Long queues at the immigration offices on Dublin's Burgh Quay have been branded a demeaning disgrace.
Many of the hundreds of people who patiently wait on the surrounding streets from as early as 5am, without any guarantee of having their applications processed, have said they have to return for many days in a row to face the same "lottery".
They are calling on the Department of Justice to change the system of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) immediately to make it less difficult for the 130,000 who have to attend the offices in person every year.
Yesterday, the queue for the building stretched along Burgh Quay, down the entire length of Corn Exchange Place, and back along Poolbeg Street to the junction of Hawkins Street.
"Once you get in you have to take a ticket, and you don't know how long you will be waiting in a queue," said Duncan Dedee Williams from Rwanda.
"And when you get to the top of that queue you could be told that all the visas for that day have been allocated and you will have to come back the next day and start all over again," he added. Also growing increasingly disillusioned with the queue were Conor Cleary and his wife Angel, who is from the Philippines. They live in Clontarf.
Angel is married to Conor but still needs to get her Garda National Immigration Bureau card renewed annually.
"The system is demeaning and a disgrace. It is a third world system in a supposedly first world country. We have seen people standing here in the cold and rain," he added.
Halfway down the queue was Soha Abdulmajeed from Saudi Arabia. She is a mother of two children aged five and one, and is studying a Masters in Biotechnology in UCD.
"I came here last Friday at 8am and was told I was too late, that they only give out a certain amount of re-entry visas each day," she said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said the nature of the services provided is such that it is demand led and, accordingly, there are peaks and valleys in the numbers of callers at different times of the year.
The immigration service spokesman said it is also planning to introduce an online booking system for visas.