1. When you can apply
You can apply for this visa if you are coming to Ireland to undertake voluntary work, which may or may not involve a payment, for an organisation such as a charity, religious institution or other voluntary organisation.
The nature of the voluntary work and/or the employer/employee relationship must not be such as to require an employment permit.
You are advised to familiarise yourself with the immigration arrangements applying to persons seeking to come to Ireland as lay volunteers before you make your visa application.
You can apply for a Lay Volunteer visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to Ireland.
If you are visiting another State prior to travelling to Ireland, you must have the relevant visa for that State in your passport before applying for an Irish visa.
2. How to apply
You must apply online for a visa.
When you have completed the online application process, you must follow the instructions on the summary application form that is created by the online system. The summary form will contain information on where you are to submit your supporting documentation.
The summary form which you must print, sign and date must be submitted with your supporting documentation.
You may be required to provide your Biometrics information as part of the application process.
A guide to supporting documentation is set out below.
If you submit any false or misleading information, or false supporting documentation as part of your application, it may result in the refusal of your application without the right of appeal. It may also result in you being prevented from making further Irish visa applications for a period of 5 years.
Please refer to the table of visa fees for information on the fee that you are required to pay.
Some applicants are exempt from the requirement to pay the visa fee. Read more here.
You may be required to pay additional charges e.g. relating to the submission of your documents.
You may be able to pay the fee in local currency.
The website of the Visa Office/Embassy/ Consulate will have details about additional charges and local payment options.
4. How long it will take
Applications are processed in date order.
You are advised not to purchase travel tickets before you know the outcome of your visa application.
Processing times can vary between countries. They can also vary during high volume periods during the year. However, you can generally expect a decision within 8 weeks from the date on which your application is lodged at the Visa Office/Embassy/Consulate.
Your application may take longer if e.g. you have not submitted all necessary supporting documentation, your supporting documentation needs to be verified or because of your personal circumstances (e.g. if you have a criminal conviction).
You can check the processing times for the Visa Office/Embassy/Consulate that is handling your application on their website.
If your application is being processed by the Visa Office, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, Department of Justice and Equality, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin you can check the date of the applications currently being processed on the Visa Decisions page.
5. Activities not permitted with this Visa
You are not permitted to:
- Undertake any paid or unpaid work, other than the unpaid work for which you have already been approved,
- access any public funds.
6. Supporting documentation
The documents below are important because they provide information about your personal circumstances in the country from which you are applying.
The onus is on you to satisfy the Visa Officer that a visa should be granted for the purpose sought.
The submission of any or all of these documents does not guarantee that your application will be successful.
Original documents must be provided.
If you submit a document that is not in English/Irish, it must be accompanied by a full translation. Each translated document must contain:
- confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document;
- the date of the translation;
- the translator’s full name and signature; and
- the translator’s contact details.
All letters submitted by a business, company or other organisation should be on official headed paper and give full contact details so that they can be verified. These must include a full postal address, name of contact, position in the organisation, telephone number (landline), website, and email address (email addresses such as Yahoo or Hotmail are not accepted).
The Visa Officer considers each application on its merits and may request additional information or documentation.
GUIDE TO SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION
Your signed and dated summary application form and the appropriate fee (where applicable) must be accompanied by the supporting documents set out below.
If you do not submit the required documentation your application may be refused on the basis of insufficient documentation.
Two colour passport sized photographs not more than 6 months old
Your name and visa application reference number must be printed clearly on the back. More information on photograph requirements here.
Your current passport and a full copy of any previous passports
Your current passport must be valid for at least 12 months after your proposed dates of arrival in Ireland
A signed letter of application including your full contact details:
A letter of sponsorship from the sponsoring organisation confirming that:
This letter must also state the nature and function of the organisation whether by reference to its Articles of Association or otherwise and, where it is a registered charity, detail of such registration must be provided.
Evidence of medical/travel insurance does not need to be provided with your application. However, the Visa Officer may request it before they make a decision on your application.
If your visa is approved, you must have evidence of medical/travel insurance when you arrive at the port of entry (airport/seaport) and must present it to the Immigration Officer on request.
Previous Visa Refusals
If you have been refused a visa in the past for any country, you must provide the details.
The original letter issued to you by the authorities of that country must be provided with your application.
Not disclosing any previous visa refusals will result in your application being refused.
7. Return of documents
All documents accompanying your application must be originals.
You should keep copies of all the documents that you provide.
Original documents such as marriage/birth/death certificates will be returned to you. However, other documents such as bank statements or letters of invitation will not be returned.
If there are particular documents that you wish to have returned, please provide a list of these documents with the application.