Despite Trump, the US is still considered an attractive travel destination and offers countless opportunities to experience an unforgettable stay there. The variety of natural spaces, cities and people is immense. And even if the entry has become more difficult, it is still quite straightforward for most nationalities to travel the US, if you stick to simple procedures. In total, there are around 77 million tourists entering the US each year.

Anyone wishing to enter the US as a German requires either a travel authorization (ESTA) or a visa. The type and validity of the visa or ESTA depends on the reason for the stay in North America.

Entry requirements for tourists and others in the US

Entry requirements for German nationals may change at short notice. Binding information about the entry permit and the entry requirements are provided by the US agencies in Germany. A list of relevant authorities can be found below.

Documents for issuing the entry permit

For German nationals, entry is possible with the following documents.

Passport: Yes, with ESTA or Visa.
Provisional passport: Yes, only with visa.
Identity card: no.
Children’s passport: Yes, only with visa. For visa-free entry children’s passports are not accepted.

The rule applies: The passport must be valid for the entry permit for the entire duration of the stay. This includes the day of departure.

What is the Visa Waiver Program and what are my requirements?
The official Visa Waiver Program allows nationals of selected countries to enter the United States without a visa if they are only planning a stay of up to ninety days. This program can be used by tourists, business travelers and people in transit. Only 38 countries worldwide qualify for this exemption from the visa requirement, Germany and Austria are two of the countries whose citizens have this permit. The visa waiver on the Visa Waiver Program, however, does not apply to citizens who do not have German citizenship but are holders of a permanent residence permit.

How does this work with the ESTA application?

If you are aware that you want to travel to the US and for how long you can apply for the ESTA application online. Here you can expect a briefing on the fact that you give up any claim to confidentiality by entering the site of the authority. This is followed by the actual application page, where you must first agree to some information before you can access the actual application and complete the application form. This procedure asks for some data. These include, for example, personal information such as the full name, date of birth and your current address. The specification of the data is obligatory as well as a machine-readable, biometric passport. The ESTA approval is valid for two years. .

When do I need a visa for entry?

A US visa is required if you are planning to spend more than 90 days in the United States or if you are not traveling for tourism or work. Anyone who wants to work in the US, travel by private plane or ship, or was in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, North Korea, or Somalia after March 1, 2011, needs a visa under current regulations , Even those who are not only German citizens, but also citizens of Iraq, Syria, Sudan or Iran are not entitled to cross the border without a valid visa. If you have a visa, you do not need a travel authorization (ESTA).

What are the different visas?
Visa is not the same visa. There are many different visas for entering the United States. Depending on the purpose for which you are traveling to the US and how many months you would like to stay, you will need another visa. In part, a visa can be used to connect a private one with a business stay in the US.

A list of different visas for the different travel purposes

B-1: The B-1 visa is limited to a period of 180 days per entry and is the visa of choice for travel for negotiation, meetings, conferences, assembly, repair and maintenance. The B-1 visa is a business visa.
B-2: The B-2 visa is a visa for individuals who wish to travel to the United States for up to 180 days. It is the visa of choice for holidays, visiting friends or relatives, medical treatments, participating in competitions, short courses or completing an education.
B-1 + B-2: If you combine private and business with your stay and want to stay in the US for up to 180 days per US entry, you can use a combination of the Visa B-1 and B-2 to travel to the US Vacationing and working.
Q: If you want to complete your education in the US as a student, the F-Visa is the method of choice.
H: The H visa is a business visa that allows qualified workers to travel to the United States of America.
J: Students, au pairs and others participating in an exchange program need a J-Visa. It is a private visa, even if you work as an au pair and not just participate in an exchange program.
L: The business L visa is valid for seven years and is the visa of choice for workers from companies that have offices in the US and abroad where this employee has been working for at least a year.
M: If you want to complete an apprenticeship in the USA as a foreign student or a student, which is not a study, you need the private M visa.
O: Anyone who has special skills in the arts, science, education, commerce, industry, or sports and wants to travel to the US for a temporary job needs to apply for the Business O visa.
P: Athletes, entertainers, artists and their employees travel with the business P visa.
Q: If you want to participate in the international cultural exchange program, you will need a Q visa as a US visitor. It is a private as well as a business visa.
A: Diplomats and foreign officials travel on the business A visa.
C: Transit travelers who could also enter the country via ESTA apply for the C visa.
D: The D visa is intended for crew members aboard ships and aircraft. It is a visa for business travelers.
E: Likewise a business visa is the e-Visa, which is intended for investors and traders.
G: The G visa is a business visa for diplomats, civil servants and workers from international organizations.
I: Media workers traveling to the United States on business need to apply for the I visa.
K: Anyone who wants to travel to the United States as a fiancé of an American to marry within 90 days needs the K visa. It is a private visa.
K-2: Applicants for K-2 visas are required for unmarried children under the age of 21 and to travel to the United States for family reunification. It is a private visa.
R: The private-business R-Visa is the visa that allows pastors and NGO employees to enter the US.
S: For witnesses and informants, the S-visa is the method of choice.
TN: The TN visa is a business visa that allows Mexicans and Canadians to travel to the United States through a NAFTA-listed profession.
U, T: The Visa U and T are used for crime victims.
V: The private V visa is the visa of choice for spouses and minor children of a US resident who has a permanent residence permit.

For visas F, L, M, G, R-2, U and T, family members can also enter with such a visa. The fee due for the visa depends on the visa category. The cost of non-immigrant visas is currently around 150 to 250 euros.