British-Irish Visa Scheme now available in India
Posted on February 12, 2015
The British-Irish Visa Scheme, which allows travel to the UK and Ireland on a single short-term visit visa, is now live in India. Ireland and the UK will share Visa Application Centres across India to provide this service, as per a release. All travellers applying for an Irish or British visa will need to use the shared Visa Application Centres, with effect from today.
Speaking about the joint visa scheme, Feilim McLaughlin, Ambassador of Ireland to India, said, “The introduction of the British-Irish Visa Scheme is really good news, making it easier than ever before for visitors from India to visit the island of Ireland. Given that visitors from India are travelling a considerable distance, and often want to include more than one destination on their itinerary, it makes sense to make it as easy as possible for them to visit both Ireland and the UK on a single visa. It is a significant step in helping us to grow visitor numbers from India – whether those visitors wishing to travel for sightseeing, golf or as business tourists.”
The Scheme requires that visitors will have to travel first to the country that issued them the visa. For example, applicants with an Irish visa will have to first visit Ireland before the UK or Northern Ireland. However, visitors transiting via the UK to Ireland will not need a separate transit visa.
India is a priority market for Ireland under the Government’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Strategy, and the Embassy in New Delhi and the state agencies in India work on the basis of a joint strategy to increase trade, investment, education and tourism between the two countries, McLaughlin said. “I hope to see increasing numbers visiting Ireland to see the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’, visit the Titanic museum in Belfast, or sample some of Ireland’s legendary traditional music sessions. I hope that this scheme helps to grow the deep ties between India and Ireland in the future,” the Ambassador added.
James Bevan, British High Commissioner to India, stated, “This is another example of the continuous improvements we are making to the visa service for Indian nationals. India is a key growth market for both UK and Irish tourism. We hope that more Indian visitors will choose to travel to the UK and Ireland as a result of this latest change.”
Madhavan Menon, Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., said, “The British-Irish Visa Scheme is truly a boon for Indian travellers. We applaud both the Irish and UK governments and tourism boards, as such strategic travel-friendly initiatives go a long way in making travel simple and convenient, and in turn give a boost to arrivals to both destinations. Moreover, the timing couldn’t be better – to leverage on the upcoming summer vacation – our peak outbound season.”