What is the change? Beginning May 13, adult citizens of visa-required countries living in Ireland will not need a re-entry visa in order to return to Ireland after overseas travel. They will be able to use their valid IRP or GNIB card in lieu of a re-entry visa.

What does the change mean? Visa-required individuals traveling outside of Ireland can return to the country on the basis of their valid passport and IRP or GNIB card, provided the return date to Ireland falls on or after May 13. Any travel into Ireland before this date will require that the individual has a valid re-entry visa.

  • Implementation time frame: May 13.
  • Visas/permits affected: Re-entry visas.
  • Who is affected: Citizens of visa-required countries who are currently, or plan to be, resident in Ireland for more than 90 days.
  • Next steps: Travelers should ensure they have a valid re-entry visa for any international travel where their return to Ireland will take place before May 13. For travel back to Ireland on or after May 13, travelers should ensure that they have a valid IRP or GNIB card.

Background: Individuals from visa-required countries who are moving to Ireland for longer than 90 days are granted only a single-entry visa into Ireland. Under the current policy, after registering with the immigration authorities and obtaining an Irish Residence Permit (IRP card, previously called a GNIB card), they must then apply for a “re-entry visa,” which is a multiple-entry visa that matches the validity period of the IRP card. The re-entry visa application must normally be filed by registered post and can often take many weeks to be approved and the passport to be returned. As a result, citizens of visa-required countries are frequently unable to travel abroad for extended periods while they await the re-entry visa.

From May 13 onward, re-entry visas will not be needed. The IRP card (or legacy GNIB card), along with a valid passport, will serve as an entry document back into Ireland. Depending on the individual’s immigration status in Ireland, additional documents may also need to be carried (e.g., an employment permit) when traveling into Ireland. Individuals should contact their immigration provider with any questions about other required or recommended documents for their situation.

Analysis & Comments: The change is welcome news. Foreign nationals who have recently moved to Ireland can now travel abroad and re-enter the country once they have an IRP card. Note that for residents of Dublin, IRP card appointments must be booked online. Available slots may be filled up many weeks or months in advance. IRP cards are then sent by post to the applicant’s Irish address within approximately two weeks after the appointment. Careful planning is needed to ensure that a timely appointment is booked well in advance of any planned travel.

The process of applying for a single-entry, long-stay visa for individuals currently living outside Ireland remains the same. Individuals with re-entry visa applications that are currently pending should allow the process to be completed as normal. Those without a valid re-entry visa with upcoming travel outside of Ireland before May 13 should speak with their immigration provider in advance, as a re-entry may still be required.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.