Covid-19 travel and further advice
News01 February 2021
10 March 2021
Please be aware that Ireland's national Level Five lockdown, the most restrictive level of the National Framework on Living with Covid-19, has been extended to 5 April.
The Consulate General of Ireland remains open in line with local public health advice in San Francisco. We are operating with vastly reduced numbers of staff present in the office.
In parallel to the approach being taken by the Government of Ireland, the additional restrictions arising from the City and County of San Francisco's placement within California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy mean that the Consulate has reduced operations to essential services only. This includes the issuing of emergency travel documents, visas and provision of consular assistance.
For updates please follow us on social media (@IrelandinSF on twitter and Facebook) and please be aware that most passport types are renewable online.
We continue to be available to answer your queries. For the most up-to-date information please see below.
Travel to Ireland update:
The Government of Ireland continues to recommend against any non-essential travel to Ireland at present (as does the US government). For those who do travel to Ireland please make sure you are reviewing the most recent official guidance which is available here.
Irish citizens, and others, are free to travel from the US to Ireland on any scheduled flights from a US airport and flights continue to operate, albeit in reduced numbers and from a reduced number of airports. Flights continue to operate directly to Dublin from New York (JFK), Boston and Chicago.
As of Saturday, 16 January, 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 is required for passengers who arrive in breach of the pre-departure negative/'not detected' PCR requirement.
Please see here for PCR Covid-19 test centres in a variety of locations in the Western USA.
Children aged six and under are exempt from this requirement.
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 this on their website.
Passengers entering Ireland from red regions (which currently includes the USA) 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 is not provided through the public health system, but met by the private commercial sector testing supply, 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 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.
All passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas must complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and 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. See the Irish Government Advice Page for full information.
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 Covid-19 in Ireland.
For our latest travel advice on the United States please see here.
Passport Office update
Ireland remains in Level Five, the most restrictive level of the National Framework on Living with Covid-19. This has been extended to 5 April.
During this time, passport processing is impacted. During this period online passport applications can be submitted but will only be processed when restrictions are moved back down to Level Three.
Please be aware that due to a shift in policy at the passport office, we can no longer accept paper passport applications.
Any such received will be returned unchecked to the applicant. Any documents which we currently have will be held securely at the Consulate until we can progress these outstanding applications.
Please note that paper applications may no longer be submitted to the Consulate.
Foreign Birth Registration/Irish citizenship
Foreign Birth Registration (FBR) applications are not currently being processed. If you have already sent an application for FBR, your application is safe, and will be processed once this service resumes in Ireland.
In line with guidance issued by the state of California and the city of San Francisco, we are operating under the auspices of the public health and social distancing regulations in place locally.
At the present time, our public office remains shut.
Consulate officers remain on call to assist as we have been during the pandemic. We would ask that, if you are in need of emergency assistance, you contact the Consulate through our website "Contact us" form.
Alternatively you can call +1 415 823 7150 and leave a message.
The mailbox and answering machine are both monitored regularly and an officer will contact you as soon as possible.
We continue to discourage people from attending in person unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. We are not open to the public and therefore require all communication with the Consulate to be conducted by post, by phone and by email.
If you feel that you absolutely need to have an in person appointment, please outline in your email or call the reasons for this. We will be happy to advise.
We continue to process visas for those seeking to move to Ireland for long stay (in excess of 90 days) only.
Visas for short stays (less than 90 days) are only being processed on an exceptional basis. Those requiring a short term visa to visit Ireland at this time should contact the Consulate through the “Contact Us” tab on our website.
Working Holiday Authorisations
Applications for Working Holiday Authorisations for US national graduates are not currently being processed.
Other consular services are not available except in cases of genuine emergency.
Again if you have a need for consular assistance which you feel is an emergency, we would ask that you contact us as per the above.
Latest Official Travel Advice
Latest Travel Alert
There is an increased threat of terrorism and extremist violence worldwide and this should be borne in mind by Irish citizens living and working in the USA. The USA has also witnessed a number of mass shootings in recent years.
Protests, in some cases violent, have taken place in major cities across the United States in recent months. Curfews were enforced in many cities as a result. There remains the potential for further protests and curfews. Irish citizens are advised to avoid large gatherings of people, and to follow the advice of the local authorities.
Travel to the USA
We continue to advise against all non-essential travel to the USA in response to the outbreak of Covid-19.
We are also urging all Irish visitors to the USA, including those on short-term visas (including J1) who risk losing employment, financial security and access to healthcare to return to Ireland from the USA, as soon as possible. Direct flights continue to operate from Chicago, New York (JFK) and Boston.
Covid 19 in the United States
Cases of Covid 19 have been confirmed in the USA including the region covered by the Consulate General of Ireland in San Francisco.
Irish citizens in our consular region can access localised up-to-date information for the region through the authorities listed below:
As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak the US has implemented special entry restrictions for their territory.
Entry into the US is restricted for those travelling from Ireland, the UK, Schengen Area countries, Brazil, China and Iran.
Non US nationals including Irish nationals who have visited, or are resident in the countries listed above for 14 days or less prior to their travel to the USA will be denied entry, unless they are legal permanent residents of the US, or the spouse or child of a US national.
Non-US nationals with legal permanent residence in the US (e.g. green card holders) and their immediate family, as well as immediate family (spouse and children) of US nationals are not restricted from entering the US. However, if travelling from a restricted country they will now be required to enter the country through one of thirteen designated airports and will undergo additional screening on arrival. Further information can be found here. The US Center for Disease Control have also recommended staying home for 14 days from the time of arrival after international travel. Further information can be found here.
The US Government will not permit entry to the USA of any foreign nationals who have visited China or Iran 14 days or less prior to their travel to the USA.
There are currently no restrictions on flights from the USA to Ireland or the UK. You should check with your airline for any additional information they may require before you can board.
There are also a number of restrictive measures in place at the state or city level. If you are an Irish citizen planning to travel to, or resident in, the US we ask that you refer to us, or to your nearest Irish consulate and the local health authority for the most up to date advice.
For further information related to the Covid-19 pandemic, please see links below for details.
If you are in the USA, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities.
Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.
HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting Covid-19 is below.
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Additional information on Covid 19 can be found via the following links: