UK & IRELAND – Visas for Olympics Accredited Visitors
Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality has announced that Olympics and Paralympics competitors, coaches, officials and media representatives (“Games Family Members”) holding an official Olympic or Paralympic identity and accreditation document will be exempt from the requirement to obtain an Irish visa to visit or transit through Ireland for the period leading up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London this summer. The UK has no such waiver in place but has introduced a specific “Olympics/Paralympics Visitor Visa” for athletes, coaches, officials and accredited media with validity up to the end of the games.
When Is the Irish Visa Waiver In Place?
The Irish waiver period will commence on 30 March 2012 and conclude on 8 November 2012. There are certain conditions attaching to the arrangement including that arrival in the State will only be permitted at Dublin and Shannon Airports and that the permission to stay in Ireland will be no more than 90 days.
How About the UK?
The UK does not have a visa waiver programme for the Olympics. Instead, a specific Olympics/Paralympics visit visa has been introduced, valid from the date of issue up until 8 November 2012. More details are available here. In addition, dedicated lanes at immigration control at Heathrow airport have been set up, also for the use of athletes, coaches, officials and accredited media
What About Spectators?
There are no specific measures for Olympic spectators coming to the UK: spectators must still obtain visitor visas, unless visa exempt due to nationality. More information can be found here.
Certain spectators who hold a valid UK visit visa may, under specific circumstances, use this to visit Ireland after having entered the UK, under the pilot visa waiver programme currently scheduled to run until October 2012.
- Note the visa waiver now in place for Olympic/Paralympic athletes, coaches, officials and accredited media in Ireland
- Note that the waiver does NOT apply to spectators coming to visit the games, who will still need Irish visas unless able to use the pilot visa waiver programme
- Note that there is no visa waiver for either athletes, coaches, officials and accredited media or spectators coming to the UK for the Olympics/Paralympics