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February 01, 2021 – INIS policy updates to reduce all non-essential travel into Ireland 

Impact - Medium

What is the change?

From 29th January 2021, the Department of Justice and Equality has announced that they will temporarily cease accepting new visa/preclearance applications. These measures are designed to support public health restrictions on movement, including into and out of Ireland.

Key points:

  • Implementation time frame:
    • The change has come into effect from close of business on 29th January 2021. The situation will remain under review over the coming weeks.
  • Who is affected:
    • This affects all travellers arriving into Ireland, regardless of nationality.
  • Next steps:
    • These temporary measures mean that visa applicants will not be able to complete their entry visa application process. Please note that any application made online will remain valid until such time as restrictions are lifted.
    • 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.
    • Any travelers to Ireland should ensure that they hold a negative/”not detected” PCR COVID-19 result, which has been taken no more than 72 hours before arrival to Ireland, and should adhere to the relevant self-isolation period. Anyone who fails to do so is liable to fines and criminal sanctions.

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;
  • Seafarers;
  • Journalists, when performing their duties.

If an application falls into one of the above categories, the applicant can apply on-line in the usual way. Once the on-line application is completed, individuals should follow the instructions given on the summary page as to where they should submit applications.

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:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • 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)
  • Guyana
  • Paraguay
  • 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)
  • Uruguay


Analysis & Comments:

The Irish government has made this decision as part of their efforts to mitigate the spread of the new variant of COVID-19.

Employers should consider that this may cause delays to intended start dates of their potential employees, if the employment cannot be carried out from home.

If you have employees or potential new hires who may be impacted by the above changes, please contact the Deloitte immigration team to assist.

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