12 November 2010

EU Parliament to discuss ESTA at EU-US Summit

Ahead of the EU-US summit on 20 November, Members of the European Parliament have agreed on positions the Council should take regarding key issues including economic co-operation, personal data protection, and the introduction of a fee for the ESTA.


The ESTA fee will be discussed at the EU-US summit at the end of this month.

MEPs have expressed "serious concern" at the US Travel Promotion Act, which implemented a fee for the ESTA.

The ESTA allows citizens from member countries of the US Visa Waiver Program to enter the country for up to 90 days for the purposes of tourism or business. The ESTA can only be applied for online, and it allows travelers to know in advance if they are eligible to travel to the US.

Since January, EU citizens from Member States that are part of the US Visa Waiver programme have had to pay an ESTA fee to travel to the US.

MEPs say they have concerns about “its discriminatory effect in applying only to travellers under the US Visa Waiver programme, as well as data protection concerns that it can only be paid with one of the four major credit cards, whose companies are all based inside the US".

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their US Visa application to the US Embassy.

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