Ireland has long been a very popular destination for South African travellers. It’s got a lot to offer in terms of attractions from the many museums, churches and it’s famous Guinness Beer to it’s wide, open countryside and rugged coastline. But with more and more countries requiring South Africans to apply for visas to visit, it’s making travellers a little more wary about visiting the Emerald Isle. Here’s some info which should help:
Do I need a visa to visit Ireland?
As the holder of a permanent South African Passport, you don’t need a visa to enter the Republic of Ireland – that’s the part independent of the United Kingdom sometimes called “Ireland Proper” or “Southern Ireland”. You will just need:
- A South African passport valid for at least 6 months from your date of return to South Africa (no temporary passports)
- At least 3 blank pages in your passport
- Sufficient funds for the duration of your stay (Ireland does not stipulate how much, but other EU countries say about R400 per person per day) – the immigration official may ask to see proof of sufficient funds in the form of foreign currency or credit card statement, though it is very rare that they ask for this.
What about Northern Ireland?
Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom, meaning you need a UK Visa to enter that part of the island of Ireland. So be careful about flying into airports like Londonderry-Eglinton (Derry) or Belfast as these are in the United Kingdom. If you’re driving around Ireland and enter Northern Ireland, technically you will need a visa to do so. There are no border checkpoints on roads between the Republic Of Ireland and Northern Ireland but if you are stopped by police or immigration officials anywhere in Northern Ireland and are found not to hold a valid UK visa, you can be deported and may be denied future entry to the UK.
Flying via the United Kingdom
If you’re flying to Ireland and are transiting through the United Kingdom, as in flying via London, Manchester, Edinburgh etc to Dublin or any other airport in Ireland, you will need a transit visa for the UK. The UK only allows visa-free transit if you’re travelling to and are holding a visa for the USA, Canada, New Zealand or Australia.
Flying via other cities to Ireland
If you’re flying on a South African passport via any Schengen country, are not leaving the airport transit area there (also not changing airports) and are not staying longer than 24 hours in the airport, you’ll be fine to fly on that route, visa-free. Many of the middle-eastern airlines like Etihad Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines also fly to Dublin and on those routes, providing you’ll abide by the same rules as with the Schengen countries, you’ll be fine to fly visa-free on these routes too.
Cheap flights to Ireland
Travelstart allows you to compare all airlines on a single page to book the cheapest tickets to Ireland. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, compare and book the most affordable Irish hotels on our site, we feature multiple establishments in many locations. For the best visa-free routes to fly, we suggest flying into Dublin, from there you can hire a car to explore the lush green countryside.