Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme to be extended

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality has announced an extension to the Irish Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme. 

The Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme commenced on 1 July 2011 and was further extended in 2012. Under the programme, certain short stay visas issued by the Immigration authorities of the United Kingdom (UK) are recognised by Ireland for the purposes of onward travel to Ireland. The programme is now extended for a further five years to 31 October 2021. 

The programme includes nationals of eighteen countries from around the world: India, Kazakhstan, Peoples Republic of China, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine. 

The scheme has been regarded by various tourist agencies as a success due to having contributed to ongoing increases in tourism. Tourism figures have risen year on year and Dublin Airport had its busiest year to date in 2015 with a record 25 million passengers travelling through the airport. 

What this means for you as an employer? 

Under the programme, tourists or business people who have lawfully entered the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a valid UK visa will be able to travel on to Ireland without the requirement to obtain an Irish visa. They will be allowed to stay in Ireland for up to 3 months or until their UK visa runs out, whichever is shorter. 

It is expected that the extension will continue to provide a significant boost to efforts to attract more visitors to Ireland from these countries and employers wishing to send employees from these countries for business travel should continue to benefit from the scheme.  

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your usual PwC Legal contact for further details.


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