The Department of Justice and Equality has announced that it will extend its suspension on accepting new visa and preclearance applications to April 5. The measure is designed to support public health restrictions on movement, including into and out of Ireland.

 Key Points:

  • The temporary measure means that most visa applicants will not be able to complete their entry visa application process. Any application made online will remain valid until such time as restrictions are lifted.
  • Anyone, regardless of their nationality, visa/preclearance status or where they started their travel from who cannot provide proof of an essential purpose to travel to or within Ireland should not travel to Ireland at this time.
  • Individuals who do travel to Ireland should ensure that they hold a negative/“not detected” PCR COVID-19 test result. They must take the test no more than 72 hours before arrival in Ireland; travelers must also adhere to the relevant self-isolation period. Anyone who fails to do so is liable for fines and criminal sanctions.

Additional Information: Priority/emergency cases will continue to be processed. These include the following:

  • Workers or self-employed individuals exercising critical occupations including health care workers, frontier and posted workers as well as seasonal workers as referred to in the guidelines concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in Ireland.
  • Patients traveling for imperative medical reasons.
  • Pupils, students and trainees who travel abroad on a daily basis and third-country nationals traveling for the purpose of third-level study.
  • Persons traveling for imperative family or business reasons.
  • Diplomats, staff of international organizations and people invited by international organizations whose physical presence is required for the well-functioning of these organizations, military personnel and police officers,  humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions.
  • Passengers in transit.
  • Seafarers.
  • Journalists, when performing their duties.

If an application falls into one of the above categories, the applicant can apply online in the usual way. Once the online application is completed, individuals should submit the application following the instructions given on the summary page.

Analysis & Comments The Irish Government has made this decision as part of their efforts to mitigate the spread of the new variants of the COVID-19 virus. Employers should consider that these efforts may cause delays to intended employee 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.

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