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Visit Ireland as part of a Chinese Tour Group: Approved Destination Status (ADS) Tourist Visa

You can visit Ireland for up to 30 days as part of a tour group through the Approved Destination Status Scheme (ADS) if you are a Chinese citizen. 

To qualify as an ADS tourist you must enter Ireland as part of a tour group and stay with the group for the duration of your visit. Your tour must be organised by an ADS licensed Chinese tour operator.

An ADS visa allows travel within Ireland in accordance with a pre-determined itinerary. You may also travel to the UK, including Northern Ireland, after first travelling to Ireland if your visa is endorsed with the letters ‘BIVS’ under the British-Irish Visa Scheme. ADS visas are issued to members of tourist groups of at least 5 tourists plus the tour leader. The maximum duration of stay is 30 days.

To qualify for an ADS tourist visa, your tour must be organised by an ADS-licensed Chinese tour operator.

Apply for your ADS visa in 4 easy steps:

Step 1: Select your preferred ADS tour operator and plan your travel to Ireland. A list of Ireland’s approved Chinese ADS-licensed tour operators can be provided to you upon request by email.

Step 2: Complete your individual online visa application form. For instructions follow: ‘How to Apply’.

Step 3: Prepare your supporting documentation for submission of your visa application. Follow your tour operator’s advice on how best to prepare your supporting documentation. ADS tour operators usually arrange for their representative to submit all supporting documentation on behalf of the group in advance. The ADS tour operator simply makes an appointment at the chosen Visa Application Centre (VAC) one day prior to the group’s appointment and submits the completed applications on behalf of the group. The VAC personnel carry out a document pre-check at this stage.

Step 4: Your tour operator will arrange an appointment for the tour group at the most convenient Visa Application Centre (VAC). The appointment involves taking your fingerprints and photo (biometric information). This will usually happen 4 weeks before your departure. Agents can split groups and make appointments at different VACs if this is preferred. 

Please note: All documents must be in English or accompanied by an official English translation

Documents that must be submitted at the Visa Application Centre by the ADS tour operator’s representative in respect of the ADS group:

  • Introduction/cover letter from the ADS tour operator with, the official name, address, telephone, fax and email address of the operator as well as the contact person.
  • Copy of identity card, copy of CNTA badge and copy of Irish/UK accreditation card of the travel agency’s designated representative/courier.
  • A name list, signed by the ADS licensed tour operator’s representative, of all the group members, including the tour leader, along with their passport numbers (with translation in English).
  • A detailed travel itinerary in English, signed by the ADS licensed tour operator’s representative, including details of accommodation and the dates of stay in each accommodation in Ireland/UK (must include names, addresses and telephone numbers of hotels). These reservations must be confirmed reservations.
  • Evidence of flight reservations covering round trip from China.
  • Name of the tour leader along with a copy of tour leader’s Chinese ADS certificate (valid for period of travel) and a copy of the biographic page of his/her passport and visa page.
  • Name and contact details of the designated partner tour operator in Ireland (address, telephone, email), as well as details of the contact person of this partner in Ireland.
  • Confirmation on headed paper from the designated partner tour operator in Ireland that accommodation and transport within Ireland as specific in the group’s itinerary will be provided to all members of the group.
  • Evidence of visa fee payment for the group.

Documents that must be submitted on behalf of each ADS visa applicant:

  • Completed visa application form, duly signed by the applicant, with 2 recent passport photos.
  • Passport (original), valid for 6 months after applicant’s intended date of departure from Ireland.
  • 2 photocopies of the applicant’s passport bio identity page.
  • Previous passport (original), if the applicant has held a previous passport.
  • 1 photocopy of the applicant’s ID card (with translation in English).
  • 1 full copy of the Hukou booklet – all pages (with translation in English).
  • Evidence of travel insurance covering the entire duration of stay in Ireland / UK, with cover of at least €30,000 and covering the cost of any emergency medical treatment or repatriation for medical reasons.
  • A cover note, signed by the applicant, summarising the nature and duration of the applicant’s visit to Ireland/UK and including the applicant’s contact details (with translation in English).
  • Proof of applicant’s financial means, original bank statements covering the last 6 months prior to submission of the visa application.
  • If the applicant is employed, an official headed letter with the company’s stamp, signed by his/her employer (with address, telephone, email address of the employer, signature with name and position of the person who signed) stating the visa applicant’s working position, salary, years of service, and approval for holiday leave (with translation in English). A copy of the employer’s business license must also be submitted.
  • If the applicant is self-employed, a copy of his/her business license with company stamp.
  • If the applicant is retired, his/her original retirement certificate (with translation in English), along with original bank statements showing pension payments for the previous 6 months prior to the visa application.  
  • If the applicant is unemployed and married, a copy of his/her spouse’s employment letter (with translation in English), and a notarised copy of his/her marriage certificate, legalised by the MFA.

