Minister Flanagan announces abolition of re-entry visa system
Abolition to take effect from 13 May 2019
Over 40,000 people annually to benefit from change
12 April 2019
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today announced the abolition of Ireland’s re-entry visa system with effect from 13 May 2019. Under this system, visa required nationals who live in Ireland, and who wish to travel to and from the country, have been obliged to apply for a re-entry visa in advance of travel. From 13 May, such individuals will be exempt from the requirement to hold a visa if they have registered for an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or GNIB card.
Minister Flanagan said: “I am delighted to announce the abolition of the re-entry visa system. Visa required nationals will now be able to use their Irish residence permit or GNIB card to prove to airlines and immigration officials that they have a right to travel to Ireland. This will save over 40,000 people annually both time and money. I am committed to improving customer service in the immigration service and today’s decision is the first of a series of improvements which I intend to announce over the coming year.”
The IRP card is in the standard EU format for residence permits, and is recognised by airlines. Improvements in security in the IRP has made it possible to eliminate the need for re-entry visas, without compromising the safety and security of the visa or immigration system.
Due to the need to notify airlines, ferry companies and immigration authorities in other countries, the abolition will not take effect until 13 May 2019. Until this date, the existing system will remain in place and visa required nationals will continue to need a valid visa or re-entry visa to travel to Ireland.
Any applications for re-entry visas which have already been submitted to INIS will be returned to the applicant. Applicants who intend to travel and return before 13 May 2019 will be facilitated with an in-person appointment at which they will be issued with a re-entry visa free of charge.
Non-EEA nationals aged under 16 are not currently issued with Irish Residence Permits. To ensure that minors with visa required nationality can re-enter the State without difficulty, for example on family holidays, their parents or guardians in Ireland can apply for a visa for them. Re-entry visas for minors will be issued without charge.
Further information is available at http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/abolition-of-adult-re-entry-visas and http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/interim-arrangements-regarding-re-entry-visas-for-adults.
Note for editors:
INIS Service Improvement Plan
The INIS Service Improvement Plan 2018-2020 was published in October 2018 and can be found at http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/inis-service-improvement-plan-2018-to-2020.pdf/Files/inis-service-improvement-plan-2018-to-2020.pdf
A visa gives the holder the right to present to an immigration official at the Irish border. This announcement does not impact on the requirement for visa required nationals to apply for a visa in advance of travel to the State. A visa can be given for a single entry or for multiple entries, within a specified period of time.
A re-entry visa is identical in form to a standard entry visa. The key difference is that an applicant must be legally resident in the State and have registered their residence in the State with the immigration authorities.
A re-entry visa can only be applied for while in the State. As with standard entry visas, re-entry visas can be granted for single entry or for multiple entry. Multiple entry re-entry visas are generally issued for the same time period as the residence permission.
Diplomats and embassy staff posted to Ireland are not required to register their residence in the State and so are not issued with Irish Residence Permits. Diplomats or other accredited members of staff at an Embassy (Administrative and Technical Staff / Service Staff / Private Domestic Employee) posted to Ireland must continue to apply for a re-entry visa following arrival in the State. Applications are made via the Protocol Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Irish Residence Permit
All non-EEA nationals who intend to stay in Ireland for more than 90 days must register their permission to reside in the State with the immigration authorities. Registration permissions are issued for periods of between 4 months and 5 years, depending on the basis the person has for living in the State. Most registrations are issued for 12 months.
The Irish Residence Permit, or IRP card, was introduced in December 2017. The previous residence permit was the GNIB card (named for the Garda National Immigration Bureau). A number of GNIB cards are still valid, and these have the same status as an IRP card and can be used instead of a re-entry visa for re-entry to Ireland.
Visa required nationalities
As of 12 April 2019, nationals from the following countries require a visa to travel to Ireland, unless they come under a specific exemption (e.g. traveling on a school trip within the EU). The list of visa required nationalities is amended from time to time. The current list is available on the INIS website.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
Papua New Guinea
Sao Tome and Principe
State of Palestine