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Short Stay ‘C’ Visa Ireland

Foreign nationals visiting Ireland and wishing to stay there for less than 90 days, who are required by Irish law to apply for a visa to enter the country, will need to apply for an Irish Short Stay ‘C’ Visa.

For more information about different Irish Short Stay ‘C’ visa options, whether you will need a visa to enter Ireland, what supporting documents you must have, how you can apply, and to receive bespoke immigration advice and support from our legal team, call us today on +353 061 518 025.

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    Overview of Ireland Short Stay ‘C’ Visas

    Foreign nationals, who are travelling to the Republic of Ireland (also referred to as the State) and seeking to stay in the country for less than 90 days, may need to apply for a Short Stay visa, also known as a ‘C’ Visa.

    Citizens from visa-exempt countries for Ireland, such as South Africa, will not need to apply for a visa to enter Ireland as tourists and stay in the State for less than 90 days, although other immigration procedures will be applicable for them.

    A South African national visiting Ireland for less than 90 days will have to present their passport and other relevant documents to the Irish immigration officer at the port of entry. If the officer is satisfied that the documents meet the entry requirements, they will get an Ireland visa stamp in their passport. It will allow them to stay in Ireland for the duration as shown by the stamp.

    South African nationals wishing to study or work in Ireland for less than 90 days must ensure that they have the necessary permissions to do so.

    Citizens of visa-required countries must apply for a visa before travelling to Ireland. Please check the Department of Justice’s website to find out if you are eligible to travel to Ireland without a visa or if you would need to apply for the same.

    Citizens of the EEA (the EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), Switzerland or the UK will not require a visa to enter Ireland.

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    Types of Ireland Short Stay ‘C’ Visas

    Foreign nationals from visa-required countries visiting Ireland for less than 90 days for any of the following reasons can apply for a Short Stay ‘C’ visa:

    • Vacationing
    • Visiting family/friends in Ireland
    • Attending a short study course (where the course duration is less than three months)
    • Attending an event or a conference
    • Staging a performance (e.g. dance, theatre etc.) or taking part in a competitive tournament (e.g. sports, music etc.)
    • For short-term employment under the Atypical Working Scheme (AWS)
    • For short-term business activities (e.g. to attend business meetings, negotiate or sign agreements or contracts, or work for up to 14 days)
    • Participating in an unpaid internship (where the duration of such internship is less than three months)
    • Sitting an exam
    • Attending a training
    • Getting married in Ireland
    • Accessing medical treatment in a private hospital
    • As a seafarer joining a ship which is departing from Ireland
    • Accompanying an EEA/Swiss national family member

    Eligibility Requirements for a Short Stay ‘C’ Visa

    To be eligible to apply for a Short Stay ‘C’ visa in Ireland, or to enter the State as a visa-exempt country national, you will have to prove the following:

    • That you have a valid reason to travel to Ireland – such as tourism, visiting family/friends, business meetings, study etc. – and stay in the country for less than 90 days
    • That you (or your family/friends who may be sponsoring you) have sufficient funds to travel to Ireland and support yourself while in the country without accessing public funds or resources
    • That you have strong family, economic, or social ties to your country of origin (or current residence). In other words, you have sufficient reason to leave Ireland and return to your country of origin/current residence before your Irish short stay permit expires
    • That your Irish visa application is not a means to obtain lawful entry to the EU or the UK
    • That you are of good character (i.e. without a criminal conviction or a negative immigration history)

    The Irish immigration authorities will require to be satisfied in all of the above respects. Additionally, the immigration officer must be satisfied that you have provided true and complete information before making a decision as to whether a visa should be granted to you or not.

    What Documents Do I Need to Apply for a Short Stay ‘C’ Visa?


    The supporting documentation required for your Short Stay ‘C’ visa application consist of both general documents and certain additional documents, which will vary from case to case depending on your purpose of travel.

    Documents which all applicants will be required to submit include:

    • Signed and dated application summary form (from AVATs)
    • Current passport or travel document and all previous passport(s)
    • Two copies of passport photographs
    • Proof of fee payment/fee exemption
    • Biometrics (where required; not required for South African nationals)
    • Travel/medical insurance
    • A signed and dated application letter with:
      • Your full contact details
      • Visa application number
      • Details of your family members in Ireland/UK/EEA
      • Your reason to travel to Ireland
    • You must also make a commitment in this letter that you will:
      • Obey the conditions of your visa in full
      • Not rely on Irish public services (such as public hospitals) or become a burden on the State
      • Leave Ireland before your immigration permission expires
    • A complete travel itinerary
    • Proofs of accommodation in Ireland, such as:
      • Printed reservation confirmations which must show the dates you intend to stay in each place
      • If you are staying with your family/friends, you must state who you are staying with and provide evidence that the person lives at that address
    • Proofs of funds for yourself and/or your sponsor
    • Any documentation pertaining to your previous visa refusals, other immigration issues (e.g. deportation, overstaying etc.) and criminal convictions

    Moreover, if you currently reside in a country other than the country which issued your passport (or travel document), you will need to submit a full colour copy of your residence permit in that country. You must also have at least three months permission to remain in that country after your proposed departure date from Ireland.

