If you are thinking of paying a trip to the so-called Emerald Isle, then you may need an Ireland Visa. It all depends on your country.
However, keep this in mind: The Ireland visa is simply a pre-entry clearance, and it does not automatically offer entry into the country.
This article will detail information regarding Irish visas, such as the types, how to apply for an Irish visa, who needs a visa for Ireland, and Irish visa requirements.
Ireland Visa Policy
The rules for entering Ireland change depending on your nationality and can be divided into three categories:
If you are a national from a country who is an EU or EEA member, then you can enter Ireland and stay for up to three months with just your valid passport or national identity card.
You do not need a visa, nor do you have to register with the immigration authorities once you land in Ireland.
Non-EU/EEA nationals who are exempt from Irish visas
If you are not from an EU/EEA country, but you are from a country who has visa-free travel to Ireland, you do not need to apply for an Irish visa.
However, once you arrive in Ireland, you will have to register with the immigration authorities at border control. It is the Immigration Officer who decides whether you are allowed to enter Ireland.
Non-EU/EEA nationals who are subject to Irish visas
If you are from a non-EU/EEA country who falls under the Irish visa regime, then you need to apply for an Ireland visa. This means that you have to:
- Get permission to travel to Ireland (Ireland visa). You do this from your home country.
- Once you arrive in Ireland, register with the immigration authorities who decide whether to allow you to enter and stay in the country.
You will not be allowed to enter Ireland just because you receive an Ireland visa. You need permission to stay from an Immigration Officer.
Who needs an Ireland visa?
Ireland is part of the EU and EEA, and as such, nationals from member countries of those agreements can freely travel to Ireland without a visa.
In addition, there are several other countries who are not in the EU or the EEA, but who are not required to obtain an Ireland visa before traveling to Ireland.
You will only need to apply for an Irish visa if you are from one of the countries listed here.
Types of Ireland Visas
The Ireland visas are divided based on the duration of stay, the purpose of travel, as well as the number of entrances.
Irish Short-Stay Visas (C Visa)
If you want to travel to Ireland for a trip that lasts less than three months, you have to apply for an Irish short-stay visa. In addition, you also have to apply for the specific visa which is based on the purpose of your trip.
The types of Irish short-stay visas are:
- Irish Tourist visa, issued to foreign nationals who want to visit Ireland for tourism purposes.
- Irish Business visa, for foreign nationals who have to conduct business, attend a meeting or have other business-related purposes.
- Irish Employment visa under the Atypical Working Scheme, for foreign nationals who have clearance to take up short-term employment in Ireland.
- Irish Stage Performance or Tournament visa, for performing artists who have to stage a performance in Ireland, or for athletes who will participate in a sporting event.
- Irish Training visa, for foreign nationals who will participate in a short term training course in Ireland.
- Irish Short-Term Internship visa, for foreign nationals who will travel to Ireland to become employed as a paid intern for a period not exceeding three months.
- Irish Medical treatment visa, for foreign nationals who need to undergo medical treatment in an Irish medical institution.
- Irish Join a Ship visa, for foreign nationals who will be embarking on a ship in Ireland within 24 hours of entering the country.
- Irish Marriage visa, for foreign nationals who want to marry in Ireland and have received an acknowledgment from the Irish Registrar of Civil Marriages.
- Irish Exam visa, for foreign nationals who have to travel to Ireland to sit an exam.
Irish Long-Stay Visas (D Visa)
If you want to stay in Ireland for a period that is longer than three months, you need to apply for an Ireland long-stay visa. The types of Ireland long-stay visas are:
- Irish Study visa, for foreign nationals who want to travel to Ireland to pursue their studies in an Irish educational institution.
- Irish Work visa, for foreign nationals who have found a job and obtained immigration permission to work in Ireland.
- Irish Family visa, for foreign nationals wishing to join a family member (who is also a foreign national) living in Ireland.
- Irish Working holiday visa, for foreign nationals whose country is part of a Work Holiday agreement with Ireland.
- Irish Researcher visa, for foreign nationals who will become employed as a scientific researcher in Ireland.
- Irish Long-Term Internship visa, for foreign nationals who will become employees in a paid internship for a period longer than three months.
- Irish Volunteer visa, for foreign nationals who want to move to travel to Ireland to work as a volunteer in a charity, non-profit or voluntary organization.
- Irish Minister of Religion visa, for foreign nationals who will travel to Ireland to conduct ceremonies or other similar religious reasons.
Irish Transit Visa
Nationals from certain countries will have to apply for an Irish Transit visa if they want to change their vessel of transport at an Irish airport or seaport, provided they do not pass through border control.
Learn more about Ireland Transit Visa requirements here.
Irish Single and Multiple Entry Visas
As the name suggests, the Irish Single and Multiple-Entry visas differ based on how many times you are allowed to enter Ireland while the visa is valid.
