Volume 3 1926~1932

Doc No.

No. 252 UCDA P80/472

Memorandum by John V. Fahy on the issue of Irish Free State Passports
in the United States of America1 (A. 280)

Dublin, 6 September 1929

The present position is that all Irish nationals in the U.S.A. who have not acquired American citizenship and who do not possess either British passports or Irish Free State passports must apply to the British Consular officers who will issue British passports to enable them to visit this country or to travel to any other country outside the U.S.A.

The continuance of the anomalous position whereby the British authorities, notwithstanding the establishment of the Legation and of our offices in New York, still continue to perform functions of this character on our behalf has been the subject of a good deal of adverse criticism. The Minister Plenipotentiary2 has at various times pointed out the urgency of the question of the issue of our own passports in the U.S.A., stressing that the fact of having to refer our nationals to British Consulates has resulted in loss of prestige for the constitutional and international position of the Saorstát. Action is at present being taken with a view to the inauguration of satisfactory machinery for the issue of our own passports early in the coming winter, that is, some time about November.


Position as regards Visas on passports of aliens travelling from the U.S.A. to the Irish Free State

The passports of all aliens sailing from any port in the U.S.A. must bear a Saorstát Visa to enable the holders to land in the Irish Free State in the first instance or, if they land in the first instance at a British port, to come subsequently to the Irish Free State. For this purpose, Visa offices have been established at Boston and New York.

It may be mentioned that the total value of the fees received from the issue of Visas is approximately £20,000 p.a.

The Boston office was established at first with the intention that it would be possible to dispense with it on 1st October, 1929, as soon as the system had been inaugurated, and so transfer the Visa work to New York. Experience has shown that this would not be practicable, and a decision has now been taken to continue the present office up to 1st October, 1930, at least. Meanwhile, the question of its permanent establishment as a Consulate is being considered.

[initialled] J. V. F.

1 Handwritten marginal annotation: 'Prepared in connection with Minister's visit to USA in Sept-Nov, 1929'.

2 Michael MacWhite.