News Updates

News Updates

Updates from the Irish Bishops Conference

Irish Senior Connect

“A listening and information service for Irish seniors”

The Irish Senior Connect program is dedicated to providing a listening ear and a response that conveys empathy and respect, so that every senior who calls will feel welcomed, supported and helped by a caring network of friends. Our aim is that no senior should ever feel isolated or alone.

Hours of operation are: Monday and Tuesday from 10 am to 12 pm and Thursday from 10 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 4 pm

This is a project of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers and is Hosted by the Irish Pastoral Centre in Boston:


Diversity Visa Program

For Complete up-to-date information about the US Diversity Visa Program application and process, go to the official government website: Travel.State.Gov.


There is NO cost to apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery. Beware of scams promising a “Green Card.”

On September 3, 2013, the Department of State will transition to an online immigrant visa application. Immigrant visa applicants will apply online using Form DS-260 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration). Applicants will choose their agent online using Form DS-261 (Choice of Address and Agent). Applicants will access both forms on the web at   These forms replace the paper DS-230 and DS-3032. The National Visa Center (NVC) may instruct some applicants who previously submitted Form DS-230 to submit Form DS-260. Only Diversity Visa and Cuban Family Reunification Parole applicants will continue to use the paper forms.   The implementation of Forms DS-260 and DS-261 is the next step in the Department of State’s creation of a secure and efficient online immigrant visa application experience.   If your members have questions or feedback about Forms DS-260 and DS-261, they should contact the NVC at or 603-334-0700.



If foreign nationals in the United States are arrested or detained, they must be told that they may have their country’s embassy or consulate notified, and officials from the embassy or consulate must be allowed access to them upon request. In some cases, the foreign embassy must be notified regardless of the individual’s wishes. Notification is also required when a foreign national dies or is involved in an airplane crash or shipwreck, or a guardian is appointed for a foreign national who is a minor or an incompetent adult.

The CONSULAR NOTIFICATION AND ACCESS MANUAL explains how U.S. state, federal, and local law enforcement agencies, courts, and other competent authorities should handle arrests and detentions, quarantines and other types of non-criminal confinement, airplane crashes, shipwrecks, deaths, serious injuries or illnesses, and the appointment of guardians for foreign nationals. The Bureau of Consular Affairs within the Department of State conducts outreach and training on consular notification and access and strives to assist law enforcement agencies in every way possible.   More information can be found at the State Department website:


Introduction of Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) January 2009

ESTA is an electronic registration system requiring travellers who are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to register in advance of travelling to the USA. The ESTA program began on a voluntary basis on 1 August 2008. Mandatory registration will come into force as of 12 January 2009.   Visa Waiver travellers should register through the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Agency website at the following address:   Registration is free and may be done by third parties e.g. travel agencies. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, and once approved,  will be valid for up to two years or until the applicant’s passport expires or in the event of a name change. Authorisations will be valid for multiple entries into the U.S.   The US Department of Homeland Security is recommending that ESTA applications be submitted as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans and at least 72 hours in advance of travel. An applicant who does not receive authorisation to travel will need to go to their nearest U.S. Diplomatic or Consular Mission and apply for a visa.   An ESTA approval does not determine admissibility into the United States. The final decision for entry to the United States rests with US immigration authorities at the port of entry.   The ESTA program does not apply to Irish citizens who are holders of a visa for the United States.   For more information on ESTA, please visit