Ireland is a welcoming country. Citizens of many countries do not need a visa to enter. Those that do will find that the process is simple and straightforward. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) administers migration into and out of the Republic. So, what’s involved?

Visa-free travel

UK Citizens

Under the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangement, UK citizens are entitled to move to and live in Ireland without conditions or restrictions. Since the UK voted to leave the EU (Brexit), the British and Irish governments have signed an agreement that formally outlines the provisions of the CTA for the first time and guarantees the reciprocal rights it confers. The Irish foreign minister has said that the agreement should reassure British citizens in Ireland that their rights and privileges would be protected, regardless of Brexit.

EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens

Citizens of the European Economic Area and Switzerland are entitled to live and work in Ireland without a visa or employment permit.

Non-EU and Non-EEA Citizens

In general, citizens of most countries outside the EU must apply for a visa and secure an employment permit to live and work in Ireland. There are exceptions, so the best thing to do is visit the INIS website to learn more about what arrangements your country has with Ireland regarding immigration.

Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Services building

Types of visa

All foreign nationals who register with the INIS receive an Irish Residence Permit (IRP). This document isn’t a form of ID, but it does confirm that you’re registered with immigration. It’s useful when applying for public services, when entering or leaving the country, or proving your status to an immigration official or a member of the Gardaí (police).

INIS offers six types of visa:

Short stay visas

Short stay visas include a range of different visa types that allow visitors to travel to Ireland for tourism, business, visiting relatives or attending a conference or exam.

Long stay visas

Long stay visas allow visitors to study, join a family member, take up employment, or volunteer within the Republic. There are also specific visas for ministers of religion and non-EU citizens travelling with a family from the EU.

Re-entry visas

Re-entry visas are specifically for Irish Residence Permit holders who wish to leave Ireland for a short period.

Transit visas

Some travellers might require a transit visa if they are making a connection at an Irish airport. Check to see if you need one.

Multiple entry visas

Multiple entry visas allow you to make several short trips to Ireland between two dates. They are only approved in certain circumstances, so make sure it’s right for you.

Applying for a visa

You must apply for a visa online, unless you are a resident in Ireland applying for a re-entry visa. Make sure you apply eight weeks before you intend to travel. Some nationalities must supply biometric data or fingerprints with their application.

You can find out more information about applying for an Irish visa from your nearest Irish embassy or consulate.

Employment permits

An employment permit entitles you to work in Ireland. It is different from a visa, in that a visa is issued by immigration authorities and enables you to enter a country; whereas an employment permit is a letter provided by an employer to an employee, for the purposes of enabling that employee to work in a different country. There are nine different kinds of work permit, each catering to a different work situation. You can apply for an employment permit online.

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