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Questions & Answers

Visa Information
General Advice - Things NOT to do
How to get help if you need it.
Can I use Credit Cards and how much money should I bring?
The Weather.
What type of clothes should I bring?
Driving in Ireland
More Information


Can you tell me what information is required to obtain a visitor visa for Ireland?

An Irish visa is required by visitors from countries outside the European Union, USA and (Australia & Canada?)
The granting of an Irish visa is, in effect, only a form of pre-entry clearance. It does not grant permission to enter Ireland. Immigration Officers have authority to grant or deny admission. Visa holders are subject to normal immigration control at the point of entry. They should therefore carry with them, for possible presentation to Immigration Officers, the originals or copies of the documents submitted with their applications.

Visa applicants require a valid visa each time they enter the State, including entry via the UK. This also applies to persons who have current permission to reside in the State.

A visa does not grant permission to stay in Ireland. The date of validity shown on the visa indicates only the date before which it must be presented to an Immigration Officer. The length of stay is decided by an Immigrations Officers at the port of entry. Irish law does not provide for a permanent residence visa. Travel tickets should not be booked or paid for by applicants until their applications have been approved.
Department of Foreign Affairs
June 1998

Applications must normally be made through the Irish Embassy or Consulate in the applicant's country of permanent residence and applicants may be required to attend for personal interview. If there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in the applicant's country of permanent residence the application may be made through any Irish Embassy or Consulate, through the applicant's reference in Ireland or direct by post to the Visa Office, Department of Foreign Affairs, 69-71 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin.2. Ireland. (Tel:[353 1] 478 0822).

Applicants passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the intended date of departure from Ireland following visits.
Three recently-taken passport-size colour photographs must also be submitted with applications.


(A) Letter of invitation from Irish company stating the reason for and duration of proposed visit and responsibility for the applicant's accommodation/maintenance costs; or
(B) Letter from conference host setting out details including nature, duration and programme of conference and responsibility for accommodation/maintenence costs.

(A) Confirmation of hotel booking or letter from reference in Ireland undertaking to provide the applicants with accommodation during his/her stay; and
(B) Evidence that the applicant has sufficient funds to maintain him/herself during his/her stay (e..g recent bank statement) or letter from reference in Ireland undertaking to support the applicant financially during his/her stay; and
(C) Evidence of obligations in the applicant's country of permanent residence, e.g. letter from employer/college certifying intention to return after the visit.

(A) Letter of registration from college/school verifying the duration/nature of the course or examination; and
(B) Evidence that the requisite fees have been paid in full; and
(C) Evidence that the applicant has sufficient funds to maintain him/herself for the period of his/her proposed stay

(A) Work Permit; or
(B) Written confirmation from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment that a work permit will issue; and
(C) Schedule of performances (performing artists).
While many applicants are decided quickly (for example those of Government officials, well-travelled business people and persons with residents rights in Ireland or Europe or with valid visas for other EU or Schengen Member States) others, such as those from people intending to work, study or come as tourists, may have to be referred for decision to the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in Dublin. In all cases, therefore, applicants should apply at least three weeks (five weeks if by post) in advance of the intended date of departure for Ireland. Minimum communications costs, of which details are available from them, will be charged by Irish Embassies and Consulates who wish to have their applications expedited. Consulates have to refer all applications to a supervising Embassy or to Dublin.

Details of application fees are available from Irish Embassies and Consulates and from the Visa Office in Dublin. Applications made direct to the Visa Office should be accompanied by the relevant fee in Irish pounds (bank drafts only), payable to DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DUBLIN). Application fees are non-refundable. (Webmaster Note: Typically fees are ir£20 to ir£40). Applicants who are married to EU citizens are exempt from fees.

Should an applicant be refused, the applicants may apply to have it reconsidered by the Visa Appeals Officer, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, 72-76 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin.2. (Tel: [353 1] 602 8202). Any further information or additional documents which it is wished to have taken into account should be sent to the Visa Appeals Office. This can be done direct or through the Irish Embassy or Consulate through which the application was made. Appeals cannot be dealt with over the telephone.


Are there any precautions and general tips that I should be aware of?

As with travel to any foreign country, basic sense always applies. The following are a few things NOT to do.

DO NOT flash money around either on the street or in nightclubs etc. It is an open invitation to get robbed later.
DO NOT leave valuables, handbags, cameras etc., exposed inside your car. It is always best to lock them in the boot (trunk) for safety.
DO NOT interfere with animals or wildlife. People are liable to get upset and angry if they believe you are harming animals or birds.
DO NOT leave litter or trash behind you. We take great pride in the beauty of our countryside.
DO NOT climb mountains or engage in watersports alone and ALWAYS especially in the case of climbing mountains, inform the people where you are staying, where you are going and when to expect your return.


If there is an accident or my car breaks down, how do I get help?

In the event of an emergency:

Dial 999 or 112 and ask for the emergency service you require.

When the operator answers ask for the required service --- Fire, Garda (Police), Ambulance, Lifeboats, Coastal or Mountain and Cave Rescue. State the address or location at which the help is needed. Calls to these services are free of charge from any phone or phonebox. If you are not near a phonebox then go to the nearest house you see. You will always be allowed to use the phone.

If your car breaks down miles from anywhere and you are a not member of an automobile association, again call to the nearest house you see, they will usually either know someone who will be able to come out and look at you car or allow you to call a garage or breakdown service. It is always polite to offer to pay for the call.

For any other problems, just ask a local person and they will generally point you in the right direction.


How much cash should I bring and are travellers cheques, credit cards widely accepted?

Firstly credit cards are accepted by most shops, hotels and other business outlets. Look for the credit card window stickers by the entrance. NOTE: Mastercard is the same as Access.

Travellers Cheques are not available in Irish Punts (Pounds). However some shops will accept Sterling cheques. Travellers cheques are a safe way to carry money and can be exchanged for cash at any bank or post office. There are usually several bureau de change outlets in the larger towns and many are open seven days a week. NOTE: You can usually get the best exchange rate from banks.

It is always advisable to carry some local currency with you. You will be able to get this from your local bank, but you may have to give a few days notice. The major airports of Dublin, Shannon and Cork all have banks, so you can get Irish currency immediately on arrival.

As regards how much money to bring with you; if you are using credit cards this is not a major concern. However if you are on a budget holiday then you should allow approx. € 75 (US$80) per adult/day - children approx. half - to cover guesthouse accomodation, travel, activities, meals etc. This should be more than ample and at the same time allow you to buy some gifts and souveniers.

If you are staying in hotels etc, then adjust the figure up accordingly.

If money is running short, then get money transferred through Western Union, there are more than 400 outlets here. Freephone in Ireland 1800 395 395


Ireland is known as the Misty Isle, is it really always raining?

It's not that bad, but rain can be expected at any time. This is because we have a temperate climate and facing the Atlantic the prevailing winds carry weather systems across the country. There are well defined seasons and temperature ranges are not excessive.

Summer is generally from mid-May to early September. Days are long with up to 14 hours of direct sunlight. Temperatures average in the low 20'C. Occasional showers can be expected and winds really exceed 25mph. The summer of 1995 was been one of the dryest on record with continuous sunshine for almost 3 months and temperatures up to 30'C.

Autumn (Fall) from September to November is generally milder and rain becomes more frequent as winter approaches. Daily temperature range is normally between 12'C and 20'C.

Winter from December to early March in normally wet and windy. Rain can be expected at least twice a week and accompanied by gale force winds. Snow is rare, occasionally in Janurary and Feburary we get falls of 2 to 3 inches which are normally gone by the next day. Frosts are common at night and roads can get icy. Although some years there is no frost in the very South. Daily temperature range is normally between 2'C and 10'C.

Spring from March to May can be windy with occasional showers. Temperatures and the weather can be seen to improve almost daily. There are occasional fine periods of weather although frosts can persist at night. Daily temperature range is normally between 7'C and 18'C.
Check out the weather for the next 10 days by
clicking here for a rain forecast and clicking here for temperature.


What type of clothes should I pack for my holiday?

This section takes into account daily clothing requirements only and not clothing required for special activites such as watersports etc.

From late Spring to early Autumn(Fall), you will not need to pack heavy clothing. Generally light clothing with a warm sweater/fleece jacket and waterproof coat in case of rain will suffice. Cyclists and walkers may need a pair of waterproof over trousers. NOTE: Jeans and denim jackets are usually not allowed in high class restaurants or nightclubs.

For late Autumn/early Spring it is advisable to bring a warmer hooded waterproof coat.

For the main part of Winter bring sweaters and a warm insulated hooded and waterproof coat. For ladies trousers are more pratical than skirts. Gloves are also advisable. The main reason being that although temperatures do not drop that low, the wind and dampness can make it feel much colder than it actually is.

Generally it is best to come prepared as it isn't fun to spend your holiday cash on a jacket etc., that you left at home.


I am used to driving on the right, will I have any problems
and what are the general rules of the road?

Ireland is one of the few countries including Great Britian and Japan that still drive on the left hand side of the road. This can be disconcerting for first time visitors, but with a little practice it is easily overcome. The first thing most people notice is the different layout of the interior of their vehicle (hire-drive only). If you are used to driving an automatic, you should pre-book before departing for Ireland.

Otherwise the main difference between many American vehicles and European is the location of the gear change. In European cars it is found between the drivers and passenger seats. Normally there are five forward and one reverse gear, with 1st, 3rd and 5th being selected by pushing it forward and 2nd and 4th by pulling back. The position of reverse can change depending on the make of car. For those used to right hand drive cars there may be a short adjustment period when you bang your right hand off the door instead of using your left to change gears!

In inner cities and towns there is a speed limit of 30mph/50kph. In suburban areas this is increased to 40mph/65kph. Speed limit signs are recognised by a white circular sign with a red surround and the speed printed in black numbers.
On all other roads a general speed limit of 60mph/100kph applies. This is increased on some dual-carrigeways to 70mph/115kph. The general speed limit sign is seen on leaving built up areas. It is a white circular sign with a black diagonal stripe.

Warning signs of hazards and junctions are yellow diamonds with a black graphic.
Directional signs such as "No Entry", "No Turn" are a white circular sign with a red surround and diagonal stripe and directional arrow.

Information signs give information regarding direction, distance, place, etc., On major roads these are usually white and yellow lettering on a green background. In rural areas these are normally black on white. Distances can be shown in either miles or kilometers.

Click here to download examples of Road Signs


If you have any other questions go to

Allexperts Ireland Q&A: Ask volunteer experts questions about Irish tourism!

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