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Bringing Your Non-EEA Spouse or Civil Partner To Ireland

When it comes to matters of bringing a family member who is not of EEA or Switzerland origin to live in Ireland, Irish nationals don’t have an automatic pass to do so. What this means is that if you are planning to return to Ireland with a spouse or a civil partner who is not from the EEA region, they will have to get permission from INIS (Irish National Immigration Service) for them to be allowed to live in the country with you. For this reason, here is a step by step guide on how to bring your significant other to live with you in the country.

Step 1: check if your spouse requires a visa to enter Ireland – so, if your partner is non-EEA national, then they need to apply for a visa for them to be allowed into the country. Visa application processes have been simplified these days, so the spouse will only need to make the application online. In case the application gets rejected, they can always appeal.

Step 2: be ready for border control – even with a visa or not, all non-EEA nations must go through border check at the point of entry – the airport – after they arrive in the country. This is the point where all the partner’s documents are examined by an immigration officer, who then decides if the spouse is allowed into the country or not. At this step of the process is where the partner or spouse informs the immigration officer about their plans to apply for permanent residency in Ireland once they are allowed in, and it will be based on your relationship with them.

The spouse or partner is expected to produce the following documents to the immigration officer; a valid passport, a visa (i.e if they need to have one), and a civil partnership or marriage certificate. Once they are allowed into the country, the immigration officer stamps their passports, giving them permission to live in the country for the indicated period (mostly up to 3 months).

Step 3: Register with the Immigration department and apply for residency – you and your non-EEA spouse have to be in Ireland if you are applying for residency permission. If granted this permission, you together with your non-EEA partner are allowed to live together in Ireland. Remember, the non-EEA spouse has to register with the immigration department within 3 months after arriving in the country.

Registering – if both you and your non-EEA spouse happen to be living the capital, Dublin, you should make an appointment with INIS online, and you should make sure that both of you present yourselves to the agency. But if you reside outside Dublin, then both of you can visit the local Garda District Headquarters. To register with immigration and apply for residency, you need to bring the following:

  • The civil partnership or marriage certificate
  • Your partner’s original passport
  • Your original passport
  • Evidence of your joint address in the country
  • And a 300 euro registration fee

During the appointment, your partner’s photo and fingerprints will be taken.

So, once the permission for residency is granted, the immigration officer then puts a Stamp 4 of your partner’s passport, which means that he or she can live and work in Ireland for the period stated on the stamp. But if the application for residency is disapproved, then it means that the stamp 4 won’t be granted. Now, these may be because the partner needs to clarify a few issues with regards to his or her identity, relationship history, or even criminal history. In this case, the partner will be required to make a written application, clarifying all the issues in question. This is the only way the spouse could get a stamp 4, otherwise, he or she won’t be able to live or work in Ireland.

Step 4: After being granted residency permission – as earlier stated, when the non-EEA spouse or partner is granted residency permission, he or she gets a stamp 4 on their passport, allowing them to live and work in Ireland. Also, he or she will be issued with an Irish Residence Permit (IRP), which is a registration certificate. It has the size of a credit card and it displays important details about your partner.

Also, after being granted permission to reside in Ireland, any changes of address should always be communicated to INIS within 7 days of moving. Still, in case there is a strain in your relationship, and you probably decide to split up, you should always inform INIS of the change.

Please remember that your partner’s residence status is supposed to be renewed after 3 years – which is the validity period of the stamp 4. So, before this period expires, your partner will be needed to renew the permission for him or her to continue living in the country.  

Want to learn more about spouse visa Ireland? Book an initial consultation with our immigration solicitors.

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