UNITED KINGDOM/IRELAND – New “British Irish Visa Scheme” for Indian and Chinese Nationals
On 16 June 2014, the Irish Department of Justice & Equality along with the United Kingdom (UK) Home Office announced that they will soon be introducing (implementation date to be confirmed) the ‘British Irish Visa Scheme’ between Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Who Does This Apply to?
This new scheme will apply to Chinese and Indian national business and tourist visitors, allowing them to travel to and around Ireland and the United Kingdom on a single short stay visa. Business and tourist visitors from India and China who wish to travel to both Ireland and the United Kingdom will no longer require separate Irish and UK visas.
This reciprocal visa arrangement is expected to commence during autumn 2014. It is likely that applicants will need to apply for the visa to the Embassy/consulate/High Commission of the country of first arrival or maximum stay, as with Schengen visas. The visa will then allow the holder to travel freely around the Common Travel Area (CTA) of Ireland and the UK and Northern Ireland for the duration of that visa.
At present, further details on the implementation of this scheme are unavailable as it is progressing through the UK Home Office.
Note that this scheme applies to business and tourist visitors only and is not applicable to individuals wishing to work in either Ireland or the UK.
What Will Happen to Ireland’s Previous Short Stay Visa Waiver Scheme?
The British Irish Visa Scheme will replace Ireland’s Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme, introduced in July 2011, which allows nationals of 18 countries to travel from the UK to Ireland using their UK visa.
The number of visitors from the 18 countries in question grew by 68% from 2010 to 2013. The British Irish Visa Scheme will allow travel throughout the UK and Ireland, whereas the Irish Visa Waiver Programme allowed travel in one direction only.
The Irish and UK authorities will continue to monitor this scheme and as appropriate will introduce other nationalities who require visas.
- Note that Chinese and Indian nationals will soon be able to travel in the United Kingdom and Ireland on business or as tourists with a single visa.