The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) have provided several recent updates for visitors and foreign residents in Ireland in the wake of COVID-19 closures, and travel bans. INIS have prepared a document on their website addressing several queries relating to obtaining entry visas to the State as well as providing an update on existing residence applications which can be located here. In summary:

  • Visas Applications: INIS have announced that they have temporarily ceased accepting and processing visa applications (applications seeking to be permitted entry to the jurisdiction from outside the State) effective from the 20th March 2020 save in a number of emergency categories including:

Emergency visas for workers in the healthcare sector

-Immediate family members of Irish citizens

-Qualifying or permitted family members of EU who are exercising rights to free movement in the jurisdiction

-Transport and haulage companies

-Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers

  • Closure of GNIB Office: Both the GNIB Office in Burgh Quay and all local registration offices have now closed as of Friday 20th March 2020, meaning that any appointments which were already booked have been cancelled. This includes those with reporting requirements. To date it has not been confirmed when it is planned to reschedule dates.
  • Extension of Existing Permissions: All permissions expiring between the 20 March 2020 and the 20 May 2020 have been automatically extended by the Minister for a period of 60 days.
  • Work Permits: For permit holders who are working from home and their home address is not listed as a place of work on their permit, a notification should be sent to DBEI (employmentpermits@dbei.gov.ie) confirming this. The notification requirement applies to permit holders only i.e. not to individuals whose permission to work is based on a stamp 1G, stamp 2 or stamp 4. Any employees who are outside of the country and may be/will be outside of the country for 6 weeks or more, should email GNIB (burghquayregoffice@justice.ie) to notify the agency.
  • EU Treaty Rights: Applications for new residence cards and requests for review continue to be accepted and processed by INIS. During the current emergency, applications will not be refused or closed due to lack of documentation unless ample opportunity has been given to an applicant prior to the current crisis. Temporary permission letters will issue to those who qualify for that permission. For the registration of temporary Stamp 4 permissions, applicants should refer to Department of Justice Updates and Announcements page for further information.
  • Family Reunification: A beneficiary who is unable to travel before the expiry of the 12 month time frame due to the current crisis, can have this time frame extended. Persons should contact the relevant unit via FRU_IPA@Justice.ie
  • Deportation/Removal/Transfer Order: The GNIB are issuing new presentation letters to all persons subject to these Orders that are due for presentation in the coming 4 to 6 weeks. Applicants should direct queries to GNIB_DV@garda.ie or, outside of Dublin, a local Immigration Officer

Updates have also been provided by the International Protection Office (IPO) and the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) in relation to those individuals seeking International Protection or those currently in the International Protection process:

  • IPO: Until further notice, opening hours at the IPO located at Timberlay House, 79-83 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2 will be Monday to Friday 11am – 2pm
  • New Applicants: A limited service will be provided to new applicants for International Protection until further notice
  • Interviews: Interviews scheduled up to 17 April 2020 have been cancelled and further guidance will be published in due course
  • Temporary Residence Cards: Renewal appointments are suspended up to 17 April 2020. New cards will automatically issue to applicants whose cards are due to be renewed between 30 March 2020 and 17 April 2020
  • International Protection Status: An applicant whose status (Refugee Status, Subsidiary Protection or Permission to Remain in the State) expires between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020, will automatically have that status renewed for a period of two months
  • Applicants who are affected by the new measures are advised not to attend the IPO and should be contacted via info@ipo.gov.ie
  • Access to the Labour Market: An applicant whose permission to access the labour market expires between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020, will automatically have that permission renewed for a period of two months
  • IPAT Hearings: Hearings scheduled up to 19 April 2020 are postponed and the Tribunal will provide information on hearings scheduled after that date
  • Tribunal staff are working remotely and queries should be directed to info@protectionappeals.ie rather than by post
  • Further information can be found at ipo.gov.ie and www.protectionappeals.ie

As the current crisis is evolving and these arrangements are temporary, applicants should keep updated by referring to information and guidance published by the relevant State department or agency on a regular basis.

Should you have any queries relating to any of the issues mentioned above do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Team at 01-6790780 or emailing Stephen Kirwan of our Department at  stephen.kirwan@kodlyons.ie