Visa waiver programme suspended due to UK’s COVID-19 ‘divergence’ from Ireland

Visa waiver programme suspended due to UK's COVID-19 'divergence' from Ireland

Helen McEntee

The visa waiver programme allowing people visiting the UK on short stay visas to travel to Ireland has been temporarily suspended because of a “divergence in approach” to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measure, announced today by Justice Minister Helen McEntee, will affect nationals from 17 countries, including Russia, China and India.

A spokesperson for Ms McEntee said the Irish short stay visa waiver programme (SSVWP) was being suspended “because of a divergence in approach between Ireland and the UK in travel measures to combat the pandemic”.

Nationals of the affected countries will no longer be in a position to use their UK short stay visa for a visit to Ireland, but may apply separately for an Irish visa, which under current circumstances would only be accepted if it was a critical case.

The spokesperson added: “It must be emphasised that this is a temporary measure, which does not affect the Common Travel Area rights of British and Irish citizens or the operation of the CTA.”

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