From January 12th, 2009, all travellers entering the United States with passports from Visa Waiver Programme countries will be required to obtain travel authorisation in advance. To do this is very straightforward and passengers simply need to log onto the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) website before they travel, and answer some questions online.
Prior to this, passengers who have travelled to the United States, filled in the form during the flight or at immigration in Dublin or Shannon airport. The online ESTA system asks for the same information, just in advance of the trip.
Applying for travel authorisation is 100% free and consumers should be aware of some
online companies that are attempting to charge money to make this application on their behalf. You can apply for authorisation direclty from the US government.
From early in the New Year, US authorities will be entitled to refuse access to any Irish visitor who does not have the new travel authorisation.
Suzanne Quinn of www.holidayhomesdirect.ie advises anyone who is planning a trip to the United States to fill this form well in advance of their departure. Holiday Homes Direct have provided a link to the ESTA on their website and this will allow holidaymakers to fill in this form directly for free.