Visiting Ireland is a cinch if you’re visiting from a country that requires no visa or with whom Ireland has a visa waiver agreement. If you are visiting from a country with a visa requirement, then things can get a little more complicated, but here’s what you need to know to get you started.

Ireland is a small island, but it is home to two jurisdictions – which means two sets of immigration laws. Let us talk you through how it works.

Mother and son enjoy the rocks of Derrynane beach on the Ring of Kerry, Ireland on a sunny day.
With its incredible scenery and friendly locals, Ireland is a popular destination © iStockphoto / Getty Images

Do you need a visa to visit the Republic of Ireland?

If you are from the EEA (the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland, you don’t need a visa to visit or work in the Republic of Ireland which is part of the EU.

British citizens in Ireland and Irish citizens in the UK (including Northern Ireland) hold a unique status under each country's national law courtesy of the long-standing Common Travel Area (CTA) agreement, which allows them to travel and work freely within the CTA. 

US citizens can visit Ireland for tourism or business without a visa for stays of up to 90 days. Your passport must be valid for the duration of their stay, but there is no requirement for it to be valid for any longer than that. For longer stays or to work or study, Americans will need to apply for a visa, which they can do through the official website of the Irish Embassy in Washington, DC.

Ireland has a visa waiver agreement with 56 other countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. A complete list of the exempted countries is available on the Citizens Information website.

Visa requirements for the rest of the world

Citizens of all other countries require a short stay "C" visa if they want to visit Ireland for any reason including tourism, visiting family, getting married or even if they wish to transit through Ireland.

The application process is laid out in detail by the Irish Immigration Service, and must be completed before travelling to Ireland. Families travelling together need to fill out applications for each individual as there’s no family visa option.

A man sits on stone wall talking to another man with a bicycle in a green park in Dublin, Ireland
Citizens of several countries can apply for a “working holiday” visa that lasts up to a year © Davidf / Getty Images

What you need to know about working holidays visas 

Citizens of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States may be able to apply for a Working Holiday Authorisation through the Irish embassy in your country. This allows you to come to Ireland to work for a certain period, but it’s only available to applicants aged between 18 and 30 (35 in some cases).

No matter where you are coming from you will have to register for an Irish Residence Permit as soon as possible after you arrive in Ireland if you intend to stay more than 90 days.

How much will a visa cost?

There are three kinds of short stay visas. A single entry visa is €60, while a multi-entry visa – where you wish to come in and out of the country on multiple occasions over the course of the visa validity period – costs €100. Transit visas are €25.

The fee covers only the administrative cost of processing the visa; it does not cover the cost of submitting any additional documents. For specific information on any additional charges or costs, refer to the website of the Irish embassy or consulate in your country of residence.

The Irish Immigration Service has a dedicated page on how to pay the visa fee.

Young women cross the Peace Bridge in Derry, Northern Ireland
Although there is no physical border, you are crossing into a different territory when you visit Northern Ireland © benedek / Getty Images

Visiting Northern Ireland

Although Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and therefore not part of the EU, there is no physical border between the Republic and the North, which means frictionless travel between the two jurisdictions.

Like the rest of the United Kingdom, visas are generally not needed for stays of up to six months for tourism or visiting friends and family – if you are a citizen of the EEA nations, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, South Africa and the USA.

However, since 2022 citizens of countries that do require a visa are covered under the terms of the British-Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS), which allows for mutual recognition of short-stay visas between the UK and Ireland. This means that a British short-stay visa will be valid for travel onward to Ireland, and an Irish short-stay visa will be valid for travel onward to the UK. Visas that are valid for use under this scheme will have "BIVS" endorsed on them.

Citizens from countries requiring a visa should apply for a visa from the country in which you will arrive first. The vast majority of international arrivals to Ireland are through Dublin, but if you are arriving into Belfast first, you will need to apply for a visa from the UK Home Office, where you will also find a full list of those countries that require one.

A visa for the UK lasts six months and costs £115.

Ready to plan your trip to Ireland? Here are your next steps:

This article was first published Mar 23, 2021 and updated Mar 30, 2024.

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