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American officials have now told tourists to plan ahead when they’re organising trips to the States, as applications for the ESTA visa are about to get much harder.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a reminder to anyone planning a visit, warning potential visitors to; “Apply for ESTA no later than 72 hours before departing for the United States.”

The ESTA visa grants you access to enter the USA, but now the process is totally changing, maybe not for the better…

It was, until recently, possible to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) until basically the last second, with real-time approvals achievable.

Now, you will need to apply for a visa at least 72 hours before you travel in order to gain the documentation in time. The old service is no longer available.

Without an ESTA visa, you cannot gain entry into the United States;

“Real-time approvals will no longer be available and arriving at the airport without a previously approved ESTA will likely result in being denied boarding.”

Just as the Christmas travel rush has started, holidaymakers and business travellers will have to change the way they visit the USA.

US authorities have always advised applicants to carry out the documentation at least three days in advance, most people could get their ESTA almost instantly.

The DHS also warn: “Upon arrival in the United States you will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer at a port of entry who may determine that you are inadmissible.”

The DHS recently added a query regarding the applicant’s social media activities to the form, but it’s optional.

“If an applicant does not answer the question or simply does not hold a social media account, the ESTA application can still be submitted without a negative interpretation or inference.”

Stronger security measures are expected over Christmas and the New Year, when 41 million passengers are expected to travel through American checkpoints nationwide.

Take note, globetrotters.



Heading Stateside for a J1 is a right of passage for young Irish students, so if you have been holding onto hope of doing one, now is your chance.

There are still a number of the coveted Visas left for this summer for the on the J-1 Summer Work and Travel (SWP) programme.

The catch is, applications must be submitted by the end of this month, so you better get cracking. 

Last February, the Embassy announced that Ireland had been allocated an additional 2,600 J1 Visa slots for this year. 

'The U.S. Embassy in Dublin is fully committed to the success of the J-1 programmes in Ireland,' reads a statement from the embassy.

'In addition to the popular Summer Work and Travel program, Irish students can participate in the Camp Counsellor, Au Pair, and Intern programmes.'

'The Embassy is working with Irish government representatives as well as U.S. and Irish program implementers to ensure Irish students continue to benefit from the J-1 program.'

There are a number of rules in place for J1 hopefuls, including having proof of employment before heading to the US. 

Feature Image: Kinder Travel Guide


Every year college students around the country are lucky to spend their summers on California beaches or strutting about Manhattan and making everyone very jealous with their Snapchat stories.

However, that might be a thing of the past as today it was announced that new, stricter, rules are being put in place for students. 

As of 2016, all Irish students must obtain work before they travel to America, and have these jobs vetted by the American administration.

The new restrictions come despite Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s attempts to stick with the regulations already in place.

He is said to have spoken to Irish ambassador Kevin O’Malley on a number of occasions about proposed changes to the J-1 Visa programme. 

The new rules will also affect travel within America for students who do get jobs beforehand, limiting their chances to see other parts of the country. Mr Kenny said he feared that the number of students able to avail of the stricter visa rules could drop by up to 80 per cent.

Over 8,000 Irish students travelled to the States in 2015 on the J1 Visa. More students from Ireland than any other country avail of the visa each year. Most of these students choose to look for work once they arrive in America. 

"When the J-1 programme was launched, we saw a surge of Irish students travelling to the USA on a working summer visa," said Kevin Donoghue, president of the Union of Students in Ireland.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for personal development through refining independent skills and experiencing another culture. The recent changed restrictions for the J-1 is disappointing," he added.



He's undeniably running a controversial campaign – and US presidential candidate Donald Trump raised eyebrows again today when it was revealed that he plans to eliminate J1 visas.

In a policy paper on immigration and published today on his official website, the billionaire Republican specified that he'd rather replace the popular programme with "a resume bank for inner city youth".

In short – he wants to help US-born young people rather than invite over Irish students.

Mr Trump is himself the son and grandson of Scottish and German immigrants and recently caused outrage when he called Mexicans "rapists" and criminals. He subsequently refused to retract his remarks.

He has extended his lead in the 2016 Republican nomination race and now boasts 24 percent support, according to official polls.

Some 8,000 Irish applications were processed this year by the US Embassy for the summer work programme.

Indeed, Ireland sends more students to the US on the J1 visa than any other country in the world.

The visa allows young people to work and live legally in the US for up for four months.