    Additionally, if you are visiting any other countries before entering Ireland, you must prove that you have the necessary visas (or documents if you do not require a visa for those countries) in your passport.

    Additional Documents Required Based on Purpose of Travel

    Along with the above documents, you will need to provide certain additional documents based on your reason for travel to Ireland. These include:

    • Tourism: Travel itinerary, tickets, accommodation proofs etc.
    • Education: Course confirmation letter stating the duration of the course
    • Visit family/friends: Details of your family members/friends in Ireland
    • Conference/event: A letter from the conference organiser with any costs covered
    • Business: An invitation in writing from a host (e.g. a company/organisation, customer or supplier) in Ireland
    • Short-term employment: A valid AWS approval letter
    • Training: A letter from your employer or sponsoring organisation and a letter from the training company with necessary information
    • Unpaid internship: A letter from your universities course director and and a letter from the host company/organisation
    • Exam: A letter from the organising institution as well as evidence of why this exam is necessary for your employment/studies and why you must sit it in Ireland
    • Marriage: An acknowledgement from the registrar confirming the date of receipt of notification of intention to marry, marriage registration form, and evidence of your relationship history
    • Performance/tournament: A letter from the organiser, and also a letter from your group if you are being invited to Ireland as part of one (e.g. an orchestra, a dance group etc.)
    • Medical treatment: a referral letter from the hospital in your home country, a letter from the private hospital in Ireland which will carry out your treatment, and your private medical insurance
    • Join ship: A letter from your employer (shipping company or agency)
    • Accompanying EEA/Swiss national family member: Evidence that establishes that you are a ‘qualifying family member’ or a ‘permitted family member’ of the concerned EEA/Swiss national

    Please note that the above list is by no means exhaustive in nature. Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) may ask for additional documents depending on your personal circumstances.

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      Additional Conditions and Documentation Required for Minors

      Additional conditions will be applicable for foreign nationals below 18 years of age applying for Short Stay ‘C’ visas. They will also need to submit additional supporting documents which will vary based on their personal circumstances.

      Foreign nationals who are below 18 years of age, need their parent or legal guardian to apply for a Short Stay ‘C’ visa on their behalf, or appoint a solicitor or legal representative for that purpose.

      For a minor travelling with both parents or legal guardians, you will need to submit their original birth certificate with other application documents.

      For a minor travelling with one parent or legal guardian, you will need to submit (a) an original letter of consent signed by their other parent/legal guardian, and (b) a photocopy of the other parent/legal guardian’s passport or national identity card with their signature.

      For a minor travelling alone or with an adult other than their parent or legal guardian, you will need to submit (a) an original letter of consent signed by both parents/legal guardians and (b) a photocopy of each parent/legal guardian’s passport or national identity card with their signature.

      For a minor where one parent is deceased, please include the original death certificate of the deceased parent. For a minor where one parent has sole custody, please include the original court order granting sole custody to the parent concerned.

      How Do I Apply for a Short Stay ‘C’ Visa?

      Once you have confirmed your eligibility for a Short Stay ‘C’ visa and arranged for all relevant supporting documents, you can begin the application process by filling in the application form on the AVATS online visa portal.

      For Short Stay visas, please select visa/preclearance type as ‘Short Stay (C)’, then select journey type as ‘Single’ or ‘Multiple’ as applicable in your case, and then select the reason for travel applicable in your case.

      Please write down your visa application number once you have completed the online form. Next, please take a printout of your application summary form, and sign and date the same. You will need to pay a non-refundable visa processing fee at this stage, if applicable.

      The signed and dated summary form along with other supporting documents must be sent to your concerned visa office, after the payment of visa application fee where required.

      The address and contact number of Irish embassy in South Africa is provided below:

      Embassy of Ireland

      Building A, 2nd Floor

      238 Florence Ribeiro Avenue

      Nieuw Muckleneuk


      Phone: +27 12 452 1000

      The visa application must be made from the country where the visa applicant lives.

