Policy Updates

Ireland Cuts Visa-Free Access for Dominica, Vanuatu Citizens

Effective March 7th, 2024, Dominica and Vanuatu nationals must obtain visas before visiting Ireland, including for airport transit purposes. The new Irish immigration policy compounds travel restrictions on the nationals of the two CBI countries, who recently lost visa-free access privileges to the UK.

The Irish government noted a need to align with the UK’s policy change implemented in late 2023. At the time, the UK’s government cited “clear and evident abuse of the [Dominican citizenship by investment] scheme, including the granting of citizenship to individuals known to pose a risk to the UK” as the main reason behind its decision to strip Dominica, alongside Vanuatu, from visa-free entry into the Kingdom. 

The Irish government did not allude to the countries’ citizenship by investment programs as direct grounds for the change in policy. The Common Travel Area (CTA) connects Ireland and the UK, and it may complicate immigration matters as both countries strive to maintain a soft border. Thus, harmonizing immigration policies (to a degree) may be due to the intricacy of the free-movement zone. 

This isn’t the first time Ireland has followed in the UK’s immigration footsteps. The EU country shut down its Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) less than a year after the UK suspended its Tier 1 Investor Visa. The Irish government took “inspiration” from its UK counterpart when making a decision, further highlighting the country’s willingness to adjust its immigration framework to the overall structure in the region. 

A message from our partners
Middle East Road Show Ad

According to statements from Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee, imposing visa requirements aims to maintain “effective immigration control” while ensuring travel accessibility remains balanced through regular governmental reviews.

“The number of nationals from Dominica and Vanuatu traveling to and residing in Ireland is relatively low,” an Irish government statement acknowledged. However, officials in Dominica reportedly view the visa mandate as a “punitive measure” that could unfairly restrict mobility for its citizens.

In 2022, Ireland issued 113,579 visas in total (61,855 short-stay; 51,694 long-stay). 

With historically low arrivals from Dominica and Vanuatu, Irish authorities are not anticipating any substantial visa application surge from the new requirements. However, the compounding impacts will pose challenges for some travelers, especially those with imminent plans. Ireland stated that “transitional arrangements” will temporarily accommodate affected individuals.

Become an IMI Pro today

For committed professionals
Monthly €99 or €840 per year (30% discount)
  • Get Your IMI Pro profile page in IMI
  • Access to IMI Data Center
  • Access to IMI Private Briefings
  • Unlimited articles
  • IMI Citizenship Catalog
  • IMI Reports included
  • Watch members-only interviews
  • Advance invitation to IMI Events

Explore IMI’s Tools and Resources

>> See all IMI tools and resources

Ahmad Abbas AdministratorAuthorSubscriberParticipant
Director of Content Services , Investment Migration Insider

Ahmad Abbas is Director of Content Services at Investment Migration Insider and an 8-year veteran of the investment migration industry.

follow me