There is good news for Indians planning to travel to UK and Ireland during the year end. From December 2014 onwards Indians will require a single visa to travel to UK and Ireland. In a recent development, UK home secretary Theresa May has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Ireland. This MoU was signed to strengthen the Common Travel Area.
Why the single visa scheme?
The reason behind such a decision is to enable Ireland and UK to share data and information regarding immigration. The exchange of information between the two countries will mainly benefit travelers from India and China.
The visitors will be able to travel between the two countries in a smooth manner without compromising on the security of the borders.
The British-Irish Single Visa Scheme will eliminate the need for Indian and Chinese visitors to avail separate visas to visit the UK and Ireland. A single visa will suffice for the purpose. This visa scheme is scheduled to start in China by October end. However, Indians will have to wait a bit longer to enjoy the benefit.
Who will be eligible for the single visa scheme?
As per the British-Irish Single Visa scheme, a certain number of Irish short stay visas will allow onward travel to the UK. Likewise, some UK visitor visas will allow onward travel to Ireland. This means, an Indian tourist travelling to London will be able to visit Dublin for a small trip without applying for a separate visa.
This scheme is applicable for holders of Irish short stay visas from India and China. Travelers belonging to these two countries with a valid UK visitor visa (except ‘visitor in transit’ and ‘visitor for marriage or civil partnership’) are also eligible for this scheme.
In case a Chinese or an Indian visitor travels to the UK under a ‘visitor in transit’ visa or a ‘visitor for marriage or civil partnership’ visa, he or she will require a separate visa to travel to Ireland.
How the Northern Irish economy will benefit from the single visa scheme
The single visa scheme is set to benefit the Northern Irish economy as travelers from India and China will be able to visit Northern Ireland without requiring a separate UK visa. The visa holder will first travel to the country that has issued the visa.
Holders of the British-Irish single visa will not require a UK transit visa if their flight takes them via the UK to Ireland. Visitors will be required to travel on to Ireland within 24 hours of landing in the UK.