For anyone who's planning on visiting the States, one of the most important things you'll need is an ESTA. (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) An ESTA is a travel permit that allows you to visit the US and is different from a visa.
If you're planning on visiting your friends on a J1 you should look out for this particular site that is charging people extra to get an ESTA. Normally, the travel permit only costs $14, while this site will charge $73 as well as the $14 for the ESTA itself.
The official government site will only charge you $14 for the permit. A disclaimer at the top of the page reads:
Disclaimer: This website provides information about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and is a private website not affiliated with the U.S. government. Outgoing links on this website goes to a third-party website that offers assistance in submitting ESTA applications. The service is provided by a private company, which charges a fee of US$ 73.00 in addition to the U.S. government fee of US$ 14.00. The total service fee for their service is US$ 87.00. If you do not wish to use a private company, you may submit your ESTA application directly at the official U.S. government website.
Make sure to tell anyone who's planning on making a trip to use the official government site here, no one wants to spend extra money on something that should be much cheaper.
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