If you are Irish and returning to live in Ireland in the coming months there are some changes to regulations that you should be aware of and plan for whatever your situation.
The following restrictions in place as of March 2021 and may change, please see www.gov.ie for up-to-date information:
- The government advises against all non-essential travel
- Requirements before arrival: proof of negative PCR test and a completed passenger locator form, with fines of up to €2,500 or six months in prison for non-compliance
- Mandatory hotel quarantine is required from 26th March 2021 for anyone arriving from or transiting through high-risk countries, which currently includes countries in South America, Africa, UAE and Austria. This list will be reviewed on an ongoing basis so make sure you check which countries are on the list if you are travelling back to Ireland.
If you come into Ireland from any country deemed ‘high risk’ OR if you come to Ireland without a negative or ‘not detected’ PCR test you must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine in a pre-booked hotel which you must book in advance on quarantinehotelsireland.ie. On arrival, the Defence Forces will meet you and ensure that you are safely transported to your hotel quarantine. You will be informed at the hotel about your stay including food choices, exercise and wellbeing. The Irish Defence Forces will be onsite 24/7. You are required to complete 14 days quarantine, which can be reduced if a non-detected Covid test is taken after 10 days. Rates are €1,875 for one adult or one parent family, and €2,500 for 2 adults or two parent family. Fines of €2,000 or up to 1 month prison sentence will apply for failure to complete a mandatory hotel quarantine or complete a required RT-PCR test. Very limited exemptions to quarantine are available.
Returning from abroad with non-EEA family
There are important immigration updates for Irish returning to live in Ireland with non-EEA family members:
Returning with a non-EEA spouse
Since 29 January 2021, the Department of Justice has temporarily stopped accepting new visa applications for Ireland due to COVID-19. So if your spouse is from a visa-required country, it may not be possible to submit a visa application right now unless you can demonstrate that there are imperative family reasons to travel at the present time. If you fall into this Priority/Emergency category, or if you apply for a visa when application processing resumes, then your non-EEA spouse must apply for a ‘D Join Family visa’ online before returning to Ireland.
If your non-EEA spouse is from a non-visa required country (for example USA, Australia), then they may enter Ireland with you without applying for a visa in advance. At the airport, your spouse should state that it is his/her intention to apply for residence based on being the spouse of an Irish national, providing your marriage certificate, and your spouse will be issued with permission to enter the State on that basis. If you are living outside of Dublin you need to contact your local Immigration Officer to request an appointment to register and get Stamp 4. Email addresses available here. If you are living in Dublin, you need to use the online appointment booking system to get an appointment to register for the first time. Since 23 December 2020, the Dublin Registration Office has been closed to the public due to Covid-19, so it is not currently possible to register and get Stamp 4 for the first time in the Dublin area. However your spouse may remain living in Ireland until such time as the office reopens for appointments. Check with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate to see what the process is for accepting visa applications. Updates available here.
Returning with a non-EEA de facto partner (not married)
All non-EEA de facto partners of Irish citizens are required to apply for either an Entry Visa, or immigration preclearance before travelling to Ireland. De facto partners from visa-required countries (e.g. Thailand, Algeria) are required to apply for a D Long Stay Entry Visa, and de facto partners from non-visa required countries (e.g. USA, Australia) are required to apply for Immigration Preclearance. Both applications are made via an online application form. If your non-EEA de facto partner is from a non-visa required country, then he/she can enter the State with you with the original preclearance approval letter. After arrival in Ireland, you should register with the local Registration office to obtain your de facto partner’s permission to remain in Ireland on a Stamp 4 basis as the partner of an Irish citizen (outside Dublin, in Dublin). Unfortunately since 29 January 2021, the Department of Justice has temporarily stopped accepting new visa and preclearance applications for Ireland due to COVID-19. So it may not be possible to submit a preclearance or visa application for your de facto partner right now unless you can demonstrate that there are imperative family reasons to travel at the present time. Check with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate to see what the process is for accepting visa applications. Updates available here.
Returning with children who do not have an Irish passport yet
If your child’s passport is from a non-visa required country (e.g. Australia, USA) he/she can enter Ireland with you using this passport, it is not necessary to apply for an Irish passport. If your child’s passport is from a visa-required country (e.g. Algeria, Pakistan) there are 2 options – apply for an Irish passport for your child through your local Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence before returning to Ireland, or apply for a Long Stay D Join Family visa for your child to return to Ireland using their non-EEA passport. Unfortunately since 29 January 2021, the Department of Justice has temporarily stopped accepting new visa applications for Ireland due to COVID-19. So if your child currently holds a passport from a visa-required country, you need to check with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate Irish Embassy or Consulate to see what the process is for accepting visa applications.