Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Justice when the processing of long stay visa applications will be resumed (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27472/21]
491. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice when the processing of join family visa applications will resume; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27752/21]
499. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Justice when the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service will resume processing short stay C visas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27898/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): I propose to take Questions Nos. 476, 491 and 499 together.
Last week, I announced with Minister Humphreys that two new categories have been added to the priority/emergency list for visas being processed at this time. Visa applications are now being accepted for essential family reunification and for those who are travelling for essential business or employment purposes and have been issued with an employment permit by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
It remains the position that my Department is not accepting any short stay visa applications, except for cases that fall under the Emergency/Priority criteria set out below.
The Priority/Emergency cases that will continue to be accepted and processed at this time include the following:
- People travelling for business/employment purposes and granted an employment permit by Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to meet an enterprise’s key business;
- patients travelling for imperative medical reasons;
- transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in the territory as well as those merely transiting;
- pupils, students and trainees who travel abroad on a daily basis and Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of 3rd level study;
- Join Family applications;
- Preclearance applications from De Facto Partner of an Irish National, De Facto Partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder, or of a non EEA Researcher on a Hosting Agreement and Family members looking to join a UK National in Ireland;
- persons travelling for imperative family or business reasons;
- Persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive;
- 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;
- journalists, when performing their duties.
It is important to note that all travellers arriving into Ireland must continue to comply fully with the public health measures required by law, including completing a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form, pre-arrival PCR test and quarantine in a designated facility or at home, as appropriate.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the situation in relation to visa processing, including for short stay and other long stay categories, will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming weeks.