The Irish Government has recently decided to extend its Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme, for a further period of four years.
The programme essentially eliminates the need to have both an Irish and UK visa when visiting Ireland via the UK, so that persons who:
- are nationals of one of sixteen countries covered by the scheme (covering certain Eastern European countries, certain Middle Eastern countries and India, China, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan);
- and have entered the UK under a UK “C” General visa and;
- have been granted leave to remain in the UK for up to 180 days;
- travel to Ireland within the time remaining on a current leave to remain in the UK, without the requirement to obtain an Irish visa and;
- be granted permission to remain in Ireland up to a maximum of 90 days or the time left on their UK leave to remain, whichever is the shortest.
Points To Note:
- The programme covers tourists, business persons (including holders of “C” long-term, multi-entry business visas) sportspersons and academics who are in possession of the required UK visa type and who have leave to remain in the UK.
- Those with transit visas, long term student visas, joint spouse or family reunification visas are not encompassed within the programme requirements.
- Each 180 day period of leave to remain in the UK will require a prior legal entry into the UK before travel to Ireland under the scheme.
Please be aware that the programme does not amount to a common UK and Irish visa regime and that possession of an Irish visa does not allow travellers to enter the UK. The person travelling will be required to have landed in and gained lawful entry to the UK, on foot of the current visa, prior to undertaking the journey to Ireland. This means that transit passengers through the UK to Ireland, who do not pass through immigration in the UK, will still require an Irish visa.
The traveller is permitted to travel home directly from Ireland or the UK but this must be before the expiry of the stamp issued by the Immigration officer on arrival in Ireland (if leaving from Ireland) or the expiration of the UK visa (if leaving from the UK).