      Short Stay ‘C’ Visa Processing Time

      Short Stay ‘C’ visa processing time may vary depending on (a) the embassy/consulate/visa office you have made an application at, and (b) the time of the year. Different visa offices have different lengths of waiting time. Moreover, the volume of visa applications increases at certain times in the year, thereby impacting the waiting time.

      You can check with your concerned visa office, which is processing your application, for information on their current waiting times. Usually, it takes eight weeks from the date of application to reach a decision.

      It is also advisable to provide as much information, and as many relevant documents, as possible supporting your visa application in the first place, to avoid unnecessary to and fro between you and the Irish immigration authorities, which, in effect, will delay the processing of your application.

      Fees for Short Stay ‘C’ Visa

      A fee of €60 for single entry visa or €100 for multi-entry visa will have to be paid at the time of visa application. This is an administrative fee to cover the processing cost of your application, and as such cannot be refunded even if your application is refused or withdrawn. Foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries for Ireland, such as South Africa, will not be required to pay this fee.

      In addition, you may be charged communications fees while making your visa application. A translation fee may be applicable if your original documents are not in English.

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        What Happens After I Arrive in Ireland on a Short Stay ‘C’ Visa?

        Even if you have been granted a Short Stay ‘C’ visa, it does not guarantee that you will be permitted to enter Ireland. You will need to report to the Ireland immigration counter at the port of entry when you arrive in Ireland and present the relevant documents including your passport.

        If the immigration officer is satisfied that you meet the entry requirements, you will get an Ireland visa stamp in your passport. It will allow you to stay in Ireland for the duration as shown by the stamp. You may be refused entry into Ireland if the immigration officer has any concerns regarding your reason to travel to Ireland or is not satisfied with your documents.

        What If My Application Has Been Refused?

        If your visa application is refused, you will receive a letter of refusal detailing the reasons for refusal. It will also mention if you are allowed to appeal. In such a scenario, if you still want to travel to Ireland, you may either appeal the decision or make a new application.

        If you decide to appeal, you will have to do so within two months of receiving the refusal letter.  No fee is required for appealing the refusal.

        Adult visa applicants aged 18 or above can appeal their own visa decision. Or they can authorise someone else to do so on their behalf, such as their solicitor or legal representative, friend, family member, etc. Minors (who are below 18 years of age) cannot appeal their own visa decision. Their parent or legal guardian will have to do so on their behalf, or appoint a solicitor or legal representative for that purpose.

        Late appeals will not be considered. Also, you can appeal a visa decision only once. If your appeal is not successful, or if you have missed the two-month window, you will have to make a fresh application and pay the required fee.

        If you decide to make a new application, ISD may take into account your previous application history.

        In some circumstances, such as where the applicant has submitted false or misleading information with their original application, they cannot appeal a visa decision and may be blocked from applying for a visa for up to five years. The letter of refusal will mention if that is applicable in your case.

        How Can IAS Help?

        If you are a visa-required national and would like to visit Ireland for less than 90 days, there are quite a number of different Short Stay ‘C’ visa options that you may choose from, depending on your personal circumstances and requirements.

        However, before you apply for an Irish Short Stay ‘C’ visa, you will have to ensure that you are eligible to apply for your chosen ‘C’ visa option and have the required supporting documents.

        Please pay attention while filling up the relevant application form(s) as well as arranging for supporting documentation, for your visa application to be successful. A visa refusal may not be appealed in certain circumstances, and a visa refusal history or the refusal of an appeal, if so happens, will affect your future Irish visa applications.

        IAS can help.

        Our team of immigration lawyers have the required expertise and empathy to understand your case and assist you, regardless of the complexity of your case.

        If you are seeking overall advice with your Ireland Short Stay ‘C’ visa application, or you would like an immigration lawyer to oversee your application on your behalf, our team is ready to assist you. We also offer document and application checking services if you just need a final check to confirm that your documents and application adhere to ISD regulations.

        To know more about the bespoke services we provide and how we can help you, please call us on +353 061 518 025 today to speak to our team of immigration experts.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                A Short Stay ‘C’ visa cannot ordinarily be extended. However, in some rare and exceptional circumstances, you may apply for a temporary extension of your visitor permission up to a maximum of an additional 90 days.

                No. An Irish Short Stay ‘C’ visa does not allow a foreign national, who is otherwise required to have a UK visa as per the UK immigration rules, to enter the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

                The only exception to this rule is the British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS). Foreign national travellers, who possess an Irish visa endorsed with BIVS, may be permitted to visit Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK from Ireland using their Irish visa.

                However, South African nationals cannot avail of this scheme. BIVS endorsed visas are only available to Chinese nationals and Indian nationals, who are living in China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and India respectively, at the time of their visa application.