Don't be fooled when you travel to the U.S.

12/5/2014

The U.S. is a popular holiday destination for many people, but be careful so you don't get fooled when you apply for the electronic travel pass, ESTA.  

UPDATE 23/3/2017: Updated with tips.

All Swedes, as well as other international travellers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, has to apply for an electronic travel pass no later than 72 hours before the departure. This pass is called an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

The application is made on a web page belonging to the U.S. government, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The process is quickly done and it costs 14 dollars, which is to be paid by card directly on the web page.

Apply for ESTA here 

Watch out for similar sites

Unfortunately, there are several other similar websites – that has nothing to do with the U.S. government – to be found online. These alternative web pages offer to help filling in and enter the ESTA-application, and it can cost as much as 400 to 700 SEK in fees. This is a completely unnecessary service, and once you have paid the fee it is more or less impossible to get a refund.

Tips to avoid being fooled

  • Check the website's URL. Make sure you landed on U.S. Customs and Border Protection's website. Check that the URL in your browser is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/application.html?execution=e1s1.
  • Check the price. Do you not find any price information on the page, or can you not click your way to the start page or a page with the price information? Then you have most likely landed on a website that charge extra for your ESTA application.

More information

Read our legal advisors answers about ESTA questions in our Q&A forum (in Swedish).