Updated Travel Information
Updated 9 April 2021
Travel to Ireland
An Irish Government Advisory is in operation advising against all non-essential international travel. These travel restrictions are in place to protect public health and to mitigate the risk of new variants of Covid-19 entering the country. Details of these measures are available on the travel section of the gov.ie website.
Travel to Ireland from specific designated States is now subject to mandatory hotel quarantine. As of 4 AM on 15 April the United States will be considered one of these designated States and all passengers arriving into Ireland, who have been present in the US- including transit- during the prior 14 days will be subject to a period of mandatory hotel quarantine.
This quarantine must be pre-booked in advance of travel. Further information on booking can be found here. These arrangements apply to any passenger who has been in any of the designated states in the previous 14 days, even if only transiting through one of these countries and even if remaining airside.
The list of designated states can change at short notice and passengers should check gov.ie for full details before travelling.
Passengers arriving into Ireland from all countries, including the US, are required to show a negative result of a pre-departure PCR Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival in the State. Checks will be made by the Border Management Unit at Dublin Airport and by An Garda Síochána at other points of entry. Mandatory quarantine at a designated facility will be required for passengers who arrive in breach of the pre-departure negative/'not detected' PCR requirement. Children aged six and under are exempt from this requirement.
The Irish Government has introduced additional short-term restrictions on international travel. Visa-free travel to Ireland for nationals of South Africa and all countries in South America has been suspended. The Department of Justice has temporarily ceased accepting new visa/preclearance applications globally (with limited exemptions). Updated information on these measures is available on the website of the Irish Immigration and Naturalisation Service, and on our Department’s country specific travel pages.
For passengers entering Ireland from a non- designated State there is a legal requirement to home quarantine. This 14-day quarantine must be undertaken at the address specified on the Passenger Locator Form. This also applies to passengers travelling from another country to Ireland, who arrive via Northern Ireland. Only very limited categories of passengers can be exempt from this legal requirement. Further details on mandatory quarantine are available at gov.ie.
Ireland has implemented the EU ‘Traffic Light System’ whereby restrictions are based on the location of the passenger during the 14 days prior to arrival. In general, you are requested to restrict your movements for 14 days if you arrive into Ireland from another country. This applies to all travellers entering the State, including Irish citizens coming home and people with no symptoms. Restricting your movements means avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. Ireland’s Health Service Executive has provided guidance on how to restrict movements on their website.
Passengers entering Ireland from red regions can exit quarantine early following receipt of a negative/not-detected result from a Covid-19 PCR test taken a minimum of five days after arrival in Ireland. Test results can take a few days; passengers are requested to continue to restrict their movements until they have the negative result. The PCR COVID-19 test is currently the only test type considered acceptable by public health authorities in Ireland in relation to international travel. Testing provision under Ireland’s framework for international travel will not be provided through the public health system, but will be met by the private commercial sector testing supply and paid for by passengers.
The links below on Cork and Dublin airports websites give details of the current companies providing PCR tests.
The general request to restrict movements does not apply to persons travelling for an essential need or function as defined by Paragraph 19 of the EU Council Recommendation on Travel for an Essential Purpose. It is the responsibility of each individual to determine if their circumstances fall into one of the categories in Paragraph 19 of the EU Council Recommendation on travel for an essential need or function.
For up-to-date information on what to do if you are travelling to Ireland at this time, please see the Irish Government website.
To ensure that this is being observed, all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements.
Further advice for people who have recently returned from abroad is available from the HSE. Please heed this restriction carefully in order to protect yourself and others. Please also download the new tracker app which will help slow the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in Ireland.
For our latest travel advice on the United States please see here.
Passport Online Reform
An online, speeded up application system for Irish passports is being introduced in April.
At present, there are no passports being produced due to Ireland's Level Five lockdown
Follow www.dfa.ie/passports/ for updates.
As of 10 March 2021, we are no longer accepting paper based passport applications. If you are in possession of a passport application form, and are planning to use one to make an application, we ask that you refrain from doing so and instead make an online application in April.
