Returning to Ireland and COVID-19

Introduction

This page has information on returning to Ireland during COVID-19. It includes up-to-date information on travel advice, public health guidelines and social welfare entitlements for Irish people returning to Ireland from abroad.

Since 6 March 2022, all COVID-19 travel restrictions are removed for travellers to Ireland. You no longer need to complete a passenger locator form. You also no longer need proof of vaccination or recovery, or a COVID-19 test.

You should follow public health advice if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or if you are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 when you return to Ireland.

Returning to Ireland from Ukraine

The Department of Foreign Affairs has set up a telephone line on +353 1 4082000 for emergency consular assistance for Irish citizens in Ukraine. You can also email Press.office@dfa.ie

Find information and updates on Ukraine and neighbouring countries on the DFA website.

Read coming to Ireland from Ukraine for information for Ukrainian refugees who plan to come to Ireland, or who have already arrived in Ireland.

EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC)

If you are travelling within the EEA, you should carry the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC).

You no longer need to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative PCR test result when travelling to Ireland. However, other EU and non-EU countries may ask you to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test result.

Your DCC will show if you:

  • Are vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Recovered from COVID-19 in the past 6 months
  • Have a negative COVID-19 test result (RT-PCR or rapid antigen test); or
  • Have received a booster vaccine

You can read more about the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC).

Travel to Ireland

You no longer need to complete a passenger locator form. You also no longer need proof of vaccination or recovery, or a COVID-19 test when travelling to Ireland.

You can find out what you need to do in our page on travelling to Ireland during COVID-19.

What to do if you are abroad

You can visit dfa.ie for up-to-date travel advice.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) advises Irish citizens abroad to follow local public health advice and stay in regular contact with your family and friends. You can contact your local Irish embassy or consulate and register your contact details with the Department. If you need help, there are consular and diplomatic supports.

The DFA’s Consular Assistance Unit in Dublin can also be contacted by calling +353 1 408 2527 during office hours, or +353 1 408 2000 for out-of-hours emergencies. Follow DFA on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates or follow the Twitter account of your nearest Irish embassy or consulate for local updates.

A number of Irish organisations abroad support Irish emigrants. Many are continuing to operate by phone and email even if their public offices are closed.

Getting around

Public transport

You are no longer legally required to wear a face covering on public transport. However, public health advice recommends you should continue to use a face covering on public transport and in healthcare settings.

Driving

If your Irish driving license expired before 31 October 2021, your licence expiry date may have been extended due to COVID-19.

If you have a valid full foreign driving licence, you can drive on this for up to 12 months while visiting Ireland. If you plan to stay in Ireland for longer than 12 months, you should apply to convert your foreign driving licence for an Irish licence if you are eligible, or go through the driving test process to get an Irish driving licence.

Health information

The HSE provides health information on COVID-19, including:

  • The symptoms and causes of COVID-19
  • When to call a doctor
  • How to protect yourself and others
  • Groups at increased risk from COVID-19 and what you should do
  • Pregnancy and coronavirus

Read what to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The HSE also provides information on minding your mental health during COVID-19.

Income supports

Depending on your circumstances, you may need financial assistance when you return to Ireland. The Department of Social Protection (DSP) has a range of social welfare payments that you may be eligible for.

The quickest way to apply for these is online through MyWelfare. To do this you will need to create a MyGovID account. You will also need a Personal Public Service (PPS) number.

PPS numbers

You must have a Personal Public Service (PPS) number to apply for a social welfare payment. If you have worked in Ireland before you may already have a PPS number. You can get your PPS number from DSP’s Client Identity Services:

If you do not have a PPS number, you can apply online using MyWelfare.ie. Find out more about how to apply for a PPS number.

Applying for social welfare

The Returning to Ireland section of our website gives information on how to access social welfare as a returning Irish emigrant.

If you are applying for a social assistance payment, you need to show that Ireland is your main place of residence. This is called the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC). You do not have to be living in Ireland for a certain period of time to be considered habitually resident. You can read more about returning Irish emigrants and the HRC.

Crosscare Migrant Project’s website has useful FAQs on the HRC and you can also contact Crosscare for support if you are having difficulty with your application

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for social welfare payments such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

If you are in crisis or without any income, you can apply for an Exceptional Needs Payment.

Housing

It is important to try to have somewhere to stay on arrival. Our website has more information on housing for returning emigrants.

If you are an Irish emigrant returning to Ireland who is homeless, at risk of homelessness or in any other crisis situation, you should contact the local council in the area you are returning to. The following support organisations may also be able to give you more information and advice by phone or email.

Crosscare Migrant Project is an NGO providing information and advocacy support to Irish emigrants and people who have moved to Ireland.

Contact Crosscare by:

Safe Home Ireland is an Irish emigrant support service that provides a range of services including advice and information, outreach visits and housing assistance to eligible applicants.

Contact Safe Home Ireland by:

Page edited: 19 April 2022