Travel to United States

USA: travel information

Formalities, ESTA

Tourists from the EU and Switzerland are only allowed to enter the country if a return ticket and sufficient financial means are available to finance their stay in the country. A passport is required for entry, which must be valid for at least the duration of the planned stay. Since October 26, 2004, visa-free entry into the USA has only been possible with a machine-readable passport (burgundy color). All travelers, including children of all ages (babies!), Need their own machine-readable passport.

The new machine-readable children’s passport and the machine-readable temporary passport are also recognized for visa-free entry.

Passports issued after October 25, 2005 must have a digital. Have a photograph. The (burgundy) machine-readable German passports (European passports) already meet this criterion and continue to entitle you to visa-free entry to the USA until the end of their validity.

Passports that were issued after October 25, 2006 must also have biometric data in chip form (so-called e-passport). Since September 30, 2004, a digital fingerprint and a digital portrait photo have also been made of all travelers upon entry.

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization)

Since the beginning of 2009, visitors to the USA, for which visa-free travel applies, must have registered with the US Department of Homeland Security at least three days (72 hours) prior to departure using a special registration form. The registration form is available on the Internet.

It is also offered in German. The authorization sent via the Internet is also required for transit travelers and is valid for two years. This means that you have an arrival permit but no entry permit, which can still be refused at the airport.

According to the US Embassy, approval usually comes within a few hours. The “visa-free entry” with ESTA is only valid for visits up to 90 days. A visa is required for longer stays! The ESTA form must answer the following questions, among others:

– Name

– Gender

– Date of birth

– Telephone number

– E-mail

– Passport details – Airline

code – Flight


– Place of departure

– Address in the USA

– Do you take drugs

The ESTA form is over The following web address (URL) can be called up:

The “visa-free entry traffic” via ESTA applies to the following countries:

Andorra Japan San Marino
Australia Latvia Sweden
Belgium Liechtenstein Switzerland
Brunei Lithuania Singapore
Denmark Luxembourg Slovakia
Germany Monaco Slovenia
Estonia New Zealand Spain
Finland Netherlands South Korea
France Norway United Kingdom
Ireland Austria Czech Republic
Iceland Portugal Hungary
Italy Republic of Malta

Currency, import and export of foreign

currency The US currency is the dollar.

1 dollar ($) = 100 cents

It is worth mentioning that all dollar bills with a length of 15.5 cm and a width of 6.5 cm are the same size. The weight of one dollar bill is around 1 g.

The import and export of foreign and national currency is possible without restrictions. However, if foreign or national currencies worth more than 10,000 US dollars are imported, a special customs declaration (customs form 790 “Currency Report”) is required. Tourists are advised to bring US dollars, travelers checks or credit cards with them as few banks exchange foreign currency. Travelers checks should be carried in US dollars. Money can be withdrawn from the ATM with a credit card or EC card (Maestro). Paying with international credit cards is now almost mandatory almost everywhere.

Importing and exporting goods The importation of weapons, ammunition or explosives is punishable by severe penalties, not least after September 11, 2001. The importation of illegal drugs of any kind is also strictly prohibited.

In addition, the import and export of plants and animals protected under the Washington Convention on Endangered Species is prohibited. And under no circumstances should you enter the country with inappropriate literature. It has happened before that a passenger has been sent back at the airport because he had a Karl Marx tape with him. There is no possibility of appeal against the decision of the responsible immigration officer

Travel in the country

Air connections Because of the sometimes huge distances, airplanes play an important role in the United States as a means of transport. Almost every major city has its own airport, from which almost every other city in the country can be reached. Airfares vary greatly between different airlines. In addition to the common booking classes First and Economy Class, there are numerous special tariffs and discounts. There are good discounts, especially for early bookers. Night flights are usually cheaper. A flight from the west to the east of the United States takes about five hours and from south to north about two hours. The free baggage allowance is based on the number and size of the pieces of luggage rather than their weight.


The inexpensive Gray Hound buses that more or less connect all cities in the USA are almost legendary.


The American Railroad Company (AMTRAK) has more than 500 destinations in the United States. In principle, reservations are required for rail travel in the USA. For many routes, it is advisable to book several weeks in advance. A special USA Rail Pass is offered for tourists who are not permanently resident in the USA or Canada. There are regional or national passports that have a limited period of validity (months or an entire travel season). The prices for train tickets vary according to capacity utilization and availability of the trains. Discounts for children on the basic price are possible. Surcharges are levied for traveling in first class and for sleeping compartments.

