Visas - General Information
Follow link to FAQs - Immigration
Do I need a visa to go to the States?
A. Whether you need a visa for admission to the U.S. is dependent upon a number of factors including the purpose of your travel to the U.S. and whether you are a national of one of the 36 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program. For more information, please follow link to Do I Need a Visa page on this site.
How long does my passport have to be in date after I return from the States?
A. Please review the Validity of Irish/EU Passports webpage on this site for information about your passport's validity for travel to the U.S.
I do not have an Irish passport. Do I need a visa to go to the United States?
A. Travelers from Visa Waiver countries do not need a visa if traveling for tourism or business for less that 90 days, provided they meet all the requirements of this program. Please refer to the following link for additional information - Visa Waiver Program. For those from non-Visa Waiver countries or whose travel or circumstances do not meet Visa Waiver requirements, please consult the following link for further information in these cases - Non-immigrant Visa information.
I have a visa in my old passport; can I just transfer it over?
A. It is not possible to transfer a visa from one passport to another without making a new visa application. Please note that the Embassy no longer issues visas valid "indefinitely". If you are issued a new visa it will have a maximum validity of ten years.
My passport containing a valid visa has expired. I've obtained a new passport; do I need a new visa?
A. When a passport containing a valid visa expires, the expiration of the passport has no effect on the validity of that visa. If the passport in which your visa has been placed has expired, the visa in the old passport still can be used, provided that you also carry a valid passport of the same nationality. Note: If, when canceling your old passport, the passport authority has clipped the corners of the passport, and, in so doing, has damaged the visa in any way, that visa is no longer valid and cannot be used for travel to the United States.
My old visa says "Indefinite"; is it still valid?
An "indefinite" validity visa is no longer valid for travel to the United States. If you wish to travel for business or pleasure, you are either required to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, if qualified, or apply for a new B-1/B-2 visa.
Why, when I've always held an indefinite visa, was I recently issued with a B-1/B-2 visa valid for only ten years?
A. The U.S. Government no longer issues "indefinite" validity visas. The maximum validity period of a B-1/B-2 visa is ten years. The ten-year validity period applies regardless of the fact that the applicant may have previously held an "indefinite" visa.
The validity period of my visa does not cover my intended stay in the United States.
A. The validity period of a visa relates only to the period of time in which the holder may travel to the United States and apply for admission. It does not determine the length of stay. This is a matter for U.S. immigration at the port of entry.
How long can I stay in the United States?
A. The period of validity of a visa relates only to the length of time during which the holder may travel to the United States and apply for admission at a port of entry. It does not determine the length of stay which is a matter decided by U.S. immigration at the port of entry. If, while you are in the United States, you find that you need to stay there longer than the period of time initially granted to you, you must contact the nearest office of the USCIS to apply for an extension of your stay. The USCIS has sole jurisdiction over such matters. It is not possible to extend your stay if you entered visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.
I have a criminal record or have been arrested. Can I go to the States?
A. Convictions for some types of crime create a permanent ineligibility to enter the U.S., while others do not. In addition, some types of arrest can complicate the question of travel to the U.S. without a visa. Follow this link to criminal convictions webpage on this site. Please also visit the Department of State's website for more information about Classes of Persons Ineligible to receive Visas and Waiver of Ineligibility information. Also follow link to Visa Ineligibilities/possible Waivers.
What is a visa waiver?
A. Visa free travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP permits qualifying foreign nationals, including Irish citizens, to travel to the U.S. for 90 days or less to undertake business, tourism, or transit the U.S. Persons traveling by private aircraft rather than by airline, need a visa. Certain other travelers still need a visa such as those who plan to work or study in the U.S., stay more than 90 days, or who might otherwise be ineligible for a visa. Travelers previously denied entry or who have criminal records, or who believe they may be ineligible to enter the U.S. on the VWP, should contact the Embassy before attempting to travel on the VWP. Review information about visa free travel under the Visa Waiver Program.
How do I record my departure from the U.S. as my I –94 was not removed from my passport? (or, The green slip is still in my passport. What do I do with it?)
A. Please review the Recording Your Departure After The Fact webpage or instructions to record departure from the United States.
Can I book an appointment with the Embassy to apply for a Non Immigrant Visa?
A. No. Please review How to Apply for a Nonimmigrant Visa webpage for information on to apply for a visa to the U.S.
What is a machine readable passport? How do I check if my passport is machine readable?
A: A Machine Readable Passport (MRP) is a Passport that can be read by a scanning machine at the airport or any port of entry. Most MRPs have some type of computer readable script or bar code along the edge of the Biographical or picture page. Please consult your Passport Issuing Agency, your nation’s Embassy or your nation’s Consulate to determine if your Passport is machine readable. In addition, depending on when VWP travelers’ passports were issued, other passport requirements also apply. Click on the MRP link above for further details.
How can I get a visa to work in the U.S.?
A. Generally, employment-based visas first require that a U.S. employer file a petition on the applicant's behalf. Please refer to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's (USCIS) website for more information. You may wish to follow this link for information regarding the most common categories of immigrant visas and the process for applying for an immigrant visa. If you plan on spending less than four or five years in the U.S., the Temporary Worker nonimmigrant visa category might be appropriate to your needs. Also check our website page for information about applying for a temporary worker visa.
I am an Irish / EU citizen, do I automatically gain U.S. Citizenship if I marry a U.S. citizen?
A. No - citizenship is not automatically conferred upon marriage. Spouses of US Citizens may be eligible to immigrate to the US, a first step towards citizenship. Please review information on Immigration Visa’s, or visit the Department of Homeland Security's website for more information on becoming an American Citizen.
How do I obtain a “green card”?
A. To obtain a green card, generally you must first qualify for an immigrant visa and enter the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident. The Resident Alien ("green card") is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the U.S. Visit the USCIS website for information about applying for a green card. Please review information regarding the most common categories of immigrant visas and the process for applying for an immigrant visa.
Can I renew my “green card”? (If I haven’t been in the U.S. for a number of years).
A. Please visit the USCIS website for information about Green Card Holders - Maintaining Permanent Residence.
Can I have the application forms to reside permanently in the U.S.?
A. In general, there are three avenues for immigrating to the United States: family-sponsored, employment-based, and the diversity immigrant visa lottery. The family-sponsored and employment-based categories require a sponsor to initiate the process. For example, to qualify under the family-sponsored category, one must have an U.S. citizen parent, spouse, adult child or sibling, or legal permanent resident spouse or parent who initiates the immigration process. Please review information regarding the immigration categories and the process for applying for an immigrant visa.
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