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I've got a non-EU passport and UK Indefinite Leave to Remain and I permanently reside in the UK. My country is on the list of the Irish Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme (which I don't understand if it's still suspended due to COVID or resumed if anyone knows?) and I can even travel visa-free to the Schengen area (which Ireland is not a part of).

I was planning to travel to Ireland to spend Christmas with my Irish friend, but even though there is the Common Travel Area, it appears I still need to apply for a visa? Is there any sort of a short-cut (legal, obviously) for the non-EU citizens and UK ILR holders to travel to Ireland? How long is the visa processing time? I just find this very frustrating, does anyone else have this experience?

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    The short-stay visa waiver for Ireland allowed people visiting the UK on short stay visas to travel to Ireland, while freedom of movement rights in the CTA apply only to Irish and British citizens. As you don’t have a UK short-stay visa you would not qualify even if the visa-waiver agreement (last renewed in 2016 until 31 Oct 21, IIRC) were not suspended. There’s no legal ‘short-cut’ for your situation unfortunately AFAIK gov.uk/government/publications/common-travel-area-guidance/…
    – Traveller
    Oct 4, 2021 at 11:31

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Yes it is a bit odd & annoying that they allow visa-free travel with UK visit visas but not with permanent residency alright but not much that you can do about it.

The best place for info is probably the new Irish immigration website. They list visa processing times as ~8 weeks so you should be OK if you apply soon & are travelling at Christmas. May be quicker with less people travelling because of COVID, you never know.

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