A notice has been placed on the Department of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of Ireland, South Africa home page stating as follows:

From 28 January 2021 South African passport holders will not be permitted to enter Ireland unless they are in possession of a visa/transit visa (as appropriate), regardless of where they reside or the purpose of their travel to Ireland. 

This is a significant change for South African citizens, who prior to this did not require entry visas in advance of travel to the State.

The notices clarifies:

South African passport holders who are normally resident in Ireland and hold a valid IRP/Registration Card and a valid passport are deemed to meet this visa requirement and do not require an additional visa.

However, all other South African nationals, including those who  have been issued with  employment permits but have not yet travelled to Ireland to register their immigration permission will now need to apply for a visa to enter the State as an employment permit holder.

South African nationals already legally resident and registered in the State will use their IRP card to re-enter the State as is now standard practice for all non-EEA legal residents in Ireland.

This will significantly change the process for South African nationals to travel to Ireland. Nationals of South Africa will now the face delays and back logs in the processing of visa applications to enter and reside in Ireland, which are experienced by nationals of visa required countries.

The note confirms visas will only be granted for a limited set of priority and emergency cases.  Short-stay visa applications will only be processed for emergency or essential travel for a limited number of categories including medical personnel, immediate family members of Irish citizens, persons legally resident in Ireland, and persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive

It is stated that non-priority and non-emergency applications for Long Stay D visas and Preclearance Applications will continue to be accepted but no decisions will issue until at least 5 March 2021.  It is indicated that this date may be extended further depending on the situation at that time. Person as also notified that circumstances are subject to change at short notice.

It is unclear if this suspension of decision relates to nationals of South Africa only or to all non-priority and non-emergency applications for Long Stay D visas and Preclearance Applications.

It is also unclear if South Africa is now a visa required country in the Irish immigration context or if this is a temporary change during the Covid 19 Emergency.

South African nationals with a genuine, humanitarian  reason  or emergency requiring urgent travel to Ireland are advised to  contact the Embassy immediately for advice and consular assistance.

If this affects you or your family please get in contact with us to discuss your case.