RTÉ News has reported that the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service has not accepted any new visa applications as of 20th March 2020 due to Covid-19.
A spokesperson from the Department of Justice was quoted as saying:
“While it will still be possible to apply for an Irish visa online in the normal manner, these temporary measures mean that applicants will not be able to complete their application process. However, any application made online will remain valid until such time as restrictions are lifted.”
VFS Global, which provides a wide range of visa-related services, has also closed many of its Visa Application Centres.
The VFS website states that Ireland has suspended visa services globally as of 23rd March 2020.
This is despite the fact that a limited category of “Priority/Emergency” visas are still being processed, as outlined in INIS notice issued on 21st March 2020. These include professionals, health researchers and elderly care professionals, immediate family members of Irish citizens who are returning to their ordinary place of residence in Ireland, persons legally resident in the State, and persons entitled to avail of the provisions of the EU Free Movement Directive.
In instances where the local Consulate or Embassy is unable to process visa applications falling within these categories due to local Covid-19 restrictions, the Department has arranged to accept visa applications in its Dublin Visa Office.
RTÉ News questioned whether the decision to cease accepting new visa applications since March 2020 was allowing any backlog of applications to be cleared, and asked the Department of Justice to clarify what the situation is today.
The Department responded:
“…it is not possible to state a total number of employment visa applications on hand at a specific point in time, be it December or now. This is because of the fact that visas are received and processed throughout our network of missions globally and not just at the office here in Dublin.”
The spokesperson for the Department also stated that the intention is to resume accepting visa applications as soon as it is safe to do so.
The article can be read in full here.
If you or a family member have any queries about applying for an Irish visa, please do not hesitate to contact our office.