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My mother is shortly about to be doing the longest traveling she has ever done and is exceptionally worried because she is doing it solo.

She is traveling to San Jose, Costa Rica from Dublin, Ireland with Delta airlines.

Her first leg is Dublin to Atlanta then to San Jose. On returning, she has San Jose to Atlanta then to Boston and finally to Dublin.

I thought because she is only transiting through the US,she would not need a Visa but now I am under the impression she will require an ESTA?

Furthermore, when getting connecting flights in the US, will she be required to actually leave the airport and find departures every time she lands in a US airport? Or are there signs within the listed airports for connecting flights?

  • If she is eligible for the VWP (what is her nationality?) then she will need ESTA; otherwise she'll need a visa. She should ask an airline employee to show her where to go for her connecting flights; I think there are generally signs, but I don't know Atlanta and in the airports I do know the signs are not necessarily prominent or easy to find. – phoog Apr 14 '17 at 14:54
  • Yep she is Irish so can apply for the VWP. My only worry now is how difficult it is to navigate the airports for connecting flights and to do it on time. – TomSelleck Apr 14 '17 at 15:26
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Provided she meets the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program, she does not need a Visa to transit the United States.

She should clear US Immigration and Customs at the CBP Pre-Clearance facility at Dublin.

In Atlanta, she will arrive at a domestic gate. She will probably have to ride the train to a different concourse though.

On the return, she will have to clear US CBP and TSA again in Atlanta. Then almost certainly another train ride to the concourse where the Boston flight departs.

Delta at Boston is spread across two terminal buildings. While they are both airside, the walk can be long.

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    Does the OP's mother have any trouble walking long distances? If so, consider asking for wheelchair assistance "for distance" at Atlanta and Boston. That way, she does not have to walk, and the wheelchair-pusher will know their way around the airport. – Patricia Shanahan Apr 14 '17 at 17:02

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