Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme

The Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme was announced by the Government as part of its Jobs Initiative with a view to promoting tourism from emerging markets. It commenced on 1 July 2011. The Programme will run to end October 2016 but may be amended or extended at any point.

Under the Programme certain visas issued by the authorities of the United Kingdom are recognised for the purposes of travel to Ireland.

The Programme permits nationals of 18 countries who are holders of certain categories of Short Stay “C” UK visas to travel to Ireland within the time remaining on their current leave to remain in the UK without the requirement to obtain an Irish visa.

The countries included in the Programme are:

Eastern Europe: Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine

 Middle East: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman**, Qatar**, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates**

 Asia: India, Kazakhstan, Peoples Republic of China*, Thailand, Uzbekistan

*In the case of China nationals of the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are already on the list of those nationals who do not require a visa to travel to Ireland.

**In the case of nationals from the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, the United Kingdom (UK) Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) cannot be used to travel to Ireland from a third country.  The EVW is only valid for a single journey and the passenger has to specify the exact flight he or she will be getting to the UK.  With an EVW the traveller can fly to the UK and directly onto Ireland within the allowed time period, without an Irish visa; but only if they fly directly from the UK to Ireland.

The categories of visas covered are short stay visit visas granted to persons seeking to leave to enter or remain in the UK except those seeking to enter as (i) a Visitor in Transit or (ii) a Visitor seeking to enter for the purpose of marriage or to enter a civil partnership. Long-term visitors to the UK, for example long-term student visas, persons seeking to join spouse or family reunification, are not encompassed.

In order to avail of the Programme you must have landed and gained lawful entry to the UK on foot of your current UK visa, prior to undertaking the journey to Ireland.

Each distinct period of leave to remain in the UK (up to a maximum of 180 days each time) requires a prior legal entry into the UK before travel to Ireland under the Programme, no matter what the duration of the UK visa.

This Programme is not reciprocal. It does not permit a person who is a visa required national under UK immigration rules to enter the UK on foot of an Irish visa.  If you wish to enter the UK (including Northern Ireland), you must be in possession of a valid UK visa.

Detailed information about the Programme and its requirements is available in the information note below.

Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme – Information Note