Please note that as of June 2022 the CDC no longer requires travelers to present a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID pre arrival to the US
Whether it's for business or pleasure, many German citizens wish to travel to the US and get that exciting experience. If you are one of them, you may be wondering about the procedures of how to get a visa for the United States. Most German travelers (those without current paper visas), will need to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) to be allowed on board a US-bound flight. An ESTA is not a real visa, but it basically functions like one by allowing you entry into the US for a specific amount of time. You might have many questions so we're here to cover them in this article.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I have a German passport, do I need a visa to visit the United States?
No. No visa is required for German visitors, but you will need to obtain an authorization under the Visa Waiver Program. To be eligible for this program, you need to first apply online for an ESTA.
You can check the requirements here.
What is an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)?
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that assists in determining eligibility to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk. Upon completion of an ESTA application, a traveler is notified of his or her eligibility to travel to the United States under the VWP.
What is a Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is administered by the DHS (Dept. of Homeland Security) and enables eligible citizens or nationals of designated countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (for stays of up to 90 days Per Entry) without first obtaining a visa.
I already have a valid visa. Do I still need an ESTA to travel to the United States?
Individuals who possess a valid visa will still be able to travel to the United States on that visa for the purpose for which it was issued. Individuals traveling on valid visas are not required to apply for an ESTA.
How long can visitors with a German passport stay in the United States?
German visitors can stay in the United States for a maximum of 90 days Per Entry. All visits are strictly limited to business or tourism, so you CANNOT seek paid work or employment.
What are the documents required to apply?
Before applying for the US ESTA online with iVisa.com, you just will need:
- An electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric info and with at least 6-month validity from the planned date of entry.
- Your passport number and Personal Identification Number (PIN).
How long is the ESTA valid?
The ESTA is valid for 2 years after issued or until the associated passport expires, whichever date is sooner.
What are the processing times and prices?
For the United States ESTA, iVisa.com has three options of processing time and prices, and they are as follows:
Standard processing – your application is processed within 24 hours, and the price is USD $66.49 (service fees included).
Rush processing – you will receive your ESTA within 8 hours, and the total price of it is USD $112.99 (service fees included).
Super rush processing – this is the fastest option. You will have your ESTA in only 2 hours, and you will be charged USD $158.99 (service fees included).
Click here to start your application.
How long does it take to apply for an ESTA?
The application form for an ESTA will take you less than 10 minutes. Next, we will let you know the status of the application by email.
How can I apply for an ESTA?
The application for an ESTA is really simple. It consists of three easy steps:
1. The first step will ask you to fill in your general information. You also need to choose the processing time from the options mentioned above.
2. The second step will ask you to revise step one and make the payment.
3. The last step consists of a questionnaire. Other documents may be required as well, but it depends on personal circumstances.
What happens after I have applied?
Once the application is done, you just need to wait for us to send you an email to notify you about your eligibility to travel to the United States under the VWP.
How many times can I enter the United States with an ESTA?
The US ESTA allows Multiple Entry.
Does the ESTA guarantee admission into the United States?
No. If your ESTA is approved, it only states that you are eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, but does not guarantee that you are admissible to the United States. Upon arrival in the USA, you will be inspected by an immigration officer who will determine if you are admissible under the Visa Waiver Program and/or any other United States law.
Do I need to get an ESTA for my kids too?
Yes, accompanied and unaccompanied children (regardless of age) require their own ESTA prior to their travel to the US. Children listed on their parents' passports do not qualify for an ESTA. Children must have their own (unexpired) passport in order to qualify for an ESTA.
How can I apply for my family or friends?
You can perfectly apply for others just making sure you have all the required documents (you can see above in this article). You can apply here introducing his or her data. In case you need to apply for more than one person, you can do so by clicking on ‘Add new applicant’ in the application form and completing the data required.
What can I do if I make a mistake in my application?
If you made a mistake when entering your data online then please contact our customer service representatives as soon as possible via online chat to assist you.
Remember that if we already submitted your application, then you CANNOT make any changes and you will have to apply again but we will NOT charge you another service fee.
iVisa.com provides maximum safety for your personal data, confidentiality, and we invest a lot in the security of our database. Your personal information could not be safer. You can check what hundreds of satisfied customers say about us here.
How Can German Citizens Move to the US?
A German citizen will need to apply for the appropriate visa in order to move to the USA. Some popular options are the H1-B, E-2, O-1, and EB-5 visa. The appropriate visa type will depend on your qualifications and length of stay. If you don't plan to move and instead visit for a short stay the ESTA is good for 90 days Per Entry.
I have more questions, where can I find more info?
About the Author
Mohit Chauhan is the co-author of this document. He is an ex visa officer who has worked with Australian, USA, UK and Canada governments in facilitating visa programs for their country and helped in setting pathways for immigration policies. He has a rich experience of 8 years with immigration law helping people all around the world.