If you have a single-entry Irish visa, you can only enter Ireland once, and you cannot re-enter the country after you leave, even if your visa is still valid.
With a multiple-entry Irish visa, you can enter and leave Ireland as many times as you want, provided your visa is valid.
However, the multiple-entry visa is issued less often than the single-entry visa, and only to travelers who have had previous visas, and shown compliance with the rules. Another time multiple-entry visas can be issued is if you will be traveling frequently, for short business meetings, for example.
You can apply for a multiple-entry visa, but it is up to Irish authorities to decide if they will provide you with one.
Ireland Visa Application
All Ireland Visa application submissions must be submitted online. After the online submission, you will receive instructions on how to proceed, which differ based on the country.
Completing the online application form
You have to submit the Ireland visa application via AVATS, the Irish Online Application facility, on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). You will receive a transaction number which allows you to retrieve your application at any time within 30 days.
Upon the start of the application, you will have to provide information regarding:
- The type of visa you are applying for:
- Short or Long Stay
- The purpose of travel.
- Your passport type and number.
- The dates you intend to travel.
You will move on to other questions, such as:
- Personal Information.
- Country of residence.
- Residential address.
- How long you have been living in your current country.
- Whether you have applied for/been issued an Irish visa before.
- If yes, provide the reference number.
- Whether you have ever been denied an Irish visa.
- Whether you have family living in Ireland.
- Whether you have any criminal convictions.
- Passport information.
- Employment status.
- Details of how you will be traveling and with whom.
- Details about your host in Ireland, if you have one.
- Your marital status and whether you have any children.
Finally, you will be directed to a Declaration, which you have to read and consent before you submit the application.
After completing the online application, you must print a physical summary copy of it.
Submitting the passport and documents
After printing the online application, you have to
- submit the application form,
- your passport, and several supporting documents,
- as well as pay an Irish visa fee.
You will receive information on where you can submit the documents and passport on your application summary. The location changes depending on your country, and it can be an Irish embassy, consulate, or visa application center in your country.
You may also have to provide your biometric information, such as your fingerprints and photograph. If you do, you must do it at the same place you submit your application.
The Ireland visa processing time is about eight weeks. However, depending on the specific case, it could take longer or even shorter, so be sure to apply well before your planned trip.
If you receive your Irish visa, and you travel to Ireland, before being permitted to enter, you have to go through border control. It is the immigration officers who decide whether to grant you permission to stay and for how long.
When you go through border control, you have to show the immigration officer your valid passport, your visa, and copies of all the documents you submitted for your Ireland visa application.
What Can I Do In Case of Irish Visa Refusal?
If your Irish visa application is refused, you will receive a letter of refusal, which informs you why the application was refused and whether you can appeal the decision.
If you have provided false information, for example, you will not be allowed to submit an appeal.
However, if you are eligible to appeal the Ireland visa refusal, then you must do so within two months. The procedure for appealing a decision is as follows:
- Write a letter of appeal, stating why you think the refusal was wrong and explaining in detail why you think it should be changed. Refer to the reason stated in the refusal letter while you do so. Include the following information in the letter:
- Your transaction number.
- Full name.
- Postal address.
- Email address.
- Gather any documents you believe are necessary and could help your appeal. Submit only originals of the documents.
- Include your passport in the appeal only if the refusal letter states you should.
- Put all your documents in a strong envelope and submit the appeal at the address stated in the letter of refusal.
- If you are submitting an appeal for more than one person, you can send them all together. However, separate them in different, smaller envelopes and write each applicant’s name and Visa Application Transaction Number on the outside. Then, place all the smaller envelopes into a larger one and mail it.
Who Submits the Ireland Visa Refusal Appeal?
If you are over 18, you can submit the application yourself.
If you are over 18 but someone else is applying for you, you must write them a letter of authorization giving them permission to submit the appeal on your behalf. They must include the letter with the other documents.
If you are under 18, a parent and a legal guardian have to submit the appeal on your behalf. You do not need to write them a letter of authorization.
Can I Visit Northern Ireland With an Irish Visa?
Even though they are both named Ireland, you cannot travel to Northern Ireland using a visa issued by the Republic of Ireland. Instead, you will need a visa issued by the United Kingdom.
The island of Ireland is divided into two territories: the Republic of Ireland, which takes up the majority of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
However, nationals from certain countries included in the British-Irish Visa Scheme may enter a UK territory with an Irish visa and vice-versa.
Quick Facts About Ireland
Ireland is a small country, with an area of only 84,421 square kilometers (32,595 sq miles) and a population of around 6.6 million.
However, it is still one of the most famous countries in the world, and a highly popular tourist destination, due to its lush natural beauty, which gave it the nickname “Emerald Isle” and countless breathtaking historical sites.
In fact, there is an estimated over 30,000 castles and castle ruins around Ireland. Only in 2018, Ireland received upwards of 11.2 million tourists.