Russia And Belarus Removed From Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Scheme

Russia And Belarus Removed From Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Scheme

The Irish government has announced that the country has decided to remove Russia and Belarus from the Short Stay Visa Waiver Scheme. 

The Short-Stay Visa Waiver Program allows nationals from more than 20 countries who hold a short-stay United Kingdom visa to travel to Ireland without obtaining an Irish visa. This means that in line with the new changes, travellers from Russia and Belarus will no longer be permitted to enter Ireland without holding a valid Irish visa.

Countries included in the visa waiver scheme include India, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Peru among others.

“I have now signed a Statutory Instrument to remove Russia and Belarus from the list of countries who may avail of the Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme in light of the continued Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

Minister of Justice of Ireland, Helen McEntee

Announcing the news, Minister McEntee said that the decision of Russia to invade Ukraine as well as to recognise a number of non-government-controlled areas as independent entities are a severe breach of international law.

Aligning Policy

Minister McEntee pointed out that even though Ireland is not bound to comply with the Schengen approach since it is not a Schengen Member State, it still wants to align its policy on the waiver of visas granted in the UK.

In addition, Minister McEntee announced that in alignment with the approach taken by the Schengen-associated countries, Irish authorities would not recognise Russian passports that have been issued in occupied foreign regions for the purpose of issuing visas and crossing external borders.

“The government is clear that this [the Russian practise of handing out ordinary Russian passports to residents of non-government controlled areas in Ukraine and Georgia] is a grave infringement of international law and the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of both countries.”

Minister of Justice of Ireland, Helen McEntee

Similar to Ireland, some other countries have also tightened their entry rules for citizens of Russia, and some others have completely closed their borders for them.

The list of countries that no longer allow entry for citizens of Russia includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, and the Czech Republic.

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