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Going to USA? Don’t pay more for your Visa than necessary

If you are travelling to the USA for a holiday you must remember to purchase an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), this tells you in advance if you are eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.  This new system replaces the old visa waiver you used to complete on the plane as you were coming into land in the States.
Insurancewith would advise their medical travel insurance customers to be very careful when arranging their ESTA, as there are dozens of online companies that offer to obtain ESTA permits on your behalf.  However, some of these companies charge “arrangement fees” to check the documents before submitting the forms, in essence to make sure that the information entered on the application is correct. The cheapest and best way to access the ESTA application form is through The Visa USA Association ( also has a link to the official ESTA form as well as a useful FAQ on the subject.  The ESTA should not cost more than $14 (US) per person, so a family of four will pay $58 (US), if you are asked to pay more that  that the likelihood is that you are using an agency and they are charging you to check your forms as well as for the ESTAS.
Once approved, the ESTA permit is valid for two years and can be used for multiple entries into the US. For each visit you should update the information about your flights and where you are staying. This is not mandatory, but if you don’t do it you may be asked more questions by the immigration officer on arrival.
It goes without saying, if you are going on any trip to the USA you must make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy that is suitable for your needs.  For example if you are going skiing make sure you have a specific winters sports travel policy, this will cover your ski equipment and also give you cover for such things as mountain rescue.  Should you have a medical condition it is advisable to buy travel insurance with medical conditions cover, ensuring that you carefully declare all your medical conditions.


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