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U.S. Customs and
Border Protection on Wednesday began collecting $14 from travelers to complete
the requisite Electronic System for Travel Authorization prior to entering the entering
the United States from visa-waiver countries.
The new fee will fund
50 percent of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, whose mission is to promote
the United States to "travelers, travel agents, tour operators, meeting
planners, foreign governments, travel media and other international
stakeholders" through advertising, outreach and education. Private
industry will fund the other half.
CBP said ESTA
applications could be completed online any time before travelers from
visa-waiver countries depart for the United States. Once approved,
authorizations are valid "for multiple entries into the U.S. for up to two
years or until the applicant’s passport expires or other specific circumstances
give rise to a need to reapply, whichever comes first," CBP said, noting
that ESTA applications completed prior to Wednesday's enactment of the $14 fee remain