Covid-19: Information for visa applicants (current as of 14 May)
News26 March 2020
In line with measures in place in Bulgaria to protect against the spread of Covid-19, the Embassy of Ireland in Sofia is open by appointment only and is not accepting deliveries of visa support documents. Visa processing has been suspended. If you are a visa applicant applying through our Embassy, please read below to see how this affects you.
New visa applications are not being accepted, except in emergency situations:
Please see below a notice posted on the website of the Irish immigration authorities, Immigration Service Delivery:
"As part of the combined efforts to tackle COVID-19 and to ensure customer safety, we have taken the decision to temporarily cease accepting new visa applications. This is effective from close of business 20th of March 2020. Increasing travel restrictions and the measures introduced as part of the Government’s efforts to interrupt the transmission of COVID-19 means that travel may not be possible and even if possible is not advisable unless essential. The situation will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming days.
While it will still be possible to apply for an Irish visa online in the normal manner, these temporary measures mean that applicants will not be able to complete their application process and we apologise for any inconvenience this might cause. Please note that any application made online will remain valid until such time as restrictions are lifted.
We intend to resume accepting applications as soon as safety concerns abate. Certain Priority/Emergency cases will continue to be processed and these include the following:
- Emergency visa (e.g. Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals);
- Immediate family members of Irish citizens;
- Persons legally resident in the State;
- Persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive.
If your application falls into one of these categories, you can apply on-line in the usual way. Once you’ve completed the on-line application, you should follow the instructions given on the summary page as to where you should submit your application."
If you qualify to apply under one of the priority/emergency cases above, please email your details to email@example.com before sending any supporting documents.
If you do not qualify as a priorty/emergency applicant but have started your visa application online, DO NOT SEND YOUR DOCUMENTS TO SOFIA. Please monitor the local and global conditions and, when the travel situation normalises again and flights etc. are available, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further instructions.
If your supporting documents for a visa application have already arrived at our Embassy:
Your application has been paused for the moment. Your documents are retained securely in our offices. When we are in a position to begin processing visas again, we will contact you to check your travel dates. We realise that in many cases travel dates will have changed due to cancellation of flights, postponement of events, changed personal circumstances etc. As it stands, you do not need to make a new online application for new travel dates. Depending on the nature of your visa application, we may in due course request additional supporting documents from you to confirm your new travel dates (for example, confirmation of rescheduled conference, new invitation letter from a host in Ireland etc). Once your visa application has been processed, we will notify you so that you can arrange for the collection of your passport (and, where relevant, other documents) from the Embassy.
If you have already been issued a visa but your travel has been postponed or rescheduled to different dates:
Please note that the dates printed on your visa are the period during which you may travel to a port of entry into Ireland, not the dates of your intended stay in Ireland. For instance, a visa valid from 01/05/2020 to 01/08/2020 means that you may enter on any date in between and including those two dates. The duration of your stay in Ireland is decided on by the immigration officer at your port of entry, who will stamp your passport with the dates of your permission to remain in Ireland. In principle it is therefore possible to enter Ireland on the last date of validity of a visa. Although it is not possible at this point to estimate when normal travel may be possible again, it is possible that in many cases the visa already issued may still be valid.
If your travel has been disrupted becuase of Covid-19 and your visa will most likely not be valid for your later travel date, please contact us by emailing your details (including name, visa application number, and explanation of your situation) to email@example.com.