Skip to main content

United States of America (USA)

If you’re travelling to the United States of America (USA), our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security status

High Degree of Caution

Security Status Last Updated: 26 July 2021

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 is still a threat, but with continued public health measures, vaccination and testing, it will be possible to travel internationally. You will need to plan your travel carefully and there are risks.

Department of Foreign Affairs services and practical supports to all Irish Citizens travelling abroad can be found on Travel-dfa.ie

Travel to the United States

As of 16 March 2020, with limited exception (detailed below), non-US nationals or permanent residents have not been permitted to travel to the US if they have been in Ireland, the UK, the Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, or China during the previous 14 days. On 20 September 2021, the White House announced that travel to the US will resume for fully vaccinated passengers in early November. Details of this resumption have yet to be confirmed. Those planning to travel are advised to monitor the websites of the US Embassy in Dublin and the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention for further updates.

At present, US citizens and permanent residents, certain specified close family members of same and certain other limited categories of visas holders (such as UN staff and diplomats) are exempt from these restrictions and can still enter the US, subject to normal requirements. Further details are on the website of the US Embassy in Dublin.

Entry for Green Card and Current Visa Holders (including Student Visas)

The US authorities have resumed the issuance and renewal of Permanent Resident Cards (often called 'Green Cards'). Existing visas remain valid as long as the holder remains within the US. Current visa holders based in the US wishing to travel to Ireland or any other country covered by the Presidential Proclamation are strongly advised to check before they travel as to whether they would need an exception to re-enter the US. The US authorities only consider applications for these once you have left the US, so applying before travel is not possible.

Students travelling from Ireland (and the UK and Schengen Area) with valid F-1 and M-1 visas do not need to seek a humanitarian exception to travel.

New Visas and Humanitarian Exceptions

The US authorities are only providing emergency and mission-critical visa services at present and visa appointments remain limited. If you have an urgent need to travel, you can contact the US Embassy in Dublin to ascertain if you might qualify for an economic interest, humanitarian, or other exception. However, the criteria for these exceptions are very strict and you should be ready to provide as much information as possible to support your application if you apply for one.

Testing & Quarantine Requirements

All passengers aged 2 and above travelling internationally to the US are required to provide evidence of a negative pre-departure test result (NAAT or antigen) taken no more than three (3) calendar days prior to travel or documentation from a licensed health care provider / public health official of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. 

You can find the full announcement on the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The Center for Disease Control also require international arrivals to the US to take a COVID-19 test (NAAT or antigen) 3-5 days after arrival. Persons not fully vaccinated are further required to quarantine for at least seven days, regardless of a negative test result.

If you are travelling domestically within the US, individual states and territories have their own quarantine requirements. A full list of local quarantine requirements is available on the CDC website. You should check the list frequently as it is likely to change, sometimes daily, as rates of COVID-19 transmission increase or decrease.

Transiting USA

Currently, you cannot enter or transit the US if you have been in Ireland, the UK, the Schengen area, Iran, Brazil, China, or South Africa within the previous 14 days. For further information, please check the advice from US Customs and Border Protection website. Those transiting to the US from outside these areas will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need. US citizens and permanent residents of the USA, certain specified close family members and certain other limited categories of visa holders (such as UN staff and diplomats) are exempt. They will still be able to enter the USA, subject to normal entry requirements. As of 26 January 2021, all passengers transiting the USA by air will need to show either a negative pre-departure test result (NAAT or antigen), or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 provided by a licensed health care provider or public health official.

General Travel Advice

Emergency services

You can contact the emergency services in the US by dialling 911.

Travel to Ireland

Up to date information on travelling to Ireland can be found on gov.ie 

Information on Travel within Europe (EU/EEA) can also be found on Re-open EU.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

We advise Irish citizens in the US to remain vigilant and exercise appropriate caution throughout their stays here.

Keep yourself fully informed of what is going on by monitoring local news and social media and follow the instructions of the local authorities. Follow us on social media @IrelandEmbUSA and @DFATravelWise to make sure you have access to all relevant updates and alerts.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

If you are in need of emergency assistance, please contact the Embassy directly at + 1-202-462-3939 and, if outside office hours, leave a message on the answering machine.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance, which covers all your intended activities.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there is an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go guide.

Security checks

The Customs and Border Protection Agency has warned of possible increased waiting times at international airports, especially during the summer peak season, due to budget cuts. These may be up to four hours at the busiest airports. Increased processing times may make it more difficult to make tight connecting flights. These delays should have less impact on Irish passengers who undergo US border preclearance at Dublin or Shannon.

Terrorism

Since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, the US government has issued a number of warnings of potential further terrorist attacks in the country. The US domestic threat level stands at ‘elevated’ (yellow) and the government is maintaining heightened security, especially at airports. You should expect stringent security checks at airports, transport stations and other public buildings.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in the US but you should take sensible precautions.

