Beware of online United States visa scams

South Africans heading to the United States and wanting to apply for a visa exemption must watch out for “shady operators” online.

By - March 27, 2016 Share on LinkedIn
United states

South Africans heading to the United States and wanting to apply for a visa exemption must watch out for “shady operators” online, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

The report stated that several websites and email scams are currently trying to trick travellers into believing they are US government affiliates which can help them apply for the exemption.

The online exemption application is known as the Esta (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), and is used by people wanting to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Programme.

It involves an $18 (R275) fee, stated the report.

Several sites claim to be third-party companies linked to the official Esta site, and charge users a fee to assist with registering and submitting their applications.

“Such businesses are not endorsed by the US government but are designed to appear as if they are. Although deceptive, they are not illegal and if you find yourself making an application through such a site, you will be liable for their fees,” stated the report.

More about the Internet

Massive security flaw in CCTV systems

How to choose hacker-proof passwords

Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

Connect with Us



Would you buy a new high-end Motorola smartphone?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

Websites in South Africa affected by massive DDoS attack in USA


A large DDoS attack in the US against a company which runs managed DNS services is causing multiple major websites to go offline – including those with a presence in South Africa.

Independent Media quits South Africa’s press ombudsman


The Press Council on Friday criticised Independent Media’s decision to resign from the body and establish its own ombudsman.

Zuma accepts third SABC board member’s resignation

SABC logo

President Jacob Zuma has accepted the resignation of SABC board member Leah Thabisile Khumalo.

Twitter is down

Twitter on phone

Twitter is down for many South African users, following reports of a massive DDoS attack in the United States.

Free MyBroadband Newsletter