The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is reminding all Irish passport holders that a valid electronic passport is required if they wish to visit America under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). As of this Friday, 1st April, all Irish people who are able to travel to the US via the VWP need this type of passport.
Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA said, “We are working with the US embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs in advising travellers to check their passports are valid electronic passports before they make arrangements to travel to the US 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 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables Irish citizens to travel to the US 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 Authorization (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 U.S. embassy or consulate before travelling.