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Visa Waiver Program Ireland

Visa Waiver Program Ireland

The Visa Waiver Program Ireland (VWP) is a United States government initiative that allows passport holders from Ireland to enter the United States without a visa. Ireland is part of the list of VWP countries which allows this type of travel. Irish citizens travelling to the United States under the VWP must travel by air or sea and have an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA Visa Ireland) application. Visitors with an approved travel authorization do no longer need to complete Form I-94 when arriving in the U.S., as this information is collected electronically.

Person handing their passports to other person

Two persons interacting across the table

History of the Visa Waiver Program Ireland (VWP)

1986 saw the U.S. Congress create the Visa Waiver Program. The Visa Waiver was created by the U.S. Congress to allow short-term tourist and business visits to the United States. It also allows the U.S. State Department access to its consular resources in high-risk cases. In July 1988, Visa Waivers were granted to the United Kingdom for the first time. In the same year, Japan was added to the program (16/12). The following countries were added to the program in October 1989: France, Italy (the Netherlands), Sweden and Switzerland. Andorra joined the program in 1991. Brunei, an Asian country, joined the program in 1993. The Republic of Ireland was added to the VWP List on April 1, 1995. In 1996, Argentina became the second VWP country in Latin America. Slovenia joined the VWP on 29 September 1997. In 1999, Uruguay and Portugal were added to the Visa Waiver Program Ireland (9 August). In 2002, Argentina was removed from the list. Uruguay was also taken off the list in 2003. Chile joined the program in 2014. In November 2019, Poland became the latest country to join VWP. The George W. Bush administration increased entry requirements after the September 11th attacks. Visitors to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program were required to have a machine-readable passport to enter the country. This requirement became effective on October 1, 2003. This law was not fully implemented until October 26, 2004, because many countries in the VWP still issue passports which are not machine-readable. This group included more than one-third of the French and Spanish passports. This delay was not applicable to Belgian passports, as their integrity and security were at risk. All VWP travellers entering the U.S. with passports issued after 26 Oct 2006 or earlier are required to have biometric passports. For Brunei, Liechtenstein, and Andorra Brunei, this law is not yet in force. The Electronic Travel Authorization program (ESTA) was launched in November 2006. It allows VWP travellers to provide advance information about their trip and to authorise electronic travel authorisation. This does not guarantee admission to the U.S.

List Of Visa Waiver Ireland Countries

Countries currently on the VWP:

  • Visa waiver countryAndora (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryAustralia (1996)
  • Visa waiver countryAustria (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryBelgium (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryBrunei (1993)
  • Visa waiver countryChile (2014)
  • Visa waiver countryCroatia (2021)
  • Visa waiver countryCzech Republic (2008)
  • Visa waiver countryDenmark (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryEstonia (2008)
  • Visa waiver countryFinland (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryFrance (1989)
  • Visa waiver countryGermany (1989)
  • Visa waiver countryGreece (2010)
  • Visa waiver countryHungary (2008)
  • Visa waiver countryIceland (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryIreland (1995)
  • Visa waiver countryIsrael (2023)
  • Visa waiver countryItaly (1989)
  • Visa waiver countryJapan (1988)
  • Visa waiver countryLatvia (2008)
  • Visa waiver countryLiechtenstein (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryLithuania (2008)
  • Visa waiver countryLuxembourg (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryMalta (2008)
  • Visa waiver countryMonaco (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryNetherlands (1989)
  • Visa waiver countryNew Zealand (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryNorway (1991)
  • Visa waiver countryPoland (2019)
  • Visa waiver countryPortugal (1999)
  • Visa waiver countrySan Marino (1991)
  • Visa waiver countrySingapore (1999)
  • Visa waiver countrySlovakia (2008)
  • Visa waiver countrySlovenia (1997)
  • Visa waiver countrySouth Korea (2008)
  • Visa waiver countrySpain (1991)
  • Visa waiver countrySweden (1989)
  • Visa waiver countrySwitzerland (1989)
  • Visa waiver countryTaiwan (2012)
  • Visa waiver countryUnited Kingdom (1989)

** The term “United Kingdom” refers to only British citizens who have the right of permanent residence in the United Kingdom (England and Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Channel Islands). It does not include British citizens living abroad, British dependent territories citizens, or citizens of British Commonwealth countries.

Countries being vetted for the VWP:

  • Country being vetted for the Visa Waiver ProgramArgentina
  • Country being vetted for the Visa Waiver ProgramBrazil
  • esta country flagUruguay
  • Country being vetted for the Visa Waiver ProgramTurkey
  • esta country flagBulgaria
  • Country being vetted for the Visa Waiver ProgramRomania
  • Country being vetted for the Visa Waiver ProgramCyprus

Countries removed from the VWP:

Country removed from the Visa Waiver ProgramArgentina
Country removed from the Visa Waiver ProgramUruguay

How can a country join the Visa Waiver Program Ireland?

Visa Waiver Program Ireland countries are, for example, chosen partially based on their meagre rates of visa refusals for non-immigrants and the strength of their own passport security. Below is more information on how a VWP country can qualify.

To be qualified as a potential VWP country, the country has to:

  • Be considered a sovereign state
  • Have a high HDI (Human Development Index)
  • Share security data with the U.S.
  • Have a low level of passport fraud (and track lost or stolen passports)
  • Have strict passport security requirements (electronic biometric passports)
  • Have a low number of citizens over-staying and a low number of law violators
  • Have a low non-immigrant visa refusal rate – under 3% specified in Section 217 (c)(2)(A)

Have established credible counterterrorism, border control, and law enforcement, and seek to limit domestic crime.

Entry restrictions under VWP

Even if they meet all requirements, some individuals cannot participate in Visa Waiver Program Ireland. Here are the current restrictions for citizens of VWP countries who may not be able to apply through ESTA Visa Ireland to USA :

  •  These individuals are eligible, regardless of whether or not they are dual citizens of a country participating in a visa waiver.
    •   Syria or Iraq
  •  They were allowed to be present in any country that was established after March 1, 2011, regardless of their nationality or citizenship. Except if they were travelling to the country to serve as an officer in the Armed Forces of a Visa Waiver Program Country or to perform their official duties as a full-time employee of the Government of a Visa Waiver Program Country.
    •   Syria or Iraq
    •   Cuba and Iran are the only choices in a country designated as a State sponsor of Terrorism.
    •   Any other country or region of concern designated by the Secretary for Homeland Security
  •  Individuals who are not allowed to enter the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act or who pose a risk to U.S. security and wellbeing and their health
  •  Individuals who violate the terms and conditions of any previous stay under VWP
  • People who were ever expelled from America