Ship connections

There are numerous and good ship connections on the rivers, lakes and on the coasts.


The car is a popular and convenient means of transportation in the United States. The maximum speed allowed on the roads is signposted. As a general rule: On interstate highways, depending on the state, 55-75 mph (miles per hour; this is 89-121 km/h); outside of cities on open roads 65 mph (105 km / h); 55 mph on US and State Highways, 25-30 mph (40-48 km/h) in built-up areas.

Especially in the east of the USA there are numerous toll roads (tolls), tunnels or bridges. Petrol is cheaper than in Europe. Petrol stations often have to pay in advance. The gasoline is filled in gallons, whereby one gallon equals 3.78 liters.

Rental car

There are large international car rental companies at all international airports and in major cities. There are flat rates and discounts for tourists. Credit card holders are often not required to pay a deposit. An “Economy” or “Compact” corresponds to a normal European car, “Standard” is a large sedan. The required minimum age of the driver differs depending on the car rental company. Especially travelers under the age of 25 should inform themselves about this in good time. An international driver’s license is often required in addition to a German one.

USA: Travel Medicine, Vaccinations, and Warnings

In the event of accidents, acts of violence or illness, good medical care is often life-saving, but at least it is of crucial importance for the course of the disease and the subsequent prognosis. In the major cities of the USA, medical care is excellent – but only if you can pay the sometimes extreme treatment costs. Therefore, a travel health insurance especially for the USA is strongly recommended.

Infectious diseases

In the USA, the following infectious diseases are to be expected in Germany or Central and Northern Europe:

  • West Nile fever in California, New York, New Mexico and Florida, among others
  • Rocky Mountain Mocks Fever
  • Rabies, especially from mice, foxes, skunks, raccoons, wolves and especially bats
  • Lyme disease is transmitted through tick bites
  • Dengue fever, especially in southern Texas (late summer/fall)
  • Fox tapeworm
  • Early summer meningo encephalitis, transmitted by tick bites
  • Plague, isolated occurrences in the west and mid-west
  • tetanus
  • Typhus, a risk of infection only exists in travelers who come into contact with polluted water or contaminated food

Recommended vaccinations

when traveling to the United States, the following vaccinations recommended:

  • Cholera, but only among travelers who can come into contact with polluted water or contaminated food
  • Diphtheria, a vaccination against diphtheria should always exist in your home country.
  • Hepatitis A and B, a vaccination against hepatitis B, is only required for people who may come into contact with blood or for those who seek sexual contact.
  • Polio, polio, a vaccination against polio should always exist, also in the home country.
  • Tetanus, a vaccination against tetanus should always exist in the home country.
  • Rabies, but only in high-risk travelers who can come into contact with the vector animals
  • Typhoid, but only in travelers who may come into contact with polluted water or contaminated food

Warning notices

You can get current notices as follows:

Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany (AA)

Visit Countryaah for a full list of United States embassies and consulates in each country around the world.

Representations of the USA in Germany

The US embassy on Pariser Platz – right next to the Brandenburg Gate – was opened on July 4th, 2008 – the US national day – in the presence of George Bush Sr. and Chancellor Merkel, where she was before the Second World War. Because of the special security requirements of the building, there had been considerable differences between the USA and the Berlin administration before construction began, but these could be resolved in an architecturally acceptable manner.

