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Do South Africans Need a Visa for Ireland

South Africa is considered to be a non-visa required country to visit Ireland. This means that South Africans do not require a visa to travel to Ireland. However, immigration procedures apply to South Africans that must be followed.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ireland’s visa requirements for South Africans or you’re interested in knowing more about other topics on immigrating to Ireland, reach out to trusted immigration advisers today. You may call Immigration Advice Service on (+353) 061 518 025 or contact us online.

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    Overview of Ireland Visa Requirements for South Africans

    An Irish visa is not required by a citizen of South Africa to enter into Ireland but it is needed to work, study and naturalise in the nation. South Africans can apply for different types of visas to live and work in Ireland including:

    • Short Stay Visa
    • Long Stay Visa
    • General Employment Permit
    • Sport and Cultural Employment Permit
    • General Employment Permit
    • Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit
    • Critical Skills Employment Permit
    • Internship Employment Permit
    • Contract for Services Employment Permit

    If a South African wishes to work in Ireland, they may need to obtain a work or employment permit. This could require them to secure a job before entering Ireland.

    South Africans who wish to visit Ireland for up to 3 months can apply for a Short Stay Visa. If you want to be in Ireland for more than 3 months (or 90 days), you can apply for a Long Stay Visa. The Long Stay Visa is a preferred option for those who want to work or settle in Ireland with family members who live in that nation.

    Ireland tourist visa is free for South African citizens. The period of stay is typically 90 days. Applicants don’t have to be present in Ireland when applying for the Ireland tourist visa.

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    How South African Citizens Travel to Ireland Visa-Free

    The visa free process for South African citizens involves several steps which can be taken when you arrive in Ireland. After arriving in Ireland with all the required documents, you can go to the Ireland immigration counter where you can present your South African passport or travel documents to the immigration officer. If the officer is satisfied that the documents meet the entry requirements, you will get an Ireland visa stamp in your passport which would allow you to stay in Ireland for the duration as shown by the stamp.

    It is not recommended to purchase flight tickets and hotel reservations until the visa is approved. You should not put your money at risk by buying actual tickets until the decision is made on your visa.

    If you have a family, you could consider family visa options:

    • Ireland Marriage Visa
    • De Facto Partner Visa
    • Spouse/Civil Partner Visas
    • Non-EEA Family Reunification
    • Join Non-EEA Employment Permit Holder
    • Child Dependant Visa Ireland
    • Join Family Visa Ireland

    If you have a spouse that is an EU/EEA citizen, you may be able to skip the process of applying for a work permit and visa. You should be able to apply for a residency card based on your spouse living and working in the nation.

    Dependant family members like children or spouses may enter Ireland with the holder of a Critical Skills Employment Permit. The spouse would be able to work in Ireland, using this method.

    Residence permits can be obtained to live in Ireland through the Immigrant Investor Programme. Those who opt for this route to immigrating to Ireland may invest 500 000 Euro to 2 million Euro as part of the process to get residence permits through the programme.

    Employment Visa in Ireland

    Depending on how long the period of work is, you may apply for a short stay visa or a long stay visa before you arrive in Ireland. You could apply for an employment permit using the Atypical Working Scheme which allows you to work in a role that isn’t covered by other employment rules such as one in an industry with skills shortage or an internship.

    An application for the employment visa through the Atypical Working Scheme can be made once you get an approval letter from the Atypical Working Scheme Division of the Immigration Service (ISD) to take on short term employment in Ireland. The application for the visa can be made up to 3 months before the date you are meant to travel to Ireland. It should be noted that if you are visiting another state before traveling to Ireland, you will need to have the visa for that state in your passport before you apply for the Irish visa. As part of the process, questions on the AVATS Online Application Facility will need to be answered.

    You may also make a visa application for an employment permit from the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment (DETE). You won’t be permitted to take on any type of employment other than the one which you get approved for. Like with the process made through the Atypical Working Scheme, questions on the AVATS Online Application Facility will need to be answered fully and honestly.

    What Documents Do I Need to Provide?


    As the visa officer considers each application on its merits, requests may be made for additional documentation or information.

