Who needs a visa?

Whether travelling for work or pleasure, citizens from EU and EEA member states, as well as a number of other countries, are not required to hold valid visas on arrival in Ireland.  Nevertheless, regardless of whether a visa is required prior to travelling to Ireland or not, all non-EEA nationals, including those with visas, must obtain permission to enter Ireland at the port of entry and should therefore carry supporting documentation relating to the purpose of the visit when landing in Ireland.

Citizens of a small number of countries require a transit visa when landing in Ireland en route to another end destination.

Please contact our Global Immigration Team for further advice.

Business Visa

EU, EEA and Swiss Citizens do not require a visa to travel to Ireland on business.  Generally, citizens of any other country will require a business visa; however there are a number of exceptions.

Type of Visa

A Business Visa will allow a visitor to enter Ireland in order to attend meetings, conferences or perform at an event, but not work.

Application Process

All applications must be submitted online, with the required supporting documents lodged at the Irish Embassy, Irish Consulate or Visa Office in the applicant’s country of residence.

Processing time

The processing time for a business visa can vary depending upon nationality. For applications submitted in the UK a processing time of 10 working days normally applies, although this can change without notice.


A Business Visa falls into the category known as “Short Stay (C)” and is issued for a stay of 90 days, or less, and cannot be extended in-country.

Work Authorisation

In order to work in Ireland, work authorisation needs to be sought by submitting the relevant Work Permit application. Work authorisation will be required if you are a non-EEA national. EEA and Swiss nationals do not need work authorisation.

Type of Visa

There are four types of work authorisation categories; the Work Permit, Green Card Permit, Spousal/Dependent Work Permit,  and Intra-Company Transfer Permits.

Application Process

Applications for work permits can be made by the prospective employer, or employee, to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation using the correct form, which must be accompanied by the required supporting documentation.

Upon approval, foreign workers who require visas to enter Ireland must obtain a “Long Stay (D)” Visa from the relevant diplomatic representation in their country of residence prior to travelling to Ireland.  Upon arrival in Ireland, the foreign worker must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

Processing time

The processing time for a new application or an extension application is 8 to 12 weeks, although this can change without notice.


Depending upon the category of Work Permit, certain permits can be valid for 6 months, 1 year or 2 years. In some cases it is possible for permits to be extended in country for a further period of time. In some cases, after five continuous years in Ireland as a work permit holder, the work permit holder may become eligible to apply for Long-Term Residence and an exemption from the need for a work permit.  Should the application be successful, the foreign worker will be granted residence permission for a further 5 years, and will no longer require a work permit.


Foreign workers may be able to bring their family to live in Ireland after legally working in Ireland for a year on a Work Permit, provided they can prove that they can support their dependents.  Dependents of a foreign worker applying for a Work Permit after 1 June 2009 cannot enter Ireland as the foreign worker’s spousal/dependent but may be eligible to apply for a Work Permit in their own right.

Where the foreign worker first applied before 1 June 2009 for a Work Permit, their spouse/civil partner/dependants under 18 years of age are eligible to apply for a spousal/dependant Work Permit.

Penalties for Non Compliance


Where the employer breaches the Irish immigration rules by employing foreign nationals without employment authorisation, the employer shall be liable (upon summary conviction) to a fine of €3,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.  On conviction on indictment, employers may receive a fine of €250,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.


If a foreign worker breaches the immigration conditions attached to their Work Authorisation, their Work Permit may be cancelled and they will be required to leave Ireland.  The foreign worker will not be able to apply for a Work Permit to be employed in Ireland in the future.

Areas of Concern

  • The employee must meet the minimum salary applicable to the Work Permit category.
  • The role the employee will undertake in Ireland must not be on the list of ineligible occupations.
  • The employee must hold and be able to demonstrate applicable educational ability and work experience.
  • An Irish entity must exist.
  • Restrictions regarding employee ratios of the Irish company apply.


The contents of this article are for information purposes only.  The information and opinions expressed in this document do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for legal advice or a comprehensive statement of law or current practice.  Immigration rules and requirements frequently change without notice.  You should not rely upon the contents of this document but instead should seek appropriate professional and legal advice in the light of your personal circumstances.  No liability is accepted for the opinions contained or for any errors or commissions. Please contact our Global Immigration Team for further information.