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Emergency Notice

Travel to Ireland

South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe have been designated as “Category 2 Countries” by the Department of Health.  Mandatory Hotel Quarantine now applies to all travellers arriving into Ireland from Category 2 countries after 4am on the morning of Friday, 26 March.  This applies to all travellers coming from designated States, including those who have transited through a port or airport in a designated State, even if they stay airside or portside, in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Ireland, regardless of nationality.  These travellers are now required to pre-book accommodation in a designated quarantine facility, and to pre-pay for their stay. Details for travellers are listed on the website: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/a6975-mandatory-hotel-quarantine/ .

You must also enter mandatory hotel quarantine if, regardless of which country you arrive from (designated and non-designated states), you do not provide evidence that you have a negative or ‘not detected’ result from a COVID-19 Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test carried out no more than 72 hours before you arrive into Ireland.

Passengers will be required to complete 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine at a designated facility, this could be reduced if a passenger receives a not-detected result of a COVID-19 test that is taken after ten days. It may also be extended if a passenger tests positive during their stay.

The aim of this measure is to protect the population when there is a high risk of importation of infection from COVID-19 and from challenges posed by new variants of concern.  The Category 2 list will be revised every two weeks, and the Mandatory Hotel Quarantine provision will remain in place for as long as it is needed to protect public health. 

As part of Government efforts to tackle the pandemic, as of midnight on Wednesday 27th January 2021, a new visa requirement has been introduced for South African passport holders wishing to travel to Ireland.

The Embassy is at present not accepting new visa/preclearance applications except for very limited priority and emergency cases, as outlined below.  Increasing travel restrictions and the measures introduced as part of the Government’s efforts to interrupt the transmission of COVID-19 means that travel may not be possible and even if possible is not advisable unless absolutely essential. It is currently against the law for any person (regardless of nationality or passport) to travel within Ireland for non-essential purposes and people can be fined for doing so.

The situation will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming weeks. In the meantime, South African nationals should not at this time apply on line for a visa unless the reason for travel falls into the Priority/ Emergency category listed below.

We intend to resume accepting applications as soon as safety concerns abate. Certain Priority/Emergency cases will continue to be processed and these include the following:

  • Workers or self-employed persons exercising critical occupations including healthcare workers, frontier and posted workers as well as seasonal workers as referred to in the Guidelines concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers during the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • holders of Critical Skills Work Permits; 
  • transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in the territory as well as those merely transiting;
  • patients travelling for imperative medical reasons;
  • pupils, students and trainees who travel abroad on a daily basis and Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of 3rd level study;
  • persons travelling for imperative family or business reasons;
  • diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the well-functioning of these organisations, military personnel and police officers, and humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions;
  • passengers in transit;
  • seafarers;
  • journalists, when performing their duties.

If your application falls into one of these categories, you can apply on-line in the usual way. Once you’ve completed the on-line application, you should follow the instructions given on the summary page as to where you should submit your application.

If you are unsure as to whether you require a visa/preclearance to enter Ireland you can check here by entering your nationality.  These measures are designed to support our public health restrictions on movement, including into and out of Ireland.

The strong advice therefore is that everyone, regardless of their nationality or visa/preclearance status, or where they started from, who cannot provide proof of an essential purpose to travel to or within Ireland, should not travel to Ireland. 

If you have a genuine humanitarian emergency requiring urgent travel, you should contact the Embassy immediately for advice and consular assistance before commencing your journey.  If you have queries regarding travel to Ireland, please contact the Irish Embassy in Pretoria at  +27 12 452 1000 between 9am – 12pm Monday to Thursday or email pretoria@dfa.ie.

Travel to South Africa and COVID-19

South Africa continues to experience community transmission of COVID-19 and a number of restrictions are in place to control the spread of the virus.  The lockdown measures remain under review and are adjusted from time to time. We advise Irish citizens in South Africa to respect lockdown regulations and follow public health requirements. The latest information on South Africa’s COVID-19 response and restrictive measures in place is available at www.sacoronavirus.co.za.  If you are visiting South Africa and are in need of support, please contact us.  All Irish citizens currently visiting South Africa are also asked to ensure that you have registered with the Embassy of Ireland and also ensure that you remain compliant with South African immigration requirements. 

International flights to and from South Africa are operating under certain restrictions. Travel from countries that are deemed to be high risk will continue to be restricted, and the list of high risk countries will remain under review. Travellers from Ireland are advised to check the list of high risk countries before making your plans, as it will be updated regularly. On arrival, all travellers will need to present a negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours prior to the time of departure. All travellers will be screened on arrival and those presenting with symptoms will be required to have a COVID-19 test.  Where necessary, travellers will need to enter mandatory quarantine facilities at their own cost.  Travellers will also be required to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app.  

Before travelling, you are advised to confirm the requirements for entry to South Africa with the Embassy of South Africa in Ireland. Citizens intending to undertake essential travel to South Africa should also be aware that South Africa continues to adjust its COVID-19 lockdown measures in response to the rate of transmission of the virus, and it cannot be guaranteed that suspensions of international flights may not be reimposed on short notice.  Irish citizens travelling to South Africa should also be aware of the requirements for re-entry to Ireland or to their country of normal residence following their trip.

If you are in South Africa, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. See links to relevant websites below.

Consular Services

Please note the Embassy's new consular service arrangements, which will remain in place on a permanent basis.  Phone lines will operate between 9am – 12pm Monday to Thursday. The Embassy's public office is not open for walk-in customers. To submit an application, you are asked to arrange delivery of documents by courier between 9.00 a.m. and 12 noon, Monday to Thursday. If you have been advised that your documents are ready for collection, we also ask you to arrange collection by courier between these hours. If you are unable to use a courier service and must collect or deliver your documents in person, you can request an appointment.  Appointments are available on Monday to Thursdays between 9.00 a.m. and 12 noon.  Documents being delivered must be simply dropped off in a sealed envelope.  Payments must be made by EFT.  

Please note that all passport renewal applications, for adults and children, must be made online.  First-time applications must be made on paper application forms, which you can request from the Embassy.  Please note that the processing time for passport applications is significantly affected by COVID-19 response measures in South Africa and in Ireland.  

Foreign Birth Registration applications for those resident in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, and Zimbabwe are processed in Ireland.  When you make your online application you will be instructed to send your application directly to Ireland to the following address: Foreign Births Registration Section, PO BOX 13003, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, Ireland.  It is extremely important that you check you have all the correct documentation requested before sending your application and that you send originals documents where indicated. Once your application has been processed, all documentation relating to your application will be returned to you via the Embassy in Pretoria.  We recommend that you send your application to Ireland using a tracked international delivery service.

Documents in support of long-stay visa applications for those resident in Zimbabwe must be sent to the Honorary Consul office in Zimbabwe at the following address: Honorary Consul of Ireland, Lamont House, 2 Robert Mugabe Road, P.O. Box 10424, Harare, Zimbabwe.

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