Living in Northern Ireland: Visas & Immigration

Northern Ireland Tourism

Living in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Culture

Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom (UK) so, in general, the visa and immigration rules are the same for NI as they are for the UK. The basic "simple" visas, in increasing order of difficulty of obtaining them:

  • for citizens of other European Union countries you don't need a visa;

  • for the spouse (partners of at least two years standing are treated as though they were spouses) of a citizen of a European Union country there is the European Treaty Rights option (only required if the spouse is not themselves an EU citizen): this is by far the simplest visa to get: it's free and all you need to do is send a letter to the Immigration & Nationality Directorate in Croydon (with proof that you've been in a relationship for at least two years if you're not married). This visa is free and they can't turn you down for it;

  • if you have a parent or grandparent who was born in Ireland before 1922 or in the Republic of Ireland after that you should be able to obtain an Irish passport;

  • if you are a Commonwealth citizen and have a grandparent who was born in the UK (which may include the Republic of Ireland if they were born before 1922), you can get a "by descent" visa via the British embassy in your own country (but see for the detailed rules);

  • otherwise you're probably talking a "normal" visa: see


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