The new initiative allows tourists for the first time to travel freely between the UK and Ireland, including seamless travel from UK territory Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland on one visa.
Previously, if visitors from China and India wanted to visit both nations, they would have to hold separate visas.
Mobility between the Irish and UK borders will now be permitted on short-stay Irish visas, and UK visitor visas, as long as the place of issue is the visitor’s first destination. The scheme was created with the hope of boosting both business visitors and tourists.
The British-Irish Visa Scheme is currently not applicable for worker or student visas but it is expected general interest in visiting both countries will rise among Indians planning a European trip.
“It would be great if we could get some kind of a visa to allow students to travel between the two islands,” commented Stephen Shortt, managing director of the Alpha College of English in Ireland.
“I think it would be an enormous selling point for both markets as students would be able to travel and explore different parts of the countries as they currently can throughout Europe with a Schengen visa.”
“Tourism Ireland and Visit Britain are working together to market the British-Irish Visa Scheme in China and India”
Frances Fitzgerald, the Minister for Justice and Equality in Ireland, said, “The British-Irish Visa Scheme is a unique opportunity for the tourism promotion bodies on both islands to jointly promote tourism travel to Ireland and the UK.”
“With that objective Tourism Ireland and Visit Britain are working together to market the British-Irish Visa Scheme in China and India.”
The initiative is also expected to be extended further, and improve mobility by gradually replacing Ireland’s Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme, which currently permits nationals from certain countries to travel one-way from the UK to Ireland on their UK visa.