China / Society

British-Irish visa scheme launched

By Zhang Yuchen ( Updated: 2014-10-31 19:07

Chinese nationals can visit the UK and Ireland using a single visa when travelling on certain short stay and visitor visas since Oct 28, the embassies jointly announced on Friday.

British-Irish visa scheme launched
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Under the British-Irish Visa Scheme, some Irish short stay visas will allow onward travel to the UK and some UK visitor visas will allow onward travel to Ireland. The applicant only needs to apply once. The scheme will allow spontaneous trips from Ireland to the UK, for example a day trip to Northern Ireland or London.

"If you are playing golf in London and all of a sudden want to experience playing in Dublin, or vice visa, then the scheme is designed for you," said Paul Kavanagh, Irish Ambassador to China, at the launch event in Beijing.

Only eligible Irish short stay visas applied for after Oct 28 are part of the scheme. All Chinese nationals who hold an eligible UK visitor visa (except visitor in transit and visitor for marriage or civil partnership) are covered by the scheme.

Before the new plan, Ireland and the UK had worked on a one-direction visa project since 2011, in which UK short stay visa holders could travel across the border with the Irish visa free.

Last year the number of the Chinese visitors who held UK visas and visited Ireland reached a peak at 30,000. The country hopes to see that increase to 50,000 people in 2015. 

Sir Sebastian Wood, British ambassador to China, said the scheme bringing the visa applications together will see economic benefits not only in the relevant two countries but also in China.

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