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Flight Centre guides South African travellers through new Irish visa requirements

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Flight Centre South Africa is responding to the Irish government’s decision to revoke visa-free travel for South African and Botswana nationals, effective 10 July 2024. Although the change had been under consideration for some time, the swift implementation during peak travel season has impacted travel plans to Ireland, a traditionally popular visa-free destination for South Africans.

“This unexpected announcement has left many travellers with questions and concerns,” said Lynette Machiri, Customer Experience Leader at Flight Centre South Africa. “We are actively engaging with the Irish embassy to gather the latest information and provide clarity to our customers.”

Flight Centre is committed to supporting all travellers during this transition. Our expert travel consultants are on hand to guide customers through the new visa application process, address concerns such as acceptable proof of purchase for existing bookings, and explore alternative options for those with travel dates after 9 August 2024, who may now require a visa.

“We understand that many travellers may be worried about potential disruptions to their trips, especially with the tight turnaround time for visa applications,” added Machiri. “Unfortunately, some carriers have indicated they are unlikely to offer waivers, further underscoring the need for swift action. We are here to assist in every way possible to minimise the impact on our customers’ travel plans.”

Advice for Travellers

  • Immediate Action Required: Travellers departing on or after 10 July 2024, must obtain a visa before travelling to Ireland.
  • Transitional Arrangements: Those with existing bookings made before 10 July 2024, and travelling before 9 August 2024, may travel without a visa but must present a valid passport and proof of purchase from their carrier (not from a travel agent).
  • Visa Application: The Dublin Visa Office has established a dedicated ‘South Africa desk’ to process applications. Three Visa Application Centres (VACs) will also be established throughout South Africa, with visa service provider VFS Global.
  • Exemptions: Diplomatic passport holders and those with valid Irish Residence Permit (IRP) cards are exempt.

For further information and FAQs, please refer to the Irish government’s official announcement: https://www.irishimmigration.ie/visa-requirement-for-nationals-of-botswana-and-south-africa/

“We understand the stress and uncertainty this situation has caused,” added Machiri. “Flight Centre is committed to supporting our customers and ensuring their travel plans are as smooth as possible.”

FLIGHT CENTRE TRAVEL GROUP SOUTH AFRICA 

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) SA is part of Flight Centre Travel Group, an Australia-based international travel company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, with a market cap of AU$4.72 billion and a current share price of AU$21.36 as of 8 July 2024. FCTG comprises three leading brands: Flight Centre, Corporate Traveller, and FCM, of which Corporate Traveller and FCM are proud level 1 BBBEE Contributors. FCTG SA is wholly owned and has been recognised as one of Deloitte’s Best Companies to Work for in South Africa for over a decade.

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