Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme

The Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme allows certain visas issued by the United Kingdom to be used for travel to Ireland.

About the 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 31 October 2021 but may be amended or extended at any point.

Countries in the Programme

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.

Eastern Europe

Middle East


  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Montenegro
  • Russian Federation
  • Serbia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait2
  • Oman2
  • Qatar2
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates2
  • India
  • Kazakhstan
  • Peoples Republic of China1
  • Thailand
  • Uzbekistan

Note 1: China

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.

Note 2: United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar

In the case of nationals from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, 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.

UK visas in the Programme

Under the Programme certain visas issued by the authorities of the United Kingdom are recognised for the purposes of travel 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 a:

  • Visitor in Transit, or
  • Visitor seeking to enter for the purpose of marriage or to enter a civil partnership

Long-term visitors to the UK are not encompassed, for example:

  • Long-term student visas
  • Persons seeking to join spouse or family reunification

How to use the Programme

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.

Information note

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

Document icon Visa Waiver Programme
Information note (PDF 300KB)


If you have questions, contact

Updated: 18 October 2016

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