In recent weeks, the media and travelers to the USA have increasingly reported that they have been denied entry to the USA with ESTA. The rejection was justified in connection with previous trips to Cuba in recent years. Below you will find all important information about the ESTA requirements for previous travel to Cuba.
From the side of the US authorities, Cuba is still not on the list of countries that are not ESTA travel eligible. Officially, only individuals who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan or Syria since March 01, 2011 are excluded from the visa waiver program. To date, the security query in the ESTA online application form continues to ask only for travel to these countries. There is no query about previous travel to Cuba.
Since a few days, in the FAQ section of the official ESTA website of the U.S. Immigration Service, one can find the notice regarding Cuba that travelers who have visited a "State Sponsor of Terrorism", regardless of the time period, are no longer authorized to enter the U.S. visa-free with ESTA, but must apply for a visa. Cuba was designated as a so-called "State Sponsor of Terrorism" by the U.S. in early 2021.
Other official U.S. authorities' websites also point out that not all travelers to Cuba would be excluded from the Visa Waiver Program. Only those groups of people who stayed in Cuba on or after January 12, 2021 would be affected. This contradictory information continues to cause confusion. An official announcement from the U.S. Department of State or U.S. immigration authorities is still pending.
It is currently unknown how decisions will be made at border control, as not all travelers with ESTA authorization and Cuba stamps were generally rejected upon entry. If travelers who have entered Cuba in the past want to be on the safe side, it is currently recommended to apply for a non-immigrant visa, regardless of the period of travel to Cuba at that time.
In order to be on the safe side when traveling to the U.S. and to avoid rejection at the border, travelers who have a Cuba stamp in their passport or have traveled to Cuba should apply for a non-immigrant visa (e.g. the B2 tourist visa for vacation trips). With a non-immigrant visa you have not only gained a longer period of stay of a total of 180 days per entry, but you can also use the visa on average up to 10 years, because the consulates usually issue the visas with a validity of 10 years.
Unfortunately, there are still long waiting times of many weeks for free interview appointments at the responsible U.S. consulates for the application of a non-immigrant visa. Accordingly, former travelers to Cuba should plan enough lead time for their visa application when making travel plans to the USA. Currently, appointments at the U.S. consulates are partially available again only in the new year!
In addition, we recommend that all persons who have already been to Cuba or have received an entry stamp in their passport and still decide to travel under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA), check the validity of their ESTA authorization before departure.
The current fee of the US consulate is EUR 152,00.
Please note that Russian citizens or persons with dual Russian citizenship currently do not receive appointments at the US consulates. Accordingly, visa applications for this group of persons are currently not possible!
In general: If you have a passport issued by one of the following countries or if you are a dual citizen of one of the following countries, you cannot currently obtain an interview appointment at the US Consulate and therefore you cannot apply for a visa! Emergencies (e.g. death in the family) may be exempt!
Due to the current situation, there are longer waiting times for an appointment at the British visa centre TLS. The reason for this is the need for increased capacity for war refugees from Ukraine!
The Visa Centres Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich currently advise that it is only possible to apply for a visa for the UK if you are fully vaccinated (against COVID-19)or have a recovered status (at least 27-28 days old, maximum 3 months old). Persons who have not been fully vaccinated or who have only been tested CANNOT APPLY FOR A VISA AT THIS TIME!
The British visa authority and the TLS Teleperformance Visa Center, which must be used to apply for the visa, have adjusted the fees to the current exchange rate and also increased them.
Further information can be obtained at any time by phone or e-mail. The new prices are noted on the respective order forms and info pages.
Since late January 2020, the U.S. has taken increasing measures to combat the spread of coronavirus and protect the U.S. labor market. Now, the removal of the ban on entry into the United States has been announced for November 8, 2021. Read below to see the implications for travelers, visa applicants*, and visa holders.
