A Trip to the USA – what to take care of

There are many reasons to travel to the USA. Which places are worthwhile themselves and which is to be considered with the entry, I want to describe here briefly.

Vacation in the USA

The USA is an interesting holiday destination. You can do everything there that you can do usually only in different countries. Skiing in the north, sunbathing and swimming in the south, especially in Florida and California. Many interesting areas invite you to extensive hikes. Mountain ranges like the Rocky Mountains with their untouched nature and national parks. But also the big cities, which belong to the biggest in the world with their buildings and size. New York, Los Angeles and Miami, to name but a few that every child knows.

Which places should you visit? It’s hard to give a general answer. Many decide for a round trip. You rent a car and drive to the places that interest you most. If you are mainly looking for cultural entertainment, you will be on the road a lot on the east coast. Nature lovers will probably be drawn to the Midwest.


Those who enter the USA and are German citizens can do so without a visa as long as their stay is less than 90 days. Since 2008, however, it has been necessary to have your arrival approved electronically. This must be done in good time before arrival. It is done electronically with the help of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). ESTAS can be completed online and various data must be filled in.

Please note that this registration and release does not guarantee entry into the USA. The last word always has the officials on the spot at the entry. Whoever enters by land, as from Mexico or Canada, is exempt from the obligation to apply for the ESTA.

The advantage lies in the short-term assessment of the request. It is recommended to make the application about 72 hours before arrival, which is usually rejected or confirmed within a few seconds.

Those who apply for and obtain a regular visa are exempted from the need to apply for the ESTA. The disadvantage, however, is the very long processing time of up to eight weeks.

In addition, a biometric passport is required for entry into the USA.

Import and export of goods

The USA has strict regulations regarding the import of goods. If you are not sure whether something is to be declared or even forbidden, you should make yourself smart before entering the country. In the best case, the goods will only be confiscated on entry, in the worst case you are liable to prosecution.

Sort out everything you do not need before you enter the country. What you do not have with you cannot be confiscated or get you into trouble. It is better to give too much information when importing than too little.

There are strict regulations especially for high-priced items such as jewellery, electronics, precious metals or cash.

Pay attention also with medicines to the Rgelungen. These could be declared as illegal drugs!

When exporting, the regulations of the destination country are decisive. Here you must make sure that you do not take anything with you whose import is prohibited in the EU.

Driving a car in the USA

Those who make a round trip through the USA will usually do so with a rented car. What do I need to bear in mind? Although you can rent a car from the age of 18, the low prices are only possible for people who have reached the age of 24. The driver’s license must of course be valid, the international driver’s license alone is not enough. Nothing works without a credit card. Also make sure that you have sufficient insurance cover, as the amounts that can be claimed are higher than in Europe and could not be fully covered by the basic insurances.

Be sure to familiarise yourself with the traffic rules. These are comparable to those in Europe, but in stressful situations unknown signs can lead to wrong behaviour. And as in Germany: “Ignorance does not protect against punishment”. Especially the slow speeds on the highways should be kept embarrassingly.

Police controls should be taken seriously. Since it is easier in the USA to get at firearms, the policemen are clearly more careful with controls.


Those who travel to the USA should inform themselves sufficiently. There are many regulations that can lead to problems if they are not observed. A good idea is to take care of your ESTA registration in time and to have all other formalities in order.