Becoming a permanent resident in Ireland
There are a number of reasons that you may wish to settle permanently in Ireland. Perhaps you moved here temporarily as a worker and have come to fall in love with its natural beauty, or perhaps you moved to be with your Irish spouse and wish to eventually naturalise as an Irish citizen.
Whatever your personal circumstances, Ireland is an idyllic place to live and one which attracts millions of visitors each year.
To become a permanent resident, you must meet the eligibility criteria. The Irish Permanent Residence Permit is specifically for foreign (non-EEA) nationals who have been living in the State for five years continuously under a form of work authorisation. There is also an option for those who are the spouse/dependant of an Irish permanent residence holder to apply for permanent residency this way.
EU citizens exercising their EU Treaty Rights are not eligible to apply for this permit.
How do I qualify for permanent residence in Ireland as a work permit holder?
Eligibility for permanent residency in Ireland depends on your personal circumstances. If you are a non-EEA national who has been living lawfully in the State for 5 years continuously and you hold an employment permit, you will likely qualify for permanent residence in Ireland.
Employment permit holders are able to apply for the permanent residence permit if they have held either Stamp 1 or Stamp 4 permission for this qualifying period of five years. General Employment Permit holders must have lived legally in Ireland for a minimum period of 5 years (or 60 months), however Critical Skills Employment Permit holders are eligible to apply for permanent residency after just two years. They may also wish to apply to be exempt from work permit requirements.
Certain work permits do not qualify for permanent residence. Unfortunately, Green Card (employment) permit holders are not eligible to apply for permanent residency, nor are those residing in the State under a Working Holiday Visa Scheme.
To qualify as an employment permit holder, you must still currently be employed in Ireland, you must prove that you are of good character and your Irish Residence Permit must be valid at the time of application. It is important to note that any periods of absence from the State within the five years qualifying period will not be counted towards your application for long term residency.
Can I apply as the spouse/dependant of an Irish permanent residence permit holder?
If you are living in Ireland as the spouse/dependent of somebody with long term residence in Ireland, you may be eligible for the permanent residence permit. Again, you must meet the time requirements meaning you must have been residing legally in the State for 60 months (5 years).
Your spouse/family member must have already been granted long term residency on a Stamp 4 prior to you applying. If you are successful, it is important to note that this type of long term residence permit does not grant exemption from work permit requirements.
If your spouse/family member does not hold a long term residence permit, you will not be eligible for this permit. For example, this route is not for the spouses/dependants of people with Irish citizenship, it is specifically for the spouses/dependants of those who have received Stamp 4 long term residency.
To be granted permission, you must show that your passport is endorsed with either a Stamp 1 or Stamp 3. If your application is successful, you will typically receive a Stamp 3 (dependant stamp) conditions for five years. As previously mentioned, you will not be exempt from work permit conditions under this type of permission.
You must be in ‘gainful employment’ when you submit your application, during, and after the application process and must demonstrate that you are of good character.
How long is the application process?
If you have applied to live in Ireland permanently, the application processing time is usually between 6 months-8 months. However, your application may take longer to process if you have not provided the sufficient level of supporting documents, or if your case is complex.
If you are a non-EEA national but do not have the required 60 months (or 5 years) Ireland residency, your application will be rejected.
Your application may also be rejected if you are ineligible for any of the following reasons:
- The applicant is a student; if you have permission to remain in Ireland on student conditions (Stamp 2 & Stamp 2A), you are not eligible
- The applicant is an EEA national
- The applicant has been made redundant
- The applicant is currently resident under business permission
- The applicant is working at a foreign embassy
- The applicant has permission to remain on a stamp 4 after qualifying under 2004 Student Probationary Extension
There are also a number of other circumstances whereby you may be ineligible. It is worth consulting an experienced immigration lawyer who can assist you with your application.
What documents do I need to apply?
When making your application, it is crucial that you submit the relevant documents to prove that you are eligible.
To be granted permission, you must include the following:
- Copy of your work permits (if applicable)
- Copy of your Certificate of Registration
- Copy of your passport and endorsements; if your passport has expired since being in the State, you must provide a copy of your stamped passport
If you are successfully granted immigration permission to remain in Ireland permanently, you will receive a letter of approval. In this letter, you will find details regarding when you must pay the long term residency fee.
You must make the fee payable to the Secretary General, Department of Justice and Equality either by bank draft or postal order. The fee for long term residency is €500.