There is a lot to consider when it comes to returning to Ireland with non-Irish family members. Depending on their citizenship and their relationship to you, they may need to apply for permission to live and work in Ireland, and may even need a visa before they can enter the country. In this section you will find information to make it easier for you to find your way through the immigration process.
Returning with a Spouse or Civil Partner
Being a spouse or civil partner means that your relationship is legally acknowledged and registered with a civil registration office in the country in which you were married or became civil partners.
If your spouse or civil partner is a citizen of an EEA country, they do not need a visa or permission to live and/or work Ireland. They should enter Ireland on their EEA passport.
If your spouse or civil partner is a citizen of a non-EEA country, they may need to apply for a visa before they can travel to Ireland. You can check whether they need a visa here.
Once in Ireland they will need to register with a local Immigration Officer for permission to live and work here based on your relationship. This is the case even if they do not need a visa but are from a non-EEA Country (such as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc.). Generally, this is a quick and straightforward process but you do need to be prepared – if you don’t have everything you need, you might be requested to make a written application which takes 12 months to process. Download our essential guide below for everything you need to know:
- Residence information for spouses & civil partners of Irish citizens returning to Ireland – November 2019
Watch our short podccast video with Irish Community Services on returning with a non-EEA partner.
Returning with a De Facto Partner
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:
- 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
- If your de facto partner is a citizen of an EEA country, they do not need a visa or permission to live and/or work Ireland. They should enter Ireland on their EEA passport.
- If your de facto partner is a citizen of a non-EEA country, they need to apply for Pre-Clearance before coming to Ireland. This means that before you return to Ireland, your non-EEA de facto partner must have applied for and been granted ‘pre-clearance’ by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). Once ‘pre-clearance’ is granted they can apply for an entry visa (if visa required) – this visa should be granted very quickly. If they are not visa-required they can travel to Ireland immediately after getting pre-clearance. Once in Ireland they will need to simply register with a local Immigration Officer for permission to live and work here based on your relationship.
Official information and application forms are available from https://www.irishimmigration.ie/coming-to-join-family-in-ireland/joining-an-irish-national/de-facto-partner-of-an-irish-national/
You can also read our latest guide on ‘What you need to know about De Facto Preclearance‘.
Let us know your own experience by completing this survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/defacto-preclearance.
Returning with Children or other Family Members
‘Children’ means minor dependents under the age of 18, or dependents in full-time education up the age of 23, of either the Irish citizen or their non-EEA spouse, civil partner or de facto partner.
If your child or family member is a citizen of an EEA country, they do not need a visa or permission to live and/or work Ireland. They should enter Ireland on an EEA passport.
Non-EEA children can usually join their Irish family member in Ireland. However, there are financial and other criteria that need to be met, along with visa and immigration requirements. If the non-EEA de facto partner is undertaking a pre-clearance application then their non-EEA children must also be included in it.
NOTE: If your child was born abroad and you were an Irish citizen at the time of their birth, then your child may also be an Irish citizen either from birth or by applying to the Foreign Births Register. We advise you to contact your local Irish Embassy or Consulate before you return to Ireland for information on Irish passports and Foreign Birth Registration.
Other family members can include elderly parents or adult dependents. These groups have no automatic right to come to Ireland but in some circumstances can get permission.
Please contact us if you would like to find out if you can bring your non-EEA children or other dependents to Ireland as we will need to find out the details of your family relationship before giving you information.
Watch our short podcast video with Irish Community Services on requirements for Irish passports for children.