Well guess what, the process is nice and easy, it just happens to involve a little bit of running around, metaphorically speaking, in reality it is just a few clicks of your mouse to sort out. So where to begin?
First ensure you have an up-to-date 'chipped', machine readable passport. Any Irish passport issued after 2006 should be to this standard. More information on passports can be found by CLICKING HERE
Image via Wikipedia
Second, once you are happy that you have the right passport and you qualify for the Visa Waiver Programme (as an Irish passport holder you should) then you must face the US Department of Homeland Security! Scary? Nope. All you do is CLICK HERE and supply them with some basic details about you (do not even need flight details) then within 72 hours they tell you if you are allowed to enter the USA. When I did it the response was instantaneous.
Third, the authorisation number you get at the end of the above process is VERY important. You must bring with you to the airport to get on the plane! So keep it with your passport.
Fourth, get online and book your holiday to the states! The rest now is up to you. The above few steps have had people talking and friends confused, but it is very easy and quick to sort.
Fifth, get yourself some travel insurance! Very important with the states. 123.ie & Chill.ie are two good places to start.
Sixth, let 'the man' know you are in the states. Register your details with Department of Foreign Affairs. It is free and takes two mins (well, your taxes have paid for the service). Just CLICK HERE.
Right now I am in the process of booking trains and shows, so slowly building my dream holiday (within my budget). Look forward to me blogging about my experiences with all of the above. It will be my first time entering the USA by plane since all these extra security measures came into place so it shall be an experience I am sure. Hopefully a positive one!
More to come!