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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Dirco and Home Affairs ‘addressing’ change in Ireland’s visa-free stance

As the new visa rule kicks in today, South Africans will need more than a four-leaf clover to get into Ireland.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Ronald Lamola and Home Affairs Minister Leon Schreiber are reportedly engaging in talks with the Irish government over a recent visa change.

Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee announced on Monday that visa-free entry into Ireland for nationals travelling from South Africa and Botswana would come to an end on Wednesday, 10 July.

A visa is also required for those travelling via Ireland when en route to another destination.

SA government consulting on change

Dirco spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said both Dirco and the Department of Home Affairs were in the process of addressing the issue.

“Minister Lamola and Minister Schreiber at Home Affairs are both cognisant of the issue and have already discussed it. Both Dirco and Home Affairs will engage with the Republic of Ireland to comprehensively address the concerns raised,” he wrote on X.

Reasons for Ireland’s new visa requirements

According to McEntee, the sudden decision came about due to an increase in asylum-seekers from the two countries.

“In recent years, a significant number of International Protection [asylum] applications have been received from nationals of Botswana and South Africa.

“Both countries are designated as safe countries of origin for International Protection purposes and are the only countries on that list which are not currently visa required,” the department’s statement reads.

The Irish justice minister added that the country’s latest visa rule aligned that country with the Schengen Area’s stance on the two countries, as well as that of the United Kingdom towards South Africa.

Systems put in place for applications

McEntee said that a designated “South African desk” will be set up at the Dublin visa office to process applications from South African nationals.

The department will also establish three visa application centres (VACs) operated by VFS Global in South Africa.

  • Single-entry and multiple-entry visas cost about R1,200 and R2,000 respectively.

NOW READ: Home Affairs visa extensions: Which applicants get temporary concession?

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