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Background: I'm an Irish citizen; my girlfriend is a Chinese citizen; we both live and work in London UK; she has a permanent residence card to remain in the UK.

My girlfriend would like to visit my family in Ireland for Christmas, and we're worried we've left it a little late to apply for a tourist visa for her. I'm trying to figure out if she will actually need a visa, but I'm having trouble interpreting the legislation.

Based on this answer, and, by extension, this statute, it seems that Chinese nationals visiting the UK with a valid UK visa are eligible to visit Ireland.

(d) until 31 October 2016, United Kingdom visitors who are nationals of a state or territorial entity specified in Schedule 3 and where the intended purpose of the travel to the State by the United Kingdom visitor concerned is solely for a visit of the shorter of the following periods -

(People's Republic of China does appear in schedule 3)

Where I'm confused is whether or not a permanent residency card counts as a visa, and whether a permanent resident in the UK counts as a "visitor". If not, it would seem that this clause does not apply, and she would need a tourism visa. On the other hand, if she does count as a visitor to the UK, does that mean she doesn't need a visa for Ireland?

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    She needs a visa to visit the ROI, despite the absence of border controls and an open land border. Also... there is enough time to apply successfully to the ROI for a visitor visa. – Gayot Fow Dec 1 '15 at 11:02
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    If you're short on time you may want to consider using a visa expediting agent. I once had to travel to China on very short notice (approx 5 days) and got a visa in time this way (normally takes 2 or 3 weeks if I recall correctly). You might be able to achieve a time saving for an Irish visa. The cost wasn't too bad - about £50 on top of the normal visa fee. It also came with additional benefits in that it saved multiple trips and lots of hassle dealing with an embassy. – JBentley Dec 1 '15 at 13:34
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Your question appears to be answered by FAQs 13 and 15:

  1. I am resident in one of the countries covered by the Programme but a national of another country. Can I avail of the Programme?

Only passport holders of those countries are included in the scheme. Residents in those countries, who are not nationals of that country, are not covered.

and more specifically in 15:

  1. I am a national of one of the countries covered but am a long-term resident in the UK or the Schengen area. Can I avail of the Programme?

Nationals of the countries above, who are long-term legal residents in the UK or the Schengen area, will still require an Irish visa but will have the visa fee waived as part of the Programme.

The visa fee is usually €60 per person, including children, for a single visit, or €100 for a multi-entry visa.

Visa applicants will see comprehensive guidelines on making a visa application and may follow links to make an online application at:

www.inis.gov.ie

There's an explicit example given at the end of the document: UK long term visas holders must get an Irish visa.

  • Interesting that this seems to contradict with where I got to from the above linked immigration law. – CMaster Dec 1 '15 at 10:57
  • @CMaster, yes. The contradiction between this FAQ and the printed law is confusing. However, I think that as this FAQ is quite explicit it seems to trump your (seemingly valid) reading of the law. – laffoyb Dec 1 '15 at 10:59
  • Unless I'm missing something? – laffoyb Dec 1 '15 at 10:59

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