Visa deal with UK to boost visitor numbers

Agreement applies to Chinese applicants from end of month, followed by India

The agreement will be signed in the Irish Embassy in London by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the British home secretary, Theresa May

The agreement will be signed in the Irish Embassy in London by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the British home secretary, Theresa May

 

In an unprecedented degree of co-operation between Ireland and Britain, the two governments will today sign an historic visa agreement that will allow international tourists to apply for one travel permit to visit both countries.

The agreement, which will be signed in the Irish Embassy in London by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the British home secretary, Theresa May, will apply to Chinese visitors from the end of the month, and then those from India.

It will see “the automated and seamless sharing and cross-check” of immigration data between Dublin and London. The Irish side will collect biometric data to match that required by British authorities.

Expansion planned

To underpin the operation of British-Irish Visa Scheme, Ms Fitzgerald and Ms May will sign a new agreement for the sharing of immigration data between both countries’ immigration authorities.

Once the agreement is fully up and running, international visitors will be able to apply for an Irish-UK travel visa at any one of the UK’s 200 visa application centres around the world.

Security concerns

Three years ago the Government introduced the Short- stay Visa Waiver Programme, which allows short-term visitors from certain countries to visit Ireland if they have a UK visa allowing entry for 180 days.

The list includes non-EU eastern European countries such as Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Bosnia; Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and others from the Middle East; along with India, China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It was later expanded to cover Thailand, Oman and Qatar.

The programme agreed with British authorities was to run until October 2016.

The short-term visa has proven its worth, the Government said, pointing to an increase of 45,000 more visitors from these countries between 2010 and 2013 – a 70 per cent rise, which has led to “a step- change” in promoting Ireland as a tourist destination.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.