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 component 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 without needing a visa.

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

Therefore, Germans travelling to the USA must educate themselves on the specific rules and regulations of gaining a US ESTA for Germans.

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

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

There are currently 39 countries within the VWP whose citizens may use ESTA for travel to the USA.

2. Is Germany one of the VWP Countries?

Yes. Germany is a member of the Visa Waiver Program. This means that German citizens can travel to the USA on an ESTA without needing to apply for a visa.

3. What Germans need to know about theESTA 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.
  • An ESTA is required for all German citizens, including infants and children, however you can make a group application.

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 hours 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 travelling by air or sea, and do not already have a valid visa to travel to the USA.

Furthermore, German citizens need a visa to the visit the USA if:

  • The ESTA application is denied
  • They are citizens of both Germany and Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria or North Korea.
  • They have no e-passport with machine readable chip and digitally imprinted photo
  • They possess a children’s Kinderausweis passport issued after 26 Oct 2006
  • They have been to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya or North Korea since March 1st 2011 (government and military exceptions may apply)
  • The have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude
  • They are carrying a communicable disease
  • They have previously overstayed an ESTA or visa in the US
  • They are travelling overland to the US - Land border crossings are done with an I-94w form

6. What are the ESTA requirements for German citizens?

German citizens need to be aware of the following ESTA facts that relate to passports:

  • Each ESTA expires two years from the date of approval, unless your passport expires sooner, in which case, the ESTA expires at the same time as the passport.
  • Getting an ESTA requires more than just basic German passport requirements. Germans need an e-passport, with a digitally imprinted photo and machine-readable chip. If they do not have one, they need to obtain one before applying for an ESTA.
  • Temporary German passports, German Travel ID, German Travel Document and Children’s “Kinderausweis” are not valid passports for ESTA applications.
  • German citizens are not eligible for an ESTA if they have visited or have dual citizenship with Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, if they have a communicable disease or if they have a criminal record of moral turpitude.

For more eligibility factors, see our guide to factors that will get you denied.

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 with regard to passport or biographic data.
  • Your name, citizenship or gender identification change.

8. How long can a German citizen stay in the United States?

If you are travelling on an ESTA, your visit cannot be for longer than 90 days, although you can travel for more than one 90 day period within the two year validity period of your ESTA.

If you travel on a visa, you can stay in the country for as long as your visa specifies.

Are you planning to travel to the USA from Germany?

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

Apply for USA ESTA Today

Further information: ESTA Germany to USA

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

When does a trip to the USA require an ESTA?

To review, Germans can use an ESTA if:

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

How long is an ESTA valid for?

Once approved, the ESTA is good for two years, provided the applicant remains eligible. After two years 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 ESTA 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.