What is the Short stay family visa?
The short-stay family visa is an Irish tourist visa that allows people to travel to Ireland for a short time to visit family and friends that are Irish residents. Like all Irish visas, this visa only permits you to travel to Ireland. Whether or not you enter Ireland is dependent on the immigration officer at the border control.
Only citizens of non-EU/EEA countries that are visa required need to apply for this visa. EU/EEA, UK, and Swiss citizens, and non-EEA nationals from non-visa-required countries do not need to apply for a visa to travel to Ireland for less than 90 days. As a U.S citizen, you can travel to Ireland without a visa. However, U.S. legal permanent residents from a visa required country must apply for a short-stay visa.
When you enter Ireland on a family visa, you are allowed to spend a maximum of 90 days, after which you must return to your home country. When in Ireland, you’re not allowed to:
- Work in paid or unpaid labour
- Use any publicly funded service like public hospitals
Short-stay visa applications are individual, i.e., if you’re traveling with dependents, each of you must make a different application. In addition, parents should make a visa application for their young children (under 18).
Eligibility Requirement for a Family Tourist Visa
Non-EEA nationals who wish to enter Ireland on a tourist visa must fulfill certain criteria. The evidence of fulfilling these criteria will determine if a visa officer will approve the visa application.
To be granted the family visa, you must show proof that:
- You plan to leave Ireland before your visa expires
- You have the financial capability to support yourself and your dependents in Ireland without needing public funds or employment.
- You have made arrangements for onward travel out of Ireland
- You’re not using Ireland as a means to enter the UK without a valid UK visa or enter other EU countries without a valid passport.
- You have favourable immigration history.
- You are of good character.
- Your application is truthful and accurate. If the visa officer should find out that you have provided false or misleading information, your application will be denied.
Visa Application Process
All visa applicants must apply for a family visa from their home country or a country where they are permanent residents. You must make your application at least three months before the intended travel date. The visa application has three stages. The Irish immigration service may also need you to provide biometric information in some cases.
Stage 1: Create an online application
The first step is to create the online visa application using AVATS, the online application system for the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). AVATS will require you to answer the following questions:
- Type of visa – in this case, it’s a short stay visa
- Reason for travel – to visit family/friend
- Journey type – single or multiple entry visas. You should note that INIS approves multiple entry visas in limited cases.
AVATS will also require that you provide personal information such as your name, date of birth, passport number, contact details, relationship with the sponsor in Ireland, etc.
After completing the online application, you will be directed to a summary application form webpage that shows your:
- Visa Application Transaction Number: You will need this number to keep track of the progress of your application
- Application summary sheet: you are to print, sign and date these sheets. You will submit them with other supporting documents.
- Details of the application office where you will send your application. Your application office could be:
- The Dublin visa office
- An International visa office, or
- An Irish Embassy or Consulate in the city where you apply from
In some cases, your application office may send your application to a different office for a visa decision.
Stage 2: Pay the visa fee
After making your online application, you’re to pay the visa fees. The current visa fees are:
- €60 for a single entry short stay ‘C’ visa
- €100 for a multiple entry short stay ‘C’ visa.
Payment methods and currency options vary between application offices. Ensure to contact your application office to confirm how to pay. Applicants from certain countries are exempt from paying visa fees. Ensure to check if you fall into this category.
Note that the visa fee covers the administrative cost of processing your application and will not be refunded if you withdraw your application or if it is denied. In addition, you may also be required to pay some extra charges like consular fees.
Stage 3: Submit passport and supporting documents
After paying the visa fee, you will be required to send your passport and supporting documents to your assigned application office for processing. You must submit these documents within 30 days of completing the online application, and the processing will not start until they are received.
You must gather and organize all required documents carefully. They are important in determining if your application is approved or denied. All submitted documents must be original hard copies. Photocopies or softcopy documents are not allowed.
All letters must be on official headed paper. Any document not in English or Irish must be fully translated, and then you must submit the original and certified translations.
To avoid delays and monetary losses that could result from a withdrawn or unapproved application, Speak to a Total Law immigration lawyer to help you ascertain your eligibility, prepare your documents and guide you through the application process to make it seamless.
After processing your application, INIS returns any birth, marriage, and death certificates submitted. If there are other documents you want to be returned, make a list of them and include them in your application. Then include photocopies of those documents. INIS will keep the photocopies and return the original to you.
The supporting documentation you provide during your short stay visa application determines if the visa officer will grant you a visa or not.
These documents help to show that you will leave Ireland once your visa expires.
You must submit the following documents as part of your application:
- Application summary sheets signed and dated.
- A letter of application that details why you are visiting Ireland, the date you intend to visit, how long you will be staying, where you intend to stay, and who will be funding your visit.
