Update 29 July 2020
- All Irish VACs in China and Mongolia have reopened.
- Only long-stay visas ('D' categories) are currently being processed. Short-stay Visas ('C' categories) are not yet being processed due to ongoing restrictions in Ireland.
- This resumption does not yet apply to study for English language purposes pending further discussion with the Department of Higher Education.
- If you were unable to travel back to Ireland during the Covid-19 outbreak, and your IRP card expired during this period, please contact our office before making your visa application so that we can advise you about the procedure.
- Certain Priority/Emergency cases will continue to be processed by the Visa Office in Beijing until further notice.
- Those travelling will be expected to serve a 14 day period of self-isolation upon arrival to Ireland.
All Irish Visa Application Centres (VACs) in China and Mongolia are open. The operation of these VACs will continue to be carefully monitored by a range of stakeholders including VFS, Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) in Ireland and will be guided by public health advice set by the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) and World Health Organisation (WHO).
The VACs will only allow long-stay applications to be made ('D' categories – further info below) at this time. No tourism or short-stay visas ('C' categories) will be processed due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland. Please be assured that we fully intend to resume our full range of visa services just as soon as public health concerns have been abated in line with Irish Government policy.
Travelling to Ireland
Applicants should be aware that, by law, those travelling to Ireland will be required to fill out a form called the 'Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form'. This form (which should be completed before you travel) may be used by Irish health authorities to contact you to verify your location in Ireland. It will also help contact tracers to contact you if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus on your flight.
Applicants should also be aware that people can face a fine of up to €2,500 or six months in prison, or both, if you do not:
- Fill in and submit the form to a relevant person.
- Knowingly provide information that is false or misleading.
- Provide further information when requested.
- Update your residence details if these change within 14 days of your arrival.
It remains the position that we are not accepting any short stay visa applications, except for cases that fall under the Emergency/Priority criteria. However, we have expanded the list of exemptions which fall under Emergency/Priority to include those specific categories of travellers, identified as having an essential function or need in the EU Council Recommendation (EU) 2020/912 of 30 June 2020. The updated list of exemptions deemed to fall into the Emergency/Priority cohort is as follows:
- Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals;
- Immediate family members of Irish citizens* (who are returning to their ordinary place of residence in Ireland);
- Persons legally resident in the State;
- Persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive;
- Transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff to the extent necessary;
- Frontier workers;
- Seasonal workers in agriculture;
- Diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the well-functioning of these organisations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions;
- Passengers in transit;
- Passengers travelling for critical family reasons;
- Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons;
- Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of study; and
- Highly qualified third-country workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad.
(*Please note that where an applicant and Irish national have been living abroad, and Ireland is not their habitual residence, these cases will be processed in the normal manner. Exceptions will be made in cases where an Irish national is returning to provide medical/health services, or family members are being repatriated as part of a consular arrangement.)
If you believe your application falls under one of these categories, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can guide you through the application process and advise you how to submit your documentation.
A 'Frequently Asked Questions' (FAQ) document about the impact of COVID-19 on Immigration and International Protection in Ireland has also been published and can be found here.
For our customers based in China, please visit https://www.vfsglobal.cn/ireland/china/ for further updates.
For our customers based in Mongolia, please visit https://www.vfsglobal.com/ireland/mongolia/ for further updates.
For the most up to date information on the coronavirus in Ireland, please visit https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/travel.html