In response to the identification of new strains of COVID-19, the Irish government has extended the existing travel ban on all individuals entering Ireland from Great Britain and South Africa to 8 January 2021. A negative COVID-19 test requirement has also been introduced for such travellers from 9 January 2021.
In response to the identification of new strains of COVID-19, the Irish government has extended the existing travel ban on all individuals entering Ireland from Great Britain and South Africa to 8 January 2021. A negative COVID-19 test requirement has also been introduced for such travellers from 9 January 2021.1
The travel restrictions and the new procedures will affect employers and their globally-mobile employees from Great Britain and South Africa – especially business travellers – doing business in Ireland in terms of disruption, new procedures and requirements, and changes to travel plans.
Individuals from Great Britain and South Africa scheduling trips to Ireland should be aware of the updates, current restrictions and conditions concerning entry into the country, as well as the consequences for non-compliance.
The Irish government has extended a ban on flights and passenger ferry journeys from Great Britain and South Africa to Ireland until midnight Friday, 8 January 2021. Northern Ireland is not in scope of this announcement.
From 9 January 2021, all individuals arriving at Irish airports and sea ports whose journeys originate in Great Britain or South Africa will be requested to have evidence of a negative result from a pre-departure Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test (COVID-19 not detected) taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival. This new mandatory requirement will be in place until 31 January 2021, and will be kept under review in light of the evolving epidemiological situation.
Passengers may be required to provide evidence of their negative result before boarding their airplane or ferry and will be required to produce this evidence to Immigration Officers on arrival at the points of entry to Ireland.
Any individual who arrives in an Irish airport or sea port without evidence of a negative result may be subject to prosecution, punishable by a fine not exceeding €2,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.
It is important to note that passengers whose journey does not originate in either Great Britain or South Africa, but who transit through an airport or port in Great Britain as part of their journey to Ireland, will not be required to provide evidence of a negative test. Similarly, passengers who arrive in Ireland solely for the purpose of travelling onwards to another state and do not leave the airport will not be required to provide evidence of a negative result.
Certain exemptions also apply where an Irish citizen has a genuine humanitarian emergency requiring urgent travel.
Employers and employees should note that these restrictions apply regardless of nationality, as such, any individual with planned travel to Ireland from Great Britain or South Africa between now and 31 January 2021, will need to consider these updated restrictions prior to travel to Ireland.
For advice on this changing situation, please contact your travel agent and local qualified immigration counsel or the Corporate Immigration and Employment Law Team with KPMG in Ireland
1 See the recent communication from the Department of the Taoiseach: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/b4020-travelling-to-ireland-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/#new-pre-departure-testing-requirements-from-9-january-2021-for-passengers-whose-journey-originates-in-great-britain-or-south-africa.
* Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Ireland.
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