Visa policy of Ireland


The visa policy of Ireland is set by the Government of Ireland and determines visa requirements for foreign citizens. If someone other than a European Union, European Economic Area, Common Travel Area or Swiss citizen seeks entry to Ireland, they must be a national of a visa-exempt country or have a valid Irish visa issued by one of the Irish diplomatic missions around the world.

Entry stamp for Ireland

Although Ireland is a member of the European Union, it has an opt-out from the Schengen Area and therefore sets its own visa policy. Ireland also operates the Common Travel Area with the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man which specifies open borders between the countries and territories. Established in 1923, it permits British and Irish citizens freedom of movement around the Common Travel Area and to cross its borders with minimal or no identity documents.[1][2]

Visa policy of Ireland is similar to the visa policy of the Schengen Area. It grants visa-free entry to all Schengen Annex II nationalities, except for Albania, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Georgia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Palau, Paraguay, Peru, Serbia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela. Ireland also grants visa-free entry to several additional countries – Belize, Botswana, Eswatini, Fiji, Lesotho, Maldives and Nauru.

History


Ireland's visa policy has been amended since its inception through primary legislation and statutory instruments. The Aliens Act of 1935 confers the power of deportation and the power of immigration control to the Minister for Justice of the Irish Free State. On 12 April 1935, the Irish Free State exempted citizens of the United Kingdom, Canada, Commonwealth of Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, Union of South Africa, Dominion of Newfoundland and British India from the Aliens Act and therefore did not recognise those citizens as aliens.[3] The 1946 Aliens Order requires all aliens to present a passport to an immigration control officer for inspection within 24 hours if not arriving from Great Britain or Northern Ireland. The maximum stay for aliens was one month.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Ireland had concluded bilateral visa exemption agreements with countries of Western Europe.

In 1962, Ireland changed the definition of alien and now included those countries named above, with the exception of those born in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.[4] The 1962 Aliens Amendment Order exempted citizens of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, West Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States from visas for three months. It also gave special provisions to citizens of the British Commonwealth,[n 1] whereby they are exempted by the Aliens Order of 1946, although they may be refused leave to land unless they comply with certain conditions. A 1966 amendment gives rights of admission to those states of the British Commonwealth, which is later revoked in 1972. In 1972, aliens were required to seek work permits from the Minister for Labour to work in the state. In 1975, Ireland published its first list of visa-exempt nationalities and also removed the special provisions from Commonwealth citizens under Irish law.[5] 1999 was the first development of a comprehensive list of countries which required visas.[6]

On 29 March 1988, the first Irish transit visa requirement was announced for Iran. Requirements for transit visas were announced for Poland, Bulgaria and Sri Lanka on 26 February 1988, for Moldova (3 February 1993), Cuba (1 November 1994), Iraq (19 July 1996). On 8 October 1996, Irish transit visa requirements were extended and included the countries currently listed as of January 2018, with the addition of Nigeria, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Zaire.[7] Zimbabwe was added on 8 November 2002, as were Georgia and Ukraine (9 June 2017).

In terms of visa exemptions, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were exempted on 30 April 1996, followed by Hong Kong (25 June 1997), Brunei (17 February 1997), Croatia (26 January 1999). On 13 February 2001, Ireland exempted the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Bolivia, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Guyana, Kiribati, Maldives, Mauritius, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu. Macau was exempted on 27 April 2002, Slovakia (18 December 2003), Bulgaria and Romania (18 December 2006), Taiwan (1 July 2009) and United Arab Emirates (31 January 2018).

In terms of countries removed from the list of visa-free nationalities, Sierra Leone was removed (4 October 1994) and Kenya (15 March 1996). On 3 April 1996, Fiji (later restored), Guyana, Mauritius (later removed), Tanzania and Zambia were removed, followed by Ecuador (29 August 1997), Slovakia (14 October 1998, later restored) and Croatia (26 January 1999).[8][9][10] Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Nigeria and Pakistan (1 January 1988); Turkey (19 November 1989); Uganda (12 August 1993); Bolivia (later restored), Colombia, Peru and Tunisia (1 April 1990) were all removed, as were Gambia (June 2001), Jamaica (18 December 2003), Mauritius (1 January 2010), Venezuela (29 April 2014) and Malawi (12 November 2015).

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visa-free travel from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Guyana, Paraguay, South Africa and Uruguay was revoked on 28 January 2021.[11] The revocation was initially intended as a temporary measure; however, it was extended indefinitely on 14 March 2021.[12]

Visa policy map


Visa policy of Ireland
  Ireland
  Freedom of movement (EU/EEA/CH)
  Visa-free access to Ireland for 90 days (180 days for Japan)
  Visa required to enter Ireland, transit without visa
  Visa required to enter Ireland and for transit through Ireland

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Irish government implemented a series of measures regarding entry into Ireland.

All arrivals regardless of nationality arriving from all South American countries, some European and African countries and the USA & Canada (see below) by law must go into mandatory quarantine at their own expense for 14 days in a hotel designated by the state at a cost of €1,875. Individuals may leave the quarantine facility on day 10 if a negative result from a COVID-19 test is received.[13]

The Irish government advises against all travel to and from all South American countries, Austria and many countries in Africa due to the fear of the spread of new COVID-19 variants.[14]

Anyone planning on entering Ireland from any country regardless of nationality must provide a negative PCR test from the previous 72 hours. Failure to produce such test upon arrival in Ireland means that the individual by law must go into mandatory quarantine at their own expense in a hotel designated by the state until a negative result from a COVID-19 test is received.

All arrivals above the age of 16 in Ireland must complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form online before arrival and must restrict their movements for 14 days from the date of entry into Ireland.[15] There are some exemptions to the 14 day self isolation rule:

  • International Transport Workers, including workers in aviation, maritime and road haulage sectors.
  • Passengers arriving from an “orange” region within the EU's traffic light system, who have received a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken during the 3 days before arrival in Ireland.
  • Passengers arriving from “red” regions within the EU and all passengers from non EU/EEA countries who receive a negative result from a COVID-19 test that has been taken a minimum of 5 days after arrival in Ireland.
  • Foreign diplomats.

All passengers arriving from Great Britain by law must self isolate for the full 14 day period even if they receive a negative result from a COVID-19 test on day 5 of arrival. By self isolating they must stay in their room and not leave unlike other arrivals who only have to restrict their movements which is not as restrictive.[16]

Mandatory Hotel Quarantine Countries & Territories [17]

Visa exemptions


Citizens of the following countries and territories can enter Ireland without a visa:[18][19]

As of right
Visa-exempt

The following persons do not require an entry visa and are granted permission to enter for 3 months when they arrive in Ireland:[21]

  1. May enter using a Gibraltar ID card, or, if arriving directly from the UK, any photographic identification (for example a bus pass or student ID card)
  2. May enter on a national identity card
  3. Japanese citizens are allowed a stay of less than 6 months (180 days) in Ireland without having to apply for a visa following a visa exemption agreement between the two countries
Short stay visa waiver programme

The Irish short stay visa waiver programme was introduced in July 2011 and allows citizens of the below 17 countries to enter Ireland if they are holders of a valid UK 'C' visa (short stay visa). The scheme is not applicable to those who are "Visitors in Transit" and "Visitors seeking to enter for the purpose of marriage or to enter a civil partnership". The visa waiver is only for those who have cleared immigration in the United Kingdom and have been granted leave for up to 180 days in the UK. Participants can enter Ireland visa-free for up to 90 days or until the end of their current permission to remain in the UK, whichever is shorter. They may enter Ireland from a country other than the UK as long as both their visa and their permission to remain in the UK have not expired.[63] The scheme also applies to citizens from Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar who have entered the UK with an Electronic Visa Waiver as long as those citizens have arrived in Ireland directly from the UK. The scheme was initially set to run until 31 October 2012 but was extended for four years until 31 October 2016. It was extended again until 31 October 2021.[64]

Citizens of the above 17 countries who hold a UK or Schengen long-term visa or residence permit still need to apply for an Irish visa, but will have the application fee waived.

British-Irish Visa Scheme

Ireland and the United Kingdom have agreed on a joint British-Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS) in 2014. Under the agreement between Ireland and United Kingdom, citizens of the following countries who hold a valid UK visa endorsed with BIVS and who have cleared immigration in the United Kingdom can visit Ireland visa-free for up to 90 days (or until their current permission to enter/remain in the UK, whichever is shorter). Similar to those eligible under the Visa Waiver Programme, they may enter Ireland from a country other than the UK as long as both their visa and their permission to remain in the UK have not expired.[65]

Non-ordinary passport waiver programme

Visa is not required by nationals of  China holding diplomatic, service and public affairs passports for accompanying a Minister or above for the purpose of an official visit.[66]

Entry visas


Irish visa specimen

A traveller who does not qualify for one of the visa exemptions above is required to apply for an Irish visa in advance at an Irish embassy or consulate.

A single entry visa costs €60, whilst a multiple entry visa costs €100. However, spouses and certain family members of EEA and Swiss citizens are issued Irish visas free of charge.[67]

In addition, visa applicants who are the nationals of following countries and territories are exempt from paying a fee:[68]

All visa applicants aged 6 years and over, residing in Nigeria (irrespective of nationality) are required to submit their fingerprints as part of the visa application process.[69]

Visa types

Current visa types are:[70]

