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ESTA Antrag zur Einreise in die USA, Bild: Orhan Cam noch / shutterstock

Help and information on entering the USA

The USA is one of the dream destinations of many travelers and is also an attractive country for business people. But a trip to the USA is always associated with a challenge, namely the formalities for entry. German citizens are not allowed to enter the USA without a visa or similar entry permit. This article explains tips and ways to enter the United States of America in detail.

Entry into the USA as a private individual

For private trips by German citizens, there are two ways to travel legally to the USA: the ESTA travel authorization and the tourist visa. The ESTA application can be carried out completely online and is processed much faster than a classic visa application. This offers travelers numerous advantages, but is also subject to strict conditions. You can get support with the eVisa Esta for the USA from the only provider with a German service hotline estaregistrierung.org. Advice Trained multilingual staff will check your details and help with all formal matters relating to entry into the USA.

However, the application can also be made directly via the official website https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov .

The ESTA procedure

Strictly speaking, ESTA is the so-called Visa Waiver Program, which allows private individuals from participating countries to enter the USA without a visa for a maximum period of 90 days. Germany is part of the list of participating countries. If you meet the criteria for ESTA, you must carry a biometric passport with an e-chip during your entire stay in the USA. However, the ESTA application as an alternative to the USA visa is subject to some requirements.

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For example, people who have recently traveled to Cuba, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen or North Korea are excluded from this program. The same applies to travelers who have dual citizenship from one of the countries listed. The ESTA program also excludes people who have been convicted of violations of the Narcotics Act. Also excluded are previously convicted persons who are guilty of serious crimes.

The following link will take you directly to the ESTA online application!

Tips for applying for the ESTA Travel Authorization

Washington Monument
The Washington Monument, Image: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

An ESTA travel authorization can be applied for online up to 72 hours before the start of the trip to the USA. However, since it is not certain in advance whether you will receive this travel authorization, the application should be submitted early. In the event of a possible rejection, this leaves enough leeway to apply for a classic visa in time. If the ESTA travel authorization for the USA is granted, it is valid for two years and can be used for several trips to the USA. However, each trip may last a maximum of 90 days. In addition, a ticket for the return or onward journey must be presented when entering the USA. By the way, the ESTA travel authorization can be used not only for private travel. It also applies if, for example, you travel to the USA for medical treatment or have a business meeting here. However, it is not enough to enter the country as a student, worker, company founder or investor.

The classic tourist visa for the USA

If you are not eligible for the ESTA travel authorization for one of the reasons mentioned or are planning a longer stay, you can only enter the USA with a visa. For purely private trips, the visitor visa B2 must be applied for. It is usually issued with a validity of ten years. However, the length of stay per trip is limited to 180 days. This means that the U.S. tourist visa is valid for much longer than the ESTA travel authorization. To apply, you have to go to one of the consulates in Germany in person. Such consulates are currently located in Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt am Main. The processing time is at least five working days, but can also be extended to a period of four to six weeks in the case of more extensive examinations. Therefore, it is important to apply for the visa for a trip to the USA in good time and to have all the necessary documents at hand.

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Business trips to the USA: Entry tips

If you are planning a business trip to the USA, you can either enter the country with the ESTA travel authorization or apply for one of the various visas, depending on the occasion and duration of the trip. The classic visa for business trips is the B1 visa. This allows a business stay of a maximum of 180 days. However, the visa holder is not allowed to do paid work in the United States. Instead, the B1 visa is suitable for business negotiations, to participate in conferences or the like, to search for a company location in the USA or to resolve legal disputes. On the other hand, if you want to enter the USA as an investor, you have to apply for an E1 or E2 visa, which is then valid for five years. There are also separate visas for people who are transferred by their employer to a company location in the USA, who want to complete an internship or study there.