June 7, 2011

On May 11, 2011, the Irish Minister of Justice announced the implementation of Ireland’s first formal Visa Waiver Program (VFP). Under the VFP, citizens of 14 designated countries who are in the possession of a valid short-term visitor visa for the United Kingdom (UK) and who seek to enter Ireland from the UK for the purpose of a brief personal or business visit will no longer be required to apply for and obtain an Irish visitor visa. Under the current regulations, possessing a UK visitor visa does not permit visa nationals to enter Ireland without first applying for an entry visa at an Irish Diplomatic Mission abroad. The VFP will enter into effect on July 1, 2011 on a trial basis and is scheduled to remain in effect through October 2012.  The VFP applies to citizens of the following countries:

  • Bahrain
  • Belarus
  • China
  • India
  • Kuwait
  • Montenegro
  • Qatar
  • Russian Federation
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uzbekistan

The Irish government also hinted at the possibility of extending the VFP pilot or other special arrangements to citizens of the above-mentioned countries who are residing in the UK (i.e. as work permit holders) at the time of their entry to Ireland.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Citizens of countries that have been selected for participation in the VFP who are required to travel on business to the UK and Ireland are advised to first obtain a visitor visa from the appropriate British Diplomatic Mission and to plan their visit to Ireland immediately following the conclusion of the business visit to the UK (they cannot travel to Ireland via a third country). VFP participants must be careful to first enter the UK on their UK visa and then travel directly to Ireland from the UK, otherwise the visa exemption under the VFP will not apply and an Irish entry visa must be obtained.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader  

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.  Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM correspondent offices to provide this GLOBAL Brief to you.