The Irish visa office and its Applications Centres across India will be reopening from July 6, 2020 for study visa applications. This is the first stage of a plan to reopen all VACs across India in the coming months on a phased basis – subject to Irish Government Covid-19 measures and any local restrictions that may be in place.
The following VFS centres are expected to open from July 6 and the rest will follow in a phased manner:
• Bengaluru (Global Tech Park)
• Chennai (see note below)
• Mumbai (South)
• New Delhi
Initially, the VACs will only allow long-stay applications to be made (‘D’ categories). No tourism or short-stay visas (‘C’ categories) will be processed at this time due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland. Ireland intends to resume full visa service as soon as public health concerns have been abated in line with Irish Government policy. Current processing times for study visas are approximately 6 weeks. Processing times vary depending on type of visa and nature of application.
The operation of these VACs will be carefully monitored by a range of stakeholders including VFS, Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) in Ireland and will be guided by public health advice set by the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) and World Health Organisation (WHO).
By law, those travelling to Ireland will be required to fill out a form called the ‘Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form’. This form, which can be completed before you travel, may be used by Irish health authorities to contact you to verify your location in Ireland. It will also help contact tracers to contact you if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus on your flight. Applicants should also be aware that people can face a fine of up to €2,500 or six months in prison, or both, if:
- They do not complete this form;
- If they provide false or misleading information; or
- If they fail to provide an update of any information should they move to a different location within the 14-day self-isolation period.
Visas for these Priority/Emergency Short Stay cases will continue to be processed:
- Emergency visa (e.g. Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals);
- Immediate family members of Irish citizens*;
- Persons legally resident in the State;
- Persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive;
- Transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff to the extent necessary;
- Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions.
- With the re-opening of the VACs the Irish Embassy will no longer accept visa applications by courier or by appointment. You must submit your application to the VAC.
- If you submitted your application to the VAC before the lockdown was announced and a decision was made on your application during the lockdown, you can now contact VFS to arrange for your passport to be returned to you.
- The visa office is now processing visas from Bangladesh by post or VFS Kolkata. For Sri Lanka you must submit your application to the Irish Consulate in Colombo.
- VFS is still closed in Nepal until further notice. We cannot accept visa applications from Nepal or the Maldives until the current lockdown restrictions have been lifted. We will review the situation in consultation with the authorities.
A few minor changes are expected for this year in the study visa application process and visa documentation.