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
  • Limit the amount of cash you carry by using travellers’ cheques, Euro cheques or international credit cards
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible
  • Keep a lookout for people acting suspiciously or unattended packages in public places

Reporting a crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in the US, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Washington DC and the Irish Consulates in Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in the US, be aware that cars drive on the right side of the road but otherwise road safety conditions are fairly similar to Ireland.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags and items of value kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights, or if you are away from your car and have parked it in a public place. 

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

When you’re in the US, all federal, state and local laws apply to you. Laws vary from state to state but when you’re physically present in a state, even temporarily, you’re subject to that state’s laws, and, in many cases, to the jurisdiction of its courts.

If you get into any difficulties with US Authorities, you should explain to them that you are an Irish national and ask to speak to an Irish consular officer. We will do what we can to help you but we cannot get you out of trouble or out of jail. 

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. 

Immigration documents

US Federal Law requires all foreign nationals to carry immigration documentation (such as your passport showing that you have permission to enter or remain) at all times while in the USA.

Some States (Arizona, Utah, Indiana, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama) introduced legislation designed to identify and reduce the number of illegal immigrants in their states. These measures include authorisation for police officers to detain people they suspect of being in the US illegally. Although some of the measures are being contested in the courts, it is important that you have your documents available for scrutiny if you’re asked by law enforcement officials to present them wherever you are in the United States.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

The US has introduced new measures for certain travellers with effect from 27th January 2017. On 31 January 2017, the US Embassy in Dublin clarified that the travel of dual nationals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya or Somalia would not be restricted, so long as the individuals hold the passport of an unrestricted country and possess a valid US visa. Clarifications as to how these new arrangements will operate continue to be announced by the US authorities. Prospective travellers who feel they may be affected should consult the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Embassy website for up to date information.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization

The ESTA is an electronic registration system requiring travellers who are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to register in advance of travelling to the US.

Note: With effect from 21 January 2016, the US authorities have implemented changes to the Visa Waiver Program which will affect travellers who are Dual Nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen or any country that the US designates as a State sponsor of terrorism, and persons who have visited any of those countries since 1 March 2011. For further information on these changes to the VWP, you should consult the website of US Homeland Security or the US Embassy website.

Registration

You should register through the Department of Homeland Security website, where you will have to pay a fee (currently $14).  

Registration can be done by third parties on your behalf, such as travel agencies, and multiple applications can be completed and paid for in one transaction.

Validity

You can submit an ESTA application at any time prior to travel – the Department of Homeland Security recommends that it be submitted at least 72 hours in advance of travel. Once approved, it will be valid for multiple entries into the US and generally for up to two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

Additional information

  • If you don’t get authorisation to travel you’ll need to go to your nearest US Diplomatic or Consular Mission and apply for a visa.
  • An ESTA approval does not determine admissibility into the US. The final decision for entry to the US rests with immigration authorities at the port of entry.
  • The ESTA programme does not apply if you have a visa for the US.
  • Children, including infants, who are endorsed on a parent's passport must have an individual machine-readable passport or else obtain a visa in the parent's passport.

Passport information

Machine-readable passports

You must have an individual machine-readable passport to avail of the US Visa Waiver Programme. Otherwise you will have to get a visa, in advance, from your nearest US Diplomatic or Consular Mission.

A machine-readable passport is a passport in which your details have been printed on the data page which also contains your photograph. A passport where your details have been handwritten is not a machine-readable passport.

Passport validity

In most cases, to enter the US, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date you enter. However, Ireland has an agreement with the US that allows you to enter on a current passport up to the actual date of expiration – so your Irish passport needs to be valid only for the duration of your stay in the US.

However, if you’re travelling visa-free on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and your passport is valid for less than 90 days, you will be admitted only until the date on which the passport expires. If the passport is not valid for the duration of your stay, you must apply for a new passport from your nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate while in the US.

Further details on entry requirements are available on the US Embassy website and you can find information on J1 visas in our Visa section.

US Embassy website and you can find information on J1 visas in our Visa section.

Children - Child travelling with one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian or a group

Due to increasing incidents of child abductions in disputed custody cases and as possible victims of child pornography, the US authorities (CBP) strongly recommends that unless a child travelling to the US is accompanied by both parents, the adult have a note from the child's other parent (or, in the case of a child travelling with relatives other than parents, friends, or in groups such as school groups, a note signed by both parents) stating "I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is travelling out of the country with my son/daughter/group. He/She/They has/have my permission to do so.” CBP also suggests that this note be notarised.

While CBP may not ask to see this documentation, if it does ask, and you do not have it, you may be detained until the circumstances of the child travelling without both parents can be fully assessed. If there is no second parent with legal claims to the child (deceased, sole custody, etc.) any other relevant paperwork, such as a court decision, birth certificate naming only one parent, death certificate, etc., would be useful. For further information, please visit the CBP website.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for this country.

We also advise any Irish citizens visiting or living in the US to follow the advice of the US Centre for Disease Control

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you are in need of emergency assistance, please contact the Embassy at + 1-202-462-3939 and leave a message on the answering machine.

