Indians will not need to apply for a separate U.K visa, should they wish to visit Northern Ireland and other parts of Great Britain while holding only an Irish visa. While earlier, you could travel to the Republic of Ireland with a U.K visa, you could not travel to Northern Ireland and to other parts of the U.K if you held an Irish visa. But effective 10th February 2015, the British Irish visa scheme will allow Indians to travel to the U.K and Ireland on a single short-term visit visa, making it easier to visit both countries on the same trip. “Given that visitors from India 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 U.K on a single visa”, says Feilim McLaughlin, the Ambassador of Ireland to India.
James Bevan, the British High Commissioner to India said, “India is a key growth market for both U.K and Irish tourism. We hope that more Indian visitors will choose to travel to the UK and Ireland as a result of this latest change”.
Visitors who wish to benefit from the scheme will have to travel first to the country which issued them the visa. For example, applicants with an Irish visa would first have to visit Ireland and only then head to the U.K or Northern Ireland. However, visitors transiting via the U.K to Ireland will not need a separate transit visa.
“It is a significant step in helping us to grow visitor numbers from India–whether those visitors intend to travel to sightsee, play golf or as business tourists”, states Feilim McLaughlin. “India is a priority market for Ireland under the Government’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Strategy; the Embassy in New Delhi, as well as the state agencies in India work on a joint strategy to increase trade, investment, education and tourism between our two countries. I hope to see increasing numbers visiting Ireland to see the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’, to visit the Titanic museum in Belfast or to sample some of Ireland’s legendary traditional music sessions.” he adds
Additional tips on the British Irish Visa scheme:
This British-Irish Visa Scheme is one part of an agreed joint programme of work between the UK and Ireland aimed at further strengthening the external border of the Common Travel Area. Work includes harmonising visa policy and processes, greater investment in border procedures to facilitate pre and on-entry checks, the sharing of watch-list information and unified passenger data systems.
Ireland and the UK will share 12 Visa Application Centres. The locations are available here:http://www.vfsglobalirelandvisa.com/India/visa_application_centre.html The Visa Application Centres will be co-branded from 10 February 2015.
Ireland will also introduce biometric visas for all Indian applicants from 10 February 2015 for all Irish visas. This is part of a worldwide roll out. Applicants will have to visit the Visa Applications Centres in person to provide this information. Further information is available from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service :http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Biometrics
VFS Global are the operator of the Visa Application Centres.