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Electronic Passport Now a Requirement for US Travel

Electronic Passport Now a Requirement for US Travel

The US Embassy, and the Irish Travel Agents Association, are reminding all Irish passport holders that a valid electronic passport is required if they wish to visit the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). As of this Friday, 1st April, all Irish people who are able to travel to the USA via the VWP need this type of passport.

Pat Dawson, ITAA Chief Executive, said: “We are working with the US embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs in advising travellers to check that their passports are valid electronic passports before they make arrangements to travel to the USA on the VWP. As electronic passports have been issued since 16th October 2006 in Ireland, this should only affect a very small number of passengers.

“The message from the ITAA to Irish holidaymakers is to always check your passport before making travel plans, particularly when travelling to the USA. Ireland has an agreement with the USA that allows you to enter on a current passport up to the actual date of expiration – so your Irish passport needs to be valid for the duration of your stay in the USA.”

The Visa Waiver Program enables Irish citizens to travel to the USA for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. Travellers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) approval prior to travel. Any traveller who does not have a valid electronic passport is still eligible to travel to the United States with a valid non-immigrant visa issued by a US embassy or consulate but will be required to appear for an interview and obtain a visa in their passports at a US embassy or consulate before travelling.

For further details on the Visa Waiver Program and to check if your passport is valid for travel, visit:  https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html

View Comments (6)

6 Comments

  1. Jackie keegan

    March 31, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    My passport expires 2022 i am traveling to boston next year would i be better getting the new passport

    • Neil Steedman

      April 4, 2016 at 7:41 am

      Assuming your passport is Irish and for 10 years, it will have been issued in 2012, so it should have an electronic symbol at the bottom of the cover – so it would be OK. All Irish passports issued since 16th October 2006 have this. If your passport does not have this symbol, then check with the Passport Office.

    • Angela Mooney

      April 4, 2016 at 8:01 am

      All this information is not very clear my passport was issued in 2012. My husband was 2015 are they electronic I’m not sure, I’m going to USA in nine weeks time and I am panicking

      • Neil Steedman

        April 4, 2016 at 12:36 pm

        All Irish passports issued since 16th October 2006 are electronic passports.

  2. Angela Mooney

    March 31, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Do you need a visa to holiday in USA for 4 week’s, myself and my husband also my daughter and her 4 children

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

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