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Visa Applications

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 8 December 2020

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Questions (498)

Matt Carthy

Question:

498. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Justice the reason a visa applicant (details supplied) has been informed they will need to reapply and pay fresh fees for an application which was approved in April 2020 but has not issued due to Covid-19; her views on whether it is unfair that the applicant should have to pay twice when it was her Department that decided to approve a visa it could not issue; if she will arrange for the first application fee to be refunded if the applicant does need to reapply; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41231/20]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the way the Immigration Service my Department conducts its business.  In line with public health advice, the Immigration Service has implemented a suite of measures to help in reducing the spread of the virus. These measures include the implementation of remote working for staff in order to comply with social and physical distancing measures and the decision to temporarily cease accepting new visa applications.

A limited resumption of visa services was announced from 22 June 2020, for Long Stay “D” visa applications, including Study, as well as those identified under the current criteria as Emergency/Priority visas. It remains the position that the Immigration Service are not accepting any short stay visa applications, except for cases that fall under the Emergency/Priority criteria.

All outstanding Short Stay “C” Visa applications were either refused, if the Visa Officer was not satisfied that a visa should be granted, or withdrawn. Applicants that had their applications withdrawn were informed that they will need to make a new visa application, and submit updated documents, when normal visa processing resumes. However, depending on the period of time that has passed and the circumstances of the particular case, if they decide to re-apply, the Immigration Service will consider waiving the fee for the new application.

Some of the Visa Offices abroad outsource certain administrative and non-judgmental tasks related to visa, passport and identity management. Separate charges are applicable for such services provided to applicants.

Queries in relation to the status of individual visa cases may be made directly to 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.

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