According to new laws travelers entering the US from April 1st 2016 are required to have an e-passport or a biometric passport.

Irish Travelers Need E-Passports

( — May 20, 2016) — Are you planning a family holiday to the US from Ireland?  Are you headed over there for a meeting? New rules mean you may not be allowed entry.

According to new laws travelers entering the US from April 1st 2016 are required to have an e-passport or a biometric passport.  Defaulters will not be allowed entry even when they meet all other requirements.

Initially, the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) and the traditional passport were enough to enter the US and esay to do with sites such as but that has changed.

Why is the ESTA no longer enough?

The US Visa Waiver Programme, which allows Irish people and all others covered by the programme to travel Visa free to the US, has come under intense scrutiny in recent times. This is largely due to the rising threats of terror across the globe. Those against the programme see it as a loophole that can be exploited by unscrupulous elements to gain access to the US.

The US Homeland has therefore continued to shore up possible loopholes with new changes to the scheme.

Under one of such changes, people that have travelled to the Middle East at any point within the last 5 years will no longer be able to enter the US with the ESTA programme. If they already have a valid ESTA, it could be revoked.

The new e-passport regime adds a new layer of security to the visitor screening process.

Already booked a flight without the E-passport?

If you already have a flight booked for the US, it is best to pursue a refund or an extension of your departure date with your airline.   You should equally seek an extension if you have already booked a hotel in the US. This is to ensure you don’t lose your travel costs before the Passport Office is able to provide you with the biometric passport.  Under current laws, you should be able to get your electronic passport within 48 hours at the latest.

Many travelers were left stranded on the 1st of April when the law came into effect but more people are adjusting to the change.

As long as the Visa Waiver Programme is in force, it is in your best interest to always confirm that changes haven’t been made to existing processes before proceeding with arranging a trip to the United States. As mentioned above, the rules will be tweaked from time to time.