Need an Irish Visa? Let Us Help You Out
You will need a visa if you are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national and you wish to enter Ireland. The type of visa you require depends on the purpose and length of your stay.
Our immigration solicitors offer a fixed fee immigration service. We can advise what type of Irish visa you need and can manage the application process on your behalf.
Do I need a visa to enter Ireland?
You do not need a visa to enter Ireland if you:
- Are an EU/EEA national
- Are a Swiss citizen
- Have a valid Irish permanent residence permit
- Have a travel document which was issued by Ireland
Almost everyone else must get a visa to visit, travel, work and study in Ireland, and to transit through Ireland while en route to another destination. This includes passport-holders from Russia, Turkey and the USA.
However, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, you may be able to travel to Ireland under a valid UK short stay visa, so long as your visit to Ireland ends before your permission to stay in the UK ends. This is permitted under the Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme, but only applies to certain countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Chinese and Indian nationals may also use a single short stay visa to visit both Ireland and the UK under the British Irish Visa Scheme.
What type of Irish visa do I need?
The type of Irish visa that you need depends on the length and purpose of your visit. There are five main types of Irish visa:
- Short stay visas
- Long stay visas
- Re-entry visas
- Transit visas
- Multiple entry visas
We explain the different types of Irish visa in more detail below. If you remain uncertain as to which visa you need, please contact our immigration solicitors. We offer a fixed fee immigration service and can explain what kind of visa best suits your situation.
Short stay visas are valid for 90 days or less. Short stay visas are also called ‘C’ visas. There are different short stay visas available.
A tourist visa allows you to travel in Ireland for up to 90 days, be it for leisure or study. As with all short stay visas, it does not allow you to work or use any publicly funded services for free.
A business visa allows you to travel in Ireland for up to 90 days for business or work that lasts for 14 days or less. This means you can attend meetings and negotiate or sign agreements/contracts. You cannot work for longer than 14 days. This is a common point of confusion, and we are often asked: how long does a business visa last? The answer is that the visa lasts for 90 days, meaning you can remain in Ireland for three months. However, you can only work for 14 days out of these 90 days.
A family or friends visa allows you to travel in Ireland for up to 90 days, for the purpose of visiting family or friends who reside in Ireland.
A conference or event visa allows you to travel in Ireland for up to 90 days, for the purpose of attending a conference, symposium or other event.
An employment (atypical working scheme) visa allows you to work in Ireland on a short term basis, so long as you have approval from the Atypical Working Scheme Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. The Atypical Working Scheme is aimed at those who are required by a company/organisation in Ireland to provide ‘atypical’ work. This includes people working in industries where a skill shortage has been identified or which require specialised skills. It covers locum doctors. You cannot undertake any other type of work under this visa.
An exam visa allows you to sit an exam that is necessary for your current employment or study. The exam must be required for your job or course, otherwise the visa is not valid.
A join ship visa allows you to join a ship that is departing from Ireland. You do not need a visa if you hold a Seafarer’s Identity Document issued by certain countries.
A marriage visa allows you to come to Ireland to marry, regardless of whether you are in a same-sex or an opposite sex relationship. You can only apply for the visa once you and your partner have received an acknowledgement from the Registrar confirming your wedding date.
A medical treatment visa allows you to travel to Ireland for up to 90 days for a medical procedure in a private hospital. The procedure must be unavailable in your country of permanent residence, you must have the procedure booked in, and you must pay for it in full. You cannot use Irish public services for free, such as public hospitals.
A performance or tournament visa allows you to visit Ireland for up to 90 days to stage a performance or participate in a competition. This includes sports, dance, chess and debating competitions. You can be paid, so long as the event does not last longer than 14 days.
A training visa allows you to attend a training course in Ireland for professional development for up to 90 days. This must be arranged by the company you work for, or an organisation you belong to.
A visa for non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizen travelling with EU/EEA/Swiss family allows people who are non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens to accompany family members to Ireland for a single journey of up to 90 days. To be eligible you must be a ‘qualifying family member’, such as a spouse, child, or a dependent parent/grandparent/child. Your family member must be a passport holder from an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland.
Long stay visas
Long stay visas are valid for more than 90 days. Long stay visas are also called ‘D’ visas. There are different long stay visas available.
A study visa allows you to study in Ireland for more than three months.
A join a family member visa/Irish spouse visa allows you to live in Ireland for more than three months with a family member who is an Irish citizen or who lawfully resides in Ireland. This is often referred to an Irish spouse visa, although these visas can also be obtained by children and de facto partners. A de facto partner is when you are not married or in a civil partnership but you have been cohabiting for at least two years.
An employment visa allows you to work in Ireland for longer than three months. You must first find a job and then get an employment permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. If you’re coming to Ireland to work, you probably want to know: how long does a work visa last? The answer is that it depends on the type of work permit that has been issued. Most employment permits are issued for 24 months initially.
