Covid-19 - Travel Information and Embassy Services
News14 January 2021
Travel to Ireland
Updated 1 April 2021
Irish citizens, and others, are free to travel from the US to Ireland on any scheduled flights from a US airport and transatlantic flights continue to operate, albeit in reduced numbers and from a reduced number of airports. Flights continue to operate directly to Dublin from New York (JFK), Boston and Chicago.
There is a Government Advisory in operation against all non-essential international travel. Travel restrictions are in place to protect public health and to mitigate the risk of new variants of COVID-19 entering the country. Details of these measures are available on the travel section of the gov.ie website.
The Government has introduced additional short-term restrictions on international travel. Visa-free travel to Ireland for nationals of South Africa and all countries in South America has been suspended. The Department of Justice has temporarily ceased accepting new visa/preclearance applications globally (with limited exemptions). Updated information on these measures will be made available on the website of the Irish Immigration and Naturalisation Service, and on this Department’s country specific travel pages.
With effect from 4 February 2021, a legal requirement to home quarantine was introduced for all passengers arriving in Ireland. This 14-day quarantine must be undertaken at the address specified on the Passenger Locator Form. This also applies to passengers travelling from another country to Ireland, who arrive via Northern Ireland. Only very limited categories of passengers can be exempt from this legal requirement. Further details on mandatory quarantine are available at gov.ie.
As of Saturday, 16 January, passengers arriving into Ireland from all countries, including the US, are required to show a negative result of a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival in the State. Checks will be made by the Border Management Unit at Dublin Airport and by An Garda Síochána at other points of entry. Mandatory quarantine at a designated facility will be required for passengers who arrive in breach of the pre-departure negative/'not detected' PCR requirement. Children aged six and under are exempt from this requirement.
Ireland has implemented the EU ‘Traffic Light System’ whereby restrictions are based on the location of the passenger during the 14 days prior to arrival. In general, you are requested to restrict your movements for 14 days if you arrive into Ireland from another country. This applies to all travellers entering the State, including Irish citizens coming home and people with no symptoms. Restricting your movements means avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. Ireland’s Health Service Executive has provided guidance on how to restrict movements on their website.
Passengers entering Ireland from red regions (which currently includes the United States) can exit quarantine early following receipt of a negative/not-detected result from a Covid-19 PCR test taken a minimum of five days after arrival in Ireland. Test results can take a few days; passengers are requested to continue to restrict their movements until they have the negative result. The PCR COVID-19 test is currently the only test type considered acceptable by public health authorities in Ireland in relation to international travel. Testing provision under Ireland’s framework for international travel will not be provided through the public health system, but will be met by the private commercial sector testing supply and paid for by passengers.
The links below on Cork and Dublin airports websites give details of the current companies providing PCR tests.
The general request to restrict movements does not apply to persons travelling for an essential need or function as defined by Paragraph 19 of the EU Council Recommendation on Travel for an Essential Purpose. It is the responsibility of each individual to determine if their circumstances fall into one of the categories in Paragraph 19 of the EU Council Recommendation on travel for an essential need or function.
For up-to-date information on what to do if you are travelling to Ireland at this time, please see the Irish Government website.
To ensure that this is being observed, all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements.
Further advice for people who have recently returned from abroad is available from the HSE. Please heed this restriction carefully in order to protect yourself and others. Please also download the new tracker app which will help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ireland.
For our latest travel advice on the United States please see here.
Passports / Irish Citizenship
In line with the Irish Government's announcement regarding a move to Level 5 restrictions passport processing will be impacted.
During this period online passport applications can be submitted but will only be processed when restrictions are moved to Level 4. Paper passport applications will not be processed until restrictions are moved to Level 3.
Foreign Birth Registrations will only be processed when the Irish Government announces a return to Level 3 restrictions.
Please note that we at the Embassy accept paper passport applications only for 1st time applicants within our consular area and those who cannot renew their passports online because their Irish passport is over 5 years expired. Applications should be submitted by registered mail only at this time. It is not necessary to come to the Embassy for this purpose.
Please note that all adult and children's passports can now be renewed online at https://www.dfa.ie/passportonline/ as long as it is under 5 years since the previous Irish passport expired. If you can renew online (that is to say, if you already hold an Irish passport which expired less than five years ago) you now must now do so. The passport office will no longer process paper applications from those who are eligible to apply for their passport online and any paper applications under this category will be returned to the sender.
Please take note of the barcode number on the top of your application form before submitting it so you can track your passport at www.passporttracking.dfa.ie. The barcode tracking number will only become live once certain checks are completed so please be patient if you don't see your application appearing in the initial weeks after submitting it.
If you wish to apply for an Irish passport for the first time, please check the basis if your entitlements. If your connection to Ireland is through a grandparent born in Ireland (i.e. if your parent was not born in Ireland), you must first be entered on the Register of Foreign Births and have received your Foreign Birth Registration certificate. This is an online application process centralised in Dublin. The FBR office in Dublin will close on December 24th due to COVID restrictions in place in Ireland and will only reopen when the Irish Government announces a move to Level 3 restrictions. The Embassy has no involvement in the FBR process and thus is not in a position to advise on individual queries.
As part of a wide range of travel measures announced on the 26 January, and in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, visa-free travel to Ireland for nationals of South Africa and all countries in South America has been suspended from midnight on the 27th January. Nationals of these countries will require to be in possession of an entry visa or transit visa, as appropriate, for travel to Ireland regardless of where they reside or the purpose of their travel to Ireland.
See Government press release here.
In addition, with effect from 29 January 2021, the Department of Justice has taken the decision to temporarily cease accepting new visa/preclearance applications globally.
Increasing travel restrictions and the measures introduced as part of the Irish 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 days.
These measures are designed to support our public health restrictions on movement, including into and out of Ireland.
The strong advice is that everyone, regardless of their nationality, visa/preclearance status, or the origin of travel, who cannot provide proof of an essential purpose to travel to or within Ireland, should not travel to Ireland.
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.
In the meantime, only certain emergency cases will be processed. Further information is available on the website of Immigration Service Delivery.
For emergency visa applications, please contact us directly so that we can guide you through the application process and advise you how to submit your documentation.
Other consular services are not available, except in cases of genuine emergency. Again, if you have a need for consular assistance which you feel is an emergency, we would ask that you contact us, as per the above.