Who Needs To Pay The ESTA Fee

If you’re planning a trip to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you may have heard of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Along with the application process, there is a fee associated with obtaining an approved ESTA.

The ESTA fee is a mandatory charge that helps support the operations and maintenance of the ESTA system. The fee is collected to cover the administrative costs associated with processing and evaluating applications, conducting security checks, and maintaining the infrastructure required for the system’s functioning.

Travelers from VWP Countries: The ESTA fee applies to citizens and eligible nationals from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program. Some of the countries included in the VWP are the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Japan, and many others. If you are a citizen or eligible national of a VWP country, you are required to pay the ESTA fee.

All Age Groups: The ESTA fee applies to travelers of all age groups, including adults, children, and infants. Each individual who requires ESTA authorization must pay the fee, regardless of age. Therefore, if you’re traveling with your family, each family member needs a separate ESTA and must pay the fee individually.


The payment can be made online through the official U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website when submitting your ESTA application. It is important to note that the ESTA fee is non-refundable, even if your application is denied.

Exceptions and Additional Fees

Denied Authorization: If your ESTA application is denied, you will still need to pay the fee. The fee covers the processing costs associated with evaluating your application, regardless of the outcome.

Reapplying for a New ESTA: If your existing ESTA expires or is about to expire, you will need to reapply and pay the fee again. Each ESTA authorization is valid for up to two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.


The ESTA fee is a necessary part of the travel authorization process for citizens and eligible nationals of VWP countries. It helps fund the operation and maintenance of the ESTA system, ensuring a smooth and secure travel experience for visitors to the United States. Remember to check the current fee amount at the time of your application and be prepared to pay the fee individually for each traveler, regardless of age. By understanding the ESTA fee requirements, you can plan your travel budget accordingly and ensure hassle-free entry into the United States.

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