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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

Normal Precautions 

Latest Travel Alert

Disaster recovery efforts continue in parts of Florida following the destruction caused by Hurricane Ian late September 2022. Please check local advisories before travelling to affected areas. For updates and information, please visit https://www.floridadisaster.org/.

Citizens planning travel abroad should take into account the ongoing risk of testing positive for COVID-19 while abroad and are advised to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes COVID-19 cover. Before departure and during travel, citizens are advised to monitor our Travel Advice, follow us on Twitter, and register with their nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate. 

Travel to the United States

All passengers to the United States are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (booster dose not required). Only limited exceptions apply to this requirement.

Those planning to travel are advised to monitor the websites of the US Embassy in Dublin and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for updates and to consult your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet the requirements for travel to the US.

Proof of vaccination status

The US government requires that the proof of vaccination status shows that you have been fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organisation or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The US accepts the EU Digital COVID Certificate as proof of vaccination. The UK’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination is also accepted. Details on other forms of accepted proof of vaccination status can be found on this page on the CDC website.

All forms of COVID-19 vaccination status must have your full name plus one personal identifier, such as date of birth or passport number, which match the information on your passport or other travel documents. It must also include the name of the official source issuing the record and the vaccine manufacturer and date(s) of vaccination.

Children under 18 are not required to show proof of vaccination status.

If you are not fully vaccinated:

Persons who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 who wish to travel to the US must either meet the US government’s criteria for an exception, e.g. children under the age of 18 or persons on official government travel, or receive a waiver from the CDC to travel to the US.

The full list of who meets the criteria for an exception can be found on this page of the CDC website, under the heading ‘Noncitizens, non-immigrants (Covered Individuals)’. Information on how to apply for a waiver can be found on this page of the US Embassy website.

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 of Ireland in Washington D.C. 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.

Terrorism

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides public information about credible threats. For all current alerts within the USA and its territories, visit the DHS website. 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
  • Don’t leave any belongings visible and unattended in rental cars, even for a few moments
  • Keep your wallet and important travel docs in your sight or in a safe place at all times- do not leave travel documents or wallets unattended in your cars
  • Limit the amount of cash you carry by using 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 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
  • Due to heightened car thefts in the Bay Area,  travellers to Northern California are advised not to leave any bags, purses or luggage visible in your vehicle while it is unattended. Ensure that all baggage is removed from your vehicle when leaving your car unattended. Your vehicle should always be in sight when your luggage/backpacks are in your car, including when checking out of your hotel.

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)

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.

Registration

You should register through the Department of Homeland Security website, where you will have to pay a fee (currently $21).  

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.

Ireland has been issuing machine readable passports since 1993. 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.

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. 

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 Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

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 4.30pm Monday through Friday or on weekends, please contact us at the number below and the Duty Officer will assist you.

Consulate General of Ireland
One Post Street
Suite 2300
San Francisco CA, 94104
USA

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

Monday to Friday 09:00-12:30

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

Consulate Contact

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

Tel: +1 404 554 4980

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