HomeTravelIreland to Introduce Visas for Nationals of Botswana & South Africa From...

Ireland to Introduce Visas for Nationals of Botswana & South Africa From July 10

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Starting July 10, nationals from Botswana and South Africa will need to obtain a visa first, before travelling to Ireland, the Irish Department of Justice has announced.

From the same date, Batswana and South Africans will also be subject to a transit visa when intending to transit through Ireland to another destination, Schengen.News reports.

Confirming the new changes, the Minister for Justice of Ireland, Helen McEntee, said that the “carefully considered decision” will bring Ireland into closer alignment with the Schengen zone, in respect of both these countries, and also in line with the United Kingdom in respect of South Africa.

Irish visa requirements are kept under ongoing review, having regard for the need to ensure that effective immigration controls are in place whilst also facilitating those who wish to travel to Ireland for the purposes of a visit, to work, to study, or to join family members.

Minister for Justice of Ireland, Helen McEntee

Through a statement, the Ministry has confirmed that the Dublin Visa Office will establish a dedicated South Africa desk to process applications from South African nationals and three Visa Application Centers (VACs)located throughout South Africa, with visa service provider VFS Global.

Minister McEntee considered the visa system an essential part of Ireland’s immigration system in order to determine who can travel to Ireland.

A wide range of factors are taken in account when introducing visa requirements to ensure we can continue to facilitate travel with processes that are robust, effective, and fair.

Minister for Justice of Ireland, Helen McEntee

The Ministry said that in recent years, a significant number of International Protections applications have been received by authorities in Ireland from nationals of Botswana and South Africa. The Ministry emphasises that both these two countries are considered safe countries of origin for International Protection purposes, and are the only countries on that list which are not currently visa required.

In spite of new rules, transitional arrangements will be established for nationals from Botswana and South Africa who obtain existing arrangements made before July 10, in order to travel to Ireland until August 9, 2024.

Diplomatic passport holders from South Africa will be exempted from the new visa requirements.

Since Botswana was added to the safe countries list, applications from this country decreased by 71 per cent.

Expansion of Ireland’s List of Safe Countries of Origin

Last week, Ireland’s Ministry of Justice added five more countries to the list of states which the Irish government considers a safe country of origin.

Announcing the new decision, the Justice Minister Helen McEntee said that the countries are Brazil, Egypt, India, Morocco and Malawi.

Currently, ten countries are designated as safe countries of origin, among them, Algeria, Albania, Botswana, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and South Africa.

Citizens from these countries can still seek International Protections in Ireland, with the applications from these countries being accelerated following an “extensive review” made by the Irish Department of Justice.

According to the Department of Justice, since the introduction of accelerated processing, in November 2022, the number of applications from these countries decreased by more than 50 per cent.

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