Embassy of the USA in Berlin

Pariser Platz 2

10117 Berlin

Tel: 0049 – (0) 30 – 830 50

Clayallee 170

14191 Berlin

Consulate General of the USA in Düsseldorf

Willi-Becker-Allee 10

40227 Düsseldorf

Tel: 0049 – (0) 211 – 7 88 89 27

Consulate General of the USA in Frankfurt

Gießener Strasse 30

60435 Frankfurt am Main

Tel: 0049 – (0) 69 – 7 53 50

Consulate General of the USA in Hamburg

Alsterufer 27/28

20354 Hamburg

Tel: 0049 – (0) 40 – 41 17 11 00

Consulate General of the USA in Leipzig

Wilhelm Seyfferth-Straße 4

04107 Leipzig

Tel: 0049 – (0) 341 – 2 13 84 10

Consulate General of the USA in Munich Koeniginstrasse


80539 Munich

Tel: 0049 – (0) 89 – 2 88 80

German representations in the USA

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington

4645 Reservoir Road, NW

Washington DC 20007 – 1998

Tel: 001 – 202 – 298 40 00


Consulate General in Atlanta

Marquis Two Tower, Suite 901, 285 Peachtree Center Avenue, NE

Atlanta GA 30303-1221

Tel: 001 – 404 – 659 47 60


Consulate General in Boston

Three Copley Place, Suite 500

Boston, MA 02116

Tel: 001 – 617 – 369 49 34

001 – 617 – 369 49 00


Consulate General in Chicago

676 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 3200

Chicago, IL 60611

Tel: 001- 312 – 202 04 80



Consulate General in Houston

1330 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 1850

Houston, TX 77056-3018

Tel: 001 – 713 – 627 77 70


Consulate General in Los Angeles

6222 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 500

Los Angeles, CA 90048

Tel: 001 – 323 – 930 27 03


Consulate General in Miami

100 N. Biscayne Boulevard

Miami, FL 33132

Tel: 001 – 305 – 358 02 90


Consulate General in New York

871 United Nations Plaza

New York, NY 10017, USA.

Tel: 001 – 212 – 610 97 00


Consulate General in San Francisco

1960 Jackson Street

San Francisco, CA 94109

Tel: 001 – 415 – 775 10 61


You can find other honorary consulates in:

Anchorage, Birmingham, Buffalo, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Greenville, Indianapolis, Jackson, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Louisville, Minneapolis, Naples, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis, and Virginia Beach.

Austrian representations in the USA

Embassy of the Republic of Austria in Washington

3524 International Court NW

DC 20008 Washington DC

Tel: 001 – 202 – 895 67 00


The Austrian Embassy in Washington is still responsible for the Bahamas.

Consulate General in Chicago

Wrigley Building, Suite 707, 400 North Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60611

Tel: 001 – 312 – 22 21 515


Consulate General in Los Angeles

11859 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 501

Los Angeles, California 90025

Tel: 001 – 310 – 44 49 310

Fax: 001 – 310 – 47 79 897



Consulate General in New York

31 East 69th Street

New York, NY 10021

Tel: 001 – 212 – 737 6400




Consulates Honorary Consulates can be found in: Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Columbus, Denver, Detroit, Fort Myers, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Richmond, Saint Paul, Salt Lake City, SanFrancisco, San Juan, Scottsdale, Seattle, St. Louis and St. Thomas.

Representations of the USA in Austria

Embassy of the USA in Vienna

Boltzmanngasse 16

1090 Vienna

Tel: 0043 -1 – 313 39



Swiss representations in the USA

Embassy of Switzerland in Washington

2900 Cathedral Avenue NW

DC 20008 Washington DC

Tel: 001 – 202 – 745 79 00



Consulate General in Atlanta

1349 W Peachtree Street NW

Suite 1000

Atlanta, GA 30309

Tel: 001 – 404 – 870 2000



Consulate General in Chicago

737 North Michigan Avenue

Suite 2301

Chicago, IL 60611

Tel: 001 – 312 – 915 4500

001 – 312 – 915 0061


Web: https: //www.eda.

Consulate General in Los Angeles

11766 Wilshire Boulevard

Suite 1400

Los Angeles, CA 90025

Tel: 001 – 310 – 575 1145



Consulate General in New York

633 Third Avenue, 30th floor

New York, NY 10017-6706

Tel: 001 – 212 – 599 5700



Consulate General in San Francisco

456 Montgomery Street

Suite 1500

San Francisco, CA 94104-1233

Tel: 001 – 415 – 788 2272




Consulates Honorary consulates can be found in:

Boston, Buffalo, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, San Juan and Seattle.

Representations of the USA in Switzerland

Embassy of the USA in Bern

Sulgeneckstrasse 19

3005 Bern

Telephone: 0041 – (0) 31 – 357 70 11


Consular agency in Zurich

c/o Zurich America Center, Dufourstrasse 101

8008 Zurich

Tel: 0041 – (0) 43 – 499 29 60

Currency, shop opening hours

The national currency of the USA is:

US dollars = 100 cents.

Shop opening times

Many supermarkets are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Travel to United States