Visa-Free No More: Ireland Discontinues Free Visa For These Nations

In a statement, Irish minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, has announced that from July 10, 2024, citizens of some countries, who earlier enjoyed visa-free travel to Ireland, will now have to obtain a visa before entering the European nation.

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By Mrinal
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Ireland has discontinued its visa-free scheme for two countries due to 'too many' applications

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In a statement, Irish minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, has announced that from July 10, 2024, citizens of some countries, who earlier enjoyed visa-free travel to Ireland, will now have to obtain a visa before entering Ireland.

Visa-Free Now Becomes Visa-Must

As per the announcement, passport holders of South Africa and Botswana will now have to obtain a visa before coming to the Republic of Ireland. The citizens of these two countries used to enjoy visa-free travel to Ireland earlier. A transit visa will also be needed even if the citizens of these countries wish to only transit through Ireland.

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Citizens of South Africa & Botswana now need to obtain an Irish visa

The reason for the decision is the increasing number of International Protection applications that Ireland has received from Botswana and South Africa nationals. In 2024 alone, Ireland received 198 asylum applications from South African nationals, which raised concerns about misusing the visa-free privileges in the European nation.

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In 2024 alone, Ireland received 198 asylum applications from South African nationals

Ireland Says

“This is a carefully considered decision which will bring Ireland into closer alignment with the Schengen Area in respect of both of these countries and into line with the UK 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,” stated McEntee.

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Helen McEntee, minister for Justice, Ireland

It was also hinted that the government will soon establish a ‘South Africa Desk’ which will deal with process applications from South Africans exclusively.

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