The Immigration Service Delivery released yet another FAQ document regarding the Impact of Covid-19 on Immigration and International Protection on the 29th June 2020. We appreciate how confusing all of these updates are to follow, so we have extracted the relevant revised information contained in the latest update for ease of reading.
Expired of expiring IRP card
The latest update confirms that where a person’s IRP card has expired or is expiring, and they plan to travel abroad in the coming weeks, that they should refrain from travelling until they have obtained a new IRP card.
Individuals are directed to contact the Garda National Immigration Bureau or their local registration office as relevant to confirm when they shall be re-opening in order to make arrangements to renew their IRP card prior to travel.
We are astonished by the direction to contact the GNIB or a person’s local registration office to confirm when re-opening will take place. We would expect that given the volume of individuals affected by the closure of the immigration offices in March 2020 and the volume of non-EEA nationals whose IRP cards have already expired, that the immigration authorities would issue an official update outlining when their offices will be re-open to the public, and what process will be put in place in order for immigration renewals to be processed, with IRP cards issuing in an efficient and timely manner. At this point many individuals have been without a valid IRP card since early 2020, or perhaps some since late 2019 due to difficulties in securing appointments with immigration offices, particularly the GNIB, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic taking effect. It is clear that significant problems were already present in the system prior to offices closing in March 2020 and we would respectfully submit that it is the obligation of the immigration office to re-open in a timely and organised manner to ensure renewals are processed as quickly as possible
It is important to point out that the requirement to renew an IRP card prior to travel should not be applicable to non-visa required nationals who do not require a visa to enter the state. We see no problem in non-visa required nationals travelling and re-entering the State, subject of course to public health requirements, if their IRP cards have already expired and we would expect that immigration officers would be fully reasonable in this regard having regard to the right of citizens of certain non-EEA countries to enter the State without a valid entry visa. Further clarification is again required on behalf of the ISD in this regard.
The update confirms that visa appeals may be submitted electronically to the visa office in Dublin or relevant Embassy as directed via email. Any original documentation required to support the appeal such as divorce, marriage, birth, death certificates should be submitted by post or courier to the postal address directed on the original visa decision.
Irish Visa applications
The Dublin Visa Office as well as several offices overseas based in China, India, UAE, Turkey, Nigeria, Russia and the United Kingdom reopened on the 22nd of June 2020 however, some restrictions are still in place in some of these countries and where it has not been possible for them to resume acceptance of applications from 22 June 2020, it is their intention to accept applications as soon as possible in accordance with WHO and HSE guidelines in Ireland and abroad.
Again, it is important to note that at present only applications for Long Stay D visas including employment and study are being accepted as well as those previously identified under the ISD emergency/priority visa list.
The full ISD FAQ document can be found on the following link – http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Immigration-Service-Delivery-Covid-19-FAQ4.pdf/Files/Immigration-Service-Delivery-Covid-19-FAQ4.pdf
The Immigration Department of Sinnott Solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with all Irish immigration matters.