Joining an Irish family member in Ireland
- Family members of Irish citizens are usually spouses, de facto partners and children under 18 years of age
- Spouses and de facto partners are generally given Stamp 4 permission to remain
- Children of Irish citizens can have Stamp 4 but if they are under 18 years of age they will generally have Stamp 3. If they want to change to Stamp 4, they will have to write to the Dependent Unit in the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service
- Citizens from non-visa required countries do not need to apply for a visa. There is no pre-clearance before coming to Ireland. You should tell the immigration officer at the airport your reason for coming to Ireland. If your Irish family member is travelling with you, they should go with you to the non-EEA immigration counter
- Citizens from visa required countries need a D long stay visa to come to Ireland. If you do not have a D visa then you will have to make a written application which can take up to 12 months. During this time you will have no permission to work in the State
- Generally a local registration officer grants Stamp 4 for spouses/civil partners. If you live in Dublin this will be at the Burgh Quay Registration Office. If you live outside Dublin this will be at your local Garda District Office. In some cases a spouse/civil partner might have to make a written application. For more information go to: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/WP07000024
- De facto partners must make a written application for Stamp 4. While the application is pending you can ask for a temporary Stamp 3 permission to remain. You are not allowed to work. To download the form go to: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/De%20Facto%20Relationships
- For more information check out our factsheets:
Parents of Irish citizen children
- For parents who are non-EEA nationals: Since 1 January 2005 children born to non-EEA nationals are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship. Your child is an Irish citizen if one parent had a reckonable immigration permission for at least three years in the four years before your child’s date of birth. Reckonable immigration permission include Stamp 1, Stamp 3, Stamp 4 or Stamp 5. For example, a child is an Irish citizen, if the mother has Stamp 4 since 1 January 2014 and the child was born on 1 January 2018
- If you have a current immigration permission you can upgrade to Stamp 4 at your local registration office
- If you are out of status you must complete the application form. Processing times are generally 6 months. Each application is individual and processing times can vary
- For further information and to download the form go to: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Applications for Permission to remain in the State on basis of Parentage of an Irish Citizen Child – For Non-EEA Parent
Joining an EU family member in Ireland
The legislation for this type of immigration permission is the EU Directive 2004/38/EC. This applies to the free movement of EU citizens and their non-EEA family members. In Ireland the legislation is European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015.
This only applies to EU citizens who have moved from their country of nationality. Family members of Irish citizens cannot apply, unless they have a residence card from another Member State
There are two types of family members based on the Directive:
- qualifying family members which include:
- the EU citizen’s spouse and children under 21 years of age
- the EU citizen’s dependent parents
- the EU citizen’s grandparents
- the EU citizens’ grandchildren
- the spouse of an EU citizen’s children under 21 years of age
- the spouse of an EU citizen’s dependent parents
- the spouse of an EU citizen’s grandparents
- the spouse of an EU citizen’s grandchildren
- permitted family members which include:
- de facto partner of a EU citizen
- member of the household of an EU citizen
If you are a citizen of a visa required country you should apply for a C visa. You do not need a visa if you already hold a residence card of a family member of an EU citizen.
Qualifying family members do not need to pay the visa fee. Permitted family members have to pay the visa fee.
You must make your application for a residence card as the family member of an EU citizen within 4 months of arriving in the country. If you do not submit the application in time then your application will be refused.
Qualifying family members should use Form EU1 to apply for a residence card.
Permitted family members should use Form EU1A to apply for a residence card.
You should only send photocopies of the required documents.
The current processing time is 10 months.
While your application is pending you will generally get a Stamp 4 permission to remain. This immigration permission allows you to work in Ireland.
If your application is successful you will get Stamp 4 EU FAM for five years. This is your residence card and also your re-entry visa if you are from a visa required country.
