Virginia, US

Apr 12 2019

Re-Entry Visa to be Eliminated Shortly

Ireland

At a Glance

  • Effective May 13, 2019, visa nationals holding an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card in Ireland will no longer be required to obtain a re-entry visa prior to travel. The IRP card will be sufficient proof of the right to re-enter Ireland in case of travel. Applicants will benefit from facilitated travel through the removal of the time-consuming administrative step of obtaining a re-entry visa. 
  • The re-entry visa will still be required for applicants under 16 years old (since they are not issued an IRP card) and for visa nationals awaiting an IRP card following in-country registration. Adult visa-exempt nationals were already exempt from the re-entry visa requirement.
  • Visa nationals without a valid IRP card seeking to exit and re-enter Ireland before May 13, 2019 should urgently obtain a re-entry visa.

The situation

Effective May 13, 2019, visa nationals holding an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card in Ireland will no longer be required to obtain a re-entry visa prior to travel. Minors and visa nationals awaiting an IRP card following in-country registration will still need to obtain a re-entry visa.

Transitional measures

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has published the following key guidance on transitional arrangements for this policy:

  • Urgent action required. Visa nationals without a valid IRP card seeking to exit and re-enter Ireland before May 13, 2019 must take the following urgent steps, depending on their situation:
    • Those with a pending re-entry visa application. These applicants must schedule an appointment online with the INIS re-entry visa office in Dublin to obtain a re-entry visa. Pending applications will not be processed if the applicant does not take action.
    • Those with a pending re-entry visa application filed jointly with a minor. These applicants must email the authorities to ensure that both the adult’s and the minor’s application will continue to be processed.
    • Those without a pending application. Individuals who did not yet submit a re-entry visa application must schedule an appointment online with the INIS re-entry visa office in Dublin to obtain a re-entry visa.
    • Appointment process. Although the appointment scheduling website only refers to emergency re-entry visas, this process has been opened for all applicants (including non-emergency applicants) requiring a re-entry visa before May 13, 2019. Applications will be processed during the appointment. No fees will be charged for these re-entry visas.
  • No action required for others. No urgent action is required for other categories of applicants:
    • Visa national travelers returning to Ireland after May 13, 2019. Individuals with pending re-entry visa applications seeking to travel and return to Ireland after May 13, 2019 will receive their passport back in the next two weeks, and will be able to obtain a refund for the government filing fee. These individuals can use their IRP card for travel outside Ireland. 
    • Visa national travelers currently abroad. IRP card holders currently abroad and returning to Ireland after May 13, 2019 will be able to re-enter using their passport and IRP card. No further action is required.

 

Unaffected categories

The change does not affect the following categories of applicants:

  • Minors. As minors typically do not receive an IRP card, parents or guardians must continue to apply for a re-entry visa after May 13, 2019.
  • New entrants after 13 May: As IRP card applications may take up to four months to process (including significant appointment waiting times in Dublin), visa nationals with urgent travel needs during the first four months of stay in Ireland can now file a multiple-entry visa application at their local Irish consular post before travelling to Ireland, instead of a single-entry visa application, which was not previously possible.
  • Visa-exempt nationals. As before, visa exempt nationals are not required to obtain a re-entry visa.

 

Impact

Applicants will benefit from facilitated travel through the removal of an administrative step which took two to five weeks to process, removal of fees, and retention of their passport which typically had to be surrendered during re-entry visa processing.

Background

Irish immigration authorities consider the IRP card, introduced in December 2017, secure enough that they have removed the need for a separate re-entry visa. The IRP card is in line with other EU countries’ entry card formats.

The current change is the last in a series of immigration policy improvements, including a revision of eligible occupations in line with labor market needs; expedited processing for de facto partners; automatic work authorization for spouses of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders; and ongoing processing time decreases.

Looking ahead

Fragomen expects the government to continue its efforts to streamline existing immigration processes to make Ireland a more attractive destination for foreign talent. Fragomen will report on further relevant updates.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to ireland@fragomen.com.