What are EU Treaty Rights?
EU Treaty Rights allow for freedom of movement within member states of the European Union. Individuals within the EEA are entitled to move to Ireland freely, along with their family members.
Generally, freedom of movement is derived from a qualifying person’s involvement in the economic activity of the host country. Such activities include employment, self-employment, study and residency on the basis of financial capabilities.
Visa-free travel and freedom of movement is generally permitted for up to three months. To stay longer than three months, you must be exercising a treaty right.
As an EEA national, you do not need to register at an immigration office when you arrive in Ireland. This means that you do not need a residence card to legally live in the State. If you want to have a record of your residence in Ireland, you can register with the embassy of your country in Ireland.
EU Treaty Rights in Ireland for Family Members
EU Treaty Rights allow certain family members of a qualifying member to join them in the country in which they are exercising their treaty rights. For the purposes of EU Treaty Rights, family members fall into two different categories: Qualifying Family Members and Permitted Family Members.
Qualifying members include:
- Spouse or civil partner
- Direct descendants aged under 21 of the qualifying person or of their spouse/civil partner
- Direct ancestors of the qualifying person or of their spouse or civil partner
Permitted family members include:
- Family members who are dependents or members of the household of the qualifying person or the family member requires long-term personal care from the qualifying person because of serious health problems
- A partner with whom the EU citizen has a durable relationship if at least two years
Can my Non-EEA Family Member Join Me Through EU Treaty Rights?
Yes, it is possible for non-EEA family members to apply for Irish residency through EU Treaty Rights. A non-EEA national will need to apply for a residence card when they join you in Ireland. They may also need to apply for an entry visa before they travel to Ireland, depending on which country they are a national of.
- Non-EEA national qualifying family members will need to complete application form EUTR1
- Non-EEA national permitted family members will need to complete application form EUTR1A
Each application for a residence card requires supporting documentation to prove the relationship of the applicant to the EEA national. Documentation will also need to be submitted to prove that the EEA national is exercising their free movement rights in the State.
Non-EEA family members will also need to register with immigration in order to receive a registration certificate known as the Irish Residence Permit (IRP). Family members of EEA nationals do not need to pay the fee for an IRP.
What are the Requirements for De Facto Partners?
As alluded to, de facto partners of EEA nationals can apply for residency in Ireland through EU Treaty Rights as a permitted family member of the EEA national. They will need to complete Form EU1A.
To be classed as a de facto partner, the following conditions must be met:
- The parties have been living together in a durable relationship for at least two years
- The parties intend to live together permanently
- The parties are not related by blood
- Any previous marriage or civil partnership has permanently broken down
How do I Apply for an Irish Residence Permit?
Certain family members of EEA nationals will need to register at an immigration office when they arrive in Ireland. Registering in this way is known as permission to reside in the State. If your registration is successful, you will receive an Irish Residence Permit
In Dublin, you will need to register at Burgh Quay Registration Office. Outside of Dublin, you will need to apply at your regional registration office or the local Garda District Headquarters. Typically, you will need to book an appointment online.
You should bring important documents and information with you to your appointment. If you are applying as a family member of a person exercising their rights under EU Treaty Rights, you will not usually need to pay for your Irish Residence Permit.
Do Applications Need to be Made for Children?
An EU citizen with non-EEA national minor children must submit an application form on behalf of the child if they will be staying in Ireland for longer than three months.
Application form EUTR1 must be submitted for each child for permission for the child to reside in the State as the child of an EU national.
An application will also need to be made for permanent residence if the child has been living in Ireland for five years or longer.
What Happens if Circumstances Change After EUTR1 Residence Card is Granted?
If you have previously been granted an EUTR1 Residence Card and your circumstances have changed significantly, you may need to make a new application for residency. This includes if:
- The EU citizen has died or departed from Ireland
- Your marriage or civil partnership to the EU citizen has been dissolved through divorce or annulment
In these circumstances, you should make an application on Form EU5.
I am an Irish Citizen. Can my EEA Family Members Join me in Ireland Under EU Treaty Rights?
Generally, it is not possible for EEA family members to join their Irish citizen family member under EU Treaty Rights in Ireland.
However, it might be possible if the family member previously held a residence card of a family member which was issued by another member state under Article 10 of the Directive, and the Irish national and their family member subsequently moved to Ireland.
When Can I Apply for Permanent Residence in Ireland?
Both you and your family members will be eligible for permanent residence in Ireland after you have resided in Ireland in accordance with regulations for at least five years of continuous residence.
The application form which the EEA national will need to complete is EUTR2.
Non-EEA nationals applying for permanent residence on the basis of their relationship to their EU family member need to complete the EU3 form.
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It takes up to six months for a residency application to be processed and for the applicant to receive a decision.
EU citizens don’t need to complete an application form if they are exercising their EU Treaty Rights in Ireland.
However, non-EEA national family members of the EU citizens will. Also, both EU citizens and their family members will need to complete application forms when they apply for permanent residency in Ireland.
The different application forms are as follows:
- Form EUTR1 Application: This is for a non-EEA national qualifying family member of an EU citizen
- Form EUTR1A Application: This is for a non-EEA national permitted family member of an EU citizen
- Form EUTR2 Application for a Permanent Residence Certificate: For EU citizen resident in Ireland for more than five years
- Form EU3: For non-EEA family member resident in Ireland with EU citizen for more than five years
- Form EU4 request for a review: For an EU1, EU1A, EU2, EU3 or EU5 applicant who is seeking a review of their application decision
- Form EU5 application for retention of a residence card: For an EU1 residence card holder who is seeking to retain permission after divorce or annulment or the death or departure of the EU citizen from Ireland
EU1 and EU1A were the application forms which were replaced by EUTR1 and EUTR1A respectively in November of 2020.
As an EEA national you are entitled to work in Ireland without any restrictions. You can stay in Ireland if you are unemployed and looking for work too.
Also, it is possible to transfer your unemployment benefit from your home country and it will be paid to you in Ireland for up to 3 months and in some cases, up to 6 months. After this, you could qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance if you satisfy certain conditions.
The United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Economic Area and European Union is still to be determined.
However, for the purposes of Irish immigration, the future relationship will have no bearing on British citizens. This is because under the Common Travel Area (CTA), UK and Irish citizens can live, work and study freely in each other’s countries.
This means that there is no need for a British citizen to exercise treaty rights in Ireland.
You might be asked to leave Ireland if you are deemed to be a danger to public order or security. You could also be asked to leave on public health grounds.
If you have a criminal record, this does not in and of itself mean that you will be asked to leave Ireland.
If you are asked to leave Ireland, you must be informed of the reason why and given the opportunity to adequately prepare for an appeal.
On 8th March 2011, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that an EU member state cannot refuse the non-EEA parents of a dependent child who is a resident and citizen of an EU state the right to live and work in that particular state.
Those qualifying for the residency permission may be given permission to live and work in Ireland without the requirement for an employment permit or business permission.