    If a document is submitted that is not in English or Irish, a full translation needs to be provided with it. The translated document must show the following:

    • Confirmation from a translator that the translation is accurate
    • The date of the translation
    • Contact details of the translator
    • Full name and signature of the translator

    Ireland Tourist Visa Document Requirements

    Documents required from South African applicants for the Ireland Tourist Visa include:

    • Original passport or travel document of South Africa that is valid for at least 6 months on the date of travel with at least 2 visa pages clear of any markings
    • Travel itinerary (reservation to and from South Africa in your name)
    • Proof that you have enough financial resources to stay in and leave Ireland

    Document Requirements for Employment Visa

    Documents required for employment visa application to Ireland include:

    • Your current passport and full copy of previous passports
    • Two colour passport sized photographs
    • A valid Atypical Working Scheme approval letter
    • Evidence of your obligations to return to your home country of primary residence
    • Medical or travel insurance documents
    • Information on previous visa refusals to any country
    • Evidence of qualifications
    • Employment permit from the Department of Trade, Enterprise, and Employment
    • Contract of employment
    • Letter from Employment in Ireland
    • Signed application letter

    Letters submitted from a company, business, or other organisation have to be on an official headed paper for verification purposes. The letters should show:

    • Full postal address
    • Full name
    • Website address
    • Telephone number (fixed line)
    • Email address
    • Name and title/position of contract person
    • Signature of authorised representative

    Mobile/cell phone numbers won’t be accepted. Neither will electronic signatures or Yahoo and Hotmail email addresses.

    Speak to us for more about Ireland’s visa requirements for South Africans. Contact Us

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      What are the Fees and Processing Times for an Irish Visa?

      The processing time may vary, depending on the time of the year. At certain points of the year, the volume of applications is higher than at other points in the year. A decision is usually expected to be reached within 8 weeks from the date an application is made with the consulate, visa office, or embassy. The application can be delayed in certain circumstances such as in the case where the required supporting documents have not been submitted or if the documents need to be verified.

      Some applicants may be exempt and not required to pay visa fees. Other applicants, however, may need to pay the following fees:

      • €60 for single entry short stay ‘C’ visa
      • €100 for multiple entry short stay ‘C’ visa
      • Up to €250 for employment visas

      There may be extra charges incurred by visa applicants for some applications due to factors such as consular fees.

      What Happens After My Application is Approved?

      After getting your visa approved and entering Ireland, you may have to register your immigration. The registration date is important if you are looking to get permanent residency in Ireland. This is why it’s important to try and register your immigration as soon as you enter Ireland.

      The registration date starts the counter on your 5 years in the country. The 5 years in the country spent working can be used to apply for permanent residency in Ireland. If you work in the technology sector or have a critical skills employment permit, you may be able to apply for permanent residency in Ireland after 2 years.

      For help finding the visa that works for you and your unique situation, speak to our immigration lawyers. Contact Us

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        How Can IAS Help?

        Immigration laws can be complex, especially when the jurisdictions of different countries are different. This can make immigrating from South Africa seem very challenging. This is especially true for those who may not be aware of Ireland’s immigration policies.

        At Immigration Advice Service, we understand how it can be tough finding the visa that works for you and your unique situation. Thankfully, Immigration Advice Service is experienced in helping a variety of people to find the best immigration route.

        Our team of experts draw on many years of experience in immigration law and advisory services to provide solutions that are practical and highly effective. Immigration Advice Service provides clients with the immigration paths they need to achieve their goals.

        If you would like to get more information about our immigration services and the best ways we can help you, please call us on (+353) 061 518 025 or contact us online.

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              Our Document Checking Package is a service for those who need to submit their application but choose to do so on their own but want help with ensuring their documents are in line with the requirements for the visa. Our immigration consultants will check your documents in this case.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  The maximum length of stay on visa free is 90 days. This means that South African citizens who enter Ireland on visa free have to leave the country within 90 days of their arrival.

                  Overstaying a visa in Ireland could lead to different consequences, including fines, penalties, and being banned from entering Ireland in the future. It is critical that you avoid the risk of these consequences by complying with the length of stay that has been outlined with the visa. You must leave the country within the permitted time.

                  As South Africa is not in the EEA, Switzerland, and UK, citizens of the nation must have permission to work in the UK. A short stay visa can be used to acquire permission to work for a limited period of time over 14 days or less. You could apply for an employment permit to work for longer than this duration of time.

                  It is not permitted for South African passport holders to enter Northern Ireland from Ireland without a valid UK visa. A separate application would need to be made to get permission to enter Northern Ireland from Ireland.

                  It is expected that you leave Ireland on the date that was stamped in your passport by the immigration officer when you entered the country. An extension may be sought, only in limited circumstances.

                  You won’t be able to get an extension if there is no change in circumstances since you entered Ireland or were granted a travel visa. Additionally, you won’t get an extension If you’re seeking medical attention in Ireland, seeking permission to marry in Ireland, trying to provide childcare facilities, or wish to live in Ireland full time.