On October 25, President Biden announced a Presidential Proclamation entitled "A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic." This proclamation, which takes effect at 00:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 8, 2021, repeals the travel restrictions of Presidential Proclamations (P.P. ) 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199, relating to the suspension of entry into the United States for persons residing in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, Südafrica, and the United Kingdom, respectively, are lifted.
In lieu of these restrictions, the President announced a global vaccination requirement for all adult foreign travelers. This proclamation applies to individuals who plan to enter the United States on a flight after 12:01 a.m. öst standard time on Nov. 8, 2021.
For more information on this global vaccination requirement, including details on exemptions and waivers based on humanitarian considerations, see Non-U.S. citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States | CDC.
According to President Biden's proclamation, the Department may process visa applications for individuals physically present in the affected countries beginning Nov. 8. Please note that the lifting of these P.P.'s does not necessarily mean that your ört U.S. Embassy or Consulate will be able to immediately schedule all affected applicants for a visa interview.
After November 8, 2021, all foreign nationals who travel to the United States by land or air and can demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to re-enter the United States. This also applies to travelers from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa and the United Kingdom (= Travel Ban countries). This will make tourist travel, family visits, etc. with a visa or ESTA possible again as of November 8, 2021.
At the same time, entry into the U.S. for unvaccinated travelers from countries not named in the Presidential Proclamation, which were previously not subject to restrictions, will become more difficult starting November 8, 2021. This will affect, for example, foreign unvaccinated travelers from Japan or Canada.
In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue a new order requiring airlines to collect contact information from U.S. travelers to enable contact tracing. It is likely that the so-called contact-tracing system will be implemented for all travelers regardless of vaccination status.
Which vaccines are accepted by U.S. regulators has now been described in a bit more detail by the U.S. Public Health Service (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC).
After Nov. 8, 2021, vaccines approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, and vaccines listed in the emergency use list of the World Health Organization, or WHO, will be permitted in all cases (= WHO Emergency Use Listing, or EUL). These include the following vaccines:
Here is the list of WHO-approved vaccines.
Otherwise, individuals are considered...
...as fully vaccinated.
Participants in studies for vaccines that are still in the clinical approval phase in the U.S. (e.g. Novavax) may also enter the U.S. as fully vaccinated under certain conditions.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals with cross-vaccinations can be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their last dose if they
Proof üof vaccination is provided by:
If you have recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with proof üof recovery from COVID-19 (ie. Your positive COVID-19 viral test result from a specimen taken no more than 90 days prior to departure from a foreign country, and a letter from a licensed health care provider or öpublic health official stating that you are cleared to travel).
The mandatory testing that has been in place since Jan. 26, 2021, for airline passengers worldwide entering the U.S. from abroad remains in place.
To continue to contain the spread of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, travelers – including fully vaccinated individuals – either within 3 days (vaccinated persons)/1 day (unvaccinated persons)be subjected to mandatory COVID-19 testing prior to departure for the United States and provide a negative test result or provide evidence üof recovery from COVID-19.
Whether visa appointments will be released for additional categories, and if so, to what extent, also remains to be seen. We suspect that, for example, B-1 / B-2 interview appointments could be re-released with the elimination of the travel ban (likely associated with long wait times).
To this end, the U.S. Department of Labor advises: Please note that the lifting of these P.P.'s does not necessarily mean that your ört U.S. Embassy or Consulate will be able to immediately schedule all affected applicants for a visa interview. Please check the embassy/consulate website for information on what services they currently provide and how to apply for a nonimmigrant visa.
Taken from: US Visa Service - 10/18/2021 - 12:20
White House press release: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, September 20, 2021
TRAVEL STATE GOV press Release: Update on U.S. Travel Policy Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention press release: Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States
TRAVEL STATE GOV press release (25.10.2021): Safely Resuming Travel by Vaccine Requirement and Rescission of Travel Restrictions on Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention press release (25.10.2021): Non-U.S. citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States
Effective September 7, foreign nationals who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption can enter Canada for discretionary travel.
