Ireland Announces Changes to Priority and Emergency Visas

On Thursday, May 20, Ireland announced two new categories have been added to the priority/emergency list of visas being processed at this time.

Visa applications will now be accepted for:

  • Essential family reunification
  • People who have been granted an employment permit and are traveling for essential business or employment purposes.

The Minister of State for Immigration James Browne TD, said “Expanding the priority categories to include people granted employment permits by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment gives a key signal to employers that Ireland remains open for business. As we begin to reopen our economy, it is more important than ever that we support business endeavours.”

What does this mean for Employers?

Employers who have obtained work permits for visa-required nationals may now have employees lodge their entry visa applications at their local Ireland consulate/embassy.

Priority/Emergency cases include the following:

  • People traveling for business/employment purposes and granted an employment permit by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to meet an enterprise’s key business;
  • Patients traveling for imperative medical reasons;
  • Transport workers or transport service providers;
  • Students and trainees who travel abroad on a daily basis and Third-country nationals traveling for the purpose of 3rd level study;
  • Join Family applications;
  • Preclearance applications from De Facto Partner of an Irish National, De Facto Partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder, or of a non-EEA Researcher on a Hosting Agreement and Family members looking to join a UK National in Ireland;
  • Persons traveling for imperative family or business reasons;
  • Persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive;
  • 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.



On January 29, 2021, Ireland stopped accepting new visa and preclearance applications, with the exception of priority or emergency applications, from applicants from all countries. Short stay visa applications are currently being accepted only for Emergency/Priority cases.


All travelers arriving into Ireland must continue to comply fully with the public health measures required by law, including completing a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form, pre-arrival PCR test, and quarantine in a designated facility or at home, as appropriate.

The situation will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming weeks.


Erickson Immigration Group will continue to send updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.