British-Irish visa scheme

Guidance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/british-irish-visa-scheme

Chinese and Indian nationals can visit the UK and Ireland using a single visa when travelling on certain short stay and visitor visas.

Under the British-Irish visa scheme, some Irish short stay visas will allow onward travel to the UK and some UK visitor visas will allow onward travel to Ireland. For example, under the scheme an Indian or Chinese visitor in Dublin will be able to make a short trip to London or Belfast without needing a separate visa. Alternatively an Indian or Chinese visitor in London could travel to Dublin or Cork. 

Only eligible Irish short stay visas applied for after the scheme starts are covered by the scheme.

All Indian and Chinese nationals who hold an eligible UK visitor visa (except ‘visitor in transit’ and ‘visitor for marriage or civil partnership’) are covered by the scheme. 

Currently the scheme only applies to Indian and Chinese nationals. 

1. Eligible Irish visas

Indian and Chinese nationals can travel to the UK and Ireland using the Irish short stay visas:

  • visit (family/friend)
  • visit (tourist)
  • conference/event
  • business

Indian and Chinese nationals with any other type of Irish visa (for example a work or a study visa) will still need to apply for a separate UK visit visa to visit the UK from Ireland.

2. Eligible UK visas

Indian and Chinese nationals can travel to Ireland and the UK using the following UK visas:

  • all standard visitor categories where the maximum period for a single visit is six months
  • Permitted Paid Engagement visas

Unaccompanied children and those issued standard visitor visas which allow them to remain in the UK for longer than six months in a single trip are not eligible. 

Applicants for other visa categories will require separate visas to enter the UK and Ireland respectively. 

3. Other nationalities

If a national of a country requires a visa for the UK but not for Ireland, those nationals will still require a visit visa to travel to the UK. The same will apply to any nationals who are not required to have a visa to visit the UK but are required to have one for Ireland.

4. Visa application centres

Ireland and the UK have joint visa application centres in China and India. This joint working will be rolled out gradually to other countries. 

To be eligible for the British-Irish visa scheme applicants for Irish short stay visas must apply at a UK/Irish visa application centre in India or China. Applications cannot be made at centres outside these two countries during the first phase of the scheme.

Applications for Irish visas will continue to be determined by the Irish authorities and applications for UK visas will continue to be determined by the UK authorities.

5. Visiting the UK and Ireland

The visa holder must first travel to the country that issued the visa. For example; if you have an Irish short stay visa and want to also visit the UK you must travel to Ireland first.

If you have a British visitor visa and want to also visit Ireland, you must travel to the UK first. 

Holders of an Irish short stay visa will be able to transit in the UK as part of an onward journey to Ireland.

6. Transit

Individuals with an eligible visa under the British-Irish visa scheme will not need to apply for a UK transit visa if their flight takes them via the UK to Ireland. Passengers will need to travel in to Ireland by 23:59 on the day after arrival.

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