Travelling to America from Ireland: A Guide

Travel Insurance

Planning a trip to the Big Apple? The Windy City? NOLA? Or the City of Angels? There’s so much to see and do across the vast United States, and we’re so lucky here in Ireland to be (relatively) nearby to travel. But as with any country outside the E.U, there are certain restrictions and guidelines to be aware of when travelling to America from Ireland. But you can enjoy peace of mind with Aviva’s travel insurance policies – whether you need a single trip, annual multi-trip or backpacker insurance policy, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s our comprehensive guide to travel to the USA from Ireland, with everything you need to know.

Young couple at the airport

Visa requirements from Ireland to the United States

There are two general types of visas that you should be aware of to gain entry to the USA from Ireland. The first is the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Under the VWP, Irish citizens/nationals can travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without needing a visa. All they need is their approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application, which we’ll cover in more detail below.

The VWP covers the vast majority of trips made from Ireland to the US, but if you do not qualify for the VWP or your trip relates to something other than tourism or business, you may need to apply for a non-immigrant visa.

Types of visas for entry to the USA from Ireland

  • B-1: A temporary-stay visa for individuals traveling to the United States on business, such as attending conferences, meetings, or participating in educational or professional activities.
  • B-2: For individuals visiting for tourism, pleasure, or medical treatment.
  • F-1: For individuals seeking to study at an accredited US educational institution. The F-1 visa is commonly used by Irish students enrolled in American universities or other educational programs.
  • J-1: One of the most popular visas, aimed at individuals travelling for a temporary stay in the US on an exchange program, including work and study, cultural, or research exchange programs.
  • H-1B: For individuals employed in specialized occupations, usually requiring a bachelor's degree or higher. It is commonly used by skilled professionals, including engineers, IT professionals, and medical practitioners.
  • L-1: For transferred employees of multinational companies, allowing them to work in the US temporarily in a US-based brand or affiliate of their employer.

If you do find you need to apply for any of the above visas, the process is largely the same for each.

How to apply for a non-immigrant visa to the USA

  1. Complete the online application: You can start your visa application process by completing the DS-160 form online. The form requires you to provide accurate and detailed information about your trip, personal details, and why you’re travelling to the US.
  2. Schedule an interview at the US Embassy: Once you have submitted the DS-160 form, you can schedule an appointment for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Dublin. Be prepared to answer questions about your trip, ties to Ireland, and other relevant details.
  3. Attend the interview: On the day of your interview, arrive early and bring all your required documents, including a valid passport, your DS-160 confirmation page, payment receipt, and any supporting documents.

How to apply for ESTA

If your trip qualifies for the VWP, you can apply for ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) online. You need your passport, a valid email address, your home address and phone number, and your emergency contact’s details to apply. The fee is $21.00 USD – ignore any third-party sites that may charge you more to make the application!

Travelling to the United States

Once you’ve made all of your visa arrangements, you’re ready to fly! On the day of travel, make sure you arrive to the airport in plenty of time.

Both Dublin and Shannon airports have US preclearance facilities – these allow all US-bound passengers to clear immigration and customs procedures before boarding their flight, so that they don’t face any further entry controls once they arrive to America. This process can take some time in the airport, so be sure you have plenty to spare before boarding, and that you have your ESTA application or visa, your passport and any other relevant documents readily available.

Your travel insurance options with Aviva

Whatever type of trip you have planned, it’s important to make sure you’re protected. With Aviva, there are three travel insurance options to choose from:

  • Holiday, which is our standard cover
  • Holiday Plus, where you can pay a lower premium but it is only available if you already have Private Medical Insurance covering Emergency Medical Expenses abroad.
  • Standard backpacker, which is perfect for those traveling on from their initial destination

To find out the benefits of each cover and figure out which is best for you, visit our travel insurance page.

You’re ready to board! Travelling to the United States can be a fantastic adventure, and it’s important to keep you and your family as safe as possible on your trip. Aviva travel insurance covers travel delays as well as any medical, legal and additional expenses while you’re abroad. Check out Aviva’s travel options to see which one is right for you.

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Aviva Travel Insurance is arranged by Aviva Direct Ireland Limited and underwritten by Chubb European Group SE.

Chubb European Group SE trading as Chubb, Chubb Bermuda International and Combined Insurance, is authorised by the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR) in France and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules. Registered in Ireland. No 904967 at 5 George’s Dock, IFSC, Dublin 1.

Aviva Direct Ireland Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. A private company limited by shares. Registered in Ireland No 374895. Registered Office: Cherrywood Business Park, Dublin, Ireland, D18 W2P5.