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Visa Changes in Ireland due to COVID-19

February 1, 2021

On Wednesday, January 27, the government imposed new visa requirements on passport holders from a number of South American countries and South Africa.

Following these requirements, INIS has announced a decision to stop accepting new visa/preclearance applications as of January 29, 2021.

It is currently against the law for any person (regardless of nationality or passport) to travel within Ireland for non-essential purposes and people can be fined for doing so. Enforcement of this has strongly increased over the last few days.

While it will still be possible to apply for an Irish visa/preclearance online in the normal manner, these temporary measures mean that applicants will not be able to complete their application process. Applications made online will remain valid until restrictions are lifted.

Certain Priority/Emergency cases will continue to be processed:

  • 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;
  • 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.

Applicants in the above categories can apply online in the usual way, following guidance for where to submit the application.

As of midnight January 27, 2021, passport holders of the following countries are now also required to apply for an entry visa or transit visa, as appropriate, before traveling to Ireland:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia (transit visa now required – this country is already subject to entry visa requirements)
  • Ecuador (transit visa now required – this country is already subject to entry visa requirements)
  • Guyana
  • Paraguay
  • Peru (transit visa now required – this country is already subject to entry visa requirements)
  • South Africa
  • Suriname (transit visa now required – this country is already subject to entry visa requirements)
  • Uruguay

Travelers can check if a visa/preclearance is needed to enter Ireland here.