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UNITED KINGDOM: New British-Irish Visa Scheme for Indian and Chinese Nationals

Home Secretary May announced on June 16, 2014 that the Home Office, along with the Irish Department of Justice & Equality, would soon be introducing the "British Irish Visa Scheme" between the UK and Ireland.

This new scheme will apply to Chinese and Indian national business and tourist visitors, allowing them to travel to and around the UK and Ireland on a single short-stay visa.  Business and tourist visitors from India and China who wish to travel to both the UK and Ireland will no longer require separate UK and Irish visas.

This reciprocal visa arrangement is expected to start in autumn 2014.  It is likely that applicants will need to apply for the visa to the embassy/consulate/High Commission of the country of first arrival or maximum stay, as with Schengen visas.  The visa will then allow the holder to travel freely around the Common Travel Area (CTA) of the UK and Ireland for the duration of the visa.

Note that this scheme only applies to business and tourist visitors only and does not apply to individuals wishing to work in either the UK or Ireland.  The UK and Irish authorities will continue to monitor this scheme and, as appropriate, will include other nationalities.

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