Things you need to know about the Irish Tourist Visa
One of the things I never liked about my current Passport is that it interferes badly with international traveling. To start, most international trips should be planned months ahead. Apart from the finances, traveling logistics often include Visa application. And sadly, it seems that my Passport needs a Visa everywhere. Ok, I am exaggerating. But you do get my point, right?
It may sound easy to apply for a Visa. In most cases, it is. Just troublesome. But in certain cases, the experience is similar to a nail-biting thriller that will leave you hanging in your seat!
Ireland seems like a popular travel destination these days – evident from their evolving food scene. But it seems like their Visa office needs to have a makeover. I am not sure why but I find Ireland’s policy for Visas too strict (and slow). In fact, Ireland is the only country who rejected my tourist Visa application years before I relocated here – grrr!
This assumption was (again) made evident by my friend’s recent Irish Visa application experience. She lodged her application in Ireland’s Embassy office in Singapore on 18th of May this year. About a week later, she lodged her UK Tourist Visa application. She planned for a two-week trip. This included visiting us in Dublin and some friends in the UK (London and Portsmouth), hence, applying for two different Visas.
Her original travel plans were supposed to be mid-July this year. A common friend from San Francisco also made plans to visit at the same time – so we were making arrangements what to do at the time they are here. To cut the story short, my friend from Singapore got her UK Tourist Visa a month after lodging. The Irish Tourist Visa on the other hand – nil. In fact, she constantly checked the visa processing times and was utterly dismayed to see it dragging so slow. There was a period where one week of visa processing only processed one-day worth of tourist visa applications!
Since the “estimated processing time” for the Irish Tourist Visa was 3 months (12 weeks), my friend moved her flight to September. She booked her new flight to leave Singapore on September 16, which is MORE than the 12 weeks estimated time for tourist visas. Now, this move did not leave her stress-free either. In fact, she didn’t receive her Irish Tourist Visa not until it was 13th of September already!
Now, I don’t know what it is with the Irish Visa office but it seems they need to do something about this. If big and neighbor countries such as the UK can release a tourist Visa in a month – then why can’t Ireland do something similar?
I suppose that while the Irish government figures something out, tourists planning to visit Ireland should remember these things:
1. Lodge your Visa application AT LEAST 3 months before the trip.
2. Submit all necessary supporting documents. The more you submit, the better!
3. Don’t book plane tickets yet – it is not “required” anyway.
4. If planning to visit Ireland during summer (June – August), expect a delay in visa processing.
5. And most importantly, have a plan B ready!