Last year, the US introduced its compulsory Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) form that every UK traveller must complete (it is only available online) before entering the States by air. Don’t complete it and you can be turned back.
Now, a bill passed through the US congress means that at some point this year it will be able to start charging for the service. The amount is unconfirmed but it’s likely to be around $10 per person.
Yet the good news is, do an ESTA application and it lasts two years so you may as well do one now while it’s free, just in case you may need to travel to the US at any point in the next 24 months. It only takes five minutes.
Don’t search on Google, though. Do that and lots of nasty scam sites will try to charge you for filling it in anyway. Just go to the direct page from the US Department of Homeland Security’s website: www.dhs.gov. Click on ‘Immigration’ and then ‘Visiting the USA’.
The link to ESTA is on the next page that appears; it is the fourth option in the list.
If you already have ESTA and want to extend it before the cost comes into effect, see how at www.moneysavingexpert.com/esta.