Residence Permits

How to obtain a residence permit

On arrival in Ireland, non-EEA nationals will normally be granted permission to remain (also called permission to reside) for three months.

This takes the form of a stamp in your passport and can be obtained either from an Immigration Officer at the port of entry or from the Registration Officer for the area where you’re staying. A list of Registration Officers is available from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Tel. 01-602 8202).

If they intend to remain in Ireland for longer than months, all non-EEA nationals (except those under 16 years of age, those born in Ireland or the UK, and women married or widowed to an Irish national) must register with the local Gardaí within three months of their arrival – preferably within a few days. (Note that if you’re arriving from the UK to take up employment or set up a business, you must report to the Registration Officer with seven days of your arrival.)

To register, you’ll need your passport (with an appropriate visa if required), four recent passport-size photographs and documentation relating to your entry into Ireland (e.g. a work permit or business permission, evidence of funds, or confirmation of enrolment on a recognised course). You will then be granted permission to remain for up to 12 months and a Certificate of Registration (known as a Green Book), which must be kept up-to-date.

Your permission to remain mustn’t be allowed to lapse but can be renewed for additional 12-month periods. You’ll be required to produce current documentation at each renewal. If you’re employed in Ireland, the permit must be completed by your employer, who must also submit a letter detailing the nature and period of your employment. There’s no fee for registration.

Once you’ve registered, you must inform your Registration Officer of any change in your circumstances (including any absence of more than a month) within seven days of the change. If you move to a different registration area, you must notify your original Registration Officer within 48 hours of your move. You aren’t allowed to engage in any activity for which you don’t have permission to remain in Ireland, e.g. students mustn’t work unless it is a recognised part of their course. If you require a visa for entry into Ireland, you should therefore make sure that you state the exact reason for your stay; permission to remain and residence permits are granted only on the basis of the reasons stated on your visa application form.

Residence Permits

EEA nationals may apply for a residence permit if they can support themselves without recourse to state assistance and are:

  1. providing or receiving a service in Ireland or
  2. employed or self-employed or
  3. a retiree or otherwise ‘economically non-active’ or
  4. a student.

Residence permits for those in category 1 are normally issued for the expected duration of the relevant service. Permits for those in categories 2 and 3 are usually valid for five years – except in the case of a short-term job contract (i.e. between three months and a year), in which case a temporary residence permit is issued. Students are issued with residence permits for the expected duration of their course. You’re allowed a break in residence (i.e. a period spent abroad) of up to six months without it affecting the validity of your permit.

You may need to undergo a medical examination before being issued with a residence permit, particularly if you’re elderly or infirm and therefore likely to be claiming state benefits before the permit expires. People in categories 3 and 4 above must also produce evidence of sickness insurance and all non-employed residents must provide proof that they have an adequate income or financial resources to live in Ireland without becoming a burden on the state.

There’s no specified minimum income for EEA nationals, but it must be more than you would be paid if you were in receipt of Irish social welfare payments. The minimum income for non-EEA pensioners is under review and details should be sought from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Tel. 01-602 8202).

If for any reason you’re refused a residence permit, you’ll be notified of the reason(s) and have the right of appeal (which must be made in writing to the Visa Appeals Officer, Immigration Division, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, 72–76 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2), unless you’re considered a danger to the security of the Irish State, in which case you’ll be ‘asked’ to leave on the next plane!

This article is an extract from Living and working in Ireland. Click here to get a copy now.

Further reading

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