My Ukrainian friend, living and working in Germany is applying for an Irish visa for a 5-day trip. She has an invitation letter from an Irish citizen. The Embassy required her to send these by post:

  • online application form
  • her passport (the original)
  • copy of her German Residence permit
  • the invitation letter
  • copy of the host's passport
  • her full bank statements for last 6 months (they rejected statements printed from online banking, they want them to be on "official bank paper")
  • her German rent contract
  • her employment contract
  • an additional confirmation from her employer that she actually works there and has enough vacation days for the trip
  • they seem to still require more and more stuff.

I find this amount of documentation ridiculous for such a short trip. I would perhaps expect a process like this for an US visa, but this is actually harder than getting an US travel visa. I'm trying to understand this. I'm wondering, maybe there's some justification for this? Why is Ireland's immigration policy so strict?

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    English speaking and with a good economy so a favoured target for those seeking to work illegally and heavily exposed to the British media so overblown fears that this is happening in enormous numbers and poses a massive threat? – the other one Feb 20 '17 at 10:44
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    To play the devil's advocate: why would they let people in without requiring lots of paperwork? – JonathanReez Feb 20 '17 at 11:08
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    As Jonathan said - you expect it for the US, so why would it be less for Ireland? Ireland will be a much more desirable destination for many. – Rory Alsop Feb 20 '17 at 11:19
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    The last time we did this in the Irish embassy in Berlin, we came there with a huge pile of documents. The lady there was startled. She asked what the stack of paper is. But we only brought what they wanted. When we asked if we have everything or if they need more, she just leafed through the folder and said "I'm sure everything is there, thank you". Very friendly, but a little overwhelmed. – simbabque Feb 20 '17 at 16:51
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the reasons for a country's visa policies are a matter of politics. The traveller needs to know what the rules are, but knowing the reasons behind the rules doesn't solve any practical problem they face. – David Richerby Feb 20 '17 at 20:42

The Embassy required her to send these by post:

First things first: your friend is fortunate to have such a detailed road map, and should be thankful for that. Other visa regimes are much more nebulous about their criteria. So make sure every item is submitted and enclose a transmittal letter that enumerates all of your evidence.

The bank statements should be originals on bank paper. This is a 'best practices' approach anyway and it's great they have been clear about it. Make sure the bank statements are high quality and very recent with nothing missing for the entire six months. Also make sure the statements are free from anything that might look like funds parking.

As the host you have the option (but not the obligation) to include your own bank statements. The advantage is that it helps to verify your stability and lifestyle.

Why is Ireland's immigration policy so strict?

There is an open land border between the ROI and the UK. This heightens the possibility for abuse and they are worried about having the UK remove illegals to the Republic. Also, via the UK as a proxy, the ROI has data sharing and intelligence sharing responsibilities.

But pushing politics and treaties aside for a moment, the most durable answer to your question is that the ROI's policy is a part of WHAT IS. There can be dozens of different answers and knowing all of them will not change anything. They have been fair in giving your friend a detailed list of things that can be collected within a day or two at most. It's a great road map for success.

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    "There is an open land border between the ROI and the UK." - This. Plus the fact that there is still a level of terrorist activity between the ROI and Northern Ireland - any weaponry "left over" from recent events in Eastern Europe could easily find a "good home" in ROI. – alephzero Feb 20 '17 at 14:38
  • A lot of banks (including mine) will no longer provide bank statements on paper. – Ian Ringrose Feb 20 '17 at 17:49
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    @IanRingrose: All banks (I know of) will (not sure if they're required to do so by law, I suspect they are) issue a simple accompanying letter (i.e.: "Open Word, load apostille template, replace template fields, <ctrl>-<p>"), put a stamp & signature, alongside with hard copies of your statements. Annoying? Definitely. Frustrating? Definitely. Doable? Most definitely. They've never been rejected ever. A print-out is a print-out, but once they see stamps and a stamped signature, doors open. – Willem van Rumpt Feb 20 '17 at 18:13

The EU has freedem of travel, work, and residence for EU citizens. Some of them wanted to make things even easier for EU citizens, so they decided on the Schengen agreement. EU citizens are allowed to cross internal Schengen borders without routine passport controls.

Of course it is impossible to remove passport controls for EU citizens only (they'd have to prove their citizenship to show that they don't have to show their passport). So they extended the Schengen provisions to visitors as well and unified their visa policies.

The ease of travel within Schengen is an anomaly, not a normal situation.

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    This doesn't seem to answer the question. What does Schengen have to do with the Republic of Ireland? – Dezza Feb 20 '17 at 18:08
  • @Dezza "My Ukrainian friend, living and working in Germany..." – hjf Feb 20 '17 at 18:23
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    @hjf my point exactly. They are not looking to get a visa from Germany, but from ROI. Ukraine and ROI are the only countries that are relevant. – Dezza Feb 20 '17 at 18:25
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    @Dezza, the OP seems to think that getting a ROI visa is too hard. I'm telling him that his expectations are wrong because his German D visa gives exceptional access to some other parts of Europe. That cannot be generalized. – o.m. Feb 20 '17 at 18:28

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