Shorts: Get your free ESTA while it’s hot! – No longer valid

Word got out this morning that starting September 8th 2010, you will need to pay USD $14.- when you apply for a travel approval for the US. You can do that by filling out the so called ESTA form. Most people without a visa for the USA remember the green I-94W visa waiver that you needed to fill out. This has been mostly replaced by the online version of the form which can be found on the ESTA website and can be requested by the people from the following countries.

What most people don’t seem to know, is that you can create a request on the website that is valid for two years. Most people I know (and I was one of them) used to fill out an ESTA application on the website prior to each visit to the US. Basically, there’s nothing wrong with that, and the approach is still valid. But, starting September 8th 2010, you will simply have to pay USD $14.- each time you fill out the form. However, if you fill out the form prior to this date, you can create a request that is valid for two years once it has passed all checks.

How do you do that? It’s actually quite simple. The fields that state “Address While In The United States” and “Travel Information” are not mandatory. So, the simplest way is to fill out the form on the ESTA website and leave those items blank. If you are granted access rights with your request, your approval will not just be valid for one trip to the USA, but for all trips in the upcoming two years, without having to pay for additional requests. Depending on your travel frequency, this might just save you a bit of money.