Visa Waiver Program

The information below is directed at German passport holders. Germany is a member of the Visa Waiver Program. (VWP). As of January 12, 2009, all nationals or citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries who plan to travel to the United States for temporary business or pleasure require an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the United States under the VWP. The Visa Waiver Program applies to the United States of America including Puerto Rico, Guam and the US-Virgin Islands.

For information on how to apply for ESTA, please follow this link.

Not a German passport holder? For visa waiver program information regarding other countries and their passport requirements, please visit the website of the U.S. Consulate, Embassy or Diplomatic Mission to that country; complete list at

You may travel visa free if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You have your own passport (everyone, including children, is required to have his or her own passport to travel VWP)
  • Children’s passport (Kinderreisepass) are not eligible for the VWP, unless issued or extended before or on 26 October 2006. All Children’s ID (Kinderausweis) require a visa and are not eligible for the VWP. Children must have their own e-passport to travel VWP.
  • You are traveling for business, pleasure or transit only.
  • Your intended stay in the United States does not exceed 90 days.
  • You must hold a valid return or onward ticket. Onward tickets may not end in Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean.
  • You will enter the United States aboard an air or sea carrier that has agreed to participate in the program. This applies to most airlines and shipping companies.
  • Private or official aircraft or vessels do not meet this requirement. You will need a visa if you travel on a private plane or yacht.
  • Your passport is valid for the duration of stay in the U.S.
  • Please click here for additional VWP conditions.

If your passport does not meet the requirements below, then you will need a visa.

Passport: As of April 1, 2016, only electronic (e-passports) are valid for visa free travel.

Children’s Passports: Children’s passports (Kinderreisepass) are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if issued or extended before or on 26 October 2006. The document must also then meet normal VWP eligibility requirements in that it be an e-passport, machine-readable and possess a digital photograph of the bearer integrated into the biographical data page. Children’s passports issued or extended after 26 October 2006 require a visa for travel.

Invalid for VWP Travel, Visa Required

  • Temporary Passport
  • Children’s “Kinderausweis”
  • Travel ID
  • Travel Document