On 26th November 2021, the Minister for Justice announced that new entry visa and transit visa requirements were introduced in line with public health advice regarding new Covid-19 variants.
Passport holders from countries effected are now required to apply for visas in advance of travelling to Ireland. The countries affected by these visa requirements are:
- 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)
It is unclear how long these new visa requirements will be imposed for.
The note confirms visas will only be accepted and processed for a limited set of priority and emergency cases, as set out in the following list:
- All long stay Employment applications, supported by a work permit or Atypical permission
- Patients travelling for imperative medical reasons
- Transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in the territory as well as those merely transiting
- Pupils, students and trainees who travel abroad on a daily basis and Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of 3rd level study
- Join Family visa applications
- Preclearance applications from De Facto Partner of an Irish National, De Facto Partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder, or of a non EEA Researcher on a Hosting Agreement and Family members looking to join a UK National in Ireland
- Persons travelling for imperative family* or business reasons
- Persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive
- 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
The notice clarifies that “*Applicants seeking to travel for imperative family reasons are assessed on an individual basis and are largely confined to emergency cases that may arise in a family situation”.
The notice and list of emergency/priority criteria can be found in full here
If this affects you or your family, please get in contact with Berkeley Solicitors to discuss your case.