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COVID-19 halts visa waiver scheme
Pic: RollingNews.ie

10 Jul 2020 / covid-19 Print

COVID-19 halts visa waiver scheme

The Government has temporarily suspended a programme which allowed people visiting the UK on short stay visas to travel to Ireland.

The move, announced by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, is part of COVID-19 measures to restrict travel and protect public health. It is being implemented because of the different approaches taken by Ireland and the UK to travel restrictions to combat the pandemic.

Countries

Under the Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme (SSVWP), visa holders had to leave Ireland before their permission to stay in the UK ended.

The programme applies to nationals of 17 countries: Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Montenegro, Oman, People's Republic of China, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

While people from those countries cannot now use their UK visas to visit Ireland, they can apply separately for an Irish visa. Under current circumstances this would be accepted only if it were a critical case.

'Green list'

A Department of Justice statement said the UK had been notified and did not have any concerns about the measure, which has no effect on the operation of the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK.

The Government is still advising against all non-essential foreign travel, but has committed to publishing a ‘green list’ of countries at a similar level to Ireland in terms of COVID-19 on 20 July.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland