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Complete guide to the atypical working scheme in Ireland, the required documents, and FAQs

Any foreign national who is not from the EU or EEA and wants to work in Ireland has to get authorization to work from the relevant authorities.

If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen and have to travel to Ireland for business for a period not exceeding 90 days and/or to take up short-term work that is less than 14 days, you may do so through the Ireland Business Visa.

However, if you want to work longer than 14 days (but still in a short-term position), you may have to apply for an Ireland Employment visa under the Atypical Working Scheme.

What is the Ireland Atypical Working Scheme?

The Ireland Atypical Working Scheme allows foreign non-EU national to work in Ireland short-term in an occupation which is not covered by the Employment Permits Acts.

The applications for the AWS are reviewed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) along with the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Do I Have to Apply for an Entry Visa?

Depending on your nationality, you may also have to apply for a separate entry visa to be allowed to travel to Ireland. If you are in the list of countries whose citizens are subject to Ireland visas, you will have to apply for an entry visa in addition to the AWS before you can travel to Ireland.

See a list of countries whose nationals have to apply for an Ireland visa here.

If you do not have to apply for an Ireland visa, you can simply travel to Ireland and appear at Border Control with your passport, Letter of Approval, and copies of the rest of the required documents.

Who is eligible for the Ireland Atypical Working Scheme?

You are eligible for the Atypical Working Scheme if you fall under one of the categories below:

  • You will be working for an Irish company or organization which has an identified skill-shortage.
  • In addition, you will be providing a specialized or high skill to that company/organization or an academic institution.
  • You will undergo an internship in an Irish company. The internship should be a required part of a course you are taking in an approved/accredited higher educational institution in your country.
  • You will work as a Locum doctor in the Hospital Sector or Primary Care Sector (General Practice).
  • You will work as a nurse as part of the Clinical Adaptation and Assessment Programme/RCSI Examination.
  • You will work as a researcher for up to 12 months, but you are not eligible for an Employment Permit or Hosting Agreement.

Requirements for an Ireland Atypical Working Scheme

When you apply for an Ireland Employment visa under the Atypical Working Scheme, you will have to attach several documents to support your application. Because you have to apply for both the Atypical Work Scheme and the Employment visa separately, you need documents for each application.

Documents required for the Atypical Working Scheme

The documents you have to submit along with an Atypical Working Scheme application include:

  • The Atypical Working Scheme Application Form.
  • Proof you have paid the AWS fee.
  • Bopy of the bio-data page of your passport.
  • Letter from your Irish employer, which:
    • Confirms they have employed you or sought your services.
    • States the duration of the work contract.
    • Describes the nature of the work you will do.
  • If you are an employed/self-employed service provider:
    • Letter of Support from a State-involved Agency like Enterprise Ireland or the IDA (if applicable).
  • If you are a student:
    • A letter from your educational institution stating that this internship is required for your course and/or that is is beneficial.
  • If you are a Locum doctor:
    • Proof of registration with the Medical Council of Ireland.
  • If you are a nurse taking part in the Clinical Adaptation Process:
    • A letter from NMBI which confirms you were accepted to the Clinical Adaptation Process.
    • A letter from the Overseas Nurse Facilitator which confirms when the Clinical Adaptation Process will start.
  • If applying through a representative: Signed Letter of Authorization.

Documents required for the Ireland entry visa

When you submit the application for an Ireland visa, you must have the following documents:

  • Letter of Approval for the Atypical Work Scheme
  • Ireland Visa Application Form.
  • A valid passport.
  • Passport-sized pictures.
  • Proof of paid visa fee.
  • Signed letter about your purpose of travel.
  • Proof of accommodation in Ireland.
  • Details of your family or friends in Ireland.
  • Details of previous visas.
  • Employment or study documents.
  • Proof of sufficient funds.
  • Proof you will return to your country.
  • Medical insurance for the duration of their stay.
    • Medical insurance does not have to be attached with the visa application, but you will have it with you to present it at the Ireland Border Control.

Documents required when registering with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (for stays of over 90 days)

If you are saying in Ireland for longer than 90 days, you have to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau. When you register, you will need to have the following documents:

  • Your valid passport.
  • Your valid Letter of Approval. If the letter has expired, you will have to pay another fee.
  • Letter from your Irish employer/the person that sought your services.
  • Your entry visa (if you are a non-EU/EEA national who is subject to Ireland visas)
  • If you are an intern: the letter from your educational institution.
  • Proof of medical insurance.

How to Obtain an Employment Visa under the Ireland Atypical Working Scheme?

In order to receive an Employment visa under the Atypical Work Scheme, you have to receive a Letter of Approval from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) beforehand.

You must submit an application for the Scheme while you are still in your home country. You must not travel to Ireland if you have not received the Letter of Approval yet.

Applying for the Atypical Working Scheme

Fil in the AWS application form

To begin the application for the AWS, you must complete the Atypical Working Scheme application form which you can find on the INIS website, and mail it to the AWS Division of INIS.

The application form for the AWS requires you to provide the following information:

  • Your personal details.
  • The employment details based on your service/profession. Only answer the section which is applicable to you.

At the end of the application form, you will find an Appendix listing all the documents that have to be attached to the application.

You will also see the address where you have to mail the completed application for the Atypical Working Scheme.

Sign the declaration of agreement

Along with the application form, you will be required to sign a Declaration that states you agree to follow the conditions of the Atypical Working Scheme and pledge that all the information you provided is correct.

Pay the fee and wait for processing

Before you submit the application, you must pay a non-refundable fee (€250) via Electronic Funds Transfer.

The processing time for the Atypical Work Scheme is a minimum of 20 working days.

If your application is approved, you will receive a Letter of Approval from the INIS.

You have to use the letter to travel and start to work in Ireland within 90 days. If you do not, the Letter of Approval will expire and you will have to re-apply.


  • You can submit the application for the AWS yourself, or you can appoint an Authorised Legal Representative. If a representative is applying for you, you must give them a signed Letter of Authorization.

Applying for the entry visa

To apply for the Ireland visa, you have to follow the application process as detailed here. The application is done through an online application form. As you are filling the form, you have to select the reason for your travel as “Employment” and “Atypical Working Scheme” in the field “Purpose of Travel”.

Then, depending on how long your work contract is valid, you have to apply for a short stay or long stay visa accordingly.

Should I apply for a short stay visa or long-stay visa?

The type of Ireland entry visa you have to apply for depends on the duration of your work contract.

If your contract is for 15-90 days, you will have to apply for a Short Stay (C) visa.

If your contract is for more than 90 days, you will need an Irish Long Stay (D) visa. In addition, you will also have to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau after you arrive in Ireland.

Keep in mind:

For stays of longer than 90 days, you have to register with the Immigration Bureau regardless of whether you need an entry visa or not.

The validity of the Letter of Approval is three months, whereas an Ireland visa can take around eight weeks to process. So, apply for the entry visa as soon as you receive your Letter of Approval. You cannot apply for a visa before you receive the approval.

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