Temporary Suspension of the Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme: As part of the Government’s COVID 19 measures, the Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme has been temporarily suspended with effect from 10 July 2020. For more information please see here.

Short stay visa waiver programme

You may be able to visit Ireland, for less than 90 days, without an Irish visa if you can answer “yes” to each of these questions:

  • Do you have an eligible UK short stay visa?


  • Does your visit to Ireland end before your permission to stay in UK ends (this is granted by an UK immigration official when you pass through UK immigration)?


  • Was your passport issued by one of the countries listed in the list below?



You do not need a visa if you are a British citizen. Check if you need a visa for Ireland.

Note: Chinese and Indian nationals may visit the United Kingdom and Ireland in some circumstances using a single short stay visa issued by either country. Read a longer description of the British-Irish Visa Scheme.

UK short stay visas

UK short stay visit visas are permitted except those issued for:

  • Visitors in transit
  • Visitors seeking to marry or to enter a civil partnership

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

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


Eastern Europe

Middle East


  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Montenegro
  • Russian Federation
  • Serbia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait2
  • Oman2
  • Qatar2
  • Saudi Arabia
  • 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: Kuwait, Oman and Qatar

In the case of nationals from the 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.

How to use the visa waiver 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

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.

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


If you have questions, contact visamail@justice.ie

Updated: 17 December  2018

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