Minors:  Applicants under 18 years of age:

  • A notarised copy of birth certificate, legalised by the MFA (with English translation).
  • A full copy of Hukou booklet, confirming relationship to parent (with English translation).
  • If travelling with one parent, a notary certificate of permission to travel from the other parent or legal guardian, legalised by the MFA. Not older than 6 months.
  • If the applicant is travelling alone or without both parents/guardians, a notary certificate of permission to travel from both parents or legal guardians, legalised by MFA. Not older than 6 months
  • In cases where the parents are divorced, a notarised copy of the divorce decision, legalised by the MFA, stating to whom of the parents full guardianship was entrusted.
  • In cases where one parent/guardian is deceased, notarised certificate of death. Legalized by the MFA.
  • Original school letter confirming absence for holiday purposes. Letter must include the contact details of the school and the school’s stamp.
  • A copy of both parents’/guardians’ passport biographic and signature page must be provided.
  • Evidence of income and funds held by parent(s). If the parent is employed, a headed letter from his/her employer (with address, telephone and email address of the employer, stamp and signature with name and position of the person who signed) stating the parent’s working position, salary (with translation in English). If the parent is self-employed, a copy of his/her business license with company stamp. Parents’ original bank statements for previous 6 months must be submitted also

Making group appointments at the VAC:

Visa applications may be submitted at any of our 15 Visa Applications Centres across China: http://www.vfsglobal.cn/ireland/china/visa_application_centre.html

VAC pre-check appointments (submission of documentation on behalf of the tour group) can be made by the ADS representative by emailing: info.ircn@vfshelpline.com

VAC appointments for tour groups of up to 5 applicants can be made online: http://www.vfsglobal.cn/ireland/china/Book_an_Appointment.html

VAC appointments for groups of greater than 5 applicants, should be made per email by the ADS tour operator’s representative: info.ircn@vfshelpline.com

Visa Fees:

Fees for each applicant are equivalent to the cost of a single entry visa. Usually, ADS tourists pay their visa fee directly to their tour operator, who then pays for the whole group at the Visa Application Centre – this a matter for the visa applicant. Please follow these links for information on Visa Fees & VFS service charge and payment methods.

Visa processing times:

It is expected that ADS Visa applications will be processed within 10-15 working days from the day of receipt in the Beijing Visa Office. However, processing times may vary depending on the volume of demand for visas. It is therefore advisable to submit applications as far ahead of the intended travel date as possible. Applications may be submitted within 3 months of the group’s travel date. Very large groups are strongly advised to submit their applications at the VAC at least 20 working days in advance of travel. 

Changes to itinerary:

ADS tourist visas are valid for the pre-determined itinerary as submitted at the time of application. If, for reasons beyond the control of the Chinese accredited travel agency, any changes are made to this itinerary between the visa application and departure date, it is the responsibility of the travel agency to inform the Beijing Visa Office immediately. It should be noted that changes to an itinerary may only concern points of minor detail such as the hotels where the group will be staying. In all circumstances, the group must travel as a group and all members of the group must stay in the same hotels. It is not permissible to change basic elements of the itinerary.

Tour operator accreditation:

If you would like to submit an application for accreditation as an ADS approved tour operator with Ireland, please contact the Embassy of Ireland Visa Office. Please remember that your tour company must first be licenced by the Chinese authorities. Your tour company must also have a good track record of operating group tours in accordance with immigration laws. Evidence of adequate indemnity insurance must also be provided. If you have already been approved as an ADS operator by the UK, this will be viewed favourably by the Visa Office.