• Shashank R. Chakerwarti

BIVS - What is it? Can I transit via UK?

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

Hey guys, this is a very short blog on British Irish Visa Scheme and a very straightforward answer to probably the most repetitive question asked by people on Social Media.

BIVS was established in Autumn of 2014 commencing with Chinese tourists and was later extended to Indian nationals. It allows the holder to travel to both countries without the need of a separate visa for each.

The following classes of Irish visas - All short-stay ‘C’ visas single-entry or multiple-entry, issued for the following purposes of travel to Ireland come within the scope of the Scheme:

  • Visit (family/friend)

  • Visit (tourist)

  • Conference/Event

  • Business

and endorsed with the coding ‘BIVS’.

Visas endorsed with the coding ‘BIVS’ are described as ‘eligible visas’ for the purpose of this information note. All other classes of visa e.g. student visas, visas for family reunification are excluded from the scope of the Scheme.

Please bear in mind that you must have Ireland as your port of entry if applying for an Irish visa and vice versa.

Sometimes, an applicant may not be granted BIVS, thus here are few points to consider while making your visit visa application:

  • Mention that you are seeking a BIVS endorsed visa in your cover letter;

  • Mention in your itinerary that you intend to travel to the UK during your visit to Ireland;

  • Have evidence of flight tickets to the UK and back, or have your departure tickets from the Common Travel Area back to home country via UK;

Lastly, do I need a UK Transit Visa?

NO, if:

  • You arrive and depart by air;

  • Have a confirmed onward flight that leaves on the day you arrive or before midnight on the day after you arrive;

  • Have the right documents for your destination (eg a visa for that country);

  • Plus, one of the below:

  • You have an Irish biometric visa (marked ‘BC’ or ‘BC BIVS’ in the ‘Remarks’ section) and an onward flight ticket to the Republic of Ireland;

  • You have a common format residence permit issued by an European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland

  • You have a uniform format category D visa for entry to a country in the EEA or Switzerland

I hope this is of assistance to you!

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