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Travel to the USA

US immigration – what to look out for

Travel abroad – Travel to the USA

Einreise USAUS immigration – what to look out for!

The United States is a popular travel destination. Whether it’s a pre-Christmas shopping trip to New York or a summer holiday to Florida, a major tour of the states or a city trip to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco or the other metropolises, the United States draws thousands of tourists year after year. And yet, entering the US is anything but easy – indeed there’s hardly any country with such strict policies and so many different things to watch out for. Sometimes you need a visa for the US, and other times you can get in without one. The very question of when a visa is required for travel to the United States must be clarified first and, in cases of doubt, problems can be avoided by deciding whether a US travel visa has been applied for.

Entry requirements for the United States – documents must be in order

To be granted entry to the US, a machine-readable passport is compulsory. These are the burgundy-colored passports. A temporary passport is not sufficient in this instance. For several years, it has been possible to store fingerprints on passports. Entry to the US entry is easier if you have your fingerprints already stored on your passport. In any event, when entering the US, another set of prints and a photo of the passport holder will be taken. A record will be made on the passport of the date of entry to the US and the date by which departure must be ensured. If the above passport is carried, it is also possible to enter the US without a visa. Where no such passport is carried, a visa must be applied for in advance.

Children’s passports are recognized on entry to the US where they were issued prior to October 26, 2006 and have not since been renewed or had the photo replaced. Otherwise, an appropriate visa must be applied for for the child.
The passport must be valid for the duration of the stay in the United States.

Entry requirements for the United States – the US visa waiver program or when no visa is required for travel to the US
Persons not requiring a visa for entry to the United States take part in the US visa waiver program. This means that one may, in this instance, enter the US as a tourist, business traveler or transit passenger without a visa. To do this, however, one must be in possession of an electronic entry permit. This entry permit, also referred to as an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (abbrev.: ESTA USA) must be applied for online. This ESTA for USA should have been applied for at least 72 hours before the flight. The application for the ESTA for USA can also be made by the travel agency. A processing fee of 14.00 US dollars will be charged for the ESTA for USA. There is no obligation to present an ESTA for USA when the US is entered without a visa via a land route, e.g. by crossing the Canadian border.

Once an ESTA for USA has been granted, this is valid for any number of entries to the US in the two years following the issue date. There are certain benefits that can only be gained by entering the US with a visa. When entering the US with an ESTA, for example, the border official specifies the latest date by which you must leave the country. This latest date can then no longer be postponed. When the US is entered with a visa, the duration of the visa may be extended whilst in the United States.
It should be noted that the ESTA for USA questionnaire has recently been expanded slightly once again.

Data that must be presented before entering the US

Whether you enter the US with a visa or are allowed to enter without a visa, the airline must deposit certain data with the US authorities before you enter the country. These include in particular:

Family name and first name of the traveler

It is important here to include in the submission all names that appear on the passport, and to ensure they are spelled correctly. Special attention should be paid to this when booking. A simple misspelling of any part of the name may lead to serious problems when entering the US.

Date of birth


If the details are not given, the US authorities may prohibit the issuing of boarding passes for the flight to the US. Further details are transmitted to the US authorities before travel to the US. These include the reservation data for the flight and the address at which you are staying during US travel.

USA travel – other things to watch out for

If one wishes to enter the US with a visa, or if one is allowed to enter without a visa, one must be aware of one more important point pertaining to flights and baggage. Each piece of luggage that is checked in for US trips is allowed to be opened by the US authorities – by force, if need be. The authorities expressly declare that they will not make good any resultant damage to the suitcase or its contents. Anyone taking technical equipment such as a laptop, tablet or digital storage media with them on US trips must be aware that these may be checked for content by the US authorities in the fight against crime.

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