Comedienne Kitty McGeever - who lost her sight through illness at the age of 33 - will play Lizzie Lakely, an old friend of Lisa Dingle's (Jane Cox). She arrives in the village in the spring, after being tagged and handed a community order with unpaid work following a conviction for petty crime.
Her remorseless bad behaviour and mischievous antics cause uproar among the locals as she attempts to keep the true nature of her presence under wraps.
Speaking of her role, she said: "I'm thrilled to be joining Emmerdale as Lizzie and delighted that the show is challenging stereotypes in this way. Lizzie spells trouble from the word go and will be causing all kinds of strife in the village."
Series producer Gavin Blyth commented: "Kitty is an extremely talented actress and I'm pleased that she will be joining the show, marking the arrival of such a fascinating character. Lizzie is forthright and fun and she'll soon prove that she isn’t afraid to manipulate circumstances to her advantage."
He added: "She'll no doubt ruffle feathers and make friends in equal measure, and we are looking forward to embracing the opportunity to explore how the residents of Emmerdale react to that."
McGeever is due to begin filming later this month and will first appear on screen in mid to late April.
Her previous acting credits include Beautiful People and London's Burning.