Thursday, 15 October 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
238. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the average waiting times for the processing of visa applications; if the waiting times have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic; the measures that will be taken to increase staff numbers in her Department to bring waiting times down; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30669/20]
Decisions regarding the grant or refusal of visas are made in a number of Visa Offices overseas, in the Immigration Service Visa Office in Dublin, and at Embassies of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which process certain visa applications under delegated sanction from my Department. The processing time for visas in each location is determined by a number of factors, such as the volumes and complexity of applications, peak application periods and the resources available. While every effort is made to process such applications as quickly as possible, processing times inevitably vary as a result of these factors.
In line with public health advice, the Immigration Service has implemented measures to help in reducing the spread of the virus, including the implementation of remote working for staff in order to comply with social and physical distancing measures. Unfortunately, these measures have impacted on processing capacity. The Immigration Service is currently implementing a series of actions to address these impacts, including in the area of visa processing.
A limited resumption of visa services commenced from 22 June 2020. During this initial resumption phase, only Long Stay “D” visa applications, including Study, are accepted as well as those identified under our current criteria as Emergency/Priority visas. It remains the position that we are not yet accepting any short stay visa applications, except for cases that fall under the Emergency/Priority criteria. All visas where the person wishes to stay in Ireland for more than 90 days are termed long stay. There are a number of different types of long-stay visas.
The Dublin Office is currently processing:
- Employment Visas received on 6/10/2020
- Study Visas received on 02/9/2020
- Join Family Visas received on 24/10/2019 or 01/05/2020 – depending on the family member in Ireland
The current processing times are published each Tuesday on the Immigration Service website at: