firstly, before, when it was necessary to apply at the American Embassy for a visa this was also payable. These are therefore the same fees that you need to pay when you submit your application.
In fact, once the questionnaire inherent to an ESTA application has been completed it is sent to the relevant American authorities to study before giving a response concerning the authorisation, or not, for entry onto American territory. The study of these documents is time consuming and the persons charged with the task need to be paid so it is therefore logical that this cost is passed on to the applicant, that means you.
As you have undoubtedly noticed, the cost of an ESTA application can vary from one website to another. In all cases though the amount paid to the American authorities is the same. You probably wonder why then the prices charged are different. This is according to the quality and range of supplementary services provided.
For example, on our website we require the affordable amount of only €79.90 including the possibility of completing the form in other languages as well as our assistance in modifying the form if you make a few mistakes during its completion.
There are different methods of settling the payment of fees linked to your ESTA application and these vary according to the website you use, generally you can pay by credit card, cheque or bank transfer.
Nevertheless it is important to note that your travel authorisation application is not forwarded to the relevant American authorities until payment has been received. It is therefore recommended to make your payment by credit card, particularly as this method of payment is highly secure.
Do however ensure the security of the website where you make your payment. This can be confirmed by the letters ‘https’ or a padlock symbol in the URL address bar of the payment page.
It is not necessary to pay for an ESTA application for every trip to the United States. In fact, once you have obtained your travel authorisation it is valid for a two year period including all future trips of less than three months during that period to the USA.
Once this period has expired you will need to recommence the procedure and therefore again pay the administrative costs.
Some people wonder if it is possible to obtain an ESTA for free or to benefit from special prices or payment exemption. The response to this is definitely and unfortunately negative as all visitors to the United States are obliged to pay the same fees and costs inherent in processing of the application.
As previously explained, these fees are principally to cover the costs of transferring your application to the American authorities and paying for the complete examination and processing by the latter. And even if the process is electronic and less time consuming it still requires the attention of agents responsible for the verification of certain information and therefore payment of these services.
In the same way, it is not possible to benefit from special promotions or rates depending on particular personal situations. The price remains the same for all, regardless of age, even for collective or grouped applicants and child ESTA applications. Each application requires an individual examination and assessment, even if it is completed simultaneously with a principal or parent application.
It is therefore totally impossible to not pay for an ESTA application. However it is important to understand that the ESTA system is actually far less expensive that the traditional visa application. A normal visa costs between €130 to €260 depending on the person but the price of an ESTA rarely exceeds €70.
It is therefore far more advantageous financially to complete this online travel authorisation application rather than waste so much time and money applying in person for a traditional visa through an Embassy.