In my opinion, a trip to the USA should have been made by everyone once in a lifetime. I think, anyone who has never been to New York has simply missed something. But this country also has so many other beautiful things to offer. And the best is, for the entry we Germans don't even need a visa, but only have to fill out the ESTA document online. This means that a visit to the United States is absolutely uncomplicated.
What is the ESTA document?
The German state has an agreement with the USA where our governments have negotiated, that we do not have to apply for a visa. This makes it much easier for tourists and business people to move back and forth in America, even at short notice.
But of course the Americans also want to know exactly who is coming to their country and they want to check their personal data in time. For this reason, German citizens must complete the ESTA document before departure.
This is a purely online based recording system, where the user can transmit his data very quickly and easily.
Will my ESTA document be surely approved?
The ESTA application is normally rejected only rarely, and if it is, then because of formal errors. For this reason, it may also be advisable to involve an agency that can check the application for correctness beforehand. There are a number of online service providers for this. If the application is error-free, it is normally approved.
With the help of the ESTA procedure, however, a number of information from Germany to the US Department of Homeland Security is determined. If it turns out there that you are a wanted criminal or on a list of suspected terrorists, then the application will probably be rejected. But that is as good as impossible, because who fills out such a form, in the consciousness that one is on the run.
But what can cause problems is if you still have an old passport without biometric data. Then entry can also fail. Because in the end it is all about transmitting and analysing this data.
In addition, when we entered the country with my wife, at the airport in New York photos were taken of the face and we had to put our entire hand on a scanner where our prints were recorded. So there is no way around handing out his biometric data. No good times for state-sceptical data protection enthusiasts.
How long is ESTA valid?
The ESTA application is generally valid for two years. If, in the meantime, the passport with which the application was made expires, the document also loses its validity.
However, it should be noted that ESTA is not a residence permit. It is only a matter of facilitating the entry formalities. Otherwise, German citizens are only allowed to stay in the USA for 90 days without a special visa. After that you have to leave the country again.