As part of Government efforts to tackle the pandemic, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has signed an order that will impose new visa requirements on passport holders from a number of high risk countries, including 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 have also taken the decision to temporarily cease accepting new visa/preclearance applications. This is effective from close of business 29th of January 2021. 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. The situation will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming weeks. In the meantime South African nationals should not at this time apply on line for a visa unless the reason for travel falls into the Priority/ Emergency category listed below.
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:
- 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.
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 are unsure as to whether you require a visa/preclearance to enter Ireland you can check here by entering your nationality.
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.