Thoughts on the application process for the Irish Working Holiday Visa

I decided to move from Canada (where I was under the working holiday visa there) to Ireland under a working holiday visa programme.

  • You are required to show up in person at the Irish embassy in Australia but this was not possible.  I was able to get my passport sighted and signed by the Australian embassy (there was a fee involved) and from there use it as part of my application.
  • You needed to fill in a form with your plans during your stay in Ireland and submit as part of the application.
  • There will be other papers required.  I usually go to the bank and have it stamped by them just to verify the documents.  I didn’t want anyone coming back disputing any of my documentation.
  • The process to approve was really quick, though considering the fact that I’ve had to mail the package to the Irish embassy in Canberra.  What delayed this by many weeks was that they had to send my package to my address in Australia as they couldn’t send it to a non-Australian address.
  • The contact that I had (Ann) was very wonderful and patient with all the questions that I have! I’ve had a couple of instances where embassies don’t even bother answering emails… so a huge applause/bonus to the people at the Irish embassy for being responsive.
  • What made my application more delayed than usual was that the package was held up by customs in Vancouver when it was mailed from Australia to Ireland.  I ended up having to rebook my flights – though luckily, I was given a full refund of my booking when I explained them my situation.  Believe it or not, I ended up getting my package on the day after I rebooked my flights.
  • One thing to note with the fee is that the embassy site didn’t include the fee for your GNIB card which is required if you are planning to stay for more than a few months – which is the reason for the visa in the first place.  The border officer also stamped me to ‘stay’ in Ireland for a month to get my GNIB appointment even though the next available day was in 6-7 weeks – it ended up not being an issue but this was a big disconcerting at first.  I have a blog post dedicated to it here.

Overall, Ireland and living in Dublin has been really wonderful.  It has been a culture shock (!) moving from Toronto to Dublin.  From the roads, to the housing, to the shops, to the Irish culture (ballads in pubs while drinking Guinness pints and eating Guinness shepherd’s pie!) and all the history of Ireland.  I was already here for a few weeks four years before and much has changed since then.

Anyone with a working holiday visa for Ireland – take note of the new GNIB system

I try my best to research as much information as I can online, but some details escape me.

Ireland has a new online ticketing system in place for the GNIB card. Everyone that enters Ireland (or even re-enters, depending on who you are) they must have a GNIB card with them.  Rather than waiting in line to queue up and get a ticket to go into another queue, they will need to go online and book an appointment.


So, I went ahead and booked my appointment on October 17 thinking that I’ll be able to get something in the same day.  One item to keep in mind is the availability of appointment dates. Even if the website says “You cannot book an appointment more than 6 weeks in advance” you may end up having to book more than the 6 weeks if there are no places left.  I actually decided to re-register online, and lo and behold, I was able to get an appointment at a slightly shorter timeframe.  But still, it was several weeks.

In addition when you enter Ireland you will be stamped and you will be given a date.  This is the timeframe that you are given in order to book and appointment and register with the Gardaí.  Your appointment may happen after this stamped date.  I have been trying to get answers for this situation and this is what I can find (as part of an automated reply):
If your query relates to a renewal of your existing  immigration permission
and you cannot secure an appointment to renew your immigration permission
before your current immigration permission expires, this office will treat
any gaps as a grace period and it will not have an adverse effect on your
immigration history.

For those that need to get their expenses in order – take note that not only will you be paying €300 for the Gardaí.

I have three checked luggage bags since I flew in from Canada. It’s a good thing that I currently don’t have major issues in terms of the (already competitive) rental market here but for anyone who has their rentals already sorted out pre-arrival, or already has plans in place that require the GNIB card, be prepared for this new system and that you will not receive your stamp for some time.

After sending an email, I received an automated reply stating that I should check back to see if any new appointments have been released into the system.  When I re-registered again, I was able to find earlier dates (in November 22), but still not much of an improvement in availability since it was still more than six weeks out:


Compared to organizing my final documents for UK and Canada, I was able to get things done within a day in Canada and a bit moreso for the UK to get my IN mailed out.  I was very surprised to see that it’s going to take weeks for me to continue on with obtaining the GNIB card and anything else that I need to set up in Dublin.

I am sharing this online since I haven’t come across any entries about what’s involved in getting the GNIB card underneath the new system.  Hope you find this useful and good luck!