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Do I Need a Visa?

General Rules

If you’re a citizen of a foreign country, in most cases you’ll need a visa to enter the United States.

Ireland participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), so most Irish citizens (and citizens of the 36 countries that also participate in the Visa Waiver Program) do not need a visa to enter the United States for a trip of less than 90 days for general business, tourism or transit. A valid machine-readable passport is required. Irish passports must be valid for at least the duration of the stay in the U.S.  Please note that all travelers including children, even infants need their own, individual machine-readable passport and visa, as applicable.  Follow link to Passport Requirements for Visa Free Travel to the United States for further information.

Travel on the VWP also requires that travelers must register with ESTA on-line at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and receive approval.

Who needs a visa?

A non-immigrant visa is still required for travelers:

• who are citizens of countries that do not participate in the Visa Waiver Program;

• who wish to travel to the United States for more than 90 days;

• who arrive on a private aircraft or vessel;

• who have a diplomatic or official passport AND are traveling to the United States on official government business;

• As of July 1, 2009 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries' emergency and temporary passports are subject to the electronic passport (e-passport) requirement.  

• who do not have an approved ESTA;

• who wish to travel to the United States in order to study (as part of an exchange program or to undertake academic or vocational studies at an educational institution);

• who intend to accept paid or unpaid employment in the United States (also applies to au-pairs, interns, representatives of the foreign press, radio, film, journalist or other information media, engaging in that vocation while in the US);

• who are professional performers such as an actors, athletes, musicians, or other artists. 

• have previously been refused a visa or admission to the US;

• have been arrested or convicted of a crime;

• have a medical ineligibility, or are HIV positive (follow link to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for further information);

• have previously violated immigration legislation in the U.S.;

• who might otherwise be ineligible for a visa under U.S. law;

• who wish to immigrate to the United States.

Follow this link for procedures to Apply for a Nonimmigrant Visa.