February 4, 2021

Ireland Temporarily Ceases New Visa Application Processing

To support public health and contain the spread of COVID-19, the Irish government recently announced a temporary suspension in the processing of new visa/preclearance applications, with a few exceptions.

The measure will be reviewed in the coming weeks, but the Irish government does not intend to resume accepting applications until it is considered safe to do so. For now, it means that online applicants will not be able to complete the process at their local embassy/VFS office. Nevertheless, applications made online will remain valid until the restrictions are lifted.

The suspension impacts only those nationals who require a visa to enter Ireland, and employment permit applications and processing remain unchanged at present. Exceptions to the suspension will be made for certain priority/emergency cases as listed below. Those who qualify for an exception can continue to apply online in the usual way and should follow the instructions given on the summary page as to how to submit the application.

The following categories have been identified as exceptions:

    • Workers or self-employed persons exercising critical occupations, including healthcare 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 the territory as well as those merely transiting
    • 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 3rd 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, and humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions
    • Passengers in transit
    • Seafarers
    • Journalists, when performing their duties

For further information on the current visa processing situation in Ireland, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over fifteen years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends, and currently serves as a member of the Worldwide ERC (WERC) Immigration Advisory Council.

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