View Full Version : Irishman needs help with Visa!

10-17-2012, 14:39
Hey all,

Im completely set on thru hiking the AT next year and have spent months researching and preparing.
Unfortunately not being an American citizen i require a piece of paper to actually enter and remain in the country!...also known as a visa!

That wouldnt be a problem but online research suggests I can only get a 3 month touring visa? As opposed to the 6 months its likely going to take me to complete the hike. Also being only 22 and having just graduated from college I dont really have any compelling reasons to prove ill be leaving the country after my hike.

I will be absolutely devastated if all this silly bureaucracy prevents me from living my dream next year.

If anyone knows any non us citizens who hiked the AT before, have you any idea how they sorted out the visa issue?
And of course any non US citizens intending on hiking the AT in 2013 please leave a comment with some advice on how you will/intend on organising a visa!! I really really need help sorting this all out and any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. :)


Kean. :)

Feral Bill
10-17-2012, 15:13
Try to develop a portfolio of family and community ties that will lure you back home when you finish. The fact that you are visiting for a specific, time limited purpose may help, too.

10-17-2012, 15:16
I am thinking it is best if you come up with a good reason why you need to go back:
Family, things you own that are worthwhile, band accounts, but most importantly, as you know, a job.
Think about someone who can offer you one after your hike.

My (Thai) wife got a 10 year visa (good for 6 months only, each visit) and it was a nightmare getting it.
It took us about 3 months of hurdling all the red tape they throw at you.
We had letters from many people saying different things about a job, house, banks, family, etc.
Ended up they only looked at one of them, but it's best to be prepared and overwhelm them with reasons, IMO.

Good luck.
Take it seriously, cause once you get shot down, they won't forget it.

Good luck.

10-17-2012, 16:35

If you cannot "demonstrate permanent employment, meaningful business or financial connections, close family ties, or social or cultural associations, which will indicate a strong inducement to return to the country of origin," then our government has no reason to think you are not one of the millions of people who come to the U.S. with hopes of illegally taking employment. It's the same situation when Americans come to Ireland -- THEY TOO are subject to "silly bureaucracy" that prevents them from staying for more than a certain time period without a visa.

All I can suggest is to create AND document as many inducements to return prior to applying for a visa. If your request is denied, just plan for a three-month hike.

One thing I definitely urge you NOT to do -- do NOT over-stay your visa. Think it's a problem getting permission to visit now? Try to imagine what it will be like after you get a lifetime mark as a visa scofflaw!

Odd Man Out
10-17-2012, 18:01
Having worked with a few international visitors, it is my impression that the chance your visa is rejected is proportional to how many people from your country historically try to over stay their visa. I don't think Ireland is one of these so this may work in your favor. The US INS web site says that when you enter the country, the Customs and Border Protection official will stamp your I-94 form with the allowed length of stay. If you need an extension, you need to file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status before your authorized stay expires (at least 45 days recommended). If you had to do this, a good option might be to take the train from Harpers Ferry to Washington D.C. If you can't get the extension there, then just plan on leaving the country when the I-94 says so. You could also ask the Irish Embassy in Washington DC. They might have some advice.

10-17-2012, 18:56
There is a six month visa, its not particularly hard to get, perhaps a bit tedious. My sister has one.
It entails an interview at the US Embassy, in her case London, yours likely Dublin. The visa is valid for 10 years multiple entry.
I met several European hikers from Germany and Holland who had this visa while I was hiking the AT.
You have to have a reason for a six month visa, proof of adequate funds and I think ties in your home country so that its apparent that you will go home at the end. My sister was also questioned on healthcare coverage.
I hope you are able to get one.

10-18-2012, 02:58
What you need is a B2 visa.
I think cost is about $160.
Contact US consulate or embassy nearest you.

Kaptain Kangaroo
10-18-2012, 05:25
Yep, it is the B2 visa you need... all the information you need is here...


Just be aware that although the visa might be valid for 1 year or 5 years (or whatever) the length of time you are allowed to stay in the country for any particular visit is determined by the immigration official at the port of entry........... that's right, you will not know how long you will be allowed to stay until you actually show up on the doorstep of the US !!!!! A little daunting when you are needing 6 months or so for a thru-hike. However, 6 months seems like the most common time & you can apply for an extension if you need it.

You will need to go to the US consulate for an interview & their main focus seems to be on why you want to visit (be prepared to answer surprisingly detailed questions about the AT) & seeing evidence that you have a reason to go back home eg. family, job, etc.

It is a bit of a hassle, but the trail is worth the effort....... Good Luck !

10-19-2012, 09:46
Wow I cant believe how helpful you all have been! Thanks so much for taking the time :)
I think now a B2 visa is definitely the way to go, im going to start preparing for the necessary requirements for one and hope to book an interview soon,

Fingers crossed all goes ok.

Thanks again!