The answering machine is monitored regularly and the Duty Officer will contact you as soon as possible.

Alternatively, you may contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at + 353-1-408 2000.

Embassy of Ireland
2234 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington DC 20008
USA

Tel: +1 202 462 3939
Fax: +1 202 232 5993

Monday to Friday 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00

Contact us

Consulate Contact

If you are an Irish citizen and in urgent need of emergency assistance, please contact the Consulate at +1-404-554-4980 and leave a message on the answering machine. The answering machine is monitored regularly and the Duty Officer will contact you as soon as possible in cases where it is a genuine emergency.

Alternatively, you may contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at + 353-1-408 2000.

Consulate General of Ireland
Suite 260, Monarch Plaza
3414 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, GA 30326
USA

Tel: +1 404 554 4980
Fax: +1 678 235 2201

Contact us

Consulate Contact

If you are an Irish citizen and in urgent need of emergency assistance, please contact the Consulate at +1-512-792-5500 and leave a message on the answering machine. The answering machine is monitored regularly and the Duty Officer will contact you as soon as possible in cases where it is a genuine emergency.

Alternatively, you may contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at +353-1-408 2000.

Consulate General of Ireland
515 Congress Avenue - Suite 1720
Austin, Texas 78701
USA

Tel: 512 792 5500

Monday to Friday 09:00-17:00

Contact us

Consulate Contact

The Consulate is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. However, there is always an officer on duty to handle genuine emergencies from Irish citizens.

Please call 617-267-9330 for emergency assistance on the weekends. You may leave a message and someone will respond as quickly as possible.

Consulate General of Ireland
535 Boylston Street
Floor 5
Boston, MA 02116
USA

Tel: +1 617 267 9330
Fax: +1 617 267 6375

Monday to Friday 10:00-15:00

Contact us

Consulate Contact

If you are in need of emergency assistance over the weekend, please contact the Consulate at + 1-312-330-7823 and leave a voicemail. The voicemail is monitored regularly and the Duty Officer will contact you as soon as possible. Please note that this is an emergency number and that only cases that are genuine emergencies and that cannot wait until the next working day will be dealt with.

Alternatively, you may contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at + 353-1-408 2000.

Consulate General of Ireland
1 East Wacker Drive
Suite 1820
Chicago, IL 60601
USA

Tel: +1 312 337 2700
Fax: +1 312 836 1267

Monday to Friday 10:00-12:00

Contact us

Consulate Contact

If you are in need of emergency assistance, please contact the Consulate at +1 212 319 2555 and leave a message on the emergency line. This line is monitored regularly and the Duty Officer will contact you as soon as possible.

Alternatively, you may contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at + 353-1-408 2000.

Consulate General of Ireland
345 Park Avenue
17th Floor
New York
NY 10154-0037
USA

Tel: +1 212 319 2555
Fax: +1 212 980 9475

Monday to Friday 10:00-14:00

Contact us

Consulate Contact

If you are in need of emergency assistance after 5pm Monday through Friday or on weekends, please contact our emergency number at +1-415-823-7150 and the Duty Officer will assist you.

Alternatively, you may contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at +353-1-408-2000

Consulate General of Ireland
100 Pine Street
Suite 3350
San Francisco CA94111
USA

Tel: +1 415 392 4214
Fax: +1 415 392 0885

Monday to Friday 09:00-12:00

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. James M Lyons
1200 Seventeenth Street
The Tabor Center #3000
Denver
Colorado 80202
USA

Tel: + 1-303 623 9000
Fax: + 1-303 623 9222

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Ian O'Flaherty
Honorary Consulate General of Ireland
255 Giralda Avenue, Suite 500
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Tel: 001 305 204 0104

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Terry Delahunty
Law Offices of Terence J. Delahunty, Jr. P.A.
118 E. Jefferson Street,
Suite 203 Orlando,
FL 32801
USA

Tel: (407) 810-3352

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Judge James F. McKay III

Tel: +1 504 412 6050
Fax: +1 504 412 6053

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. Joseph B. McGlynn
1015 Locust Street, Suite 710
St. Louis
Missouri 63101

Tel: +1-314-7271000
Fax: +1-314-727-2960

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. John Young
5925 Carnegie Boulevard, Suite 350,
Charlotte,
North Carolina 28209
USA

Tel: 704-529-1428

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. James J. Lamb
Honorary Consulate of Ireland
1601 Marys Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15215

Tel: +1 412-708-2184

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. John B. Kane
2630 Sutton Court
Houston
Texas 77027
USA

Tel: +1-713-961-5263
Fax: +1-970-925-7900

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr. John F. Keane
7511 210th St SW, Unit # 1
Edmonds, WA 98026

Tel: +1 425 582 2688

Email: Email us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr Patrick O'Toole
Irish Outreach Center,
2725 Congress Street,
No. 2G,
San Diego, CA 92110

Tel: 1-619-291-1630

Email: Email us