Canadian citizens (including dual citizens), people registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents of Canada, or protected persons (refugee status) are allowed to enter Canada.
Fully vaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed to enter Canada for discretionary travel on specific dates:
If you qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption you are exempt from:
If you provide essential services or already qualify for other exemptions from quarantine and Day-8 testing, you don’t need the fully vaccinated traveller exemption. If you think you qualify for other exemptions: find out if your travel is exempt.
The list of accepted vaccines may expand in the future.
If you received your vaccines outside Canada, it’s still accepted but proof of vaccination must be uploaded digitally in ArriveCAN and must only be in French or English, or certified translation into French or English.
If you have recovered from COVID-19, you still need a full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine or combination of accepted vaccines. If you’ve only had one dose of an accepted vaccine other than Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), you don’t qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption.
At this time, there are no exemptions from testing or quarantine for travellers who haven't received the full series of a vaccine or a combination of vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada.
Monitor for symptoms for at least 14 days after your arrival. If you start having COVID-19 symptoms you must immediately:
You must provide proof of your test results, if asked, to any federal, provincial, territorial or municipal government official.
Extension of validity for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for Travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India
On June 29, 2021, the Department of State extended the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for travelers subject to restrictions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199, and similar subsequent PPs related to the spread of COVID-19. Unless otherwise indicated, existing NIEs will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted. This extension applies to travelers subject to these proclamations due to their presence in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India who currently have approved NIEs or who were granted NIEs in conjunction with a visa application. Among the qualifications for NIEs are those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction to critical infrastructure; those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the United States; journalists; travel due to extraordinary humanitarian circumstances; or travel in support of national security or public health. Students holding F or M visas and travelers with immigrant or fiancé visas have been granted NIEs and do not need to obtain NIEs in advance from a consular section. NIE eligibility for students who have been present in Brazil, China, India, Iran or South Africa applies to programs that begin on or after August 1, 2021. Additional information is available here. Travelers should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling if they have not previously been approved for a NIE and have a valid visa in the appropriate class or have a valid ESTA authorization for travel under the Visa Waiver Program and seek to travel for purposes consistent with ESTA authorization. If an NIE is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate. Each approved NIE is valid for 12 months from the date of approval and may be used to travel to the United States multiple times for the purpose indicated in the approved NIE.
Update on Presidential Proclamation 10052/Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services
Q. Which additional visa services are embassies/consulates beginning to provide?
Q. What criteria are missions using to determine when to resume routine services?
Q. What steps are being taken to protect customers from the spread of COVID-19?
Q. Do the various Presidential Proclamations/travel restrictions still apply, or are those lifting with the resumption of visa services?
Q: Is my situation an emergency? I need to go the United States immediately for X.
Q. What about my application fee that expired while routine services were suspended?
Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J (for certain categories within the Exchange Visitor Program), and L nonimmigrants, expired on March 31, 2021.
Visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications prioritized and processed in accordance with existing phased resumption of visa services guidance. Visa applicants who were previously refused visas due to the restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 10052 may reapply by submitting a new application including a new fee.
The resumption of routine visa services, prioritized after services to U.S. citizens, is occurring on a post-by-post basis, consistent with the Department’s guidance for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities. U.S. Embassies and Consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March 2020 and will continue to do so as they are able. As post-specific conditions improve, our missions will begin providing additional services, culminating eventually in a complete resumption of routine visa services. Applicants should check the website of their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for updates on the services that post is currently offering.
From: Travel.State.Gov USA - 01.04.2021 - 10:00
Extension of Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052
On December 31, 2020, the President signed a Presidential Proclamation on Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants Who Continue to Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market. This proclamation extends Presidential Proclamations (P.P.) 10014 and 10052 through March 31, 2021. P.P. 10014 suspends the entry to the United States of certain immigrant visa applicants, while P.P. 10052 suspends the entry to the United States of certain nonimmigrant visa applicants who present a risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the novel coronavirus outbreak. Specifically, the suspension in P.P. 10052 applies to applicants for H-1B, H-2B, and L-1 visas; J-1 visa applicants participating in the intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel programs; and any spouses or children of covered applicants applying for H-4, L-2, or J-2 visas.
