ESTA Required: Yes
Ireland joined the United States of America’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on April 1st, 1995. And later, in 2009, Irish Citizens could apply for the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) instead of a visa to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days. And, the ESTA can only be used for the purpose of business, tourism (including medical purposes), and non-credit study programs.
Irish travelers visiting the U.S. for different reasons than those stated above might need to apply for a visa instead. Since the ESTA is not the same as a visa, it is advisable to check what kind of travel document you need in good time before your departure. If unsure, you can even check our eligibility test on the home page.
- The total amount of visitors from Ireland: 575 551
- Approved ESTA applications: 521 641
- Students and exchange visitors: 14 560
- Temporary workers and family-related applications: 24 991
- Diplomats and other official representatives: 2 112
- Other types of visitor categories: 912
Dublin Airport is one of the few airports in the world that offer a “US Preclearance facility” for U.S. bound travelers. The benefit of traveling with preclearance is that the flight is treated as a domestic arrival in the U.S. which means travelers can avoid immigration queues upon arrival and pick up their bags and go. So how does this work and where inside the airport is this facility?
The US Preclearance (USCBP) facility is located at Terminal 2. When you go through it, you can undertake all U.S. immigration, customs and agriculture inspections in Dublin before departure. In other words, TSA (Transportation Security Administration) process travelers in Dublin, rather than on U.S. soil to speed up traveling for everyone traveling through Dublin.
A few step-by-step notes for the preclearance process:
- Check in with your airline
- Go through airport security screening
- Go towards the U.S. preclearance area
- It normally takes 20-30 minutes to go through (it can take from 2 minutes to 2 hours depending on traffic)
- Go through U.S. security
- There are a lot of food venues and duty-free shopping after the Irish Security and before the U.S. preclearance
- There is a small duty-free counter and the 51st&Green Lounge after the U.S. security
- Going through preclearance is mandatory for U.S.-bound flights
- You can bring your carry-on with you
Specifics about the U.S. preclearance process
- The first thing you have to do is to complete the TSA security screening (this is the American security screening standard)
- Use one of the 18 self–service kiosks for self-processing (available to US citizens and ESTA-passengers)
- Transaction time for U.S. Citizens is 40 seconds and 80 seconds for ESTA-passengers at the kiosks
- Use the kiosk following these steps:
- Scan your passport
- Have your Photo taken
- ESTA-passenger has to scan their fingersprints
- You will receive an approval receipt from the machine
- Present the approval receipt and passport to the U.S. Preclearance Office for a brief inspection
- You should have applied for your ESTA at least 72 hours before even getting to the airport (the kiosk does not offer an ESTA application process)
- There are strict restrictions on food items that can be brought to the U.S. and it is advisable to pack food items in the hand-luggage, declared, and ready for inspection
51st&Green is an impressive new lounge for passengers traveling to the United States. The lounge is located after you complete the preclearance. It is a perfect location for a little retreat before flying if you arrive at the airport early. The pricing is €35 p/p when buying online and €39 at the reception desk. It is complementary to business class ticket holders.
51st&Green lounge offers:
- Snacks, drinks and fresh Irish dishes with an American twist
- Quality barista coffee and cocktails
- High-speed Wi-Fi to download in-flight entertainment
- Entertainment-screen with live sports
- Calm space to work with many charging units
- Shower facilities to freshen up before your flight
- Breath-taking runway views
In 2018, it became mandatory for all ESTA-travelers to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before boarding the aircraft. Just to be safe, Irish citizens are recommended to apply weeks or months in advance to make sure that their travel authorization (ESTA) is approved. Those that get denied have to apply for a tourist visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy, which can take a long time to complete. If you have plans to visit the United States in the near future, then apply as soon as you can. Read more about the ESTA application here.
Irish travelers with an approved ESTA can check its status or make updates. Visit this page for more information: verify/update ESTA.
The Irish can apply for ESTA online
The ESTA is valid for 2 years for visitors from Ireland
The Irish can stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days with an approved ESTA
Ireland’s overstay rate is only: 0.31%