Any applications which we do receive will be returned to sender as is and will not be reviewed by our office.
The Irish Passport Service is introducing an online passport application system for all applicants, including all those applying from the USA. This will be live by mid-April and details will be up on our website closer to the launch date. This upgrade to our systems will speed up passport applications, and will make the process quicker and easier for the applicant. This option is already in place for adults seeking to renew their passports.
The online system- Passport Online- is a fast and simple way to apply for your passport. Once you upload a photograph, it takes about ten minutes to complete the online application form and pay with a credit card. If you are an adult renewing your passport, you will generally not need to submit any supporting documents.
If you are a first time applicant, renewing for a child or changing the information on your passport, where necessary Passport Online will email you a list of documents which you need to submit directly to the Passport Service in Ireland. When your passport is printed, it will be posted back to you directly.
In either circumstance, whether you are applying for an Irish passport for the first time or wish to renew a passport that has expired within the last five years for an adult or child, you must apply using the online service, which will come into effect in April.
The passport office will no longer process paper applications. All applications must be made online from now on.
Simultaneously with this new initiative, the impact of the pandemic continues. In its response to Covid-19, the government of Ireland has put in place a five tier lockdown system. At the moment, the country is in level five, which is the highest level of shutdown.
The passport office will not reopen until such time as the country returns to level three. At present, no passports are being produced at the passport office.
It is highly unlikely that Ireland will reach level three before mid-April. Given this, and the introduction of the new online system in the coming weeks, and in common with all other Irish diplomatic missions in the US, we are no longer sending out paper application forms to prospective applicants.
This is primarily because it will be faster for the applicant to use the new online system: given the current backlog both in our offices and the main passport office driven by the shutdowns both in Ireland and the US, applications being entered now would run a risk of remaining in the system for more than six months.
At that point, the applicant would have to reapply since, due to International Civil Aviation Organisation regulations, passport photos must be taken a maximum of six months before the passport is issued.
Due to Covid restrictions in Ireland and the fact that the Passport Office has not been able to process paper applications since 24 December 2020, we are aware of applicants at this point who need to resubmit two passport photos, and the approach outlined above will help to minimise these kinds of cases.
For the reasons given above, it is therefore speedier to wait until April to make an application.
Should you already have made an application, we will contact you directly and provide instructions at that point. You are welcome to contact us too.
We apologise for the extra inconvenience, which unfortunately is outside our control. We remain committed to minimising any difficulty to you, and are happy to work with you on this basis.
At the Consulate General of Ireland, San Francisco, we have had responsibility for processing passport applications for those resident in Alaska, Washington state, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. We retain responsibility for consular issues in these states.
To repeat that we are advising all resident in the above states that as of today, Wednesday 10 March 2021, the Consulate General of Ireland, San Francisco is no longer accepting paper passport applications. We are also no longer sending application forms out to those seeking to apply or renew their Irish passport.
Any applications which we do receive will be returned to sender as is and will not be reviewed by our office.
We strongly recommend that, if you are considering applying for, or renewing, your Irish passport, you refrain from doing so for now, and continue to consult our website or the main passport office at the address given above for updates on this new system which will be coming online in the coming weeks.
In particular, if you currently hold another valid passport, and an Irish passport is not essential for any upcoming travel, we urge you to wait to submit your application at this time.
Thank you for your patience as we work to adapt to this new system, while also addressing Covid-19 related processing delays. Please continue to follow www.dfa.ie/sanfrancisco or our twitter account @IrelandinSF for updates.
The Government of Ireland continues to enforce strict measures, including more control and enforcement and higher penalties, regarding non-essential international travel in breach of Ireland’s level five national lockdown. Persons travelling to and from airports may be asked to provide proof of essential travel.
- Persons who have been vaccinated are, for now, still required to have a negative RT-PCR test result
- Persons who previously have had Covid-19 and are still testing positive should defer travel until they can provide the required negative result of a RT-PCR test. Letters from medical practitioners in lieu of test results are not acceptable.