What is the change? Under new employment permit processes, Ireland is introducing a new smart card for foreign nationals registering as residents.

What does the change mean? Foreign employees should allow more time to register during the rollout of the new scheme, which will require them to appear, give fingerprints and obtain an interim card while the smart card is printed in Dublin.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Foreign resident registration.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals registering in Ireland.
  • Impact on processing times: During the transition to the new smart cards, delays in appointments and issuances of the cards are expected.
  • Next steps: Foreign nationals should allow more time for registration when scheduling an appointment and should not expect to obtain a registration card on the same day as their appointment.

Background: The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) will implement the new system on May 12. New smart cards containing biometric data will be issued to foreign nationals registering as residents. Foreign nationals must register in person at the local police station (An Garda Síochána) and give their fingerprints.

BAL Analysis: Foreign registrants should note that it will take approximately 30 minutes to print each smart card, so there will be fewer appointments available per day. Therefore, they should plan to register a few days in advance because they may not get an appointment on the same day; they should also be aware that during the initial stages of this new process, the card may take a few days to issue. During the transition, foreign nationals registering outside Dublin may have to wait two to three weeks to receive their cards, which will be centrally printed in Dublin.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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