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My friend is travelling to Dublin next week. Here is his situation:

  • He has an Indian Passport
  • He lives in Austria. He is currently in Austria.
  • He has a student visa for Austria (or the Schengen zone)
  • He has a multiple entry UK Visitor C-Visit Visa valid from June until 180 days.
  • He has already been to the UK once between June and now, and come back (to Austria).

Does he require an Irish visa for flying to Dublin?


The immigration websites have some confusing answers. For example, this link says

(b) UK visa scheme For example, if you have entered the UK or have been granted leave to enter the UK by a UK immigration official (for up to 180 days) using this visa and your intended visit to Ireland ends before your leave to remain in the UK ends, you may be permitted to travel directly to Ireland from a 3rd country without arriving into the UK again.

The meaning of may be is not clear. How should one make the necessary arrangements?

In this link, they say

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.

My friend has technically indeed visited UK first, but he will not be entering Ireland from UK.


Update: My friend made the travel without any issues

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  • "The meaning of may be is not clear." — I'd assume it's related to the callout box further down on that page: "An eligible visa (British or Irish) under this programme will only allow you to travel to Ireland to visit for up to 90 days, it does not guarantee entry into Ireland.". A visa waiver is an approval for travel (as in, so airlines won't deny you boarding), but it doesn't guarantee that you'll clear immigration control (in the way that a standard visa would). Same applies with an ESTA when going to the US. Sep 21, 2022 at 13:13
  • @anotherdave Technically speaking, the same applies to actual US visas as well: they don't guarantee clearing immigration control.
    – gparyani
    Sep 21, 2022 at 21:49

2 Answers 2

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Your first link (British Irish Visa Scheme, Ireland), only applies to 'Indian nationals who are living in India at the time of the application' and must be endorsed with ‘BIVS’. The second link (BIVS, UK) also states: 'must apply at a UK/Irish visa application centre in India or China'.

Since your friend lives in Austria, both cases won't apply.


This Short stay visa waiver programme - Immigration Service Delivery also applies to Indian citizens with a UK short stay visa not endorsed with ‘BIVS’.

Unfortunately this page does not contain the clear statement that the BIVS page has:

you may be permitted to travel directly to Ireland from a 3rd country without arriving into the UK again.

The question also arises whether the airlines are aware of this special rule when entering the Common Travel Area (CTA) in Ireland.

If you enter the CTA though the UK (i.e. changing planes in the UK), you will recieve a new leave to enter that will also be valid for Ireland.

You may enter (without travelling through the UK) and stay in Ireland if your friends previous leave to enter from the UK has not expired.

Check the UK entry stamp and the amount of days granted.

Sample: 2022-06-01 + 180 days = 2022-11-28 (last day allowed to stay in Ireland, but no more than 90 days alltogeather).

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  • 1
    The FAQ linked from the page you linked gives an answer "I visited the UK 2 months ago and returned to my home country. I want to visit Ireland next month and plan to fly directly to Ireland without going to the UK again. My UK leave is still valid for another 3 months. Do I need to have an Irish Visa? A No. You have previously successfully entered the UK on this visa so you can use this visa to travel to Ireland, either travelling direct to Ireland or transiting a [...] 3rd country." irishimmigration.ie/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/…
    – MJeffryes
    Sep 21, 2022 at 8:51
  • Also from the link @MJeffryes posted — "How does the Programme work for a National of a covered country who is living in the Schengen area? If you are living in the Schengen area you can use the Programme in the usual way." — which seems quite clear cut? It sounds exactly like the situation you're describing Sep 21, 2022 at 13:05
  • @anotherdave As stated in the answer, the second link does not state: 'you may be permitted to travel directly to Ireland from a 3rd country without arriving into the UK again.' as the first one does. The Timatic rule, quoted in the other answer, makes it clear thst it applies to all UK short term visas for Indian citizens. Sep 21, 2022 at 13:31
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Timatic, the database used by airlines to check for documentation requirements says:

Travelling to Ireland

Passport

Passport required.

Document Validity:

Passports and other documents accepted for entry must be valid for the period of intended stay.

(…)

Visa

Visa required.

Visa Exemptions:

Nationals of India with a short stay visa issued by the United Kingdom if they have first entered the United Kingdom and been granted a stay of 180 days in the United Kingdom. They are visa exempt for a maximum stay of 90 days in Ireland (Rep.) or until the end of the period of stay granted in the United Kingdom, whichever is shorter. Information: Passengers arriving in the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, and traveling to Ireland (Rep.), the visa waiver programme will apply and only a visa issued by the United Kingdom will be required. The visit to Ireland (Rep.) must be within the stay granted within the United Kingdom.

Passengers are permitted to travel to a third country before traveling to Ireland (Rep.) if the visa issued by United Kingdom is still valid. Furthermore, re-entry into Ireland (Rep.) from a third country is permitted if the visa issued by the United Kingdom is still valid and period of the stay granted in the United Kingdom is still valid. Passengers with a long term visa must visit Ireland (Rep.) within a period of the current stay granted in the United Kingdom.

Passengers arriving first in Ireland (Rep.) and traveling to the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, and then returning to Ireland (Rep.) will require separate visas issued by Ireland (Rep.) and the United Kingdom. However the visa issued by the United Kingdom will be accepted under the visa waiver programme for the return journey to Ireland (Rep.).

Information: Not applicable to short stay visas issued for the purpose of transit, marriage or to enter into a civil partnership.

Nationals of India with a short stay visa endorsed "BIVS" issued by the United Kingdom. Passengers must have first entered the United Kingdom and they are visa exempt for a maximum stay of 90 days or until the end of the period of stay granted in the United Kingdom, whichever is shorter. Information: Passengers who first arrive in the United Kingdom (UK), including Northern Ireland with a BIVS visa issued by the United Kingdom are permitted to:

  • travel to a third country, before traveling to Ireland (Rep.) if the visa is still valid; or
  • re-enter Ireland (Rep.) from a third country if the UK visa and period of the stay granted in the UK are still valid. Passengers with long term visas, with the endorsement "BIVS", must visit Ireland (Rep.) within a current period of stay granted in the UK.

(Emphasis mine)

So yes, they can visit Ireland within 180 days of their entry into the UK, for a maximum of 90 days.

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