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British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS)

Indian or Chinese nationals who wish to travel to the UK and Ireland may be eligible to do so without applying for two separate visas under the British Irish Visa Scheme.

If you are planning to travel, you may be eligible to benefit from this agreement. Our team of visa experts at Manchester Immigration Lawyers can help you understand your options and how to apply for the visa that best suits you. You can call us today at 0161 826 9783 for immediate help with your application.

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    What Is The British Irish Visa Scheme?

    The British Irish Visa Scheme offers an opportunity for Indian and Chinese nationals to visit Ireland and the UK with one visa. It is geared towards tourists and business travellers. It covers the common travel area (CTA) of Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland without the need to obtain a UK and a separate Irish visa.

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    Who Is Eligible for the British Irish Visa Scheme?

    To benefit from this scheme, you will need to be either an Indian or Chinese national who is currently resident in your country of nationality. You must have a valid passport that permits you to travel and must not be subject to any other restrictions that would disqualify you from obtaining a visa for either the UK or Ireland.

    In general, applicants must be over 18 years of age, with the exception of accompanied children on a UK visa.

    While you should qualify for a BIVS travel permission if you obtain an eligible visa, the specific requirements for this visa will depend on your circumstances and the visa you are applying for. You should note that the BIVS generally only applies if you obtain a UK or Irish short-stay visa.

    UK Visas Eligible under the BIVS

    The British Irish Visa Scheme generally recognises all standard visitor visas for the UK that have a duration of under six months, such as the:

    • General Visitor visa
    • Business Visitor visa
    • Family Visitor visa
    • Child Visitor visa (unaccompanied children are not eligible)
    • Parent of a Child in School visa
    • Prospective Entrepreneur visa
    • Entertainer Visitor visa
    • Sports Visitor visa
    • Student Visitor visa (less than six months)

    You may also qualify if you are visiting the UK under an Approved Destination Scheme (ADS), with a Permitted Paid Engagement. Visa, or if you are over 18 years of age and are staying in the UK for under 6 months.

    Irish Visas Eligible under the BIVS

    If you are arriving in Ireland first, you will need one of the following visas to be eligible for the BIVS:

    • Family or friend visit visa
    • Tourist visa
    • Conference or Event
    • Business

    Should you be travelling to Ireland under any other visa permission, you will still be required to obtain a separate visa to visit the UK. You will also not be eligible should you have a ‘visitor in transit’ visa or a ‘visitor for marriage or civil partnership’ permission.

    Other Nationalities

    The BIVS is only available to Indian or Chinese nationals. If you are travelling to Ireland or the UK and are from a different region, you may be able to benefit from other agreements such as the Irish short-stay waiver programme, which allows for travel to Ireland with a UK visa.

    Our Ireland and UK visa specialists will be able to advise you on that and can make sure that you find the best visa for your circumstances. You can call us today at 0161 826 9783 and we will be happy to help you, no matter where you are from.

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      How to Apply for the BIVS

      Overview

      To qualify for travel under the BIVS, you must first obtain a compatible visa for either Ireland or the UK, depending on your intended point of entry. To do so, you will need to fill out the online application form which you can find on the Irish or UK Home Office website.

      You will need to provide the required documents and evidence of your eligibility and pay the associated visa application fee.

      Once you have applied for a visa, you will need to visit one of the qualifying Visa Application Centres in your country, where you will be asked to provide your biometric information, as required by the UK and Ireland.

      Visa Application Centers

      You will be able to find joint UK and Ireland Visa Application Centers in your home country. It doesn’t matter which one you attend, just select the one that is closest to you. Once you have submitted your online visa application, you will be given more information.

      Required Documents

      In general, you will need to provide evidence of your valid visa permission and passport when travelling under the BIVS.

      You should keep in mind that the visa you are applying for first will have different requirements depending on your circumstances. You will need to provide the documents that are asked for when applying.

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        Visiting the UK and Ireland

        Overview

        Once you have successfully obtained your visa, you will be ready to travel. It is important that your visa corresponds with your first point of entry, so if you are planning to arrive in the UK as a main destination, you will need a UK visa, and vice versa.

        Depending on where you have applied, the overall duration for your visa may be different:

        • Up to 90 days for Irish short-stay visas
        • Up to 180 days for UK visas

        You must keep in mind that even if your UK visa might be valid for longer, it will only allow you entry into Ireland for a maximum of 90 days.
        Throughout your visit, you must adhere to any applicable Ireland or UK immigration rules.

        Transit
        Sometimes, your journey to Ireland might temporarily take you through the UK, for example, if a plane lands and you need to catch a connection. If you have an Irish visa that qualifies for BIVS, you will not need to obtain an additional UK transit visa. You do need to make sure that you arrive in Ireland at the latest by the end of your second day (the day after you landed).

        Single Entry Visas

        If you have been granted a single entry visa that qualifies for the BIVS, it means that you are permitted to enter the CTA one time. You will be able to travel between the UK and Ireland multiple times, as determined by the immigration officer when you arrive, but you must make sure to remain within the boundaries of the CTA. Should you wish to leave and come back, you will need another visa.

        Multiple Entry Visas

        You may qualify for a multiple entry visa under the UK or Irish visa scheme. Again, this visa may qualify for the BIVS, but you will need to ensure that the place of entry for each visit corresponds with the visa you have obtained. You may leave the CTA from either the UK or Ireland, but your next entry has to be from Ireland, with an Irish visa, or the UK, if you have a UK visa.

        How Can Manchester Immigration Lawyers Help?

        Understanding the nuances of the British Irish Visa Scheme can feel complex and overwhelming when you are in the process of applying for a visa that won’t see you stranded when trying to cross either into the UK or Ireland.

        Seeking support from experienced UK and Ireland Visa specialists can help ensure that you don’t miss any essential information and give you the best chances of success when applying for your permission. You can contact our friendly team at Manchester Immigration Lawyers today by calling 0161 826 9783. We will be happy to help you with any questions you might have.

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                  Related pages for your continued reading.

                  FAQ

                  Yes, you may leave the CTA from anywhere as a UK visa holder. You will need to remember to return to your primary visa location, should you have a re-entry visa.

                  No, UK visa holders may only stay a maximum of 90 days in Ireland, even if their UK visa is valid for longer. You should also note that the visa is not a guaranteed permission for entry. This will be determined by the Irish immigration official at the border, who will tell you how long you are permitted to stay.

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