Travel documents for refugees
A travel document allows people living in Ireland who cannot get a passport to travel outside Ireland. People who have been declared a refugee are entitled to a 1951 Convention Travel Document.
You may also be able to get a Travel Document if you have subsidiary protection status or leave to remain, and you cannot get a national passport from your country of nationality
Who can get a Travel Document?
You may be eligible for a travel document if you:
- Have been declared a refugee
- Have been granted Subsidiary Protection status
- Have been granted permission to live in Ireland following a request by the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (a programme refugee)
- Have been declared stateless under the New York Convention of 1954
- You are the family member of any of the above
- Have permission to remain and need to travel because of an emergency
If you have been declared a refugee following an application for international protection, or you came to Ireland as a programme refugee, you can get a travel document.
A refugee travel document is valid for 10 years. It says “Convention of 28 July 1951” on the front cover. It sometimes called a ‘1951 Convention Travel Document’. You can travel to most countries in the EU without a visa, and stay for up to 90 days using this travel document. You should check with the embassy of the country where you plan to travel.
People with subsidiary protection status
If you were granted subsidiary protection following an application for international protection, ISD may give you a travel document if you cannot get a passport from your country of nationality.
This travel document is valid for up to 3 years (or until your residency is due for renewal). You generally need a visa to enter other countries. You should check with the embassy of the country where you to plan to travel.
You may get a travel document if you are a family member of someone with refugee or subsidiary protection status. You must show that you have tried to get a passport or travel document from your country of nationality.
Your children need their own travel documents. Children under 16 also need a re-entry visa (unless they have a refugee (convention) travel document of their own).
People with leave to remain or other residency status
ISD can issue a travel document to other residents, but only in exceptional circumstances, and where you cannot get a passport from your country of nationality. For example, if you have to travel abroad for urgent medical treatment and you are unable to get a passport, ISD may issue a travel document.
You should note that travel documents take 16 weeks or more to process.
Travelling to Ireland with a ‘convention’ travel document
If you plan to travel to Ireland you do not need a visa to enter Ireland and stay for up to 90 days if you have a refugee travel document (under Article 28 of the Geneva Convention) issued by one of the following countries:
If your travel document is not a refugee (convention) travel document, or it was not issued by one of the above countries, you must apply for a visa.
How to apply
You apply to the Travel Document Unit of ISD using the travel document application form (pdf). You should include the following with your completed application:
- 4 passport-sized photographs, 2 of which are signed by a member of An Garda Síochána- check the photographic requirements for a travel document (pdf).
- Fee of €80 - you should pay by bank draft or postal order, made payable to the Department of Justice.
- Passport or national identity card
- Permission letter allowing you to remain in Ireland
Minors will also need:
- Birth certificate (if applicable)
- A letter from the minor’s school or GP, confirming that they go to school
- One of the minor’s passport-sized photos should be signed by their school or GP
If the applicant is not in Ireland (for example, where family reunification has been granted), you can leave the Garda sections blank and send the completed form to the ISD Travel Document Unit. They will send the completed form to the nearest embassy or Irish representative to have the rest of the form completed and witnessed.
If your application is successful your travel document will be sent to you by registered post. If your application is refused you will be informed in writing. You are advised not to make any travel arrangements until you receive your travel document.
You can find information about Travel Documents on the website of the Irish Immigration Service Delivery.