Going to/through the US? Buy your way in now!

Beat the ESTA fee

…and your oil.

Up until last year, anyone from the UK and a ton of other countries could just fly to the US and simply put up with the intimidating, morose and short-tempered border guards who’d randomly fling you out for no reason other than their wives wouldn’t sleep with them the previous night. Or their coffee had gone cold. Or it was a Thursday.

Then, the Powers That Be decided they’d ask us all to fill in a Travel Authorization (which they couldn’t even spell) online at least a few days before travelling. These ESTA s are free and last for two years.

Well. They’re free until September 8th this year when they’ll start costing $14.

So if you’ve any plans to fly into or through the US – this includes and airport-only stopovers on the way anywhere else – get to their web page and sign up now. Hell, if you’ve no plans at all I’d still recommend it. It costs nothing but five minutes of your time and it’s one less thing that you may forget should you be booking a trip next year.

Frankly, the possibility of me going to the US at the moment is slim. Much as I’d love to see some friends there, and enjoy the superb scenery, I simply can’t be bothered with the immigration hassle. They’re even worse than us. The Aussies and Kiwis are strict, but they’re good-natured about it.

However, I do plan on visiting Canadia sometime in the foreseeable future and a lot of the routes are via the US. At least I know I’m allowed to fly there, even if they won’t let me through immigration. Which doesn’t bother me anyway as I’ll be on a transfer so that shouldn’t be an issue.

(credit: I pinched the image from the MoneySavingExpert.com newsletter because I liked it!)

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4 thoughts on “Going to/through the US? Buy your way in now!

  1. Assholes. I seriously do NOT have the intention to go to the US in the near (10 year min) future. Canada is high on the list though, but if the US are annoying I will fly directly to Canada. Just got my visa to Thailand for free today, because of the riots earlier this year. Weird how somebody else’s misery leads to my hapiness.

  2. I’ve got no plans for the US, though I did until a while ago. Sadly, I don’t have the time or cash to do all 50 states as I intended! However, I do plan on visiting Canada and the cheapest flights all go via US airports so, unbelievably, I need permission from someone before I can get on a plane – even though I have no intention of entering the US.

  3. I am so sorry that US immigration is so hard on you. I know how it feels to have a hard time with a foreign immigration office.:) If there is anything I can do to make your trip easier, let me know. You did so much for me when I tried to enter your country. It is the least I can do.:) You will also always have a place here. I wish the US was better at handling immigration issues. If you were Mexican, you could just walk in, get a job, and live off government assistance. Pity.

    • As a friend of mine discovered, as soon as you start involving existing American citizens, Immigration assume you’re just going to fly over and stay in the country – and deny you entry for three years as a result.

      Any sensible potential illegal immigrant won’t spend a penny on an extended visa. They’ll put the money towards a return flight, because obviously anyone with a ticket out is definitely going to use it.

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