How to avoid ESTA fraud

With completion help: Create an Esta application step by step

If you want to visit the USA as a tourist, you have to register on the internet beforehand and answer some tricky questions. With our step-by-step instructions, nothing goes wrong.

To enter the USA, you have to have had the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (Esta) sign in. The Esta is an electronic entry system for visa-free travel to the United States. You can sign up on the official website of the US government. At the top right under "Change Language" you can change the language of the form to German.

US citizens and people with a US visa do not need an Esta permit.

Requirements for an Esta application

If you want to apply for entry into the USA, you must meet the following requirements.

  • You need one passport, which is valid for the entire planned length of stay. Children must show a child's passport.
  • The planned stay may not exceed 90 days last
  • You need one Credit cardto pay the application online.
  • You must have one Return ticket to have.
  • You have to as Tourist or business enter.
  • You are a national of one of the 38 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which enables visa-free travel to the United States. This also includes Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The Esta travel authorization is valid for up to two years or until your passport expires - whichever comes first.

When do I have to submit the Esta application?

You must submit the Esta application at least 72 hours before departure. This takes about 20 minutes and a few minutes later you will usually receive confirmation that a permit has been granted.

However, it can happen that technical problems arise and you have to wait for a message. It is best to submit the application in good time to avoid difficulties. You can check the processing status of your application at any time on the official Esta website.

The application is valid for two years and applies to all trips you make to the USA during this time. So if you want to make a second trip to the United States in a year after submitting your application, you don't have to submit a new application.

How do I submit an application through the Esta?

For approval, you must submit an application to enter the US on the official site and truthfully answer all questions.

If your application is not approved, it does not mean that you are not allowed to enter the United States. It just means that you need to apply for a visa to do this. We have summarized what you need to consider here.

Esta application: fill-in aid

When submitting an Esta application, you must truthfully provide a lot of your personal information. Mandatory information is marked with an asterisk. You do not have to fill out any fields without an *.

We accompany you step by step through the registration process.

1. Disclaimer

At the beginning you have to assure that you give all information truthfully. You confirm that you only want to enter the country as a tourist or on business, so you neither want to go to school in the USA nor do you want to immigrate. You also agree that you will pay the $ 14 administration fee.

2. Applicant information

In the next step you have to provide information about yourself such as your name and age. Please note that you have to write out umlauts. A Ä becomes ae, ö to oe and ü to ue

Passport number: You will also need to provide your passport number. Be careful not to mix up the letters and numbers. It is particularly difficult to find the zero and the letter O to keep apart. Here we explain how you can avoid problems.

National identity number: In the field "National Identity Number" you can enter "UNKNOWN" if you come from Germany. Because the Federal Republic does not assign such a number. Make sure not to use a space, otherwise an error message may appear.

Professional background: You will also be asked to enter your current or last employer. If the company no longer exists, you can also enter "UNKNOWN" for the address data. In contrast to this, you can also provide the following information:

  • SELF-EMPLOYED (self-employed
  • STUDENT (student)
  • HOMEMAKER (housewife or househusband)
  • STAY AT HOME PARENT (caring parent)

3. Travel information

US contact person: If you do not have a contact person such as friends or business partners in the United States, please enter the details of your hotel here. For round trips, the address of the first hotel in which you are staying is sufficient. If you don't have a phone number for the hotel, enter zeros.

Address during your stay: If the address matches the one you entered in the "US contact person" field, then it is sufficient to tick the "See the information given above" check box. Otherwise, enter the relevant address.

Emergency contact information: Enter the details of a person close to you who can be contacted in an emergency. If you do not want to enter an e-mail address, you can enter "UNKNOWN" here, with zeros for the telephone number.

4. Questions regarding eligibility

In this part, you need to truthfully answer questions. If you answer "yes" to one of the questions, there is a good chance that your application will be rejected.

5. Review the application

In step five you have the opportunity to check your details again and correct them if necessary. Are all details correct? Then check the box next to "Confirmation" and click on.

You will then have to confirm personal details such as passport number, family name and date of birth again.

6. Payment

Finally, you must provide your credit card details and agree to the payment of the administration fee. You can also make the payment with a PayPal account.

What does an Esta application cost?

When submitting an Esta application, you will have to pay an administration fee. The cost is 14 US dollars (about 12 euros) per registration, which you can pay by credit card or PayPal account.

Will my data be saved?

Personal data that you provide, such as passport number, travel data and the employment relationship, are compared with the data of the American law enforcement authorities and then stored for 13 years.

Beware of dubious offers

If you search for "Esta" on Google, you will not only see the official site but also offers such as,, or Caution is advised here.

These private providers charge a service fee of $ 39 to $ 84 - up to six times the actual cost. In doing so, they only transmit the travelers' data to the embassy and usually offer no added value.

Some of the providers advertise offering the Esta form in German. However, the language can also be set on the official website of the US authorities.