US tax imposed on travelers from visa-exempt countries

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Travelers from countries which do not require visas for the United States -- such as Britain, France, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand -- must pay a 14-dollar tax starting Wednesday.

Travelers from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries must "pay operational and travel promotion fees" when applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), the US Customs and Border Protection said on its website.

"The total fee for a new or renewed ESTA will be 14 dollars," the website said. The breakdown includes 10 dollars tax and four dollars to recover the cost of the ESTA system.

The ESTA has been required of travelers from VWP countries since January 2009, it said. The system allows travelers for business or tourism to stay 90 days or less.

The VWP countries are Andorra, Iceland, Norway, Australia, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Italy, San Marino, Belgium, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, South Korea, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovenia, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Spain, Estonia, Lithuania, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, France, Malta, United Kingdom, Germany, Monaco, Greece, The Netherlands, Hungary and New Zealand.

Additional information regarding the VWP is available on

© 2010 AFP

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