What Visa/s Do I Need to Work as a Vet in Ireland?

By Aisling O’Keeffe MVB CertSAM ISFMCertAdvFB

Ireland, often known as the Emerald Isles, is famous for its beautiful scenery, mountains, and cliffs along with vibrant towns, Irish music and of course Guinness. The home of St. Patrick, it’s steep in traditions and culture and it’s no surprise that it’s been voted one of the top 10 places in the world to grow up. It has plenty of job opportunities for vets, but what do you need to work as a vet in  Ireland? Do you need a visa? We’ll discuss everything that you need to know.

Want more information about working as a vet in Ireland, register on our website, and our UK and Ireland advisor will contact you.

Do You Need a Visa to Work in Ireland?

Have you been thinking of moving to Ireland to work as a vet? Well, Ireland has vast opportunities for veterinary surgeons. There’s demand for small animal vets, mixed vets and large animal vets alike. You can work as an employee, locum or avail of the many internships, residencies, new graduate programmes and partnership opportunities available. You can choose to live in a bustling city like Cork, Galway or Dublin or perhaps in a small idyllic town where the vet is an integral part of the community.

Regardless of whether you want to move up the ladder or move to a quiet scenic Irish village, you need to know what’s required to work as a vet in Ireland. There are a few things that you need to do to move to Ireland and practice as a vet. Firstly you may need a visa depending on your nationality and what country you are a citizen of.

Some people may not require a visa and can travel freely to Ireland and find a position as a vet. You do not need a visa to come to Ireland if;

  • You are a citizen of the EU or EEA (the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein) or Switzerland.
  • You have a residence card issued by one of the above countries.
  • You have a UK short-stay visa and qualify for the short-stay visa waiver or the British-Irish Visa Scheme
  • You are a school student from an EEA country and you’re travelling to Ireland as part of a school trip.
  • You are a citizen of a country listed below.

From February 25th 2022, Ukrainian citizens don’t need a visa to travel to Ireland.

You may also be able to travel to Ireland if your spouse or a family member has Irish citizenship but you would need to enquire with Irish Immigration authorities to see if you’re exempt from needing a visa. If your spouse is on the Critical Skills list or an Irish citizen and you’re not from a country listed above, you may need to apply for preclearance before being able to come to Ireland.

There’s more information here from Citizen’s Advice on visa requirements for Ireland.

If your country isn’t part of the EEA, UK or listed above, you may need to apply for a visa to work in Ireland. The Department of Justice has information on different visas here. There’s a short stay option (not more than 3 months) and a long stay option (longer than three months). Once your visa has been granted (this can take up to 8 weeks), you’re free to live in Ireland. If you wish to stay in Ireland longer than three months, you need to register with Irish immigration authorities and apply for an Irish Residence Permit. If you leave Ireland before you have an Irish Residence permit, you’ll need to apply for another visa to re-enter.

Do I Need an Employment Permit?

If you are not from the EEA (EU, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein), Switzerland and the UK you may need an employment permit to work in Ireland. You usually do this after you’ve been offered a job. You can apply for the employment permit yourself from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment or your new employer may do this on your behalf. There are 8 different types of employment permits with the most common being ‘Critical Skills Employment Permit’ and ‘General Employment Permit’. You may be eligible for the Critical skills list depending on your annual salary.

If you are coming on a working holiday you may be able to get a permit from your Irish Embassy for a Working Holiday Authorisation. If you have a family member that is a citizen of the EEA, UK, or Ireland you may be able to apply to work in Ireland without an employment permit through the immigration stamp system. You may also do this if you have a family member that has been granted asylum in Ireland or is on the Critical skills employment list.

Registering to Work as a Vet in Ireland

Apart from checking if you need a visa to work in Ireland, you’ll also need to register to work as a vet. This will be with the veterinary regulatory body, the Veterinary Council of Ireland (also known as the VCI). They have a list of recognisable qualifications here on their website. If you have a veterinary degree from one of these listed colleges/countries, then you can register with the VCI without having to do any further assessments. Accepted qualifications include veterinary degrees from Irish universities recognised by the VCI, UK universities accredited by the RCVS, American universities recognised by the AVMA and Australian universities accredited by the AVBC. If your veterinary degree isn’t recognised by the VCI, you can apply to have your qualification assessed by the VCI. As English is the language spoken in Ireland, if you haven’t studied veterinary in Ireland or the UK, you may also be asked to provide evidence of your English language proficiency.

Finding Work as a Vet in Ireland

Finding a job is often the first step in coming to Ireland. As a vet, there are ample opportunities available in most parts of Ireland and you won’t have an issue finding a job regardless of whether it’s small animal, mixed or large animal. You can search for jobs with The Vet Service and through Global Vet Jobs. An employer will often help you move to Ireland and assist you with applying for employment permits and visas if needed. Some may even offer a relocation bonus to help with moving fees.


Ireland is a fantastic place to live and work as a vet. There are many job opportunities available in both the city and country areas. If you’re from the EU or UK, you’re free to live and work in Ireland without a visa or an employment permit. If you’re from a country outside of the EU or UK, you may need to apply for a visa. This can take up to 8 weeks and your future employer will often assist you.

Explore a range of veterinary jobs The Vet Service has to offer such as; Vet Jobs in Ireland, Vet Jobs in The UK, and diverse roles worldwide such as  Vet Jobs in The USAVet Jobs in AustraliaVet Jobs in New ZealandVet Jobs in Canada, and further international vet jobs.

Register today with The Vet Service and see how we can help you with your vet career. We have lots of opportunities available!

Don’t forget to check out our other blog on What Visa/s Do I Need to Work as a Vet in the Uk?

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