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Ireland (6 December 2021) – The Irish Government announces changes as a result of the Omicron COVID-19 variant

IMPACT - MEDIUM

What are the changes?

As part of Government efforts to tackle the pandemic, the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD signed an order that imposes new entry visa and transit visa requirements for specified countries, as well as new travel restrictions.

New COVID-19 testing measures will be coming into force soon.

Who is affected:

Nationals of the following countries (specified countries) will now require an entry visa to travel 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 (transit visa required – this country is already subject to an entry visa requirement and this requirement remains in place)
  • Mozambique (existing visa requirements in place)
  • Zimbabwe (existing visa requirements in place)

Current advice is to avoid all non-essential travel to or from the specified countries.

Since 29 November 2021, restrictions on travel to the State are imposed on passengers that have been in a specified country. Such persons shall not travel to, or attempt to travel to, Ireland for the period of 14 days after they were last in a specified country. Limited exemptions will apply.

Those who are able to travel from a specified country to Ireland will be subject to home quarantine for 14 days from their date of arrival, and will be subject to post-travel COVID-19 RT-PCR testing.

COVID-19 pre-travel testing will be in effect soon.

If travellers do not have a Digital COVID Certificate based on vaccination or recovery, they have to show a negative ('not detected') RT-PCR test which was carried out no more than 72 hours before they arrive in Ireland.

If travellers have proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19, they have to show a negative ('not detected') antigen test which was carried out no more than 48 hours before you arrive in Ireland. Alternatively, they can show a negative ('not detected') RT-PCR test which was carried out no more than 72 hours before they arrive.

Implementation time frame: The restrictions on nationals from specified countries will apply from 26 November 2021.

The restrictions on entry from specified countries will apply from 29 November  2021.

The COVID-19 testing measures will be in effect soon.

Next steps:

Visa applications from passport holders of the above countries (and from Zimbabwe and Mozambique which are already visa required) will be accepted and processed only where they meet the emergency/priority criteria set out below:

  • 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
  • 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

Analysis & Comments:

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

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your designated Deloitte contact.

Impacted employees will be kept informed of any changes as soon as possible.

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