Ireland is a popular tourist destination, especially for Americans, many of whom have Irish heritage or relatives living on the Emerald Isle.
In 2019, Ireland welcomed around 1.7 million American tourists – a figure that’s liable to increase now that global COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed.
Arriving in Ireland feels like coming home for US citizens keen to trace their hereditary roots and connect with distant family members.
Even those with little to no connection to the country are keen to experience the culture and explore the country’s famously rugged landscapes.
Ireland welcomes visitors from the US as readily as it does from Europe, and you can stay for up to 90 days without any visa or permit requirements.
You should be aware of a few entry procedures, but nothing that will complicate your trip unduly.
Visa Requirements for US Citizens Visiting Ireland
US citizens can enter Ireland and Northern Ireland and stay in either country for up to 90 days without a visa, as long as they travel for leisure purposes. You cannot study or work while in Ireland without a visa.
If you’re on a business trip that involves attending meetings or negotiating contracts, you’ll have to apply for a business visa, even if you’ll be in the country for less than 90 days.
Ireland welcomes US visitors with open arms, not even requiring a minimum passport validity period. As long as your passport s valid for the duration of your stay, and you have at least one blank page available, you’re free to enter the country and explore at will.
Even the vaccinations that were mandatory during the COVID pandemic have now been dropped, so you won’t require any vaccines or proof of vaccines when you enter the country.
The only restrictions on US citizens entering and leaving Ireland are that you may only carry a maximum of €10,000 in cash or the equivalent in another currency.
Entering Ireland without a visa allows you to travel freely, but if you want to do business, you’ll need a short-stay or ‘C’ visa. Applying for a ‘C’ is a relatively simple process that you can do online.
A short-stay visa currently costs €60 for a single entry and €100 for a multiple-entry visa, and the application process takes around eight weeks.
You will need to apply for a short-stay visa at least three months before you intend to travel and while you’re still in the US.
A short-stay business visa only covers you for a single 14-day period. If you’re planning on working for longer than that, you’ll need to apply for an extended stay visa, which we’ll discuss a little later on.
Transit Through Other Countries
Many flights from the US fly direct to Dublin or one of Ireland’s other major cities, but if you need to transit via another country, it could make life a little more complicated.
Most US citizens can travel through the UK without a visa, providing they meet the Standard Visitor eligibility requirements. If you’ve previously been refused entry to the UK or have a criminal record, you’ll need to apply for either a transit or standard visitor visa, depending on the duration of your stay in the UK.
Direct airside transit visas are for those passing through the UK but not going through border control. For those spending up to 48 hours in the UK, a Visitor in Transit visa is required.
If you’re traveling via Europe, you’ll need a Schengen visa, even if you’re only transiting.
Extended Stays and Visa Applications
If you want to stay in Ireland for longer than 90 days, you’ll need to apply for a visa before entering the country. While you can extend your stay once in the country, an extension will only be approved if your circumstances have changed since your arrival.
For instance, if you’ve met the man of your dreams and want to marry in Ireland, you’ll still have to leave on the date stamped on your passport when you arrived in the country, and then apply for a long-stay visa once you return home.
If you want to stay longer than 90 days, you need to apply for a ‘D’ type visa before you leave the US. The type of long-stay visa you should apply for depends on your reasons for wanting to stay in the country.
There are nine different types of long-stay visas:
- Study visa
- Work visa
- Family reunification visa
- Working holiday visa
- Internship visa
- Researcher visa
- Minister of Religion visa
- Volunteer visa
- Retirement visa
Whichever visa you apply for, you’ll need to provide supporting documents and, in most instances, proof of sufficient funds.
For instance, to apply for a study visa, you “need to have immediate access to at least €7,000” and proof that your sponsors can access at least €7,000 for each subsequent year of study.
Similarly, to secure a retirement visa, you must be able to prove that you have an annual income of €50,000 per year and access to a lump sum to cover any unexpected expenses.
Additional documentation is required for each type of long-term visa, details of which are available here.
Border Control and Entry Procedures
On arrival in Ireland, you no longer need to present any documents apart from your boarding pass and passport. All the restrictions associated with the COVID pandemic have been dropped, simplifying the entry procedures considerably.