It is very important that your EU family member is exercising their rights in Ireland. If they are not then your application will be refused. They can exercise their rights as:
- an EU worker who works for at least 12 hours every week
- a self-employed person
- a student with private health insurance for themselves, you and any other dependants
- a person with sufficient resources. They must also have private health insurance for themselves, you and any other dependants
- involuntarily unemployed (where they have been made redundant but have worked for at least two years in the State)
If your EU family member changes employer while your application is pending, they must inform the EU Treaty Rights Unit. If they do not then your application could be refused as the EU Treaty Rights Unit may contact their previous employer. They will then think that your EU family member is no longer working. They may decide your family member is not exercising their rights and they may refuse your application for a residence card.
Your EU family member must continue to exercise their EU Treaty Rights in Ireland. If they do not then your right to reside in the State can be revoked (cancelled). It can also affect your application for a permanent residence card. Six months before your five-year residence card expires, you should apply for a permanent residence card using Form EU3
For further information go to: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/EU Treaty Rights
- qualifying family members which include:
Tips for join family visa applications
Your family member living in Ireland will have to meet financial requirements:
- Irish citizens must have earned a total gross income of €40,000 in the three years before the visa application (the Irish citizen and their spouse can combine their income to meet this financial requirement)
- Non-EEA citizens must have a gross income of €30,000 every year if the application is only for a spouse
- Non-EEA citizens with children must have the following net weekly incomes:
- families with one child €511
- families with two children €612
- families with three children €713
- families with four children €834
- families with five children €960
If your family member gets Disability Allowance/Invalidity Pension they should not have to meet any financial requirements. A letter from their doctor should give details of their health condition. It should also explain why they need you to join them in Ireland.
If you are a spouse/civil partner/de facto partner, you must give details of your relationship history.
This type of visa application is generally refused for the following reasons:
- not enough details about the relationship history
- not enough evidence of social and emotional support, such as details of how you keep in contact when you are living in different countries
- not enough evidence of financial support – no proof of your family member sending money to you
- insufficient income – family member in Ireland does meet the financial requirements
For further information go to: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Irish%20Visa%20Information
Tips for applying for citizenship
You must have lived in Ireland for five years before making your application. There are some exemptions, for example:
- Refugees can apply when they have lived in Ireland for three years from the date they arrived in the country
- Spouses and civil partners of Irish citizens can apply when they have lived on the island of Ireland for three years. They must be married to their Irish spouse or in a civil partnership with their Irish civil partner for three years
- Anyone applying based on Irish Associations can apply after three years residence in Ireland. Irish Associations is when you are related by blood, affinity or adoption to an Irish citizen.
You can be absent from Ireland for up to 6 weeks every year. This will not affect your citizenship application. If you have any absences which are more than 6 weeks in a year then you should give details in a cover letter. If you have a lot of absences then you may have to delay making your citizenship application. For example, if you got your Stamp 4 permission on 1 February 2014 but you were outside the State for 3 months in 2015 then you would need to wait until May 2019 before you can apply
You cannot be absent for more than 6 weeks in the year before you submit your application – otherwise your application will be refused.
If you are from a non-EEA country you must have continuous immigration permission in the year before making your application. If there is any gap between immigration stamps then your application will be refused. You should complete the Naturalisation Residency Calculator to check if you can apply: www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Naturalisation_Residency_Calculator
If you answer ‘NO’ to Question 6.1 your application will be refused
If you have any convictions especially traffic offences, you must give this information in Section 11: Background on the application form. You must also give details of any spent convictions, including speeding fines, penalty points. If you do not give this information then your application will probably be refused.
Foreign Births Register – Citizenship through descent
If you are an Irish citizen at the time your child is born outside Ireland then your child is an Irish citizen but you may need to register their birth on the Foreign Births Register.
If your child does not require a visa to come to Ireland then they can travel to Ireland on their other passport and you can apply to register their birth on the Foreign Births Register in Dublin.
Otherwise you need to send the Foreign Births Register application to the Irish Embassy that provides consular assistance for the country where your child is living. For example, if your child is living in Algeria then you should send the application to the Irish Embassy in Switzerland. In that case you should also provide details of the other parent because you need to give proof of address for the child and the parent they are currently living with.
For more information about the Foreign Births Register go to: https://www.dfa.ie/passports-citizenship/citizenship/born-abroad/registering-a-foreign-birth/