If you are a non-EEA citizen and you have an Irish spouse, de facto partner, or family member, you may be able to move to Ireland based on your relationship to them. To do this, you’ll need to apply for and be granted residence permission in Ireland. Depending on which country you are from, you may need a visa before you can enter the country. As your sponsor, your family member will also have to meet certain financial requirements. In this section you will find information to make it easier for you to find your way through the Irish immigration system.
This information is specifically for non-EEA citizens, as citizens of EU/EEA countries do not need a visa or permission to live in Ireland based on their relationship with an Irish citizen.
Non-EEA Spouse of an Irish citizen
If you are married to an Irish citizen and want to move to Ireland, you’ll first need to check if you need a visa before you can travel to Ireland. You can check this here (pdf.).
- If you are visa required, you’ll need to apply for and be granted a ‘long stay (join family) visa’ (also known as a ‘D-visa’) before you can enter the country. The visa can take up to 6 months process, so make sure to plan well in advance. The application is made online, and supporting documents are sent by post to the nearest Irish Embassy (it’s always best to contact them first to see if they have any extra requirements). You’ll also have to pay the relevant fee. After your visa is granted, you can travel to Ireland.
- If you are non-visa required (e.g. if you’re a citizen of the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, etc), you can travel to Ireland without a visa. On arrival at Immigration Control in the airport you should state your intention to apply for residency as spouse of an Irish citizen.
Once in Ireland you will need to register with a local Immigration Officer for permission to live and work here based on your marriage to an Irish citizen. You must register within 90 days of arriving in Ireland, or before your entry stamp expires, whichever comes first. This is the case even if you do not need a visa but are from a non-EEA country.
Information on registering for immigration permission for the first time is available here. There are different procedures depending on whether you will be living in Dublin or elsewhere. Generally registration is a straightforward process, but you do need to be prepared as if you don’t have everything you need, you might be requested to make a written application which takes 12 months to process. Contact us if you have any further queries.
Non-EEA De Facto Partner of an Irish citizen
A de facto partnership is a relationship that is similar to marriage but that has not been legally recognised or registered. There are some key requirements to showing you are in a de facto partnership with an Irish citizen:
- You must have lived together for at least 2 years (this is known as ‘co-habitation’)
- You must be able to prove this using things like joint bank accounts, shared tenancies and other evidence that shows you are in a durable, lasting relationship
As the de facto partner of an Irish citizen, you will need to apply for and be granted immigration permission before you can come to Ireland, regardless of whether you are a citizen of a visa or non-visa required country.
The application is made through the Irish AVATS online visa system which guides both visa and non-visa required de facto partners through the process.
When you select your country of nationality, the system will give them a series of options under ‘What is the reason for travel?’.
- If you are from a non-visa required country (e.g. Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, South Africa etc.) you should select ‘Preclearance – Join Family (Irish nat.)(de facto partner)’.
- If you are from a visa required country (e.g. Algeria, Thailand, Turkey, Kenya etc.) they should select ‘Join Family (Irish nat.) (de facto partner)’.
- You can check if you are from a visa required or non-visa required country here (pdf.).
Once you have completed the application and pay the relevant fee, you will need to send supporting documents by post to the nearest Irish Embassy. We’d recommend contacting the Embassy before doing so as it’s always best to check if they have any extra requirements. After your visa/pre-clearance is granted, you can travel to Ireland.
Once in Ireland you will need to register with a local Immigration Officer for permission to live and work here based on your de facto relationship with an Irish citizen. You must register either within 90 days of arriving in Ireland, or before your entry stamp expires, whichever comes first. Information on registering for immigration permission for the first time is available here. There are different procedures depending on whether you will be living in Dublin or elsewhere.
You’ll find all the official information and a link for the AVATS application system at www.irishimmigration.ie/coming-to-join-family-in-ireland/joining-an-irish-national/de-facto-partner-of-an-irish-national/. Contact us if you have any further queries.
Other Non-EEA Family Members of Irish citizens
Parents of Irish children
If you a non-EEA citizen and you are the parent of a child/children who is an Irish citizen, contact us for information on moving to Ireland.
‘Child/Children’ means your minor dependent/s under the age of 18, or dependent/s in full-time education up the age of 23.
Other family members of Irish citizens
There is no automatic entitlement to come to Ireland as the elderly parent or adult dependent of an Irish citizen, but you may be able to get permission to do so if you are dependent on your Irish family member and meet minimum financial requirements.
You may also be able to immigrate to Ireland independently of your Irish family member, depending on your circumstances.
Please contact us directly to discuss your situation and we can go through your options.
If you are already living in Ireland
If you are already living in Ireland, the processes outlined above do not apply to you.