For further information on P.P. 10014, please see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/Proclamation-Suspending-Entry-of-Immigrants-Who-Present-Risk-to-the-US-labor-market.html.
For further information on P. P. 10052, please see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/proclamation-suspending-entry-of-immigrants-and-nonimmigrants-who-present-risk-to-the-US-labor-market-during-the-economic-recovery-following-the-COVID-19-outbreak.html.
From: Travel.State.Gov USA - 04.01.2020 - 10:20
Consular Team Germany Resumes Limited Visa Services
Starting the week of July 20, the consular sections in Berlin and Frankfurt will resume processing of limited categories of nonimmigrant visa applications; Munich will resume processing only F/M/J visas. At this time, we are prioritizing services for U.S. citizens and residents of Germany.
Students who already hold valid F and M visas may now travel directly from the Schengen area to the United States. Prospective students who need an F or M visa should make an appointment for a visa interview. All F and M travelers must have a current I-20 form that complies with all Student and Exchange Visitor Program requirements; it is not necessary to have any in-person instruction.
National Interest Exceptions
The following categories of travelers may now qualify for national interest exceptions (NIEs) under Presidential Proclamation 9993, which has suspended routine travel from the Schengen Area to the United States:
From: US Consulates in Germany - 18.07.2020 - 13:00
On Monday, June 22, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants who present a risk to the U.S. labor market following the coronavirus outbreak. Effective immediately, the proclamation extends the suspension of entry for certain immigrants (Presidential Proclamation 10014) through December 31, 2020. The new restrictions imposed by the proclamation are effective at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 24 and expire on December 31, 2020, unless continued by the President. U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and aliens who are or were inside the United States or those holding valid nonimmigrant or immigrant visas on the effective date are not subject to the proclamation. The proclamation suspends entry of nonimmigrants in the following categories: H-1B, H-2B, J (for aliens participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program) and L, along with their spouses and children. No valid visas will be revoked under the proclamation. Presidential Proclamation 10014 and this proclamation provide exceptions to their restrictions for certain categories of immigrants and nonimmigrants. The full text of the presidential proclamations are available on the White House website at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/
Stand: UStraveldocs - 25.06.2020 - 13:00
On April 22, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of certain immigrants who present risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 23 and expires in 60 days, unless continued by the President. U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and those holding valid immigrant visas on the effective date of the Proclamation, are not subject to the proclamation.
No valid visas will be revoked under this Proclamation. Routine visas services have been suspended at U.S. posts worldwide, but as resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services for applicants who are not subject to this presidential proclamation.
The full text of the presidential proclamation is available on the White House website at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-immigrants-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-economic-recovery-following-covid-19-outbreak/
Stand: UStraveldocs - 24.04.2020 - 15:00
Urgent information for visa applicants regarding novel coronavirus:
Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the following list of countries within 14 days preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, and the subsequent proclamation issued March 14, 2020:
There are certain exceptions to the suspension of entry, including exceptions for U.S. lawful permanent residents and certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, among other exceptions listed in the proclamations. If you reside in, have traveled recently to, or intend to transit or travel through any of the above listed countries prior to your planned trip to the United States, we recommend you postpone your visa interview appointment until 14 days subsequent to your departure from the subject country(ries). Additionally, if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, or believe you may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, you are strongly encouraged to postpone your appointment by at least 14 days. There is no fee to change an appointment and visa application fees are valid for one year in the country where the fee was paid. For questions about rescheduling a pending consular appointment, please contact us at http://cdn.ustraveldocs.com/de/de-main-contactus.asp for specific guidance.
Information for visa applicants regarding novel coronavirus:
Stand: UStraveldocs - 14.03.2020 - 19:00
(WASHINGTON) Today President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.
