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Emergency Notice

Travel to South Africa and COVID-19

The Department of Foreign Affairs advises against all but essential travel to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Botswana based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks after a new variant was identified.

Department of Foreign Affairs services and practical supports to all Irish citizens travelling abroad can be found on


As part of Government efforts to tackle the pandemic, new entry visa and transit visa requirements on passport holders from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia and Lesotho came into effect at midnight on 26 November 2021.

This move is in line with the public health advice regarding new COVID-19 variants of concern.

In addition to countries that 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:

  • South Africa (entry visa and transit visa required)
  • Botswana (entry visa and transit visa required)
  • Eswatini (entry visa and transit visa required)
  • Lesotho (entry visa and transit visa required)
  • Namibia (entry visa required - this country is already subject to an entry visa requirement and this requirement remains in place)

Visa applications from passport holders of South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia (and from Zimbabwe which were already visa required) will be only accepted and processed where an applicant is a person who:

  • has obtained or is entitled to apply for a right of residence under EU Free Movement;
  • has a valid Residence Permission in the State under the immigration Acts (including persons covered by the interim arrangements that apply from 15 November 2021 to 15 January 2021
  • is a family member of an Irish citizen
  • has not been in one of the following countries (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe) in the previous 14 days prior to the date of travel to the State; 
  • is a diplomat and to whom the privileges and immunities conferred by an international agreement or arrangement or customary international law apply in the State, pursuant to the Diplomatic Relations and Immunities Acts 1967 to 2006 or any other enactment or the Constitution.

Persons in these categories will, of course, have to comply with all relevant health measures in place for international travellers. - New rules for travelling to Ireland (

This information can be found on the ISD website on the following link: COVID-19 Visa Arrangements – December 2nd Update - Immigration Service Delivery (

Travel to Ireland

All passengers will have to complete the Passenger Locator Form before travelling.


South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Botswana continue to experience community transmission of COVID-19 and a number of restrictions are in place to control the spread of the virus. The lockdown measures remain under review and are adjusted from time to time. In weighing decisions to travel to at this time, Irish citizens should take into consideration the risk of restrictions being introduced during their travel and, also, the impact which responding to COVID-19 may have on local health care systems over the course of their proposed visit.

Before travelling, you are advised to confirm the requirements for entry to your country of destination with the appropriate nearest Embassy. Citizens intending to undertake essential travel to South Africa and the region should also be aware that all countries continue to adjust their COVID-19 lockdown measures in response to the rate of transmission of the virus, and it cannot be guaranteed that suspensions of international flights may not be re-imposed on short notice. Irish citizens travelling to South Africa and the region should also be aware of the requirements for re-entry to Ireland or to their country of normal residence following their trip.

We advise Irish citizens in South Africa and the region to respect lockdown regulations and follow public health requirements. The latest information on South Africa’s COVID-19 response and the restrictive measures in place is available at

Consular Services

Please note that our phone lines are closed until further notice. Queries should be submitted in writing through the Contact Us facility. All emails will be responded to within 24-48 hours. In the event of a genuine emergency involving an Irish citizen, leave a voice message and the duty officer will respond.

The Embassy's public office is closed to the public. You can request an appointment to collect or deliver documents in person by emailing You can also submit and collect documents by courier between 9.00 a.m. and 12 noon, Monday to Thursday. Payments must be made by EFT.

Foreign Birth Registrations

The acceptance of Foreign Birth Registration applications has resumed from Monday 15 November 2021. Your birth can be entered on the Foreign Births Register if you are eligible to become an Irish citizen. Find out what you need to do before you begin your online application at


Please note that all passport renewal applications, for adults and children, must be made online. First-time applications must be made on paper application forms, which you can request from the Embassy. Please note that the processing time for passport applications is significantly affected by COVID-19 response measures in South Africa and in Ireland.

Passport Online: Worldwide renewals

Passport Online: Worldwide renewals

Adults and children around the world can renew their Irish passport online. This is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to apply for your passport today. You can apply for a passport book, a card or both! The application takes about ten minutes and you can take your photo with your phone!

Find out more information

The Embassy's Strategy 2017 -2021

The Embassy's Strategy 2017 -2021

The Embassy's Strategy 2017 -2021 - What we will do.

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Contact Embassy of Ireland, South Africa

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Embassy of Ireland

2nd floor

Parkdev Building

Brooklyn Bridge Office Park

570 Fehrsen Street

Brooklyn 0181


Main Tel: +27 12 452 1000

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