Do I need a visa to visit my family/friends in Ireland?
If you are a non-EEA national and are planning a visit to stay with friends/family who are resident in Ireland, you may be required to obtain a visa before arriving to the State.
You will only need to apply for a visa if you are from a non-EEA country which is visa required.
All Short Stay ‘C’ Visa applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have strong family, social or economic ties in a place of residence other than Ireland since this therefore suggests that the individual only intends to stay in Ireland for a short, specified period of time.
The maximum stay for those who wish to visit family/friends on a short stay visa is 90 days (three months).
If you are from a non-EEA country that is categorised as non-visa required by INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service), you do not need to apply for this Short Stay (Family/Friend) Visa.
You must however, regardless of whether you are from a non-visa required or a visa required country, report to an immigration border official upon your arrival to Ireland and provide the relevant documentation to demonstrate your reason for entering the State.
What are the general requirements for a Short Stay (Family/Friend) Visa?
All short stay visas for non-EEA nationals consist of the same assessment criteria.
A number of factors are analysed to determine whether you are eligible to enter the state. A visa officer assessing your application will consider the following to influence their decision:
- You will leave Ireland before your visa expires
- You (or your family/friends in Ireland who are sponsoring your visit) are able to support yourself financially during your visit, without access to public funds or employment
- You have provided proof of return/further travel arrangements
- You will not breach the Common Travel Area by attempting to enter the UK via Ireland without holding a valid UK visa
- Your immigration history
- You are of good character
- Your application is truthful/accurate
It is important to note that if the visa officer feels that you have provided false or insufficient information or fail to meet the above criteria, you may be deemed ineligible.
How to apply for Ireland short stay family visa application
If you wish to apply for a Short Stay Family & Friends Visa, you will need to follow the steps as listed below:
- Check that you adhere to all of the necessary eligibility criteria for this visa.
- Gather your supporting documents.
- Visit the AVATS online visa portal and fill in the online application with your personal details. Make sure you select the ‘Short Stay (C)’ visa type and select “Visit Family/Friend” as the reason for travel.
- After you’ve completed the application, take note of your visa application transaction number.
- Print out, sign and date the application summary sheets. Package them securely and send them to one of the following (which one you need to send to will be indicated on your summary sheet):
- The Dublin visa office
- An international visa office
- An Irish embassy or consulate
- Pay the application fee. How you pay this fee will vary based on the application office you send your application to.
Which supporting documents do I need for my Short Stay (Family/Friend) Visa application?
When making an application for any Irish visa, including the Short Stay (Family/Friend) Visa, you should consider your supporting documentation one of the most important aspects.
For a short stay visit to Ireland when visiting family and friends, one of the key factors which will be analysed by a visa officer will be whether you can be relied on to leave the State at the end of your stay.
Your documentation must be provided within 30 days of beginning your visa application. Some key documents required are outlined below however this is not an exhaustive list:
- A signed and dated letter of application detailing: why you wish to visit Ireland; the dates you intend to stay; where you intend to stay and who will be paying/assisting with the funding of your visit – this letter must clarify who you are visiting and their relationship to you, along with documentary evidence of this relationship
- A signed and dated invitation letter written by the friend/family member you are visiting describing why they are inviting you to Ireland, how they know you and the dates you intend to visit them – this must include a clear colour photocopy of their National Identity Card/passport
- If your friend/family member is a non-EU/EEA national residing in Ireland, their invitation letter must also include a clear colour photocopy of their valid Irish Residence Permit/GNIB card and their valid immigration permission stamp
- If your friend/family member will be helping to fund your stay in Ireland, they must also provide a cost estimate and proof that they are able to help with this
- A description of your accommodation plan
- Proof of travel and medical insurance
- Your current, valid passport and a photocopy of all previous passports
- Two passport-sized, colour photographs of you
- Evidence of obligations to demonstrate that you will return home and comply with the conditions of your visa
How can I prove that I am able to financially support myself during my visit to Ireland?
Short-stay visas do not permit you to work nor rely on the State whilst in Ireland. It is essential, therefore, that you are able to provide evidence that you can support yourself financially throughout your visit.
Whether you will be supporting yourself throughout your stay, or the family member/friend who you are visiting in Ireland will be supporting you financially, you must provide sufficient proof.
If you intend to support yourself financially, you must include within your visa application:
- A recent bank statement showing your name, address, bank account number and account type, as well as showing money paid in and out of the account over the previous six months
If your friend or family member in Ireland is helping to support you financially during your visit, you must provide within your visa application:
- An estimate of the costs and what they will be paying for
- Evidence that your friend/family member can afford these costs via current bank statements, their three most recent payslips (if employed), their most recent P60, a letter from their employer confirming employment (if applicable)
- If they are self-employed, a letter including a description of their business and documents which prove that it is trading (such as their most recent financial accounts, tax return etc.)
If somebody else will be supporting you financially throughout your visit to Ireland, you must include within your visa application:
- A description of how and why this third party will be funding your visit
- Full details of the third party
- Proof of the relationship between you and this third party (photographs of you both together, emails, letters etc.)
- The third party must demonstrate that they are able to financially support you, providing evidence as explained above (whether employed or self-employed)
How can I demonstrate that I will return home when my permission expires?
In order to show that you have reason to leave Ireland when your visit ends, you must present evidence that you have a strong obligation to return to your country of residence for economic, social or family purposes.
This can be demonstrated through:
If you are employed at home, you can show that you have an obligation to return to this role by providing recent payslips, a letter from your employer stating how long you have been employed, when you are due to return and your vacation entitlement.
Students can show that they have an obligation to return home to proceed with their studies. This can be demonstrated by providing a letter from their school/college stating the course they are studying, how many years they have studied there and how much time they have left there
If you have family ties in your country of residence/home, you can provide a letter detailing your family status and any children or dependants you may have, including documents which prove you are related and where they are residing. This constitutes an obligation to return.
If you either own or rent property in your country of residence, this can be used as evidence of an obligation to return. To prove this, you should include documents such as your original tenancy/rental agreement or property title deed. You are also required to provide proof that you still reside in the property which can be demonstrated by recent utility bills.
Can I visit my friends/family in Ireland with a UK visa?
If you have an eligible UK short stay visa and your visit to Ireland will end before your permission to stay in the UK ends, you may be able to visit Ireland for less than 90 days without applying for an Irish visa.
This is known as the Short Stay Visa Waiver programme and is an option for residents of specific countries only. It is proposed to run until 31st October 2021.
This cannot be used by those who have been granted a UK short stay visa as a visitor in transit or a visitor seeking to marry/enter a civil partnership.
You must have gained entry to the UK with your current UK short stay visa prior to visiting Ireland with this visa.
There is, however, no minimum length of stay in the UK required before you travel to Ireland.
You will be treated at the Irish port of entry just as you would have been if arriving with an Irish visa.
This means that your passport will be stamped by immigration officers with an entry stamp and the date that this immigration permission will expire.
Residents of the following countries are eligible to visit Ireland with a valid UK short stay visa (subject to conditions):
Eastern Europe: Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine
Middle East: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia
Asia: India, Kazakhstan, Peoples Republic of China, Thailand, Uzbekistan
Here at the IAS, we are happy to help with any enquiries you may have regarding the Short Stay Visa Waiver programme, call us on (+353) 061 518 025 to learn more.
Last modified on August 30th, 2023 at 8:01 am
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Here at IAS, our team of immigration experts are able to provide invaluable legal assistance for a wide variety of cases.
This includes help with a short stay (family/friend) visa application.
Whether you simply require advice or practical help with completing and submitting your application, our immigration consultants in Ireland are ready to help.
We have collective experience spanning over a decade, with a proven track record of securing visas for those looking to travel to or reside in Ireland.
Your short stay visit requires a sufficient and detailed amount of supporting documentation; our immigration team can advise on exactly what is required and whether your visa meets the necessary standards.
We know common mistakes to avoid, will ensure your application contains zero inconsistencies and can submit this to INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service) on your behalf.
To enquire about which services we can offer to suit your personal situation, call us on (+353) 061 518 025.
While you do not need a visa to enter Ireland (unlike those from visa required countries), you must still provide documentation to support your reason for entering the State when you arrive at the border.
You are required to report to an immigration border official who you must provide with your passport and any further documentation which proves you have a valid reason to enter, including possible hotel reservations, travel itinerary, invitations, etc.
If you are a non-EEA national from a non-visa required country and require any further advice, contact us on (+353) 061 518 025.
Your visa application may be refused for a variety of reasons, however some circumstances which can be of extreme detriment to the success of your application are:
- If you have a history of serious crime/immigration abuses, your visa application may be refused
- If you have submitted false, misleading or inaccurate documentation or information throughout your short-stay visa application – in this scenario, you can be prevented from getting an Irish visa for five years and may not be eligible to appeal the visa decision
For this reason, it is essential to ensure that your visa application is right first time. Our professional, highly qualified immigration consultants have significant experience of completing and submitting visa applications.
Our immigration consultants in Ireland are highly qualified in all areas of immigration law, just like an immigration lawyer.
However, in the event that your visa application is refused, we are here to help. We can establish whether you are eligible to appeal the decision and proceed from there.
Typically, a short stay (family/friend) visa application should take no longer than 8 weeks to process once your documents have been received.
You should receive a decision within this time however this can be delayed if you do not provide the sufficient documentation, if you have a criminal conviction or if any information provided needs to be verified.