Is it safe to travel in Texas?

The global Corona (Covid-19) outbreak is having a huge impact on travel to the US, including travelers who already have an ESTA. On this page you can read everything about the current status as well as the expected developments regarding traveling to the USA with an ESTA and the coronavirus. All information on this page was updated on May 14, 2021.

Corona cases in the USA

There is currently no country with as many confirmed corona cases as the USA. As of May 14, 2021, 32,853,003 cases had been reported. In addition, 584,487 people have died as a result of the coronavirus in the United States. To date, 266,195,340 doses of vaccine have been administered in the United States. Since mid-January 2021, the number of new infections every day and, above all, deaths in the USA has been falling. As of May 14, Americans who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear a face mask or keep their distance. They only have to wear mouth / nose protection in heavily frequented indoor areas such as hospitals and public transport.

Due to the coronavirus (Covid-19), traveling to the USA with an ESTA is not always possible

ESTA applications are still being approved

You can still apply for an ESTA despite the Corona outbreak. Applications are processed as quickly as usual. Since the exact travel plans do not have to be known at the time of application and an ESTA is valid for two years, many applications are still processed and approved. If you want to travel to the US at any time in the next two years, you can simply apply for an ESTA.

Apply for an ESTA travel authorization for the USA now

Traveling to the US with an ESTA despite the coronavirus

All ESTA authorizations that have been issued initially remain valid for up to two years after the date of issue. Only if the passport to which the ESTA is linked expires does the validity end earlier. Corona won't change that. However, having a valid ESTA does not mean that you can travel to the US without any problems. The US authorities have taken some measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. This includes a temporary entry ban for people who have stayed in an area that has been classified as a risk area by the US authorities.

Entry ban USA

The US government currently does not exclude travelers because of their nationality, but because of their stay (or transit) in certain countries in the weeks before traveling to the USA. Even if you have a valid ESTA, you can be banned from entering the USA because of the risk of the coronavirus spreading further. This temporary measure is also known as an entry ban ("travel ban"). The entry ban includes that travelers who have stayed in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or one of the countries listed below in the 14 days prior to their departure, except for Others are not allowed to enter the USA.

Anyone who has stayed in one of these countries in the past 14 days is subject to the US travel ban
GermanyAustriaSwitzerland
NetherlandsBelgiumChina
BrazilDenmarkEstonia
FinlandFranceGreece
HungaryIndiaIceland
IranIrelandItaly
LatviaLiechtensteinLithuania
LuxembourgMaltaNorway
PolandPortugalSlovakia
SloveniaSpainSweden
Czech RepublicSouth AfricaUnited Kingdom*

* with the exception of the overseas territories outside Europe

Transit in the United States is still possible for travelers who have not been to any country on the above list in the 14 days prior to the transit. You can apply for an ESTA as usual and transfer in the USA. Travelers arriving in the states of Massachusetts or New York are required to complete an online health form prior to arrival.

As of January 26, 2021, all travelers over the age of 2 who are allowed to travel to the USA due to an exemption must present a negative test result (printed or electronic) in order to be able to check-in for a flight to the United States. This test must not have been taken more than 3 days before departure. Instead of the PCR test, people who became infected with the coronavirus in the 90 days prior to entering the United States can also provide proof of infection and a doctor's certificate that this person is allowed to travel again. In addition, US health officials strongly recommend anyone arriving in the US to be in (home) quarantine for at least 7 days and to have an antigen or PCR test performed 3 to 5 days after arrival. In some US states this is even mandatory for travelers from certain countries (e.g. in New York state for travelers from Great Britain).

Exceptions to the entry ban

Exceptions to the US entry ban apply to US residents as well as US citizens and their children and spouses. There is also an exception for parents and guardians and siblings (unmarried) of legal residents of the United States and persons under the age of 21 who are US citizens.

