Ireland's Minister for Justice Helen McEntee shared why she extended the ban on visa-free travel to Ireland from South Africa. Picture: AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert
Ireland's Minister for Justice Helen McEntee shared why she extended the ban on visa-free travel to Ireland from South Africa. Picture: AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Why Ireland stopped free visa travel for South Africans

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Mar 18, 2021

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Ireland's Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has extended the ban on visa-free travel to Ireland from South Africa due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the past, South African travellers were able to visit Ireland without a visa to enjoy attractions like The Cliffs of Moher and Kylemore Abbey.

However, Ireland implemented a ban on visa travel to South Africa as well as countries like Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Chile, to name but a few, earlier this year due to the new Covid-19 strain.

McEntee extended the ban under section 17 of the Immigration Act 2004, which states that "The Minister may, for the purposes of ensuring the integrity of the immigration system, the maintenance of national security, public order or public health or the orderly regulation of the labour market or for the purposes of reciprocal immigration arrangements with other states or the promotion of tourism, by order amend or revoke an order under this section."

According to The Irish Times, McEntee will "maintain these visa requirements after March 5 and until no longer needed for public health reasons.”(sic)

She revealed that the decision was made in accordance with advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

Answering parliamentary questions, she said, as quoted by The Irish Times: "The strong advice is that everyone, regardless of their nationality or visa/preclearance status, or where they started their travel from, who cannot provide proof of an essential purpose to travel to or within Ireland, should not travel to Ireland."

Ireland could suspend visa-free travel to other European Economic Area to support the country's health measures.

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