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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Laws limiting the freedom of Irish visa-holders to travel home abolished

Over 40,000 people are expected to benefit from this change in legislation.

The system will no longer be in effect from 13 May 2019, with over 40,000 people expected to benefit from the change.
The system will no longer be in effect from 13 May 2019, with over 40,000 people expected to benefit from the change.
Image: Shutterstock/chase4concept

VISA-HOLDING IRISH residents will no longer have to apply for a visa to re-enter the country as of next month.

The Department of Justice has abolished the scheme which previously mandated visa-required nationals in Ireland travelling out of the country to apply for re-entry upon return. 

The system will cease on 13 May 2019, with over 40,000 people expected to benefit from the change.

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan said that visa-required nationals will now be able to use documents such as their Irish Resident’s Permit (IRP) or Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) card to re-enter the country. 

“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.”

Ireland’s youngest peace commissioner, Shashank Chakerwarti welcomed the news, saying that the new legislation will benefit students most of all.

“Personally, I think it is really great news, and it is especially welcomed by the immigrant communities, especially students.”

“Re-entry visas can cost a lot of money so it is helpful that students can now go home whenever they need to.”

Currently, an emergency re-entry visa costs €160 per person or €100 per person if they are exempt from visa fees.

As a peace commissioner appointed by the Justice Minister, Chakerwarti’s role is primarily taking statutory declarations, and witnessing signatures on documents required by various authorities.

He has the power to issue summons and warrants and to sign certificates and orders under various Acts of the Oireachtas.

Chakerwarti previously called the re-entry visa system “archaic” but said he now thinks travel laws in Ireland are changing rapidly and becoming more liberal towards immigrants.

All foreign nationals outside the European Economic Area who are living in Ireland for more than 90 days must register for an IRP card which was introduced in December 2017.

Previously, residents needed to own a now-obsolete GNIB card to live in the country. Although new ones are no longer issued, a number of these cards are still valid.

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