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Van der Elst Visa Ireland

Non-EEA nationals who have been lawfully resident and legally employed in another European Union (EU) member state or country and intend to work for their employer on a temporary basis in Ireland may be eligible without the need for a work permit.

If you want to work in Ireland or you have questions regarding the employment visa, our immigration experts are here to help and will work with you to secure a positive outcome. Call us today on (+353) 061 518 025 to get started.

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    What is the Van der Elst Visa?

    The origin of the Van der Elst visa can be traced back to a man named Raymond Van der Elst who was a Belgian employer lawfully employing Moroccan citizens in Belgium.

    His workers were fined and told they had no permission to work in France by the French authorities when they went there to provide services.

    This led to a court case at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which he won in 1994, arguing the right of an EU-based company to provide services within the EU provided some criteria are met.

    Consequently, non-European Economic Area (EEA) employees who are working in an EU State can provide services for a limited period in other EU member states on behalf of their employer under the Van der Elst ruling.

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    Who can apply for the Van der Elst Visa?

    To fulfil the eligibility requirements for this visa, non-EU/EEA or non-Swiss nationals applying must:

    • Be lawfully employed by their employer in the sending EU country.
    • Be a lawful resident in the EU country in which the employer is established.
    • Be planning to come to Ireland to provide services on behalf of their employer.
    • Be planning to work in Ireland temporarily or for a short term up to a maximum of 12 successive months.
    • Must not reside or intend to permanently reside in Ireland.
    • Not take up any other employment in the state except the one for which permission was granted and must return to sending EU country immediately after completing the contract.
    • Must not bring family members along except as visitors or having applied for and been granted immigration permission in their own right.

    The duration of permission given to applicants to remain in the State in order to provide a service must not exceed the expiry date of the lawful residence of the employee in the sending EU country or the expiry date of the employee’s passport.

    Applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and all applicants will undergo the usual immigration procedures at the port of entry into Ireland via this visa route. Admission is entirely at the discretion of the immigration officer.

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      What Documents are required for the Van der Elst Visa Application?

      Supporting documentation must be provided along with the completed application form. These documents provide useful information about applicants’ personal circumstances in the country from where they are applying.

      Only original documents are accepted and applicants must include a full translation of any document not in English or Welsh. Note that the visa officer may request additional information or documentation.

      Translated documents must include the following:

      • Confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document.
      • The date of the translation.
      • The translator’s full name and signature.
      • The translator’s contact details.

      For verification purposes, all letters provided as proof from businesses, companies, or organisations must show the following details regarding the sending organisation:

      • Full name.
      • Full postal address.
      • Telephone number (fixed line – not mobile/cell phone).
      • Website address.
      • Email address (Yahoo and Hotmail email addresses are not accepted).
      • A contact person’s name and position.
      • Written signature of an authorized representative (electronic signature is not accepted).

      The documents required for inspection at the port of entry include the following:


      Applicants must provide their current passport and copies of all previous passports evidence of their right to work and reside in their sending country. The current passport must be valid for at least 12 months after the intended date of entry into Ireland.


      Applicants must include two color passport-sized photographs not more than six months old. The applicant’s name and visa application reference number must be printed clearly on the back.

      Residence permit

      Applicants must provide proof of their right to reside and work in the sending EU member state as well as permission to return there at the end of the contract in Ireland.

      A signed letter of application

      The letter must provide the following information about applicants:

      • Full contact details.
      • Reason for wanting to come to Ireland.
      • Intended length of stay.
      • Information on the applicant’s family members who currently reside in Ireland, or any other EU member state.
      • Details of where they intend to stay while they are in Ireland.
      • Affirmation that they will observe the conditions of their visa, not become a burden on the State, and will leave the State on the expiry of their contract in Ireland.

      Employer letter

      This letter must be provided by your employer from the sending EU country and it must state:

      • That applicant is lawfully resident and gainfully employed in the EU member state where the employer is based.
      • That the applicant is coming to Ireland to provide services on the company’s behalf.
      • That applicant will be returning to sending EU member state after the project has been concluded in Ireland.
      • Details of the contract (including specific duration).
      • The name and contact details for the Irish-based company.

      Irish-based host company letter

      This letter must be provided by the host company based in Ireland and it must provide details of the contract and justify the reasons for requesting the employee.

      Medical insurance

      Applicants must provide proof of comprehensive medical insurance when they arrive at the port of entry (airport or seaport) if requested by the immigration officer.

      Letters of previous visa refusals

      Applicants must provide details of any visa refusal for any country in the past. They must include the original letters issued by the authorities of that country in their application.

      Applications for a Van der Elst visa by foreign nationals who refuse to disclose details of previous visa refusals will be refused.

      Accommodation arrangement

      Applicants must provide details of where they will be staying while working in Ireland.

      The Irish government accepts only the originals of all supporting documentation. Therefore, applicants should make copies of all the documents they will submit.

      Original documents, such as birth, death or marriage certificates, that are not easily obtainable will be returned to applicants while other documents such as bank statements or letters of invitation will not be returned.

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        How to apply for the Van der Elst Visa

        Applicants are to proceed to the immigration website of the Irish government to apply using the visa application form. They must answer all questions completely and truthfully.

        Applicants who include false documents or information in their application may be banned from obtaining an Irish visa for five years in addition to a refusal of their application.

        Beneficiaries of the Van der Elst visa are not permitted to access public funds or undertake any paid or unpaid work except the one for which they have received permission.

        The Summary application form

        The summary application form is created by the online system after applicants have completed the application process. Applicants must follow the instructions as well as find where to submit their supporting documentation on the summary form.

        They must print the summary application form, and input the date and signature before they submit it with supporting documentation and the appropriate fee. As a vital part of the application process, they will need to provide their biometrics.

        Who are ineligible for the Van der Elst visa?

        The following categories of people are not eligible for the visa:

        • Self-employed individuals.
        • Holders of an Intra Company Transfer.
        • Company Directors– This applies if their actual status in the company is above and beyond that of the role assumed generally by employees.

        Processing time for the Employment Visa

        Decisions are often made on applications within eight weeks of submitting the application forms and documentation to the visa office, embassy or consulate.

        Processing times vary between countries and are usually affected by the high volume of applications. Therefore, applicants are advised not to purchase travel tickets until a decision has been made on their application.

        Applications may be delayed if:

        • They have not submitted the required documentation.
        • Supporting documents require further investigation.
        • Personal circumstances such as criminal convictions require further investigation.

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          How much is the Van der Elst visa fee?

          The visa fees are as follows:

          • € 60 for Single entry – Short stay ‘C’ visa.
          • € 100 for Multiple entry – Short stay ‘C’ visa.
          • €25 for Transit.

          The visa fee covers the cost of processing applications and would not be refunded if applicants withdraw their applications or in event of application refusals. Extra charges such as consular fees may apply for some applications.

          The summary application form, generated when applicants complete their application online, contains contact details of where to make their payment.

          Payment methods and currency options may differ between visa offices. However, information can be found about additional charges and local payment options on the website of the visa office, embassy, or consulate.

          Visa Fee Exemptions

          Some individuals are exempt from having to pay visa fees. If applicants fall into any of the categories below, they do not have to pay the fees.

          Certain Nationalities

          These are applicants from Bosnia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, Peru, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia.

          Family members of Irish citizens

          By submitting the required documents to support their claim, the following applicants who are family members of Irish citizens are exempt from paying visa fees:

          • Spouse.
          • Widow/widower (subject to death certificate).
          • Child (under 18 years).
          • Adopted child (under 18 years – subject to adoption papers).

          Beneficiaries of Directive 2004/38/EC (Free Movement Directive)

          The following categories of qualifying family members of EU/EEA /Swiss Citizens under the free movement directive are exempt from visa fees:

          • Spouse.
          • Child (under 21 years).
          • Child (under 21 years) of the spouse.
          • Adopted child (subject to adoption papers).
          • Dependent parent.
          • Dependent parent of the spouse.
          • Other dependent family members in the direct ascending line (for example – grandparent) or descending line (for example – grandchild).
          • Other dependent family members of the spouse in the direct ascending (for example – grandparent) or descending line (for example – grandchild).
          • Under the Directive, a family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen is deemed a beneficiary if they are either accompanying their EU/EEA/Swiss family member to Ireland or joining them in Ireland in the event they are already there.

          To access fee exemption, they mussht show evidence when applying to confirm they are a beneficiary.

          Long-term Residents of the UK or Schengen area

          These are nationals of countries included in the Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme (nationals of certain countries who have entered the UK on certain UK short-stay visas and then travel to Ireland) who are long-term legal residents in the UK or Schengen area.

          Refugees and Diplomats

          Visa fees are waived for holders of diplomatic, service, and official passports who are coming to Ireland for official reasons and programme refugees (covered under Section 59 of the International Protection Act 2015).

          How can IAS immigration consultants help me?

          The application process for a Van der Elst visa can be quite rigorous and tricky. To ensure your application is not delayed unnecessarily and to avoid refusals, our immigration experts are available and only a phone call away.

          Our expert immigration consultants can provide the same advice as an immigration lawyer.

          We will help you prepare a complete application that ticks all the boxes of immigration requirements and leads to your desired outcome. Contact us today on +353 (0) 615 180 25 or chat with us online to get started.

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            With our Application Package, your dedicated caseworker will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your advisor will then complete and submit your forms to the Department of Justice & Equality on your behalf.

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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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                    Related pages for your continued reading.

                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    The scientific researcher visa is a long-term employment visa like the Van der Elst visa but specifically for carrying out research under a hosting agreement.

                    A person can stay for up to five years on a scientific researcher employment permit if he/she complies with the terms of their Hosting Agreement and immigration registration requirements.

                    While family members may not join those on a Van der Elst visa except under special circumstances, family members are allowed to join those on a scientific researcher visa after they have made a separate application and received approval from the Irish government.

                    In addition, the dependant/civil partner/spouse of a researcher on a Hosting Agreement can go further to obtain an employment permit if eligible.

                    The atypical working scheme is an employment permit that was developed by the collaboration of the Department of Justice and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), to facilitate specialised, highly-skilled employment of a short-term nature (generally less than 90 days) that is not supported by current employment permit legislation.

                    The differences include the following:

                    • Employment permits issued under the atypical working scheme are generally less than 90 days but the Van der Elst visa can be issued for up to 12 consecutive months.
                    • Employment permits under the atypical working scheme are issued to provide specialised skills to a particular industry, especially where a skill shortage has been identified.
                    • The Van der Elst visa, on the other hand, applies to a non-EEA national who is legally resident and working in another EU country but is required by his/her employer to work temporarily in the host EU country.