Your application letter must clarify your relationship with the Irish resident you’re visiting, including documentary evidence of this relationship.
You must provide their name and address and the names and addresses of other friends/family living in Ireland or other EU countries.
- An invitation letter was written by your friend or family member who is visiting.
The letter should be signed and dated and should detail why they are inviting you to Ireland, their relationship with you, and the dates you will be staying in Ireland.
In addition, they must attach a clear colour photocopy of their National Identity Card or passport.
Suppose your friend/family member is a non-EU national residing in Ireland.
In that case, their invitation letter must also include a clear colour photocopy of their valid Irish Residence Permit/GNIB card and their valid immigration permission stamp.
- Proof of visa fee payment
- Two passport-sized, colour photographs
- Your current passport and photocopies of each page from all previous passports.
Suppose you intend to travel to Ireland from a different copy or travel from Ireland to a different country.
In that case, you must include a letter that describes your travel plan and details if you need a visa to those countries.
- Proof of finances to fund your stay in Ireland
- Details of your accommodation plan, including names and addresses of any friends or family you will be staying with at their place.
If you are staying in hotels or any other type of accommodation, you should include those details.
- Proof of travel and medical insurance
- Your current, valid passport and a photocopy of all previous passports
- Evidence of obligations to return home such as evidence of strong family, social or economic ties to your country of residence.
Proof of Finances
When you arrive in Ireland on a ‘C’ visa, you can’t work or use publicly funded facilities. Thus, you must have the financial capability to take care of your stay in Ireland.
The financial responsibility of your stay may be taken up by you or your Ireland resident friend or family member. You must thus provide proof that whoever has the responsibility has sufficient finances to take care of your stay. There is no minimum amount of finance for approving or refusing a visa application. The visa officer will decide if you have enough based on your circumstances.
If you are supporting yourself, you must provide the following as evidence of financial capability:
- A recent bank statement showing your name, address, bank account number, and account type, as well as showing money paid in and out of the account over the previous six months
If your friend or family member in Ireland is supporting you financially during your visit, you must provide:
- An estimate of the costs and what they will be paying for
- Evidence that your friend/family member can afford these costs via current bank statements, a letter from their employer confirming employment and payslips from the last three months (if employed), their most recent P60
- If they are self-employed, a letter that includes a description of their business and documents that prove it is trading (such as their most recent financial accounts, tax return, etc).
Visa Processing Time
All Irish short-stay visas are processed in the order they are received.
Processing times usually differ between offices and based on the time of the year.
Typically, you will get a visa decision about 8 weeks after submitting your documents.
However, if your documents are incomplete, the processing time could be longer.
Accepted Application and Travel
If your visa application is approved, INIS will place an Irish visa on a blank page of your passport or travel document. INIS will then return your passport, certain original documents, and any original documents you requested. The documents will be returned by post. However, you can arrange to pick it up at the visa office.
The Irish visa only allows you to travel to Ireland but not enter Ireland. At the border control, you will meet immigration officers who will determine if you can enter Ireland or not.
You must make photocopies of all documents you submitted during your visa application as proof that you have a valid reason for entering Ireland. If the immigration office is satisfied, he will place a stamp on your passport. This stamp will state your reason for visit and duration of stay, i.e., visit family/90 days.
Your visa application may be refused if you fail to fulfil certain requirements. If your application is refused, INIS will send you a ‘letter of refusal’ that explains why your application was refused.
INIS will also return original copies of certain documents and those you request.
You can appeal a refused application within 2 months of receiving the letter of refusal. You do not have to pay for an appeal.
How can Total Law help?
Total Law’s excellent immigration lawyers are vastly experienced in dealing with short-term Irish visas and provide advice and support to make your application process smooth.
Our immigration lawyers will help you determine that you meet the eligibility criteria for a family visa and will advise you on which supporting documentation you should have.
In addition, years of experience with this process have made us aware of the common mistakes that applicant make that causes application refusal. Therefore, we will help you avoid these errors to ensure that your application is consistent and readily accepted.
If you’ve had a previous refusal, Total Law can help you file an appeal or walk you through the re-application process to ensure you get accepted.
So contact us today at +1 844 290 6312 to start your journey towards a successful Irish visa application.
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EU, UK, Swiss and non-EU citizens from non-visa-required countries, e.g., the United States, do not need to apply for an Irish visa. However, when you arrive at the Irish border control, you must provide evidence to support your reason for entering the State.
You must report to an immigration border official, who you must provide with your passport and any further documentation that proves you have a valid reason to enter, including possible hotel reservations, travel itinerary, invitations, etc.
Contact total law at +1 844 290 6312 for assistance.
Family visas are only granted for short-term stays and never exceed 90 days. It is not possible to extend your stay beyond 90 days. You must leave the State on or before the date stamped on your passport.