Americans are in for it now!
In a baffling move of mind-blowing idiocy, the American government will now start charging a $14 “entry fee” for tourists who qualify for visa-free entry to the United States. Why? Because they are going to use the money to help promote the United States as a tourist destination. What the hell?!?!? Do we need some basic logic lessons here?
Not surprisingly the European Union, which has a reciprocal visa-free agreement with the United States, is not amused. Americans can expect the retaliatory entry fees to start popping up across the world not only making international travel more expensive but also much more complicated and confusing.
Think I’m wrong? Post-9/11 American visa antics (including high, non-refundable application fees) have already caused Americans to be singled out across the globe for higher visa charges. Just since we started Contemporary Nomad, I have paid significantly higher visa fees in China, India, and Laos. In one Indian consolate, I was actually called into the back and lectured for 30 minutes on how ridiculous the American visa process has become. Sorry India, I don’t make these rules.
For prospective visitors to the US, this new fee is an addition to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). If you wish to visit the United States under the visa-waiver system, make sure you have completed the ESTA process in advance. If all this annoys the hell out of you and you decide to spend your vacation somewhere where they don’t make you register online, pay an “entry fee”, scan all ten fingers, and enter your face into the facial recognition database, I fully understand.