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10 Tips for Getting Through Irish Immigration

July 29, 2009

For most Americans, passing through Irish Immigration in Dublin or Shannon airports is nothing more than answering two simple questions “How long are here?” and “Where are you staying?”

However, two news stories this month (the Plano 3 and Tessa Fowler) have US travelers concerned they will be the next to be turned away in Ireland.

In both cases, the travelers presented “red flags” in their interactions with Immigration officials that resulted in being denied entry to Ireland and sent home on the next available flight. In one, travelers were not able to articulate where they were staying on their first night in Ireland; in the other, there was no return ticket and no clear evidence the traveler would be leaving Ireland in the time allowed.

In an email to us, Myles Geiran from Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs explained that situations like these are rare, and let us know, “It is general best practise when travelling overseas to be in a position to respond to points raised in relation to funds to cover the stay and to indicate the reason and length of the visit.”

In other words, you must be able to state why you’re there, how long you’re there and in the worst case, how much money you can access… Ireland, like the US, isn’t looking for free-loaders.

To help assure your trip through Irish Immigration goes smoothly, we’ve pulled a few tips we hope will lead to smooth sailing through Immigration (note: these tips are geared to US citizens traveling from the US on holiday for 90 days or less):

  1. Make sure your passport is valid for the entire length of your stay.
  2. Make sure your name is the same on your passport, airline ticket and the immigration forms you must fill out when you arrive.
  3. Book a roundtrip ticket or have official documentation of your return.
  4. Know the name and location of your first night’s accommodation or the name of friends or relatives you are staying with.
  5. Be prepared to state the reason of your trip: holiday, visiting family, business.
  6. Be prepared to state the precise length of your visit.
  7. Answer questions concisely and honestly (there is no reason to share your family history or longwinded details of your itinerary unless you are specifically asked and there is no reason you should misrepresent information about visit).
  8. Be courteous, attentive and honest.
  9. Be prepared to show you have the funds to cover the entire length of your stay (this one seems tricky… especially since carrying documents with sensitive bank account information could be risky… one thought is to put a digital copy on your camera’s memory card or email a copy to yourself… however, there is no guarantee officials will accept this form of documentation)
  10. Remember, you are a guest in Ireland… accusing immigration officers of invading  your privacy or lecturing them on YOUR rights will likely only reinforce the notion that your visit to Ireland may not be in the best interest of your host.

If you do find yourself in a bit of trouble while traveling abroad, Mr. Geiran instructs, “…they may choose to seek appropriate consular assistance from their Embassy.” And I must agree with him when he says, “Ireland and the Irish has a long history of giving a very warm welcome to Americans who choose to visit the country.”

If you’d like to read the official documents regarding the topic, you will find it at http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2004/en/act/pub/0001/sec0004.html. The language is official, but it’s not too hard to follow.

Contact details for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs are available at their website www.dfa.ie. We received a prompt response (a few hours) using their online form at http://dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=78746.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2009 11:35 PM

    That’s great you’ve posted this. I had previously searched in vain for the requirements for visiting tourists from non-visa-required countries. A garda spokesperson told RTE that the requirements were well-publicised and on the the Department of Justice’s website, but I couldn’t find them anywhere… I wonder why they didn’t outline them as clearly as you have.

    In any case, it’s good you provided the clarity that was obviously needed. Hopefully this will reassure nervous travellers and prevent other people from having similar problems! Thanks!

  2. Thomas G. Byrne permalink
    July 30, 2009 8:20 AM

    Excellent info.

    I try to fill out the required forms as early in the flight as I can rather than waiting until I arrive in Ireland. That way I’m not doing stuff with a jetlagged brain!

    Worked nicely for me earlier this year on a European vacation with my nephew’s secondary school. I breezed through…they were all delayed.

  3. Donovan Pope permalink
    August 13, 2009 1:34 PM

    Im glad you posted this list. Im sure I will refer back to it several times when Im preparing for my trip. Most of them seem easy enough. The only tricky one I noticed is this:

    9. “Be prepared to show you have the funds to cover the entire length of your stay (this one seems tricky… especially since carrying documents with sensitive bank account information could be risky… one thought is to put a digital copy on your camera’s memory card or email a copy to yourself… however, there is no guarantee officials will accept this form of documentation)”.

    I wonder if just showing them a few credit cards / bank cards will suffice….?

    Rosetta Stone, here I come. =)

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