Since April 1, 2016, entry into the USA with an ESTA is only possible with a biometric passport. Children's passports, which are recognized as entry documents in many countries, are not valid in the USA.
How you can recognize a biometric passport
If you currently have a valid passport, you can assume that it is biometric. Biometric passports have been available since the beginning of November 2005. Since the passport is valid for a maximum of 10 years, older documents can no longer be used since several years.
Many users are looking for a chip in their biometric passport. This is present, but not visible to the naked eye. It is located in the passport cover. On the front there is a white circle with a white line on a black background. That marks the passport as biometric.
You can also enter the USA with other documents?
In general, the question should not arise, because every German citizen can apply for a passport. Age doesn't matter. If you do not have a passport for any reason, you must apply for a visa. This is an option for holders of temporary passports and children's passports. With an identity card, entry is not possible even with a visa. The visa is called a B-1/B-2 visa. It can take several weeks for travelers to hold the document in their hands. The costs are higher and also the expenditure is not insignificant. Applicants must undergo an interview at the consulate.
What data is stored on the biometric passport?
The first biometric passports contained personal data (first and last name, nationality, date of birth). The passport data has also been saved. Since 1 November 2007, the passport has also stored two fingerprints.
Apply for passports in good time before your trip
Whoever has been in the euro area with their family may not have a passport. It was also not necessary until now, because the journey is possible here without problems with the passport. The passport can be a not insignificant cost factor for a larger family. Important: Everyone needs a passport. If you want to travel to the States with your three-year-old son, you also need a passport. Please do not forget: it is not possible to enter the country with a children's passport. The following documents must be submitted for each traveller:
- A biometric passport photo. The minimum size is 35 x 45 millimetres.
- Event your old passport
- A ID card
- Who has never had a passport needs a civil status certificate, birth certificate, marriage certificate or a similar document.
The costs depend on the age and the number of pages. Up to 12 years the document costs 13 Euro. Up to 24 years, the pass costs 37.50 euros with 32 pages (59.90 euros for 48 pages). The document is valid for six years up to 24 years. The passport is valid for 10 years from the age of 24 and costs 60 Euro with 32 pages. If you need more pages, you pay 82 Euro. This passport now has 48 pages.
The machining time is four to six weeks. However, you should not rely on it, because it can take longer.
An express passport is issued to tourists after 72 hours
Practice often looks different. One is in the middle of the travel preparations and five days before the journey some begin to apply for the passport. With a normal passport you have no luck. The authorities do not recognise the temporary passport. What to do. The solution is quite simple. An express passport takes 72 hours. This does not include Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. These must take applicants into account. The express passport costs a surcharge of 32 Euro on the regular price.
An ESTA can only be applied for with a valid passport. If you want to enter with a temporary passport or a children's passport, you need a visa. This is hardly worth it, because the application takes longer and the costs are higher. If you still need a passport quickly, it is better to apply for an express passport at the citizens' office of your place of residence. This costs an additional fee, but it is still less than the visa.