If you have already received your WHA and are trying to get an immigration meeting, I’m here to inform you that only half the troubles are over. You may have heard that getting an immigration meeting in Dublin is hard. In my opinion, difficult, frustrating, and stressful are all better words for “hard.” There is a lot of demand for a meeting and few slots. Here’s some tips:
Getting an appointment
If you have a WHA you will need a “Work – New” appointment type. This is probably the hardest to get as it’s the most sought after. Here’s the trick:
Every day around 2:15/2:30 irish time, new appointments are released. These appointments seem to be 8 weeks in advance at the earliest. It was early June that I got an appointment for the end of July. Plan early!! Everyday you need to log on to the INIS site around 2:15 (irish time of course) and refresh the appointments list. Always choose “closest to today” because it is hard to find an appointment for a specific day and you really can’t afford to be picky. This option also lists several options so it won’t just be one time and date and you’ll still have somewhat of a choice.
Did you get an appointment? Great!
Can I get a 2nd immigration meeting?
I ended up changing my flight to accommodate my appointment. I originally was supposed to go to Ireland June 30th, but since my meeting was so late I decided to move my flight a month and instead come July 26th. This also allowed me to stay in France for an additional month with my boyfriend (woo World Cup win!). We are fairly frugal and the cheapest flight was July 31st, but obviously with my meeting we couldn’t change it. I didn’t dare get rid of my current appointment, but I did want to try and get an appointment a little bit later. I tried for a few days with no avail, but finally I found an appointment for mid-august. I tried to book it, but it told me I already had an appointment and couldn’t book another. Once you get an appointment, you cannot get another one for the same category without first cancelling the original one.
The INIS appointment
I’m currently in the waiting room waiting for my number to be called. This is not how I imagined immigration going, but here is what I know so far.
In the email I received from INIS it said not to arrive more than 10 minutes early. So I followed the instructions and waiting outside on the street until 9:50. I should not have done that. Just because you’re meeting is at 10:00, does not mean you are going to have it right at 10:00. I should have checked in as soon as I arrived. Ugh.
I go to the reception desk and show my email on my phone and hand my passport over. He gives me a receipt with a number on it. I got to this larger lobby room and take a seat. The time is 10:00 and my number is 101. They were on number 58. It’s been 40 minutes and only 20 numbers have passed. It’s going to be quite a long wait.
The lobby is full. There are 2 free seats at the front so my boyfriend can sit with me. We are near the desks and can kind of hear peoples pleas for why they need a visa or an extension or the like. You look around and see a lot of different people and realized everyone has a unique situation. There’s a lot of people from Indian or Chinese descent, a few Africans. These are the people that the U.K. chose brexit because of. That the far-right is upset with. Those who are “ruining our country!” And it’s sad really. I can hear this woman with her husband talking to an officer about how her visa is expiring in a few days and she has 2 kids and does not want to have to leave the country. I have no idea the specifics of the situation or why she’s having trouble to stay. It’s been half an hour I see them there. From what it sounds like she is getting a 3 month conditional or provisional visa. Whatever that means.
The time is 11:35 and my number is 4 away. Soon! But it does go to show how obnoxious this system is. I’m sure it’s not much better in other countries as well.
I spent approximately 3 minutes in the booth with the officer and the only things she asked me were menial things like, “put your finger on the scanner.” To the booth I brought my passport, WHA, wallet, and phone. She asked for my passport and WHA and typed a few things on the computer. She took my photo, a couple of fingerprints (just my index fingers), and then asked me to insert my card (to pay the 300€). She took my passport and told me to sit and wait for it to be ready. I don’t have a number so I have no idea when my passport will be ready, but I’m guessing they are putting a visa sticker in.
40-50 minutes later I get called to do my fingerprints. I scan all my fingerprints, then reach for my passport and she tells me no I have to wait again. I have to wait til “counter 15” which is apparently where they then stamp my passport. We’ll see.
An hour later I get my name called and I can FINALLY pick up my passport. It is stamped with an additional stamp basically saying I’m allowed to reside here in Ireland. I can not quite figure out why everything took so long, but hey that’s bureaucracy.
It is 4 hours later that we are walking out the door to find something to eat. The room is still very crowded. If only everyone’s situation was as easy as mine (and no it’s still not easy!)
Goodbye GNIB. I don’t look forward to dealing with you anytime soon.