Ireland indefinitely bans visa-free travel for South Africans


Ireland

The government of Ireland announced that it would be extending its ban on visa-free travel for all South Africans as well as some South American countries due to the spread of Coivd-19.

During a parliamentary Q&A, Ireland’s minister of Justice Helen McEntee said that the ban will be extended ‘until it is no longer needed for public health reasons.’ According to McEntee, the decision to introduce the ban back in January was made based on expert public health advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

It should be noted that it is currently against the law for any person – (regardless of nationality) to travel within Ireland for non-essential purposes and people can be fined for doing so.

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

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“Further visa requirements may be introduced to other non-EEA countries in the future, where they are deemed necessary and appropriate, to support public health measures approved by the government.”

The Irish Embassy said the situation will be reviewed with the relevant authorities in the coming weeks.

“In the meantime, South African nationals should not at this time apply online for a visa unless the reason for travel falls into the priority/ emergency category,” Ireland’s Minister of Justice said.

The country continues to face damage to its reputation as the 501Y.V2 variant or “South African variant” as it’s referred to abroad, continues to build a stigma against South African travellers, despite the UK variant being up to 60% more deadly than other strains.

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