In addition, exceptions are made for people whose travel to the USA, according to Homeland Security's assessment, is in the national interest of the USA. These exceptions apply to students traveling on an F-1 or M-1 visa, journalists, academics, people with a J-1 visa, people who are responsible for the vital infrastructure of the USA (industries such as the Defense, Energy, Agriculture or Health Sector) provide vital services and highly skilled individuals traveling for humanitarian reasons or in connection with US public health or national security.

Travelers who wish to apply for a visa for any of the above purposes and believe that their purpose for travel to America is in the national interest or have other very urgent reasons for their travel should contact the US consulate. Even travelers who do not need a visa but only an ESTA, but whose trip to the USA is in the national interest of the United States or who have another very urgent reason for traveling to the USA, can apply for an exception to the travel ban at the US consulate apply by submitting a Send an e-mail to [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected] with evidence of the urgency of the trip to the facility .

Cancellation of ESTAs

If the US immigration authorities suspect that you are not complying with the entry ban, your ESTA will be canceled. As soon as you comply with the regulations again, you can apply for a new ESTA. In exceptional cases, ESTAs are wrongly canceled. This happens when the airline has not correctly notified U.S. immigration authorities that a resident of one of the above countries has not been in that country for at least 14 days. If your ESTA has been wrongly canceled, please contact your airline, explain that you are not covered by the entry ban and ask your airline to notify the RCLG.

Moment in which you can safely travel to the USA again

Unfortunately, it is not yet known when vacation or business trips to the USA with an ESTA from Germany, Austria or Switzerland can take place again. The current entry ban applies indefinitely. There are rumors that the Schengen entry ban will be lifted soon, but these have not yet been confirmed by US authorities. Keep an eye on this page for the latest developments.

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You are already in the USA

Travelers who are still in the US are advised to take some precautions to reduce the risk of corona infection. In principle, the same recommendations apply to German, Austrian and Swiss citizens in the USA as in their own country. Also, be aware of recommendations from local authorities, which vary from state to state. In any case - as long as you are not yet fully vaccinated - observe the following guidelines in order to reduce the risk of corona infection:

  • Avoid social contacts and do not visit people with health problems
  • Keep a distance of two meters from other people
  • Avoid shaking hands, anyone can have the coronavirus
  • Wash your hands regularly and for a long time (at least 20 seconds) with soap
  • Clean your cell phone regularly, your cell phone can also spread the coronavirus
  • Cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm
  • Try to touch your face as little as possible
  • Use paper tissues
  • Wear mouth and nose protection if it is not possible to keep enough distance

When returning from the USA to Germany, you must have yourself tested for Corona before you arrive in Germany and register on the website einreiseanmeldung.de and have proof of your registration on this website with you. You are only allowed to travel to Germany if the test result is negative. In addition, you must either stay in home quarantine for 10 days or at least until a negative corona test, which can be done at the earliest 5 days after entry, as the USA is currently classified as a risk area.

If you cannot leave the USA on time (e.g. due to current travel restrictions, illness or flight cancellation) and your ESTA is about to expire, you can request an extension of your stay for a further 30 days. To do this, please contact the US Immigration Service (a The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Contact Center), one of the border posts at an airport or road border crossing or one of the so-called Deferred Inspection Sites.

Reclaiming Coronavirus Financial Loss

An ESTA issued for the USA remains valid despite the Corona measures. Issued travel authorizations and visas can never be complained about, not even if they are (cannot) used. You have received a valid ESTA and can use it to travel to the USA even if you are not allowed to be in the Schengen countries, Great Britain, Brazil, China or South Africa in the 14 days before the trip. Many Germans, Austrians and Swiss have travel and travel cancellation insurance. However, many insurance companies rely on the “force majeure” clause found in many insurance contracts. Because the financial consequences of Corona are so great, many insurers do not have sufficient capital to fund all claims for flights, hotel stays and unused ESTAs for the United States.

Disclaimer: This article about the consequences of Corona for traveling with an ESTA was created with the greatest possible care and based on the information available. However, no guarantee is given for the content provided. Given the speed with which Corona is spreading, it cannot be guaranteed that this article will always contain the most up-to-date information.