October 31, 2014

In an effort to increase protection against child abduction and child trafficking, the Irish authorities are implementing an increasing amount of travel restrictions to minor visa national children.

Historically, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has given additional scrutiny to the re-entry visa applications for minor children. Even when issuing re-entry visas for the parents without problems, the DoJ has been known to resist issuing re-entry visas to minor children of the same family who have recently arrived in Ireland. These applications are given additional review and are subject to more stringent document requirements.

Earlier this month, the Irish authorities announced that visa regulations for the arrival of minor children into Ireland would also become more rigorous. Visas issued to minor children after October 12, 2014 will thus indicate whether the minor should be accompanied into Ireland by his/her parent(s), guardian(s), or another adult. If the child will be accompanied, then either the name and passport number of the single accompanying adult will be listed on the visa, or the passport numbers (and no names) of two accompanying adults. More specifically:  the “purpose of visa” section on the visa will either state “Child Unaccompanied” or “Child Accompanied. Only valid if accompanied by [name and passport number of adult / passport number of both adults]”.

If this child is not traveling with the adult(s) exactly as mentioned on the visa endorsement, then the child will not be allowed to enter Ireland. For example, if the visa stamp lists two adults, then both adults need to accompany the child.

As the visa application forms asks each applicant if he/she will be traveling with others into Ireland, parents/guardians need to pay special attention when completing the forms for their minor children. If one of the parents might be arriving in Ireland earlier, for example to make preparations for the family’s arrival, then this parent should not be mentioned on the forms as traveling with the children in order to avoid having to fly back to their home country to accompany the minor child(ren). Note that a letter of consent will need to be provided at time of application by any parent/guardian who is not planning to accompany the child.

Children with the notation “Unaccompanied” on their visa may travel with or without an accompanying adult. When reaching the age of 18 any mention of needing to be accompanied is no longer considered valid.