Updated on 01.03.2021

Instructions for filling out the ESTA application

Where can I find the national identity number?

For visa-free entry into the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), travelers must apply in advance online for an electronic ESTA travel authorization. Below we clarify the most important questions regarding the ESTA application.

Topics on this page:
Jump to topic

Share article:

ESTA at a glance

With the approved ESTA permit, travelers can usually stay in the US for up to 90 days for limited business or tourism purposes. The application is made via the official ESTA page or also about the app if you already have a recent passport.

Alternatively, our partner ESTA-ONLINE offers an ESTA application. Here, both your information is checked again and you have a customer service that is personally available to you.

Those who want to stay longer in the USA or study or work in America, for example, need a visa for the USA.

Since we often receive questions about ESTA, we have compiled helpful tips on how to correctly fill out the ESTA application below:

1. Upload photo passport

Since December 2022, the upload of a photo of the passport is already required at the beginning of the ESTA application, from which the personal data is then read out.

You can either take a photo yourself and upload it or create an image via the laptop/screen camera. The system will guide you through the process.

Unfortunately, the data is sometimes read out incorrectly. It is therefore essential that you check the transferred data and also observe the specified date format.

You can find more info about upload here.

Reisepassbild hochladen

2. National identification number

What is the National Identification Number?

The "National ID Number" or national identity number refers to the number of the identity document issued by the country and is therefore different from the passport number. The national identity number appears exclusively in the identity card, therefore you will find these not in international travel documents such as the passport.

Attention: The ESTA application is always based on the information in the passport. The national identity number is only asked for in one place in the ESTA form.

Where can I find the National Identity Number?

The national identity number can be found in the upper right corner of the German identity card. It thus corresponds to the serial number of your ID card.

Is it necessary to indicate the National Identification Number in the ESTA application?

The national identification number is a mandatory field for German citizens and should always be entered on an existing identity card.

What to do if there is no National Identification Number or Identity Card?

If no valid identity card and therefore no national identity number is available, at this point it is best to use "UNKNOWN" or "DOESNOTAPPLY" (without spaces) must be specified.

3. First names

In the input field of the ESTA application, all first names that appear in the passport should be entered. The reason for this is that the first name(s) appearing in the passport must be identical to the ESTA information. If your passport contains another first name (second name or middle name) is specified, this must also be entered in the ESTA form.

4. Umlauts in the name

As a rule, when filling out the ESTA application, you should always give your name as it appears in your passport. However, people with umlauts, "ß" or special characters in their first and/or last name - i.e. letters that do not exist in the English alphabet - must take special care when filling out the ESTA application and indicate umlauts and co. in their ESTA travel authorization as follows:

  • "ae", "oe" or "ue" instead of "ä", "ö", "ü"
  • "ss" instead of "ß

The reason for this is that in English or in international forms such as the ESTA application neither umlauts nor special characters can be displayed. If you nevertheless enter an umlaut or a special character in the ESTA form, an error message will appear in the ESTA system ("contains invalid characters"). ESTA applicants must therefore note umlauts as "ae", "oe" and "ue" and "ß" as "ss".

Attention: In German passports, umlauts such as "ä", "ö", "ü" as well as the "ß" known as an eszett or sharp S are regularly indicated. However, your name in the lower machine-readable part of your passport is always machine-readable, i.e. in the internationally valid spelling. You can refer to this in case of inquiries on the part of the border officials or discrepancies.

Umlaute im Reisepass umschreiben
Sie haben nicht alle nötigen Cookies akzeptiert um diese Funktion zu verwenden. Sie können Ihre Einstellungen hier ändern.

5. Dual citizenship

If you have a second nationality, it must always be indicated. If there is no valid second passport, each applicant must enter at least the country of the second nationality. In the field of passport number, in the absence of a second passport, you can enter "DOESNOTAPPLY", "DOESNOTEXIST" (without spaces) or "UNKNOWN" be selected.

6. Subsequent changes

Currently, after the online submission of the ESTA application, only the Address in the USA be changed. Of course, the ESTA authorization remains valid despite the different USA travel, changing departure airports and residence addresses.

Subsequent changes to the Master data or Security issues are not possible. If further information is to be changed (e.g. name change, security questions, etc.), a new ESTA application must be submitted.

Sie haben nicht alle nötigen Cookies akzeptiert um diese Funktion zu verwenden. Sie können Ihre Einstellungen hier ändern.


Updated on 01.03.2021