568. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Justice the number of applications to the new pre-clearance visa scheme that was introduced for UK nationals who came to Ireland after 31 December 2020 and wish to bring their non-EEA family members with them; the number of visas granted in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37802/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): With effect from 11:00 pm on 31 December 2020, following the end of the Brexit transition period, all non-EEA family members of UK nationals seeking to join, or accompany, their UK national family member in Ireland must apply through either a preclearance or visa scheme, depending on their nationality. There is no automatic entitlement to family reunification but UK nationals can act as a sponsor of such applications.
The scheme applies to both visa required and non-visa required nationals. The applicant must apply before travelling to Ireland. The scheme is not intended for people that plan on staying in the State for less than three months.
The preclearance/visa scheme only applies when a UK national has come to live in Ireland after 31 December 2020. If a UK national is living in Ireland on or before that date, they and their eligible non-EEA family members will be a beneficiary under the Withdrawal Agreement.
The table below sets out the number of applications to the pre-clearance and visa scheme since its introduction and the numbers granted to date. It should be noted that a number of applications made are still pending a decision:
|Action|| Join Family Visa
(UK nat. sponsor)
(UK nat. sponsor)
|Granted on Appeal||1||1||2|
|Total Granted to date||4||2||6|