Do German Citizens Need A Visa To Visit The USA?

Germans still need a travel document called ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization)

Do German citizens need a traditional Embassy visa to visit the United States? The short answer is: No! But the full answer is a bit more complex. Germans still need a travel document called ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), and there are some exceptions as to who can obtain such a document. Read on for a complete picture of permit obligations for German passport holders traveling to the USA, and how Evisa Express can help you get the appropriate travel document.

ESTA: Efficient and secure

With its rugged mountains, rolling plains and majestic coastlines, America represents an abundance of diversity in its geography, economy, and its people. The continental United States has an area nearly as big as that of the EU – and in many ways, the US really can seem like multiple countries at once! Fortunately for German citizens, access to the full scope of the wealth and bounty of the country can be obtained with just a single travel document: ESTA.

What happened to the traditional Embassy visa?

Traditional Embassy visas are still issued for German citizens who need to take extended trips (more than 90 days) to the USA, as well as anyone who seeks to participate in US-based employment, education, or other more involved matters. However, the vast majority of travelers taking trips of 90 days or less for tourism or business no longer need to participate in the long process of applying for a traditional Embassy visa, and are eligible for a different kind of travel document called ESTA.

Why the change? Since 2009, Germany has been a member of America’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP). That means that German citizens can now apply for ESTA in an online process that’s more efficient for travelers, and which has streamlined the security screening process in American airports.

What is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)?

ESTA is a digital document containing your travel details and confirmation of your identity, issued by the US government to travelers from eligible countries. German passport holders have been eligible for ESTA since 2009.

Basically, ESTA is an electronic visa system. Other countries also use similar digital documents for travelers taking short trips. You may have heard of these equivalent systems:

  • Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), used in Canada and Australia
  • Electronic Visa (eVisa), used in India, Kenya, Vietnam, and many other countries

German citizens can register for ESTA online using Evisa Express. Our application process is quick to complete when you have your passport, a recent photo, and travel details on hand. The majority of applicants receive their official, US-government-approved ESTA within just a day or two.

Who needs ESTA?

All eligible German passport holders entering the USA for tourism or business need an approved ESTA travel authorization. There is no minimum or maximum age for an ESTA.

Travelers take note: If you come to the airport without an ESTA, you will probably be prevented from boarding your flight. That’s why, if you wish to enter the US for tourism or business, you must obtain an ESTA at least 72 hours before your trip. Fortunately, Evisa Express can help you get your ESTA in plenty of time to see you on your way to the USA.

What travel privileges do German citizens get with ESTA?

ESTA is quite generous and flexible compared to some other countries’ electronic visa programs. While some countries may offer only single entry eVisas with a limit of 30 days of travel, ESTA’s validity period is much longer.

ESTA details:

  • ESTA may be used for up to two years after the date of approval, or until the approved applicant’s passport expires (whichever comes first)
  • ESTA allows German citizens multiple entries into the United States
  • After the date of first entry, German citizens may remain in the US for up to 90 consecutive days

But wait – there are some restrictions

Though almost all German passport holders are eligible to enter the USA on an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program, there are exceptions.

As of February of 2016, German passport holders, and in fact all citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries, are no longer eligible to travel to the USA visa-free if:

  • The traveler has traveled to, or been inside the borders of, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen on, or after, March 1, 2011
  • The traveler has dual citizenship with Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria

German citizens who fall into one of those categories must apply for a traditional Embassy visa if they wish to enter the United States.

Apply for ESTA today with Evisa Express

The vast majority of German passport holders are eligible for ESTA, and Evisa Express is here to help. Our in-house ESTA experts handle all contact with the American government and streamline your application process. During and after the application process, our team is available 24/7 for any questions you might have. Evisa Express: You take care of your trip – we take care of your visa.


Dawid Stawiarski
26 May 2020
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