Back in January 2021, as part of Government efforts to tackle the pandemic, the Minister for Justice signed an order that imposed new visa requirements on passport holders from a number of South American countries and South Africa.
On that date the Government also took the decision to temporarily cease accepting new visa/preclearance applications with the exception of the Priority/Emergency case types listed below, which they have continued to accept in the intervening period.
It has now been confirmed by the Department of Justice that the following categories will be added to the list of priority/emergency cases and that the Irish authorities will resume processing of these categories immediately:
1. Long-stay Join Family Members including:
- All Long Stay D Visa join family applications (includes Third country national family members of Irish nationals and persons exercising free movement under the EU Directive),
- Preclearance applications for: 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 Non EEA Family members looking to join a UK National in Ireland.
2. People travelling for business/employment purposes and granted an employment permit by Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to meet an enterprise’s key business
The full list of Priority/Emergency cases that will now be accepted and processed is as follows:
- People travelling for business/employment purposes and granted an employment permit by Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to meet an enterprise’s key business;
- 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 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 Irish authorities will continue to process applications received and on hand. However, for successful applications, unless your application meets the Emergency/Priority criteria, a visa or preclearance approval letter will not issue until such time as restrictions have been lifted. Applicants will be notified if their application is successful. Refusal letters for unsuccessful applications on hand will continue to be issued.
It remains the position that short stay visa applications are not being accepted, except for cases that fall under the Emergency/Priority criteria set out below. The suspension of short stay and other long stay categories such as English Language Study applications will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming weeks.