The ambassador of Ireland to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, has advised all Irish citizens who are in Ireland on a J-1 in the US visa to return home.
Mulhall posted the video message via his Twitter account on March 30, reports VisaGuide.World, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the US rises.
“This is a message to Irish people here in America on J1 visas. I know how important the J1 experience is because I was a J1 visa visitor when I was a student. I really enjoyed and benefitted from the experience of living in Kansas City in those days. I know how reluctant you will be to alter your plans and go back to Ireland. But in the current circumstances, our best advice to you is that you should go back to Ireland,” the Ambassador says in the video.
He suggests that holders of J-1 visas contact their airlines to learn about flight availability and return to Ireland “as soon as possible.”
A J-1 visa is a non-immigrant US visa issued to researchers, professors and exchange visitors partaking in cultural exchange programs in the US.
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs is also encouraging visitors and those on short-term programs to the US to make arrangements to return to Ireland. They have also advised against all non-essential travel to the US, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19.
Ireland has suspended visas for all non-EU nationals coming from abroad, except those considered “Priority/Emergency”. It has also closed down its Registration Offices and automatically extended all visas which were due to expire between March 20, 2020, and May 20, 2020.
The US, on its part, has also issued coronavirus travel restrictions. In mid-March, US President Donald Trump banned entry to all EU nationals for a period of 30 days. He later extended the ban to the UK and Ireland as well.
As of April 1, there are more than 3,200 reported cases of the coronavirus in Ireland. In the US, the situation is much more drastic, with upwards of 189,000 cases and 12,000 deaths – the highest number of coronavirus infections in the world.