If you are planning a long holiday to explore all that Ireland has to offer, or are wishing to study, working or retire in the beautiful Emerald Isle, there are some important issues pertaining to your passport and visas that you will need to consider.
If you do have any queries or concerns, simply go to the INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service) website, where you find all the very latest regulations.
Please also review ‘Retiring to Ireland‘ which goes into great depth on all the factors to consider when planning a retirement in Ireland.
One of the first passport and visas issues to consider is that those travelling to Ireland from certain countries will need to obtain an Irish entry visa valid for the dates of their stay.
There are different visas, each with different requirements for tourism, work, study and retirement.
Essentially, an Irish visa gives you permission to stay to Ireland as long as all the stated conditions attached to the nature of your visit have been fulfilled.
No Visa Needed for EU Nationals
If you are a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA), you will not require a visa to visit Ireland. Nationals of certain other counties are also exempt.
All of the countries able to freely travel to Ireland are listed below:
|Antigua & Barbuda
|Hong Kong (Special Admin. Region)
|Saint Kitts & Nevis
|Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
|Macau (Special Admin. Region)
|Trinidad & Tobago
|United Kingdom & Colonies
|United States of America
In addition to the above, you will not need a visa if:
- You have been issued a valid travel document in accordance with the Geneva Convention (Article 28).
- You have either a residence card or a permanent residence card that falls under the remit of the Free Movement of Persons EC regulations.
- You are related to an EU citizen and have a valid residence documentation.
If you are dependent of an EU national and you yourself are a non-EEA national, you may still require a visa.
If you are planning to reside in Ireland for longer than three months, you must register with the immigration service and fill out an application for a residence card.
If your application is successful, you will not require a re-entry visa should you decide to return to Ireland in the future.
90 Day Short Stay Visas
There are several different types of visa.
If you are planning to be in Ireland for less than three months, for a holiday, for business purposes or to study, you should be eligible for a ‘C’ (short stay) visa.
Under the terms and conditions of a ‘C’ visa, you will be allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of ninety days.
If you enter Ireland on this type of visa, you will be unable to apply to extend your stay.
Instead, you will have to leave the country and reapply should you need to stay longer.
The criteria for assessment is as follows:
- that you will leave Ireland at the end of your visit;
- that you, or relatives or friends in Ireland who are sponsoring your visit, have enough money to support and accommodate you, without you working or accessing public funds;
- that you have proof of return or onward travel arrangements;
- that you will not breach the Common Travel Area by seeking to enter the UK via Ireland without a valid UK visa;
- your immigration history in relation to Ireland, the UK, the Schengen Zone and other countries; and
- any other issue which the visa officer deems relevant.
Long Term Visas for Work, Retirement and Study
If you have plans to visit Ireland for a protracted period of time (over three months) because you are hoping to study, work or live there permanently (with already established resident family members), then you may be eligible for a single entry ‘D’ (long stay) visa. If you are meet the criteria for a ‘D’ visa and decide you want to extend your stay beyond the agreed period, you will need to register and apply for a residence permit.
If you have plans to study in Ireland for a period exceeding three months, you may also apply for a study visa. A visa of this type is dependent on your fulfilling certain criteria, so do check in advance. You are able to apply for a visa of this type from three months before the start date of the course.
People from a handful of countries will also require what is known as a transit visa if they are travelling to another country via Ireland.
Countries that require an Irish Transit Visa:
|Democratic Republic of the Congo
Under the terms of a transit visa, you are not permitted to leave the airport or port.
Visa Waiver for UK Visa Holders
Under the visa waiver and reciprocal visa agreement, nationals coming from selected Asian (including India), Middle East, Eastern European countries who are in possession of a short-term visa for the UK will be allowed to visit Ireland without requiring a separate visa.
Under the new BIVS (British Irish Visa Scheme), visitors from China and India may travel freely within a designated Common Travel Area, (that is, Ireland and the UK, excluding the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands), using either a UK or Irish short-stay BIVS stamped visa.
Single Versus Multiple Entry Visas
Remember that your visa (unless designated ‘multiple entry’) will allow you to enter Ireland once only. If you wish to leave and return, you will need a re-entry visa.
This also applies if you visit Northern Ireland during your stay.
Before you can be granted a re-entry visa, you will need to register with the GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau).
Irish Visa Application Process
All visas should be applied for online. Leave plenty of time (at least eight weeks) before your intended date of travel.
You may be asked to include biometrics information during the course of your application.
You may also be banned from applying to come to Ireland for five years. It is sensible to wait until your visa is approved before you buy your tickets.
Processing times may vary depending on your country of origin. Generally speaking, though, you should expect to hear with two months of the date that you put in your application.
One piece of good news is that if you are of retirement age (sixty-five years plus), hold the required passport and visas and you are residing permanently in Ireland, you will be entitled to free public rail and bus transport.
Students may also qualify for subsidised travel, but those who are working in Ireland will have to pay full travel costs.