An employment (researcher visa) allows you to carry out scientific research in Ireland. This must be done under a ‘hosting agreement’.
An employment (Van der Elst) visa allows you to work in Ireland on behalf of your employer, so long as your employer is based in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland. Your work contract can last up to a maximum of 12 consecutive months.
A minister of religion visa allows you to work in Ireland as a Minister of Religion for an eligible religious body or faith community for up to three years.
A stamp 0 visa/retirement visa allows visiting academics/researchers to work in Ireland for 12 months, although they must be paid outside Ireland. A stamp 0 visa may also be granted to persons of independent means, and to elderly dependent relatives who are sponsored by a family member who is lawfully residing in Ireland. Stamp 0 visas are therefore useful for those who wish to retire to Ireland.
A volunteer visa allows you volunteer in Ireland with an eligible organisation for up to two years.
If you are from a visa-required country and you plan to leave Ireland for a short period (up to 90 days) and return again, then you will need a re-entry visa. As of 13 May 2019, this does not apply to adults who hold a valid IRP/GNIB card.
If you are from a visa-required country and you are travelling through Ireland while on your way to another destination, then you will need a transit visa.
Multiple entry visas
If you are from a visa-required country and you wish to enter/leave Ireland multiple times, then you will need a multiple entry visa. This allows you to visit Ireland on numerous occasions. This might be needed for business trips, for example. Otherwise, your visa will only allow for a single entry to Ireland. A multiple entry visa permits travel to/from Ireland for short trips, and is contained to the dates on your visa.
How do I get an Irish visa?
You can get an Irish visa by making an online application through the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). You can do this yourself, or you can ask an immigration solicitor to do it for you.
You will have to pay for legal fees if you use an immigration solicitor. However, there are significant advantages of using a professional. A solicitor can advise what type of visa you are eligible to. This ensures you do not waste your time and money applying for a visa that will ultimately be unsuccessful. You might not even need a visa if you are eligible to enter the country under a reciprocal agreement.
If you do need a visa, your solicitor can manage all the hard work for you. Not only does this make your life easier, it also gives your application the best chance of success. This is because a specialist immigration solicitor knows the system inside out. They can submit the correct information and present it in the right way, preventing any delays. If any unforeseen complications arise, your solicitor will know how to resolve them, keeping your visa application on track.
Is the application to obtain an Irish visa complicated?
Each visa application requires that you submit various documents. These vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for. However, none of them are particularly straightforward. Even a short term tourist visa demands that you submit:
- Application summary sheets
- An application letter
- A holiday, study or vacation plan
- Proof of fee payment
- Your passport and photocopies of your previous passports
- Two passport-sized colour photographs
- A finance plan
- Proof that you will return home
If you fail to submit the correct documentation, or you make a mistake, the application will be refused or rejected.
How long is the application for an Irish visa?
So, how long does it take to get an Irish visa? Unfortunately, there is no set answer to that question. According to the INIS website, all applications are ‘processed in date order’. An application will only be expedited in certain circumstances.
Estimated processing times depend on the type of visa, your nationality and the time of year. A tourist visa is generally issued within eight weeks of INIS receiving your application. A join a family member visa (Irish spouse visa) can take between six and 12 months, depending on the status of your sponsor. The INIS website has further information about estimated processing times.
Your application will be delayed if you make a mistake, fail to submit the correct documents or further investigations are required – for example, because you have a criminal conviction.
Can I travel Europe with an Irish visa?
No, an Irish visa is not a passport to travel across Europe. Under the British Irish Visa Scheme, certain people are allowed to travel to Northern Ireland and the UK using a valid Irish visa. Otherwise, you must have a separate visa for each European country that you wish to visit. This includes Northern Ireland and the UK.
Let our immigration solicitors help you
Applying for an Irish visa can be extremely confusing. There are lots of rules and red tape to navigate your way around. There is also a significant amount of paperwork involved, making it a daunting task.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then our immigration solicitors can help you. We can advise what type of visa you need to apply for. Then, we can manage the process on your behalf. This removes the burden from your shoulders, increasing the chances of a successful application.
We know that you’ll want your visa to be secured as quickly and as efficiently as possible, allowing you to start (or resume) your life in Ireland. We’re here to make that happen. Our immigration specialists hold legal advice clinics. Thereafter, we offer a fixed fee immigration service, ensuring you know exactly what costs to expect.
Complete our online enquiry form, or phone us on 01 872 3143 today.
Need an Irish Visa? Here is important Links for you….
British Irish Visa Scheme http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/British%20Irish%20Visa%20Scheme
Seafarer’s Identity Document http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Join%20Ship
Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Apply%20for%20a%20visa
estimated processing times http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Visa%20Decisions