ARE YOU AWAITING A DECISION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN RELATION TO FAMILY REUNFIICATION (“JOIN FAMILY”) APPLICATION MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INIS POLICY DOCUMENT?
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROCESS THESE FAMILY REUNFIICATION APPLICATIONS?
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROCESS APPLICATIONS FOR VISAS ONCE A FAMILY REUNIFICATION GRANT LETTER HAS BEEN RECEIVED BY A REFUGEE / BENEFICIARY OF SUBSIDIARY PROTECTION?
HAS COVID 19 CAUSED A DELAY?
Recent parliamentary questions addressed these issues;
On 13th October 2020, the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, acknowledged delays in processing visa applications in her Department due to remote working and COVID-19. She confirmed that Join Family D-Type Visa Applications (“Category B” Sponsor) received before January 2019 were “now being processed”.
The current processing times for the various visa applications are as follows:
Notably, “Category B” Sponsored Visa Appeals currently take 23 months to be processed, whereas “Category A / Irish Citizen” Sponsored Visa Appeals take 20 months.
The Policy Document itself contains a stated business target that visa applications to join Irish citizen family members should be dealt with within 6 months of receipt of application and that visa applications to join non-EEA nationals should be dealt with within 12 months of receipt. However, the Policy Document notes these are business targets and do not constitute legal obligations.
“Category A” Visa Applications are those where the Sponsor is a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder, an Investor, and Entrepreneur, a Business Permission Holder, Researchers, INIS Approved Scholarship programme students (e.g. KASP), Intra Company Transferees, PhD Students, Full-Time Non Locum Doctors in Employment.
”Category B” Visa Applications are those where the Sponsor is a Non-Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder, Minister of Religion, and all Stamp 4 holders not covered by other more favourable arrangements.
The Minister confirmed to the Dail on the 5th November 2020 that currently short stay visas applications are not generally being accepted.
In relation to Refugees and persons granted Subsidiary Protection, on 9th December 2020, the Minister confirmed to the Dáil the following timeframe for family reunification applications (after a family reunification grant letter has been received by a refugee/ beneficiary of subsidiary protection):
“Such applications are typically processed within 2-3 weeks of being received by the Dublin Office with all the appropriate supporting documentation. This timeframe has not always been possible to achieve this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions in relation to visa processing. However, I can confirm to the Deputy that, at present, these visa applications are being processed within the 2-3 week timeframe”
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