From September 8 anyone who holds a passport from one of the 36 visa-waiver nations will have to pay a $14 fee to enable the American government to run a rudimentary background check on them.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program was introduced in 2008 and made mandatory last year. The program was intended to provide an extra layer of security. Intending travelers provide their details to the Department of Homeland Security in advance of their travels, which gives the American authorities time to check the intending traveler's name against the 'no fly' lists and other terrorist databases.
I don't have a problem with the requirement that people who want to visit the United States should provide this information to the government. Ideally the government wouldn't need to know anyone's travel plans and wouldn't need to maintain a database of names, passport numbers and other facts, but information is a key element in the defense against a second September 11 type attack. So it has to be this way.
I do think, however, that asking someone to pay $14 to have their background checked by government officials is, well, not all that welcoming. Remember this charge comes on top of recent additional security measures like finger-printing and photographing all visitors.
Log in with your social accounts:
Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:
Don't have an account yet? Register now !
Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:
Already have an account ? Log in
Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:
Make sure we gathered the correct information from you
You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.
Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: