Planning Your Irish Vacation
Ireland is actually quite easy, paperwork wise, for visitors to travel to for a vacation.
You Must Have a Passport to Enter Ireland
Unless you are a resident of the UK, you will need your valid passport to enter Ireland. Obtaining a passport is relatively painless, quite akin to getting a driver's license as both agencies are run by the government and require standing in slow moving lines and a wait period until you actually receive the passport.
You can make the process move a bit quicker if you arrive prepared (these are tips for US citizens, though most will be helpful no matter where you are):
- Have photos done beforehand. You can have passport images taken at Walgreens and many independent photo labs for under $20. Do not take the images at home; the government is very particular about size, background, head size, smiling, etc.)
- Download and fill out the necessary paperwork. Download US passport forms here.
- Remember your forms of ID: proof of US citizenship (Certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state; Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth; Naturalization Certificate; Certificate of Citizenship) and present identification (valid drivers license; government or military ID; naturalization certificate). You should also bring a photo copy of each document.
- Children require passports, too, with a bit more paperwork. Both parents must be with the child when the passport is applied for. Additional paperwork includes evidence of parental relationship (certified birth certificate or adoption decree), present IDs for both parents + photocopies and parental consent. Note: Children's passports are valid 5 years and do cost less.
- First time applicants will pay an application fee (currently $140) + an application fee (currently $25). If applying at a post office you will also pay shipping charges. Renewals are a single fee (currently $110).
- Plan ahead. Though a passport should only take 2-3 weeks to reach you, it can take longer. I recommend a 2-3 month window.
Most tourist or business stays up to three months do not require an Irish visa. You will fill out a landing card during your flight. The information requested includes your name, purpose of your visit, length of time you'll be staying, and contact information.
If you plan to stay for more than 3 months you must register with immigration authorities and apply for a residence card.
I've got a thought on travel insurance: if you can't afford to lose the money cancelling a trip will cause, then you should probably look into trip insurance.
Because my credit card offers cancellation protection for flights and I make sure to book accommodations with no cancellation fees, I rarely purchase travel insurance. That said, I did once, for a trip that (sadly) had to be cancelled. I did my homework before hand and made sure to choose a ‘cancel for any reason' policy. While we didn't end up using the policy, as the trip was rescheduled, I felt better knowing we had it.
You can buy trip insurance to cover practically anything you will encounter on a vacation. My advice? Read the policy carefully before you buy. You can expect to pay between 5-10% of your total trip cost for a decent policy. Look for the “Cancel for any reason” clause; you'll pay more for it, but it may be worth it if you can't take your trip- for any reason.
Do You Need Travel Insurance for an Ireland Vacation? Click here to find out.
Do you have anything to add or tips to give on paperwork & passports for Ireland? Additional questions I can answer? I love comments! Or use the simple contact form if you would like to email me directly.