You may also need documentation to prove the purpose of your visit, and could be refused entry if you can’t provide evidnce of your travel intent.
If you’re visiting friends or family, it’s good to have a written invitation on hand, along with their address. If you’re traveling, a copy of your itinerary and details of your accommodation may be required.
You should also carry proof of your health insurance, which should be valid for the entire duration of your stay, and proof of your return flight.
If you’re entering Ireland on a visa, you should take all the documentation you submitted for your visa application. The visa itself doesn’t guarantee you entry, and you will not be allowed into Ireland unless you can meet the requirements at immigration.
Although travel insurance isn’t mandatory for US citizens traveling to Ireland, it is highly recommended. As a visitor, you’re not entitled to any free or subsidized health services in Ireland, and your US health insurance plan may not cover you either.
Those entering Ireland on long-term visas may be required to provide evidence of full private medical insurance.
On the upside, there are no longer any restrictions regarding COVID vaccines, and no proof of vaccine is required to enter Ireland.
However, the CDC recommends all US citizens ensure the following vaccinations are up-to-date before departing for any overseas destination:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
#1 Do US citizens need a visa to visit Ireland?
US citizens can enter Ireland without a visa and stay for up to 90 days, provided they don’t intend on studying or working during their say.
#2 What are the requirements for US citizens to enter Ireland without a visa?
All you need to enter Ireland is a valid passport that won’t expire while you’re on vacation.
#3 Can US citizens transit through other countries on the way to Ireland?
Some countries require US citizens to apply for visas even if they’re only passing through. You’ll need a transit visa if you fly anywhere in Europe or the UK on your way to Ireland.
#4 What are the requirements for US citizens who want to stay in Ireland for longer periods?
If you want to stay in Ireland for longer than 90 days, you’ll need to apply for a long-stay or ‘D’ type visa.
#5 What documentation is needed for the visa application process?
You need a copy of a valid passport for any short or long-stay visa application. You will also need evidence of sufficient finances and be able to prove your travel intent.
#6 How long does the visa application process take?
Applications for a short-stay visas take eight weeks to process. Long-stay visa applications may take longer, especially if you fail to submit the necessary documentation.
#7 What is the cost of a visa for US citizens visiting Ireland?
A single-entry short-stay visa costs €60, and a multiple-entry one €100.
#8 How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect entry requirements for US citizens traveling to Ireland?
As of March 2022, Ireland has dropped all COVID-19-related requirements for travelers.
#9 What are the customs and immigration procedures for entering Ireland as a US citizen?
On arrival in Ireland, you will need to show your passport and boarding pass. You may also be asked for proof of your return flight and, if you’re traveling for pleasure, a copy of your travel itinerary.
#10 Can US citizens work or study in Ireland without a visa?
US citizens require a visa if they want to study or work in Ireland.
#11 Can US citizens extend their stay in Ireland beyond the visa-free period?
The only time you can extend your visa-free period is if your circumstances have changed since you arrived in the country, for instance, if you’re declared medically unfit to travel.
#12 Are there any resources available for US citizens who need visa assistance or information?
The following sites give detailed information about visa requirements and applications.
Millions of US citizens travel to Ireland each year, partly because it’s beautiful and partly because it’s so easy. There are no complex travel restrictions or lengthy visa applications to navigate – all you need is a valid passport and a plan!
Despite that, some Americans do get turned away because they can’t provide sufficient evidence of their travel intent. To be on the safe side, always travel with a copy of your travel insurance policy, proof of accommodation bookings, and a copy of your itinerary.
If you want to work, study, or spend longer than 90 days in Ireland, you’ll need to apply for a visa. These applications can generally be done online but should be completed before you start booking tickets and finalizing plans.
Now that you know whether or not you need a visa for your planned trip to Ireland, you can either get started on your application or dust off the suitcase and start packing!
"Like many so-called Brits, I have a bit of Irish and a bit of Scottish in my blood, which is possibly where the red hair comes from. I’ve been fascinated by the history of Ireland for years, since I discovered the story of the Irish Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley.