The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, TD, has announced that the ‘British Irish Visa Scheme’ between Ireland and the United Kingdom will commence this autumn starting with India and China. The British Irish Visa Scheme will allow for travel to and around the Common Travel Area (CTA) on a single visa. As matters stand, many overseas tourists and business visitors who wish to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, need separate Irish and UK visas.
The objective is that visitors from India will be able to travel freely within the CTA using either an Irish or UK visa. This will mean that tourists, business visitors etc. will be able, for the first time, to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a single visa. Tourism Ireland has welcomed the launch of a joint visa initiative between Ireland and the United Kingdom, which will commence this autumn with India.
Niall Gibbons, CEO, Tourism Ireland, said, “The launch of the British Irish Visa Scheme is really good news, making it easier than ever before for visitors from India to visit the island of Ireland. It is a significant step in helping us to grow visitor numbers from these markets – whether they wish to travel to Ireland for sightseeing, golf or as business tourists.”
Gibbons added, “Given that visitors from these markets are travelling a considerable distance, and often want to include more than one destination on their itinerary, it makes sense to make it as easy as possible for them to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a single visa.”
“Building on the success of the Irish Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme introduced by the Government in July 2011, the British Irish Visa Scheme will enable both countries’ immigration systems to work in tandem to promote and facilitate legitimate tourism and business travel to Ireland and the UK while also strengthening the external borders of the CTA,”concluded Gibbons.