United States Entry Requirements

United States Entry Requirements

Changed travel regulations during and after the corona pandemic

According to allcitycodes, the US government has renewed the current entry ban for people who have been in Germany or another country in the Schengen area within a period of 14 days prior to entry with a Presidential Proclamation until further notice. There are also entry restrictions for prior stays in the UK, Ireland, Brazil, China, Iran, India and South Africa.

US citizens, persons with permanent legal residence in the USA (“green card” holders), close relatives of US citizens, diplomats or employees of international organizations are exempt from the ban on entry. The US representations in Germany will publish more details on further exceptions and on the issuing of National Interest Exceptions (NIE).

Before entering the USA, travelers must present a negative corona test (PCR test or antigen test) (electronically or in paper form) to the airline, which must not be older than three days. People who were infected with COVID-19 within three months of departure must provide the airline with appropriate evidence. Masks are required during the flight and at the airports.

Another corona test within three to five days of entry is recommended. The quarantine recommendations of the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” (CDC), as well as the quarantine regulations at the federal and local levels, must be observed.

Source: Federal Foreign Office on July 29, 2021

General provisions for travel and residence (until the corona pandemic)

Short break – no visa, but travel authorization

Since Germany, Austria and Switzerland participate in visa-free travel (Visa Waiver Program -VWP), citizens of these countries who travel to the USA as tourists and do not want to visit the country for longer than 90 days do not need a visa, but an entry permit. With a visitor visa, you can stay in the US for up to 180 days at a time. The two options are briefly presented HERE.

You can enter the United States with your passport. However, everyone – including bebies and toddlers – needs a biometric passport. In the pass there is a chip on which biometric data (photo, fingerprints) are electronically stored. This pass is called an ePassport.

All eligible travelers who want a visa to enter the US, have also an application for a travel authorization (– ESTA “Electronic System for Travel Authorization” request HERE ! For only $ 14 put and on the official website of the American Department of Homeland Security) pay a fee. This application should be submitted online on the Internet as soon as possible. 72 hours before departure at the latest. Here you can find step-by-step instructions for issuing the ESTA form. The notification of grant or non-grant is received within 24 hours (maximum 72 hours). But beware of rip-off companies. These are listed on the pagehttp://www.estaformular.org/third party.

The ESTA entry authorization is valid for multiple entries within two years, provided that the passport does not lose its validity within this period. Note that even if you are only changing trains in the US, you must apply for an ESTA entry authorization.

Data sheet upon entry

All USA travelers (except green card holders and transit travelers) must fill out a data sheet with a US address at the airport. You can download the data sheet HERE, print it out, fill it in and hand it in at check-in. Make sure that the contact address given must match this address if you apply for a visa beforehand.

Visa – when and which one

If you expect more than 90 days will remain in the US, you definitely need a the purpose of your entry specific visa (B-1 / B-2 visa). When leaving the USA, the passport should be valid for at least six months. Anyone who cannot enter the country without a visa must apply for a US visa. Reasons for non-visa-free entry can be the purpose of the stay, the nationality or the length of stay.

B-1 / B-2 Visa
for business travelers (B-1 Business Visitor)
For tourists (B-2 Tourist Visa)

It entitles you to stay for up to 180 days at a time or for multiple entries. Usually this visa is issued for ten years, which means that you can stay in the United States for a maximum of 180 days per year within ten years.

An issued visa does not guarantee entry into the USA. The responsible border officer is the last to decide whether someone is allowed to enter or not. To apply for a USA visa, it is absolutely necessary to speak to the embassy or consulate general in person.

USA travel advice and tips

Conduct in public

The following rules of conduct should be observed:

  • It is normal to be shown to the table by the waitress in restaurants. If no table is free, you wait at the bar and meanwhile enjoy an aperitif.
  • After eating you leave the table. If you want to have a drink, you go to the bar.
  • In the United States, it is illegal to drink or carry alcohol in public.
  • There is an absolute ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and public buildings. In some states even smoking outdoors is prohibited due to the high risk of forest fires. This also applies to some jobs.
  • As is common here, women are advised to shave their armpits and legs.

Food and drink

Because of the size of the country, the traditions and influences of the Indians and immigrants, there are countless cooking and eating cultures. Depending on the state, you will find European, Creole, Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. Sweets and baked goods are also very popular. Who doesn’t know the delicious donuts, bagels and muffins?

In addition to Coca Cola, there are some non-alcoholic drinks that take getting used to, such as the root beer (effervescent from the root of the sassa fra tree), cream soda (tastes like vanilla ice cream) and Dandelion & Burdock soda (made from dandelion and Velcro root).

In big cities you can choose from a large selection of dishes in all price ranges. American, continental and international dishes are available. The American breakfast consists mostly of hot dishes.

Basically you have to pay extra for the service (15 to 20 percent).


  • A large selection, long opening times and low prices are typical here. Many small shops, specialty shops and hypermarkets are open 24 hours.
  • Clothing and electronic devices can often be bought directly from the manufacturer. People buy and sell at flea markets, cheap shops, large department store chains and shop galleries.
  • Shopping centers (malls) in particular are very popular. They consist of various shops in a single building complex, usually on several floors and with an inner courtyard.
  • Most states have a sales tax that is not included in the price (usually 3-15%).
  • The units of measurement, unfamiliar to most Europeans, are presented HERE.


You should always watch out for money, tickets and other valuables. It is better to keep them safe somewhere. As everywhere, you have to watch out for pickpockets in the USA.


If you travel to the northern states like New England, Oregon and Washington, you need warmer clothes even in summer. Otherwise it is warm enough for light clothing almost everywhere in summer.

The southern states are quite warm even in winter. Phoenix, for example, has a pleasant average temperature of 21 ° C in winter. On the other hand, it is up to 37 ° C hot in summer.

Language trip

A language trip to the USA is recommended for those who do not speak English well enough. This is the best way to get to know the country and the people in your future new home.

English language courses

Among the multitude of language courses, I recommend multimedia language courses because you learn very quickly with this method.