IRELAND: Holiday Travel Allowances and Citizenship Application Improvements
Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, T.D. announced the following immigration changes on November 15 and 16, 2021:
- Holiday travel allowances for individuals with expired Irish Residence Permit cards; and
- Streamlined document requirements for citizenship applications.
Holiday Travel Allowances
To facilitate the anticipated increase in international travel over the end-of-year holiday season, the Irish Department of Justice (DOJ) has confirmed that anyone holding an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card that was valid as of March 20, 2020 will automatically have their IRP card extended until January 15, 2022. This will allow eligible foreign residents with expired IRP cards to exit- and re-enter Ireland over the holiday season as long as they return prior to January 15, 2022.
Individuals traveling internationally while holding eligible expired IRP cards should carry both their existing IRP card and a printed copy of the DOJ’s Travel Confirmation Notice as proof of their legal residence in Ireland. The Travel Confirmation Notice document can be accessed here.
It is important to note that this allowance is only applicable to IRP card holders. Individuals with a single entry visa and a prior landing stamp, but who do not have an eligible IRP card, will still require a re-entry visa to return to Ireland. Individuals with a valid multiple-entry visa will be allowed to exit and re-enter Ireland as normal.
Furthermore, in order to facilitate family travel, Minister McEntee has also suspended re-entry visa requirements for minors aged 16-years-old and under until January 15, 2021.
Please see the Irish authorities’ overview for further details and answers to frequently asked questions.
Streamlined Citizenship Applications
Effective January 1, 2022, the Irish authorities will roll out simplified identification documentation requirements for citizenship applications. Most notably, new citizenship applicants will not be required to submit their original passport with the initial application; rather, they can provide a full color copy of their entire passport (including front and back covers). The color copy must be witnessed by a solicitor and submitted with the application form.
Irish authorities recommend that foreign residents who are considering applying for Irish citizenship but have plans to travel outside of Ireland over the holidays, delay their citizenship application until January 2022. This will allow these individuals to retain their original passports to travel internationally and then take advantage of the new document requirement options.
In addition, the DOJ confirmed that significant changes will be introduced to the number of proofs required to establish a citizenship applicant’s identity and residency. Although final details are still pending from the authorities, the Department will transition to a “scorecard approach” which they hope will bring more clarity to the required identity and residency documentation.
Newland Chase Insights
Foreign IRP card holders should welcome the automatic extension of any eligible expired IRP cards until January 15, 2022. This will allow them to travel internationally through the end-of-year holiday season. Individuals utilizing the automatic extension must be sure to return to Ireland before January 15, 2022, however, or be sure to renew their IRP card before exiting Ireland.
Citizenship applicants should also welcome the news that they will be able to submit a color copy of their passport in lieu of the original document. Newland Chase will closely monitor the additional announcements from the Irish authorities regarding the other upcoming documentation changes and provide an update as soon as it is made available.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Newland Chase dedicated contact or submit an inquiry here should you have any specific questions regarding this announcement.