Statement from DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf:
“Protecting the American people from threats to their safety is the most important job of the President of the United States. The actions President Trump is taking to deny entry to foreign nationals who have been in affected areas will keep Americans safe and save American lives. I applaud the president for making this tough but necessary decision. While these new travel restrictions will be disruptive to some travelers, this decisive action is needed to protect the American public from further exposure to the potentially deadly coronavirus.
“In January and February, the Administration issued similar travel restrictions on individuals who had been in China and Iran. That action proved to be effective in slowing the spread of the virus to the U.S., while public health officials prepared. In the next 48 hours, in the interest of public health, I intend to issue a supplemental Notice of Arrivals Restriction requiring U.S. passengers that have been in the Schengen Area to travel through select airports where the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures.”
From: Homeland Security Department - 12.03.2020 - 08:30
Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran or the People’s Republic of China, not including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau within 14 days prior to their arrival at the port of entry in the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamation 9984 and the subsequent proclamation issued February 29, 2020. If you reside in, have traveled recently to, or intend to travel to China or Iran prior to your planned trip to the United States, we recommend you postpone your visa interview appointment until 14 days subsequent to your departure from the subject country(ies). Additionally, if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, or believe you may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, you are strongly encouraged to postpone your appointment by at least 14 days. There is no fee to change an appointment and visa application fees are valid for one year in the country where the fee was paid. For questions about rescheduling a pending consular appointment, please contact us for specific guidance.
From: UStraveldocs - 10.03.2020 - 12:52
Effective January 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all air passengers entering the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within 72 hours of departure. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding. Airlines must deny boarding of passengers if they do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery. This requirement is separate from the visa application process. All Presidential Proclamations restricting travel due to COVID-19 remain in place, and continue to apply to subject potential travelers regardless of their test results or vaccination status. Travelers holding a National Interest Exception also remain subject to all applicable pre-departure testing requirements.
The Canada Visa Application Centre in Berlin, Germany will remain closed from Thursday, 17th December 2020 until further notice due to government restrictions.
The Visa Application Centre in Dusseldorf will re-open for business on Monday, 11th January and will provide the following limited services until further notice.
The Opening Hours of the VAC will be as follows, until further notice: Monday (only one working day): 9:00 – 17:00
Due to COVID-19 outbreak, the VAC may be implementing additional measures to ensure health and safety of applicants.
Source: VFS Canada Visa Application Center - 14.01.2021 - 12:40
The U.S. Mission to Germany understands that many visa applicants have paid the visa application processing fee and are still waiting to schedule a visa appointment. We are working diligently to restore all routine visa operations as quickly and safely as possible. In the meantime, rest assured that the U.S. Mission will extend the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2022, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee. Please continue to monitor this site for information on when we will return to routine visa operations.
From: UStraveldocs - 04.01.2020 - 10:20
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL UK VISA APPLIANTS
The visa centers are open again with limited number of appointments.
Appointments are available and can be booked from now on. Restrictions are still to be expected. When entering the UK, a 14-day quarantine is necessary for all those entering!
Status: TLS Contact - 05.06.2020 - 08:35
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL UK VISA APPLICANTS p>
The UK visa centers informed:
"Our Visa Application Centre in Berlin/Dusseldorf/Munich will be reopening on June 4th.
We note that your previous visa appointment was cancelled due to confinement measures. We invite you to visit our website to make a new appointment. In order to do this, you will first need to log on to the gov.uk website, using the link that you received from UK Visas & Immigration when you completed your application form."
Status: TLSContact - 28.05.2020 - 09:21
The Visacenter TLSContact is closed due to the corona virus. All booked appointments have been canceled and can be rebooked free of charge when the Visa Center reopens. Passports can be collected once the visa processing is over. Those who have paid courier fees will receive their passports once the proceesing is complete.
If Visas United processed your application and booked your appointment, we will contact you as soon as possible.
Status: TLSContact - 16.03.2020 - 09:32