  • Short Stay Visas
    • Business Visa — issued in order to attend meetings, trade shows, negotiate agreements or contracts and carry out fact finding missions in Ireland.
    • Conference/Event Visa
    • Exam Visa
    • Employment Visa — provided holding an approval Atypical Working Scheme Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.
    • Internship Visa
    • Join Ship Visa — for seafarers wishing to join a departing vessel in Ireland.
    • Marriage/Civil partnership Visa
    • Medical Treatment Visa — for an appointment with a private hospital in Ireland.
    • Performance/Tournament Visa
    • Training Visa
    • Visit (Family/Friends) — visiting friends or family who are resident in Ireland.
    • Visit Tourist
  • Long Stay Visas
    • Employment Visa — for holders of employment permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation: Critical Skills Employment Permit, Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit, General Employment Permit, Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit, Contract for Services Employment Permit, Reactivation Employment Permit, Exchange Agreement Employment Permit, Sport and Cultural Employment Permit and Internship Employment Permit.
    • Scientific Researcher Visa — for researches seeking to carry out research under a "hosting agreement".
    • Employment "Van der Elst" Visa — for non-EU nationals employed in another EU country to provide temporary services to a company in another EU country on behalf of his company.
    • Join Family Visa
    • Lay Volunteer Visa
    • Minister of Religion
    • Study

Transit visas


In general, a passenger who transits through an Irish airport to a destination in another country while remaining within the airport does not require a visa.[71]

However, citizens of the following 29 countries are required to apply for a transit visa at a cost of €25 in advance from an Irish embassy or consulate:

Notes
  • ^A Ethiopian citizens do not require an Irish transit visa if holding a passport or travel document issued by Ethiopia and holding a current and valid entry visa for the USA or Canada and intending to transit via Ireland from Ethiopia en route to the United States or Canada.

Entry and stay conditions for EU citizens


Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 recognises the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States[72][73][74] defines the right of free movement for citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes the European Union (EU) and the three European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Switzerland, which is a member of EFTA but not of the EEA, is not bound by the Directive but rather has a separate bilateral agreement on the free movement with the EU.

Citizens of all European Economic Area (EEA) member states and Switzerland holding a valid passport or national identity card enjoy freedom of movement rights in each other's territory and can enter and reside in the each other's territory without a visa.

If EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are unable to present a valid passport or national identity card at the border, they must nonetheless be afforded every reasonable opportunity to obtain the necessary documents or have them brought to them within a reasonable period of time or corroborate or prove by other means that he/she is covered by the right of free movement.[75][76]

However, EU, EEA member states and Switzerland can refuse entry to an EU/EEA/Swiss national on public policy, public security or public health grounds where the person presents a "genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society".[77] If the person has obtained permanent residence in the country where he/she seeks entry (a status which is normally attained after 5 years of residence), the member state can only expel him/her on serious grounds of public policy or public security. Where the person has resided for 10 years or is a minor, the member state can only expel him/her on imperative grounds of public security (and, in the case of minors, if expulsion is necessary in the best interests of the child, as provided for in the Convention on the Rights of the Child).[78] Expulsion on public health grounds must relate to diseases with 'epidemic potential' which have occurred less than 3 months from the person's the date of arrival in the Member State where he/she seeks entry.[79]

Non-EEA/Swiss citizen family members

A family member of an EEA/Swiss citizen who is in possession of a residence permit indicating their status is exempt from the requirement to hold a visa for up to 90 days when entering the European Economic Area or Switzerland when they are accompanying their EEA/Swiss family member or are seeking to join them.[80]

eGates


eGates as a form of automated border control system were first introduced at Dublin Airport in December 2017. There are currently 10 eGates in each of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 arrivals with an additional five eGates in the Transfers Facility. European Union citizens and EEA citizens over the age of 18 may use eGates upon arrival to Dublin Airport,[81] while the Transfer Area also facilitate US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and Japanese citizens (in addition to EU & EEA citizens), if they are not transferring to the UK.[82]

Reciprocity


Of the 58 countries and territories outside the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland whose citizens are entitled to exercise free movement rights in Ireland, the following offer full reciprocal treatment to Irish citizens (i.e. visa-free access of at least 3 months): Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Lesotho, Macao, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay, and the Vatican City. However, the United States requires Irish citizens to obtain an ESTA (at a cost of US$14) in advance if entering the US by air or by sea, whilst Australia requires Irish citizens to obtain an eVisitor authorisation online in advance free of charge (Ireland does not require Australian and US citizens to obtain an authorisation prior to arriving in Ireland).

Other countries and territories only offer partially reciprocal treatment to Irish citizens (i.e. visa-free access that is less than 3 months). The following countries permit Irish citizens to stay without a visa for up to 30 days (or 1 month) only: Belize, Kiribati, Maldives, Nauru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles (1 month, extendable to 12 months), Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Also, the following countries permit Irish citizens to stay without a visa for less than 3 months: Mauritius (60 days for tourists, 90 days on business), Saint Lucia (6 weeks), Samoa (60 days) and Eswatini (60 days).

See also


Notes


  1. The countries of the Commonwealth whose citizens benefited from the special provisions in 1962 were: United Kingdom and Colonies, Australia, Canada, Ceylon, Republic of Cyprus, Ghana, India, Federation of Malaya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Sierra Leone, State of Singapore, Tanganyika, and the Republic of South Africa.

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