ESTA for Irish Citizens -

ESTA for Irish Citizens

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Since 1995, Ireland has been part of the Visa Waiver Program, which means that citizens from Ireland are able to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) rather than the longer process of applying for a visa. This has made it much easier for Irish citizens to travel to the US for tourism and business purposes.

ESTA Requirements and Important Information

  • ESTA can be used on multiple visits to the US
  • ESTA can be used for trips of a maximum of 90 days
  • Required when travellers are flying or arriving by sea to the US
  • A valid, biometric passport is required
Application for Irish Citizens

Understanding ESTA and Visa Waiver Programme

The Visa Waiver Programme permits citiyens from certain countries to visit the United States for business or pleasure for stays of 90 days or less. Not all nations participate in the VWP (there are currently 40 countries in the Visa Waiver Programme), and not all tourists from VWP countries are eligible to use the ESTA.

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) was created in 2009 to help determine who can travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) and to give US Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the ability to pre-screen travelers for a number of prohibited flights and databases of criminals and terrorists.

How Irish Citizens Can Use ESTA

There are many different benefits of applying for an ESTA, particularly for short tourism trips to any part of the United States, or for regular business trips, for example. The process of applying for ESTA is quite straightforward, especially compared to applying for a US visa. It is also quicker and cheaper to apply for than a visa.

To apply for an ESTA, Irish citizens will need to have a valid passport, a valid email address and will also be required to make a card payment for their ESTA application fee. The application consists of questions about the applicant i.e. their personal details, passport details and eligibility questions such as criminal activity and medical conditions. It can be completed in around 20 minutes.

In other words, the ESTA is an online form that can be quickly submitted and will then be reviewed by the US authorities to determine whether it will be accepted. For many applicants, the processing time is very short and the ESTA is approved within just a few hours. However, it is advised that the ESTA application is submitted as early as possible and a minimum of 72 hours before travel, to avoid problems that could result in missing the flight.

How to Apply for ESTA

The application process requires you to answer a set of questions such as personal details, passport details, and eligibility questions that include criminal convictions, medical history and other details. Once you have completed all of the required information, you should check over your answers to make sure they are accurate. When you are sure the application is filled out properly, you can submit it by paying the application fee.

When the ESTA is approved, it automatically links to the applicant’s passport electronically. It stays valid for two years, or until the passport expires. If the passport expires then a new ESTA would be required for the next trip to the US, as you are not able to transfer the ESTA onto your new passport.

Documents Required for a US ESTA for Irish Citizens

The following is necessary to apply for an ESTA:

  • Valid passport issued by a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program;
  • Valid passenger email address;
  • The traveller's home address and phone number;
  • Emergency contacts for visitors include phone and email numbers.

What Are the Differences Between ESTA and Visa?

Irish citizens can visit the US using ESTA for visits that cannot exceed 90 days and for tourism, transit, business or medical purposes. If they intend to stay in America for longer than this period, they will need to apply for a traditional visa.

Aside from that, the difference between ESTA and a visa is that the procedure for applying for ESTA is much simpler and faster. It is done online and the applicant does not have to visit the US Embassy in person like when applying for a visa. Also, the costs are different: visa fees are higher than ESTA fees.

Important Advice for ESTA Application

When you complete an ESTA form, any errors could cause your application to be declined or delayed, so take great care when completing your form. Check it over several times before you submit your application. The longer ahead of your travel you apply, the better, as it will give you more time to deal with any issues with your ESTA and re-apply if you need to.

How Long Is an ESTA Valid For?

ESTA is valid for two years, or until the expiration of the passport, whichever occurs first.

Can an ESTA Be Renewed?

The user will need to file a new application for ESTA as there is no way to renew it after it expires.

Ineligibility for an ESTA: Some Irish Travellers May Not Be Eligibleto Enter the U.S. Under the VWP

Some tourists are not eligible to enter the US without a visa under the VWP. These individuals include those who have been deported from the US, those who have been refused entrance to the US, those who have a criminal record, those who have been arrested, and those who have previously overstayed their visa waiver program.

Anyone who traveled or was physically present in Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011, is ineligible to use the VVP VWP under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. (With a few exceptions for travel for military or diplomatic assistance of a VWP nation.)

When to Submit an Application Through ESTA?

ESTA candidates may submit their applications at any time before traveling to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security advises submitting travel permission requests at least 72 hours before departure.

What to do if ESTA is Declined

If you get an email saying that your ESTA has been declined, it may be down to a simple error, in which case, you should be able to re-apply for your ESTA. However, if you’ve been declined for another reason then you may need to apply for a visa to get authorisation to travel to the US. Part of the US visa application process is to attend an interview at the US Embassy in Ireland.

The address of the US Embassy in Ireland is:

US Embassy Dublin
42 Elgin Road
Dublin 4

Will I Receive a Confirmation of My US ESTA?

Yes, you will receive a confirmation of your US ESTA upon its approval. Usually, the candidate will receive an email answer to their application within a few hours.

Benefits of ESTA for Irish citizens:
  • Can be used for multiple visits to the US of up to 90 days
  • Valid for 2 years (or until the passport expires)
  • Fast processing time and quick-to-complete online application
  • Authorises visits to the US for tourism, business, medical, or transit purposes
  • Travellers can fill in their forms using mobile or desktop computer
  • The fee for an ESTA is lower than the one for the US visa
ESTA for Children

Children of any age must also have an ESTA in order to enter the US. Parents or legal guardians can apply for ESTA on behalf of their children, and the ESTA will be connected to the child's passport.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


Yes, Irish citizens need an ESTA to enter the US, provided their stay does not exceed 90 days.
Irish citizens who intend to stay in the US for more than 90 days or who do not meet ESTA requirements require a visa.
Ireland is a member of the Visa Waiver Program, so its citizens are eligible to apply for ESTA.