Notice | COVID-19 Visa Arrangements
06 April 2021
As part of Government efforts to tackle the pandemic, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee signed an order that has imposed new visa requirements on passport holders from a number of South American countries and South Africa. This order and the associated measures came into effect at midnight on Wednesday 27th January 2021.
In addition to the new requirements above, we also took the decision to temporarily cease accepting new visa/preclearance applications with the exception of the Priority/Emergency case types listed below, which we continue to accept. This is effective from close of business 29th of January 2021 and applies to all countries, not just the countries listed above.
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 absolutely essential. It is currently against the law for any person (regardless of nationality or passport) to travel within Ireland for non-essential purposes and people can be fined for doing so. Enforcement of this has been strongly increased over that last few weeks.
These measures have now been extended to at least the 5th May 2021. The situation will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming weeks.
We intend to resume accepting applications as soon as safety concerns abate. Certain Priority/Emergency cases will continue to be accepted/processed and these include the following:
- Workers or self-employed persons exercising critical occupations including healthcare workers, frontier and posted workers as well as seasonal workers as referred to in the Guidelines concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers during the COVID-19 outbreak;
- transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in the territory as well as those merely transiting;
- patients travelling for imperative medical reasons;
- pupils, students and trainees who travel abroad on a daily basis and Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of 3rd level study;
- persons travelling for imperative family* or business reasons;
- 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 police officers, and humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions;
- passengers in transit;
- journalists, when performing their duties.
* Applicants seeking to travel for imperative family reasons are assessed on an individual basis and are largely confined to emergency cases that may arise in a family situation but do not include the following: missing a loved one; wanting to attend a birth; or wanting to attend a wedding or a milestone birthday. Please note that this list of examples is not exhaustive and whether your application meets the criteria or not is determined by examining the circumstances and supporting documentation of each case on an individual basis.
If your application falls into one of these categories, you can apply on-line in the usual way. Before proceeding with your on-line application, you should check with your local Embassy/Honorary Consulate/Visa Office to confirm that your application meets the Priority/Emergency criteria. 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 are unsure as to whether you require a visa/preclearance to enter Ireland you can check here by entering your nationality.
For applications which were received prior to January 29th, these will continue to be processed. However, for successful applications, unless your application meets the Emergency/Priority criteria set out above, a visa or preclearance approval letter will not issue until such time as these restrictions have been lifted. You will be notified if your application is successful. Refusal letters for unsuccessful applications on hand will continue to be issued.
We continue to accept and process appeals. However, for successful appeals, unless your appeal meets the Emergency/Priority criteria set out above, a visa or preclearance approval letter will not issue until such time as these restrictions have been lifted (we will notify you that your appeal was successful). Refusal letters for unsuccessful appeals will continue to be issued.
These measures are designed to support our public health restrictions on movement, including into and out of Ireland.
The strong advice therefore is that everyone, regardless of their nationality or visa/preclearance status, or where they started from, who cannot provide proof of an essential purpose to travel to or within Ireland, should not travel to Ireland.
As of midnight 27th January 2021, in addition to countries who were visa required prior to that date, passport holders of the following countries are now also required to apply for an entry visa or transit visa, as appropriate, before travelling to Ireland:
- Colombia (transit visa now required – this country is already subject to entry visa requirements)
- Ecuador (transit visa now required – this country is already subject to entry visa requirements)
- Peru (transit visa now required – this country is already subject to entry visa requirements)
- South Africa
- Suriname (transit visa now required – this country is already subject to entry visa requirements)