ESTA for German Citizens: ESTA Application for travel to the USA

ESTA for Germans

The following ESTA explanation is relevant to citizens of Germany planning travel to the USA.

The ESTA is a part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) put in place by the American Government. It is an automated system that determines eligibility for travel to the USA. The ESTA is mandatory for German Citizens who are eligible, and who currently have no valid visa for travel to the USA.

It is important to note that the ESTA, or Electronic System for Travel Authorization, is not the same as a Visa.

Therefore, Germans traveling to the USA must educate themselves on the specific rules and regulations of ESTA.

1. Can citizens of Germany travel to the USA with ESTA?

Yes, German citizens are eligible to apply for ESTA, provided they meet all other ESTA requirements.

ESTA, and the VWP have a listing of 38 countries whose citizens may use ESTA for travel to the USA.

2. Is Germany one of the VWP Countries?

Yes. Only citizens of approved countries, such as Germany, may use the ESTA. Citizens of countries not approved for ESTA through the VWP need to apply for a visa instead.

Germans who plan to travel to the USA, who do not currently have a valid visa for travel to the USA, and who plan a trip of less than 90 days must apply for an ESTA.

Reminder: If you currently carry a valid visa for travel to the USA, the ESTA is unnecessary.

3. What Germans need to know about the ESTA application process.

  • The ESTA Application process is online and accessible day or night, weekends and holidays.
  • Most applicants are approved without incident
  • The ESTA approval is valid for two years
  • The ESTA is required as of Jan 12, 2009
  • ESTA is for all German Citizens, including infants and children

4. How long does it take to get the ESTA and when should I apply?

The official recommendation is that you should apply for the ESTA at least 72 hours before you depart for the USA.

Since you can apply any time, it is a smart move to apply before you buy tickets and make reservations which may not be refundable.

The application process is fast and you will receive a response in under 24 hrs in most circumstances.

5. Circumstances that require a German Citizen to get a Visa instead of an ESTA.

The ESTA is only for German Citizens who plan a trip of 90 days or less, are traveling by air or sea, and do not already have a valid visa to travel to the USA.

Germans who have any of the following characteristics need a Visa instead of an ESTA:

  • Trip length is longer than 30 days
  • The ESTA application is denied
  • They are citizens of both Germany and Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.
  • They have no e-passport with machine readable chip and digitally imprinted photo
  • They posses a children’s Kinderausweis”passport issued after 26 Oct 2006
  • They have been to Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since March 1 2011, (government and military exceptions may apply).
  • If convicted of a crime of moral turpitude
  • If they contract certain contagious diseases
  • You traveled to the USA using ESTA and overstayed the ESTA time limit. In this case you are no longer eligible for ESTA
  • You are traveling to the USA by land. Land border crossings are done with an I-94w form and Visa instead

6. The ESTA and Passport requirements, what Germans need to know.

German Citizens need to be aware of the Following ESTA facts that relate to passports:

  • ESTA expires two years from the date issued, unless your passport expires sooner, in which case, the ESTA expires at the same time as the passport.
  • Germans need an e-passport, with digitally imprinted photo and machine readable chip. If they do not have one, they need to obtain one before applying for ESTA.
  • Temporary German passports, German Travel ID, German Travel Document and Children’s “Kinderausweis” are not valid passports for ESTA

7. Can I change or update an ESTA application after I submit it?

Some data may be changed after submission, and some data changes require a new application.

You may change the following after submission:

  • Your email address
  • Your USA contact address

You need to re-apply for ESTA if:

  • You are issued a new passport
  • You made a mistake on the ESTA application form in regards to passport info or biographic data.
  • Your name, citizenship or gender identification change


It is in your best interest to apply for the ESTA right away!

Apply for USA ESTA Today

Further ESTA information

The ESTA is part of a United States of America government program called VWP, or Visa Waiver Program.

The VWP maintains a list of countries eligible for ESTA. The ESTA process is simple, speedy, and online, making the information easily assessable to both the US Government and the traveler.

When does a trip to the USA require an ESTA?

To Review, Germans need to use ESTA if:

  • Their planned trip is less than 90 days
  • They meet all other ESTA requirements
  • They have a valid e-passport
  • They are traveling by air or sea

How long will approval from the ESTA continue?

Once approved, the ESTA is good for two years, provided the applicant remains eligible. After two years pass from the date of approval pass, the applicant will need to re-apply.


  • If your passport expires before the approval time limit, your ESTA approval expires too.
  • Your approval is revoked if you no longer meet ESTA requirements, or if you have a change in personal data that requires you to re-apply.

Need to check on your current ESTA approval? Click here.

Need to apply, or re-apply for the ESTA? This easy online form is what you need.

After you submit your ESTA application using the online form above, approval happens quickly. Most approval notices are received in 24 hrs.