Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (261)

Noel Rock


261. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason it takes two to three months to process a visit visa; the causes of the delay; his plans to implement an improved system in relation to the processing of visa applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39497/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The processing times for visa decisions are published on the visa pages of each Visa Office and Embassy website.  As of 24 September 2019, the Dublin Visa Head Office was processing tourist/visit visa applications received in Dublin on 26 August 2019. Processing times for other Visa Offices overseas and for Embassies will vary but are generally between 3 and 6 weeks at this time, with many applications processed inside those timeframes if the intended travel date requires a faster decision.

While the Immigration Service of my Department advises people to apply 3 months in advance of the intended travel date, processing of the application is usually much quicker. Our business target for processing short-stay 'C' visas is within eight weeks  and current processing time in Dublin for most types of short-stay visas is around four weeks.  The processing time an individual visa at each office and location worldwide is determined by a number of factors such as the volume and complexity of applications, whether investigation is required or not, individual circumstances, peak application periods, seasonal factors, and the resources available.  While every effort is made to process applications as quickly as possible, processing times for individual applications inevitably vary as a result. 

I am also advised by the Immigration Service  that the visa service is experiencing an increase in the number of visa applications across most categories, in line with increased economic activity generally.  Notwithstanding this, processing times are on a par with, and in many cases, better than the same period last year.

The Deputy can be assured that every effort is made to keep processing times to a minimum, and a number of measures have been put in place to deal with the increased demand for visas to come to Ireland.  This has included the assignment of additional staff to deal with applications, and more generally the streamlining of visa processes where possible.  The position in this regard is being kept under review.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department, by e-mail, using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.