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