What is the change? Ireland has adopted the European Union’s COVID-19 traffic lights system for determining entry policies for travelers from Europe.

What does the change mean? Under the system, regions in the EU/EEA and the United Kingdom are categorized as green, orange, red or gray based on their COVID-19 infection level and the availability of data. Individuals traveling to Ireland from green regions, or from Northern Ireland, are not required to restrict movement on arrival. All passenger arriving into Ireland from orange, red and gray regions are requested to restrict their movements for 14 days. This period of restricted movement can end for travelers who receive a negative/not detected result from a PCR test that has been taken a minimum of five days after arrival in Ireland.

  • Implementation time frame: The change took effect Nov. 29.
  • Who is affected: All individuals traveling into Ireland, including Irish citizens, who are arriving from EU/EEA countries or the United Kingdom.
  • Business impact: Employers may have to adjust time lines and start dates for employees traveling from orange, red or gray countries.
  • Next steps: All individuals traveling into Ireland should check the color category assigned to the country from which they are traveling. Travelers can check their country’s categorization by consulting the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s combined indicator map.

Exemptions: The request that travelers restrict movement if traveling from orange, red or gray countries does not apply to:

  • International Transport Workers, including workers in aviation, maritime and road haulage sectors.
  • Travelers with an essential function or need as set out in paragraph 19 of the EU Council Recommendation, including:
    • Passengers traveling for the purposes of an imperative business reason, only while carrying out that essential function.
    • Passengers arriving for imperative family reasons, only while pursuing that imperative reason.
    • Returning passengers, who have carried out an essential function in another region, but who have otherwise restricted their movement while in that region.
  • Passengers arriving from an “orange” region who have received a negative/not detected result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken during the three days before departure to Ireland. Passengers are requested to have supporting evidence of the negative test in their possession.

It is the responsibility of individuals to determine whether their circumstances fall within one of the categories outlined in the EU Council Recommendation.

Analysis & Comments: The Irish government made the decision to adopt the traffic lights map as part of their efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. All travelers arriving to Ireland must continue to complete a Passenger Locator Form prior to arriving at port of entry in Ireland. Employers should consider that the change in policies may cause delays to intended start dates of their potential employees if the employment cannot be carried out from home. If you have employees or potential new hires who may be impacted by the above changes, please contact the Deloitte immigration team to assist. Please check Deloitte’s COVID-19 Digital Map, available here, for information on travel restrictions and immigration changes in other countries.

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