Ireland's visa re-entry system has been abolished
Over 40,000 people will benefit from the change every year.
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 the current 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.
Under the new rule, from 13 May onward, such individuals will be exempt from the requirement to hold a visa if they have registered for an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) card.
Minister Charlie Flanagan spoke about how pleased he was with the abolition of the re-entry system.
He 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.
Until the date that it comes into effect, 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.
It has also been revealed that 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 of this year 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 here.