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US ESTA Visa Requirements for Germans

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German citizens planning to travel to the United States of America are eligible to apply for a visa waiver through the US Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). US visa waiver requirements for Germans are straightforward and easy to comply with.

The ESTA is an electronic system for visitors traveling to the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Germany is on the list of countries that may apply for an ESTA. This means they can avoid the trouble of going to a diplomatic mission to submit a visa application.

The ESTA permits German citizens to visit the US for up to 90 days without applying for a visa. From the date of its issue, the ESTA is valid for 2 years (or until the holder’s passport expires, whichever occurs sooner) and grants travelers multiple entries to the United States.

To obtain authorization under the visa-waiver program, German citizens must complete a simple online application form.

Requirements for the USA Visa Waiver for German Citizens' Applications

Documents required for German citizens to apply for an ESTA include:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid bank card to pay the processing fee
  • Current email address

Upon approval, the ESTA travel authorization is electronically linked to the applicant’s passport. This same passport must be presented when entering the country.

If the passport used for the application is lost, stolen, damaged, or rendered invalid, it is necessary to apply for a new US ESTA with the new German passport.

What is the Process of Applying for a USA Visa Waiver from Germany?

Applying for a US ESTA visa waiver from Germany is a straightforward process. Applicants are required to complete the ESTA online application. This only takes a few minutes to fill in with the following information:

Personal details:

  • Full name
  • Country of citizenship
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • City of birth

Contact information:

  • Home Address
  • Contact telephone number

Passport details:

  • Passport number
  • Passport issue/expiry date
  • Issuing country of passport

It is also a good idea for German applicants to provide a phone number and/or email address for an emergency contact, although this is not mandatory.

As part of the application process, it is also necessary to answer security and health-related questions. The answers will be pre-screened by the US Department of Homeland Security in order to determine the traveler’s eligibility to enter the United States.

It should be noted that certain German citizens may not be granted an ESTA visa waiver, including those who have:

  • Been arrested or have criminal records
  • Certain serious communicable diseases
  • Been refused admission or have been deported from the USA, or have previously overstayed their visa or authorization to be in the United States
  • Traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011 (with some exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes).

Similarly, if you become ineligible for the ESTA because your circumstances have changed since the last application, you may be denied entry at the U.S. port of entry. You must review eligibility information prior to ESTA submission and prior to your entry to the U.S.

It is crucial that applicants ensure all the data on the form is correct. This is because an ESTA may be denied, or there may be a delay in processing, if there are any small errors in the information provided.

German ESTA Application Advisory

German travelers who are successfully granted a United States ESTA will receive confirmation within just a few business days (sometimes confirmation is received within an hour). It is advisable to apply at least 72 hours prior to traveling, and the sooner the better.

A copy of the approved travel authorization will be sent to the email address provided during the application process.

German travelers entering the United States are not required to present a printed copy of their ESTA travel authorization to immigration officials. It might be useful, however, to print a copy, as sometimes airline staff might ask to see a printout.

Can I apply for ESTA on behalf of my children?

Yes, you will need to apply for ESTA on behalf of your children as every traveler to the U.S. needs a separate ESTA authorization.

Do I Need a Visa to Go to the United States of America from Germany?

German citizens do not need a visa to travel to the US for visits of up to 90 days for tourism, business, or transit purposes. ESTA authorization is granted to German nationals for 2 years or until the associated passport expires, whichever date is sooner.

An ESTA authorization is valid for entry into the United States by air, land or sea.

An approved travel authorization is not a visa. Germans planning to move to the US to work or study should contact a United States embassy or consulate in their country of residence. Also, if a German national wishes to stay in the US for longer than 90 days, they are required to obtain a US visa instead of the ESTA.

It is important to note that you won’t be able to change your immigration status once you are in the U.S. if you arrived via ESTA. If your plans change and you decide to stay in the U.S. longer or if you wish to work or study in the U.S., you will need to exit the country and obtain the required visa.

German travelers already in possession of a valid US visa are not required to apply for travel authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

Are German Nationals Required to Apply for a US ESTA?

Registration with the ESTA is required for all nationals or citizens of eligible countries, including Germany, who plan to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days, or who plan to transit through the US.

Failure to apply for the ESTA ahead of a trip to the US can result in a German citizen being prevented from boarding their flight or denied entry at the US border.

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This content has been reviewed by

Ekaterina Powell

US Immigration Attorney

Ekaterina Powell is a U.S. attorney licensed in the State of California, working in the area of U.S. immigration law for over 12 years. She has been featured as one of the top immigration lawyers in her state and city several times and has contributed to notable industry publications.

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