- What is the Volunteer Visa?
- Eligibility Criteria for Irish Volunteer Visa for US Citizens
- Required Documents to Apply for Volunteer Visa in Ireland
- Application Process
- Visa Appeal Decisions
- How can I extend my volunteer stay?
- Can I appeal after my application has been refused?
- Can I change my volunteer sponsorship?
- How Can Total Law Help?
What is the Irish Volunteer Visa?
Irish volunteer visa is for those who wish to work as a volunteer in Ireland for over 90 days. This visa or immigration permission enables you to reside and volunteer in Ireland for 2 years. You can get an extension for a third year based on certain conditions.
A volunteer visa is a form of preclearance or like a pre-authorization to have non visa required nationals enter Ireland.
This means that you need to apply for the volunteer visa application before traveling, and you will not be granted access to enter Ireland to volunteer unless you have the Preclearance Approval Letter, which will be tendered to the immigration officer upon your arrival to Ireland.
However, this visa allows you to stay in Ireland under the following conditions:
- Work in a volunteering role with an eligible organization
- Live in the State for 1 year initially and up to 2 years (you have the possibility of extending to 3 years, depending on some factors)
- Change the volunteering organization once in any 12 months
- Travel outside Ireland for short periods
- Your volunteering role must match the criteria for the volunteering position
- The sponsoring organization must match the eligibility criteria; it must be a non-governmental, voluntary, not-for-profit, or charitable organization that is established, active, and registered under the Charities Regulator’s Public Register of Charities in Ireland or a sports organization recognized by Sport Ireland
However, you are not allowed to do the following with the visa:
- Take paid work of any kind
- Bring your family members along with you to Ireland
- Apply to change your immigration status while in the State
- Claim any state benefits like health services, education, etc.
- Change sponsors more than once in any 12-month permission period
- Spend more than two years volunteering in the State.
Eligibility Criteria for Irish Volunteer Visa for US Citizens
The eligibility criteria explain the specific conditions and requirements to volunteer in Ireland. The eligibility criteria are:
- You must be of age, that is 18 or above
- You must not be from any EU/EEA and non-Swiss country
- You must have medical/health insurance with a company authorized by the Health Insurance Authority of Ireland for the period of your volunteer service in Ireland
- An eligible organization must have offered you a volunteering role
- You must have proof of financial ability; you are financially supported by the organization you are volunteering for during your entire stay
- You must be qualified for the volunteering role
- You must be responsible and be of good character
- You must be cleared to work with children and vulnerable adults if it is relevant to your role
To be eligible for a volunteer role in Ireland, you must be accepted in eligible organisation in the following sector:
- Religious and faith-based support activities
- Sport and physical recreation
- Welfare and work for the community
- Health support services
- Arts, heritage, and cultural activities
- Education and youth services outside of school
- Other areas with no financial gain can also benefit the community
Required Documents to Apply for Volunteer Visa in Ireland
When applying for a volunteer visa, there are some documents you must provide to make you eligible for the immigration permit. They are:
- A copy of your current passport and all previous passports
- 2 passport-sized photos of you
- Application summary form
- Visa application letter
- Sponsorship letter from the organization sponsoring you
- Evidence of preclearance fee
- Evidence of accommodation plan
- Information about your family if you are married or have children
- Full six months bank statement from yourself and the sponsoring organization
- Evidence of your qualifications and any work/volunteer experience
- Police Clearance Certificate of fewer than 3 months old from your country of residence or any country you reside in 3 years before the application
- Evidence of Garda Síochána vetting for you from your sponsor if your volunteering role involves children and/or vulnerable adults
- Evidence of your medical insurance
- Visa Refusals documents before your application like overstaying, deporting, or visa refusals
- Official document of any Criminal Convictions or any pending criminal charges
- Other documents, if required
To apply for a volunteer visa to Ireland, you must apply for a long stay (D) visa for about 3 months before your travel date to the State, and this application must be made from your home country or a country where you have a legal resident permit.
Step 1: Fill out the online application form
This application form will create an empty summary application form and summary sheet with which you will sign a declaration at the end; this must be printed and dated.
For US citizens, you will select visa/preclearance type as ‘Long Stay (D),’ Journey Type as ‘multiple’, and ‘Visa –Volunteer’ as your reason for travel at the link above.
Step 2: Pay the visa fee and organize your documents
Pay the required visa application fee and organize all your supporting documents.
Step 3: Submit your application form
Before you submit the application form, you need to submit all your supporting documents and passport, and the submission depends on where you live.
It is important that you submit it to the right office within 30 days of the online application form completion.
However, these documents must be authentic, original, and not fake; you can be denied your visa application for 5 years to Ireland if caught with fake documents.
Documents must be translated into Irish or English and certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the State that issued the document for acceptance.
To avoid stress and confusion during your application, you can contact us today at +1 844 290 6312 or use the online contact form to get in touch.
Visa Appeal Decisions
If your appeal is unsuccessful, you will be sent a ‘letter of refusal’ stating that the original visa decision remains in place, your appeal has been refused, and all documents will be returned to you.
It will also state the reason for refusal, and you cannot appeal again for the refusal, but you can pay again for a new visa application.
If your appeal is successful, you will be sent a notification stating that the original visa decision has been reversed; the next step to take is getting your visa, and all your documents will then be returned to you.
You will also be given the Preclearance Letter of Approval which will be needed by the local immigration office, authorities at the border control and also for access into Ireland for Immigration Registration to extend your permission to remain. However, this is only valid for 6 months, and if it is not used at the border control, you would have to restart the application process and submit a new application.
How can I extend my volunteer stay?
After staying up to a maximum of two years, you may be eligible for an additional 1-year extension of your volunteer immigration permission, and your request for an extension must be to continue with your current sponsor.
This request may only be considered if your sponsor gave a genuine need for your service to be continued. Your sponsor will write a new sponsorship letter explaining why they want you to stay and include evidence of an application fee payment of €50.
This should be submitted with your full copy of your passport, proof of address, evidence of finances, and your private medical insurance or health insurance.
Can I appeal after my application has been refused?
The refusal letter will state if you are permitted to appeal, and the appeal process is without cost. You can respond to the appeal by submitting other supporting documents, which should be done within 8 weeks of the refusal letter date. The appeal must be written while also addressing all of the stated reasons for the refusal, and it is to be submitted physically.
However, if you provide false or misleading information in your application, you may not be permitted to appeal and be prevented from applying for an Irish visa for 5 years.
Can I change my volunteer sponsorship?
To change to volunteer sponsorship, you must ask your new sponsor to write a new sponsorship letter stating that your service is needed and proof of application fee payment of €50.
Then attach your full copy of your passport, proof of address, evidence of finances, and private health insurance and send it to the required address.
However, you will no longer be allowed to change the sponsorship letter accompanying your sponsors after this.
How Can Total Law Help?
Total Law’s excellent immigration lawyers are highly knowledgeable about the intricacies of Irish visa processes. We provide immigration services, advice, and support to make your application process seamless.
Total Law’s expert immigration lawyers will help you determine if you meet the eligibility criteria, help you gather the supporting documents, guide you through the interview process and likely questions you may face so that you are confident during the process, and will help you file an appeal should your visa be denied.
Total Law is on hand 24/7 to help you out. You can contact us today at +1 844 290 6312 or use the online contact form to get in touch.
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