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 Abolition of adult re-entry visas and Interim arrangements regarding re-entry visas for adults.

Notes for Editors:

INIS Service Improvement Plan

The INIS Service Improvement Plan 2018-2020 was published in October 2018 and can be found at INIS Service Improvement Plan 2018-2020.

Visas

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.

Re-entry visas

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

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.

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Angola
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belarus
Benin
Bhutan
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Burkina Faso
Burma/Myanmar
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
China
Colombia
Comoros
Congo (Brazzaville)
Cote d'Ivoire
Cuba
Democratic Republic of Congo
Djibouti
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Faroe Islands
Gabon
Gambia
Georgia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Haiti
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Jamaica
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kosovo
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Lebanon
Liberia
Libya
Macedonia (FYROM)
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Marshall Islands
Mauritania
Mauritius
Micronesia
Moldova
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nepal
Niger
Nigeria
North Korea
Oman
Pakistan
Palau
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Qatar
Russia
Rwanda
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Sudan
Sri Lanka
State of Palestine
Sudan
Suriname
Syria
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Timor Leste
Togo
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
Uzbekistan
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Charlie Flanagan TD

Charlie Flanagan TD

Charlie Flanagan TD is Minister for Justice and Equality.

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Published:12 April 2019

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