What is the Irish Short Stay Family Visa?
A short-stay family visa allows a person to travel and visit their relative in Ireland. You do not need to apply for a short-stay family visa if you are from an EEA/Switzerland, a non-visa-required country, or under the British Irish Visa Scheme. An example of a non-visa-required country is Canada.
Canadians do not need to apply for a short-stay family visa. However, the visa applicants must show that they have strong family, economic and social ties with their home country, which justifies that they intend to only stay in Ireland for a short while and will return to their country of residence before their immigration permission expires.
However, if you are only a resident of Canada (and not a citizen of a visa-free country) and are looking to visit your relative in Ireland, you must obtain a short stay ‘C’ visa.
This visa allows you to stay in Ireland for up to 90 days but does not permit you to take paid or unpaid jobs or use public-funded services like a public hospital.
Whether you are from a visa-required country or a non-visa-required country, you will need to report to an immigration border official upon your arrival in Ireland. In addition, you are to provide the relevant documentation required for entering Ireland.
Requirements for an Irish Short Stay (Family/Friend) Visa
When applying for an Irish visa (short stay family visa), there are certain requirements a visa applicant must meet. The requirements you need to meet are:
- You must leave Ireland before your visa expires.
- You or your sponsor (family member in Ireland) must be able to support yourself financially during your visit to Ireland.
- You must have provided proof of your return to your home country or other further travel arrangements.
- You must not have breached the Common Travel Area by attempting to enter the UK via Ireland without holding a valid UK visa.
- You must be able to provide your immigration history.
- You must be of good character.
- Your application must be truthful/accurate.
If the visa officer in charge feels that you provided false or insufficient information, you may not be allowed to enter Ireland.
Supporting Documentation Needed for Short Stay (Family/Friend) Visa
When applying for a short stay family visa, there are certain documents you need to provide to determine the success of your application.
These documents will be analyzed by a visa officer for authentication and must be provided within 30 days of the start of your application.
These documents include:
- A written letter of application signed and dated; the letter must state why you wish to visit Ireland, the dates you intend to stay, where you intend to stay, and who will be sponsoring your visit. This letter must state and clarify who you are visiting and your relationship with the person with other documents to support this clarification.
- An invitation letter written, signed, and dated by your friend/family member who you are visiting, explaining why you are inviting them to Ireland, how you know them, and the dates you intend to visit them.
- This letter should also come with a clear colour photocopy of their National Identity Card/passport.
- If your family member is a non-EU/EEA, or visa-required national living in Ireland, the invitation letter must also include a clear colour photocopy of their valid Irish Residence Permit/GNIB card and valid immigration permission stamp.
- If your family in Ireland is sponsoring your travel to Ireland, they must provide a cost estimate and proof that they will help you with the estimated cost.
- Evidence and description of your accommodation plan.
- Travel and medical insurance
- Your current, valid passport and a photocopy of all previous passports
- Two passport-sized colour photographs of you
- Evidence of obligations to show that you will return to your home country and comply with the visa conditions.
Evidence to Prove Financial Ability
You must be able to provide certain documents to prove your financial ability and that you will be able to take care of yourself during your stay in Ireland without relying on the Irish government or taking up any job.
Whether you have a sponsor or you will be supporting yourself during your stay in Ireland, you must provide financial proof, which includes:
- A six-month bank statement showing your name, address, bank account number, account type, and the money paid in and out of the account.
- If your sponsor (family member) in Ireland is supporting you financially during your visit, you must provide the following documents with your visa application:
- An estimate of the costs of your stay in Ireland and the amount they will be paying for
- Evidence that your sponsor can afford these costs. This should be provided in the form of current bank statements, their three most recent payslips, if employed, their most recent P60, and a letter from their employer confirming employment, if applicable.
- If they are self-employed, they must provide a letter describing their business and documents to prove that it is an active business, such as their most recent financial accounts, tax returns, etc.
Asides from your sponsor in Ireland, if you have a third party supporting you financially, you must provide these documents in your visa application:
- A description of how and why the third party will be funding your visit
- Full details of the third party
- Proof of the relationship between you and the third party can be in the form of photographs of you both together, emails, letters, etc.
- The third party must demonstrate that they can financially support you, providing the above-described evidence.
However, you need to prove that you will return to your home country when the permission expires.
The evidence can be demonstrated through employment by providing recent payslips, a letter from your employer stating how long you have been employed, when you are due to return, and your vacation entitlement.
You can also demonstrate that through education/study by providing a letter from your school/college stating the course you are studying, how many years you have studied there, and how much time you have left there.
Family is another way to prove your return to your home country by providing a letter detailing your family ties with children, siblings, or dependants.
You can also provide documents if you rent or own a property in your country of residence, such as your original tenancy/rental agreement or property title deed.
Application Process for the Irish Short Stay Family visa from Canada
When applying for a short stay family visa from Canada, You need to follow these application processes for a successful visa application.
Step 1: Create your visa application online via AVATS. You will need to select the following in your online application form:
Visa type: ‘Short Stay (C)
- Reason for travel: ‘Visit Family/Friend’
- Journey type: ‘Single‘ or ‘Multiple.’ (You have to choose whether you are applying for a single entry visa or a multi-entry visa)
Step 2: Pay the Visa Application Fee
After submitting the application form, you will be required to pay the visa application fee. The amount to pay depends on the office you are applying from and whether it is a single entry visa or multiple entry visa application.
Step 3: Print out the application summary sheet. Write down your visa application transaction number to track the progress of your application.
Print out, sign, and date your application summary sheets and send them to the application office as described on your application summary form. Your application will likely be the Irish Embassy in Canada.
Remember that if you are a Canadian citizen, you don’t have to go through the above; you can obtain preclearance online from Irish immigration and proceed with your travel. Ensure you take all the supporting documents with you.
The visa fee payment for a short stay family visa varies, depending on the type of visa you are applying for. The application fee includes:
- €60: Single entry visas
- €100: Multi entry visas
There are other charges like consular fees. The visa fee is non-refundable under no circumstance. Depending on the type of visa issued, multiple entry visas allow you to enter Ireland multiple times without applying for a visa for a specific number of years given.
When applying for a short stay family visa, some rules guide the submission of documents. These rules are:
- All documents must be submitted within 30 days of creating the online application form.
- Prepare your documents carefully.
- You must submit both the original documents and photocopied documents.
- Documents must be submitted in hardcopy format only.
- All letters must be on official headed paper
- All documents must be translated into English or Irish Language.
However, the short stay family visa only allows you to travel to Ireland; it does not permit your entry into Ireland.
Therefore, when you arrive at the border control, you must provide all your documents to the immigration officer to prove your entry to Ireland.
If you provide false or misleading information without being able to satisfy the immigration officer, you may not be allowed to enter Ireland.
Once your immigration permission has been granted, the officer will place a ‘landing stamp’ in your passport, which shows your reason for your visit and the duration of your visit to Ireland.
How can Total Law help?
Total Law’s excellent immigration lawyers are vastly experienced in dealing with short-stay family Irish visas and provide advice and support to make your application process smooth.
Our immigration lawyers will help you determine if the visa is right for you and that you meet the eligibility criteria, help you gather the supporting documents to ensure there are no delays or denials, and help you file an appeal should your application be denied.
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If you are from a non-visa-required country like Canada, you do not need a visa to travel to Ireland. However, you must provide some documents to support your reason for entering Ireland at the border. You are to report to an immigration border officer to tender all the required documents and approve your entry into Ireland.
You should receive a decision within this 8 weeks after your application has been received. However, you may experience a delay if you do not provide sufficient documentation or false information.