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British Irish Visa Scheme

The British-Irish Visa Scheme was rolled out in China in October 2014. It involves the mutual recognition by Ireland and the United Kingdom of each other’s short-stay visit visas. Below you can find some quick facts and the answers to some frequently asked questions.

Quick Facts

The British-Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS) involves the mutual recognition by Ireland and the United Kingdom of each other’s short-term visit visas.

This means that if you have an Irish visit visa which has ‘BIVS’ written on it, you will be able to enter the United Kingdom after you visit Ireland.

It means that if you have a British visit visa which has ‘BIVS’ written on it, you will be able to enter Ireland after you visit the United Kingdom.

You should apply for your visa to the country to which you will travel to first. If you have an Irish short stay visa and you want to also visit the United Kingdom you must travel to Ireland first. If you have a British visit visa and you want to also visit Ireland you must travel to the United Kingdom first.

If you have an Irish short-stay visa it is possible to transit through the United Kingdom on your way to Ireland, however your transit time in the United Kingdom must be less than 24 hours. After you have travelled to Ireland, you could then visit United Kingdom for a longer period if you wish.

The scheme only applies to short-term visit visas. It does not apply to student or work visas.

Once the scheme is launched, all Irish visa applications must be submitted at Visa Application Centres. This includes long-stay visa applications, such as student and work visa applications. It will no longer be possible to apply directly to the Irish Visa Office or to the Embassy of Ireland or Consulate General of Ireland.

Ireland and the United Kingdom will use the same Visa Application Centres. These are located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Wuhan, Shenyang, Jinan, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Fuzhou, and Chengdu. It will also be possible to apply at the Visa Application Centre in Hong Kong.

First you should complete an online application form. You will then be given a link to information on our Visa Application Centres. At the VAC, you will be asked to provide biometric information.

This is the pilot phase of the British-Irish Visa Scheme. In this phase, the scheme applies only to Chinese citizens applying for British or Irish short-stay visas in China (including Hong Kong/Macau). The scheme will eventually be rolled out world-wide.

For more information, please read:

- BIVS Information Note EN
- BIVS FAQ EN

If you have a question on the BIVS please read all of the material because it is likely that your question is answered here. If you have read the material and still have a question, please Contact Us