Ireland Visa Application Process Explained

A visa is a document that is tied to a person’s passport and allows them to visit, work or live in different countries for fixed periods of time, right up to a permanent right to remain. Ireland, like any other EU country, has clear but robust rules around applying for and attaining a visa.


Whether your intention is to live in a country like Ireland long-term or you need a short-stay visa, the support of legal representation is highly valued and allows individuals to make successful applications to reside in the country of their choice.


Our experienced team of Irish citizenship, immigration and employment solicitors are on hand to support you in selecting an appropriate visa, running you through Ireland visa requirements and then finally helping you to complete an Irish visa application. Our teams, both Dublin- and Donegal-based are available to speak to you today, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Which Ireland visa is most suitable for me?

The two types of visa applications you’ll need to decide on applying for fall into long- and short-term visas.


Short-term visas are typically applicable for those who are not EEA (European Economic Area) nationals, EU nationals or Swiss nationals. Also known as Class C visas, the stamped visa entitles a person to remain in Ireland for 90 days.


Getting hold of an Ireland-specific short-stay visa will usually require the provision of a few things, as well as several documents including:


  • Passport photos
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Travel information
  • Details of finance
  • Contact details
  • Agreement to leave before the visa is expired
  • Proof of ‘good character’
  • An agreement that the visa is not to be used to gain access to any other country illegally
  • Proof of resources and insurance to support oneself while in the country


An Ireland-specific long-stay visa is also called a Class D visa and typically people who require them will need to prove they have more connection to a life in Ireland, whether through relationships, employment, or educational reasons.


Usually, an applicant is expected to apply about three months prior to actually intending to leave for Ireland. There are seven separate schemes to apply for long-stay visas in Ireland including study visas, employment visas, and join-family visas. Knowing which to apply for can be tricky sometimes, and it’s always best to confer with lawyers and solicitors if you’re deeply unsure about which to go for. Documents you’ll need to provide for a long-stay visa include:


  • Current passport photos and copies of previous ones
  • A signed letter of application
  • The summary sheet
  • Details of any past visa refusals
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of earnings


You may be asked to provide several other documents to the Irish immigration office, and long-stay visas may usually take slightly longer to arrive. In Ireland, visa processing times are usually displayed online so you can track applications easily during the three months of consideration.


How long do Irish visa decisions take?

Entry to Ireland with a visa is not an overnight process. You’ll need to make sure you’ve planned ahead and provided all necessary documents to expect a positive outcome. As a general rule, the Irish Immigration Service Delivery indicates that a minimum of at least 8 weeks should be expected for your application to be processed.


It may seem more obvious but an Ireland-based long-stay visa will usually take longer to be reviewed. Anyone looking for a more complex visa, like a join-family or scientific research visa application can expect a more in-depth review process and is recommended to allow for 12 weeks between the application and the intended travel time.


In Ireland, visa tracking can be done online, or alternatively, you may track an application through the Embassy or Consulate you submitted with, quoting your unique reference number.


Why choose McGinley Solicitors LLP?

Here at McGinley Solicitors LLP, we are well-equipped to support you in choosing your visa and making an application, regardless of your national background or how long you intend to stay. Our main priority is to provide as much support during the application process so that you can focus on preparing for your exciting new role, studies and new life in Ireland.

We aim to assist you in the best way possible, so if you have questions regarding your treaty rights, and passport applications, contact our visa offices in Dublin or Donegal today to learn where we can assist you in travelling to, and staying in Ireland.


Irish visa application FAQs

My application was unsuccessful, is there anything I can do?


In the case of an unsuccessful application for a visa, you’ll be informed as to whether you can appeal or not. If you can, you must appeal within two months.


I would like to extend an existing visa, can I?

You can do this in some instances, however, it’s recommended to get in touch with the immigration service in good time to ensure you can process everything quickly enough. Not all visas can be extended, however, so plan accordingly.


Are there any countries, outside the EU, that Ireland won’t require a visa for me to visit?

There are several, and it’s recommended you head to the Irish government website to check this list as rules pertaining to visas can occasionally change.


Can I visit other parts of the UK or Northern Ireland with a C Class visa?

A short-stay visa for Ireland does not permit you to travel around the entire UK. An Ireland visa UK-inclusive can be attained through the British Irish Visa Scheme, however, these are only available if you are a Chinese or Indian national currently residing in your home nation.


I have previous criminal convictions, will I be able to attain a visa?

You can still make an Ireland visa application with a criminal conviction, however, full transparency and documentation will be required and visas are often rejected for serious crimes or instances of breaching immigration law.


How long will a visa take to process?

Visa processing times in Ireland can be delayed for various reasons and so a rough estimation of around 3 weeks is provided for the average short-stay visa. Like any EU country, Ireland visa processing times for more complex applications will likely take longer, and processing times can change based on staffing resources or busier periods.

Get Case Assessment