Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (527)

James Lawless


527. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the protocols and procedures for minors travelling alone in relation to passport control at Dublin Airport; the requirement, if applicable, for letters of consent from parents or guardians; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36495/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of my Department (INIS), is responsible for immigration operations at the border at Dublin Airport. INIS is committed to the highest standards in child safeguarding, as are all divisions of my Department.

In the course of discharging immigration duties at the border, immigration officers regularly deal with minors, hence the requirement to be alert to potential child protection issues such as human trafficking and the exploitation of children is paramount. In circumstances where any child protection concerns emerge, immigration officers consult with Tusla, the statutory agency responsible for the welfare of children in Ireland.

For minors travelling unaccompanied it is advisable that they carry the following documentation.

Evidence of consent from a parent or guardian of the child, such as:

- A signed letter from the child’s parent(s)/guardian giving consent for travel and providing his/her contact details

- A copy of a document identifying the parent/guardian, e.g. a copy of the picture page of a passport or driving licence

- Evidence of the parent/guardian relationship with the child, e.g. a copy of a birth or adoption certificate, or guardianship papers

- A death certificate in the case of a deceased parent

If the minor is not ordinarily resident in Ireland:

- Full address of where they will be staying

- Full contact details of who they will be staying with

 In instances where an immigration officer considers it necessary to make further inquiries, such documentation may help to clarify matters, most particularly regarding family relationships.

An immigration officer may also seek to establish the relationship between an unaccompanied minor and any adult meeting the child on arrival at Dublin Airport, before permitting the child to enter the State. In this case the immigration officer may seek similar documentation to that outlined above. This documentation is also outlined in detail on the INIS website.

 Additionally, minors who are visa required must hold a valid visa to enter or re-enter the State.  A parent or guardian must apply for the visa and their consent to the child travelling is required as part of the visa application.