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Passport for USA travel

If you plan a trip to the United States, you will need a passport. However, visitors to the USA must be aware of the type of passport required and the minimum validity. Learn about all the passport requirements for traveling to the United States.

Which type of passport do I need for the USA?

Entry into the USA with the electronic travel authorization ESTA requires a biometric passport with a data chip. Alternatively, you can travel to the United States with a temporary passport if you apply for a US visa at the American embassy.

However, since the application process for a classic visa is much more expensive and time-consuming than obtaining an ESTA, we recommend that you apply for the biometric passport in good time so that you can submit the fuss-free ESTA application shortly before your trip.

Getting to the USA faster and cheaper with ESTA

With ESTA, traveling to the United States is much easier than with a classic US visa. The electronic travel authorization enables you to:

  • travel to the USA without a visa
  • stay up to 90 days
  • besides sightseeing & Co., also attend business appointments
  • enter the United States only 72 hours after applying

→ Apply for ESTA now

How to identify the biometric passport?

The biometric passport, also known as the electronic passport or ePassport, is a book-shaped document that contains a memory chip with personal data.

Optical characteristics:

  • hardcover (book format)
  • laminated data page inside the booklet with a passport photo
  • scannable code at the bottom of the data page
  • golden ICAO symbol on the front

Passport data:

  • country of issue
  • passport number
  • last name
  • first name
  • date of birth
  • nationality
  • place of birth
  • date of issue expiration date place of issue

The biometric passport is considered 99.9 % forgery-proof.

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Passport validity: US authorities have strict rules

Normally, upon arrival in the USA, foreigners must present a passport valid for at least six months after the intended date of departure. However, an exception applies to nationals of countries in the so-called "Six-Month Club."

If your passport was issued in a country that is a member of the Six Month Club, your passport only needs to be valid until you depart from the United States.

If your home country is not one of the Six Month Club countries, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your departure date.

New passport - new travel permit for the USA?

If you are holding a valid ESTA or US visa and apply for a new passport, there are different procedures:

  • ESTA holders must submit a new ESTA application, as the electronic travel authorization is permanently linked to the passport number.
  • Holders of traditional US visas from the embassies do not need to apply for a new visa, but must carry both passport documents with them each time they enter the United States.

Please ensure that your visa will not be damaged when your old passport is voided. Only as long as the visa is in good condition will it remain valid, provided it is presented with the new passport.

Coming to the USA with children: Which passport is needed?

Children need a biometric passport for an ESTA application - regardless of age. However, if you don't mind the hassle and expense of applying for a traditional US visa at the embassy, your child can accompany you to the US with a non-biometric children's passport.

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