I'm from Germany and me and my friends want to fly to Las Vegas, America. I was there two years ago with my parents and now I want to make a roadtrip with my friends in July 2016.

The problem in this case is that I got a German and Iranian passport. Two years ago, it was not a big deal, when I was signing myself for ESTA, but now I read something about a new law, where it's not allowed for German citizens who got an Iranian passport to fly to the US with the regular ESTA Program.

My question is therefore:

  1. Is this law already applied ?
  2. And if no, can I sign myself up for ESTA right now? Is it regular counting for two years ? So if this new law is coming, I'm not concerned with this matter, because I sign myself up, when the law was not applied? I would then sign up today and fly in July 2016. That's what I'm thinking about.
  3. The last time I signed myself up for the ESTA Program, we got a hotel in Vegas, which I also write in the program form. In this case, we want to book the hotel when we arrive in Vegas and not from Germany (it's cheaper to book in Vegas) so we don't have an address right now. So, it's OK, when I don't have adress where we're gonna stay? Or can I write in the hotel we want to stay? I'm worried that our case will be denied, if we don't have a stay.
  • Doesn't Germany require by law from naturalized citizens to renounce the previous citizenship when accepting German citizenship (i.e. doesn't allow the dual citizenships)?
    – Jas
    Dec 29, 2015 at 9:53
  • 3
    @Jas Iranian citizens are allowed to have a dual citizenships, it´s also a political issue. At least, this is, what germany says. don´t know how other countries handle this :/ but i wasn´t in iran for 6 years now and it also expires in 2015 (my iranian passport) but yeah.. the new agreement for the Waiver Program ist coming :( that´s why it´s so tricky.
    – Psychin
    Dec 29, 2015 at 10:13
  • When applying for ESTA or entering the USA, you will be asked to provide the name and address of some accommodation, so for this point, while bookings are not usually checked, an officer may ask if you booked it.
    – Vince
    Dec 29, 2015 at 10:20
  • what does this exactly mean @Vince? so does this mean, we have to book before we arrive in vegas? @CMaster i already read this threat, but there is no answer if the new law is already "active" or not and if it´s possible to sign in for esta right now to avoid the new law during 2016. (becauce right now i think esta would work with two passports)
    – Psychin
    Dec 29, 2015 at 11:17
  • 3
    @Jas In general yes but there are a number of exceptions, in particular if renouncing your previous citizenship is impossible or too difficult or if you are a refugee holding a 1951 convention travel document.
    – Relaxed
    Dec 29, 2015 at 11:25

1 Answer 1


Update: The official website has now been updated and reads:

Important Notice: The Department of Homeland Security has begun the process of implementing changes to the traveler eligibility requirements of the Visa Waiver Program mandated by the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, as enacted on December 18, 2015. The Department of Homeland Security will announce any changes affecting travelers to the United States from Visa Waiver Program countries as soon as that information is available.

This explicitly means that the changes are not yet in effect but that they are coming soon. Also, I am not a lawyer and I haven't read the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act” but “changes to the traveler eligibility requirements of the Visa Waiver Program” implies that you will not be able to go around these changes once they are in effect, even if you still have a valid ESTA.

The changes are not yet into effect. Neither the State department nor the Customs and Border Protection VWP/ESTA websites have been updated. When these changes were announced, about a week ago, the timeframe wasn't clear and these things usually take some time. They might very well be implemented before the summer however.

It's difficult to know exactly what the new rules will be while we only have a broad announcement but it's definitely not safe to assume that applying for an ESTA now would spare you the need to get a visa until it expires. For that's not how these things usually work! For example, if you look at the Visa Waiver Program rules, you will note that you need to have an ESTA and fulfil all the other conditions. If your situation (or the law) changes, already having the ESTA does not exempt you from the other requirements of the program.

On the other hand, you have very little to lose besides $14 (being refused an ESTA might force someone to apply for a visa, but it's likely to be the case for you anyway).

  • We decided now, to book first a hotel from germany, to put it in the ESTA formula. We only book a hotel for one night, so just to have a stay, when we arrive and yeah guys, you´re probarly right :) Do you think, this would make the hole thing easier?? And yeah, 14 $ is nothing in this point, so we will fulfill our ESTA formular after we book a hotel for one night. Besides, i was thinking that it would works, when i would get a positive access at my ESTA Formular, like 2 years ago, even when the law is arranged and active during 2016?
    – Psychin
    Dec 30, 2015 at 8:09
  • It´s a yeah.. very difficult issue for me.. we want to book our flight, but i´m so afraid that in the end for me, the access to the states will be denied :( on the other hand, we have to book soon, otherwise we will pay a huge amount for the ticket. So guys, what do you think? Should i book the flight? I mean, even when i have to go to the consulate to get a Visa, because of the new law, i think i would get one right? Or are they any problems with it, that you would advise against it?
    – Psychin
    Dec 30, 2015 at 8:10
  • I mean, i´m a student who´s making his master degree in business law and i just want to hang aroung with my 6 best friends, to make the experience of our life, nothing else.I also was there 2 years ago with my family, so yeah just want to make this experience with my friends again. So i´m really confused and stressed about it, if i should just book or not. Besides guys.. is there any possibilty, that the new law will be changed for example for iranian citizens like me? or is it signed and tight?
    – Psychin
    Dec 30, 2015 at 8:10
  • 1
    @Psychin Like I said, I don't really know at the moment but I'm afraid your ESTA is likely not to be valid anymore come July. But, yes, even if that's the case, you should still be able to apply for a visa and you would be very likely to get one. In fact, you could also apply for that visa now, without waiting. The main downside is that it means more paperwork, an interview and paying a €150 fee but it could bring you some peace of mind before booking everything.
    – Relaxed
    Dec 30, 2015 at 9:23
  • 1
    @Psychin When you apply for the US visa you should use your German passport. This will allow you get a multiple entry 10 year validity visa. If you used the Iranian passport then the visa would only be valid for a single entry and 90 days. Dec 30, 2015 at 21:55

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .