- The ‘Join Family’ route
- The general requirements for an Irish Family Visa
- Applying as a Spouse or Civil Partner
- Applying as a De Facto Partner
- Family Visa processing times
- Joining Non-Irish Family Members
- Applying as a Dependent Family Member
- Applying as a Partner of a Critical Skills Permit Holder
- Frequently asked questions
What is the (Join Family) Long Stay Visa?
You need a ‘Join Family’ Long Stay D Visa if you intend on joining your spouse, partner or any other family members in Ireland for a period longer than 3 months, regardless of whether your sponsor is Irish-born or not.
However, although you need a sponsor to successfully and legally relocate into the State, the onus is still on you as the foreign family member to satisfy the Irish immigration officer at the border. The only exception to this is if you are an EEA national, in which case you don’t need a visa to move to Ireland.
There are multiple entry points that fall under the Join Family category too, including Spouse, Civil Partner, De Facto Partner, Dependent Child or Dependent Adult which you must consider before beginning your application.
How can the IAS help me with my Family Visa application?
The Immigration Advice Service recruits only the best-of-the-best immigration lawyers to ensure a smooth service and to maximise our client’s chances of success. By trusting an IAS immigration law specialist to assist and guide you throughout your Family Visa application to Ireland, you can rest assured that your case is in the best hands. Applying without professional guidance is a serious risk, especially since the Irish State rarely reimburse or offer refunds in the event that your visa application is refused.
The IAS offers numerous services for you to choose from depending on the type of advice or package you are looking for. You may, for example, need a one-on-one Advice Session to get to grips with the complex requirements and documentary evidence that you need to submit. Others, however, prefer to leave their case in the hands of a professional from start to finish. The IAS offers this via an Application Package where your IAS lawyer will fill your application for you and even write a Letter of Representation to accompany your application and bolster your credibility.
Call us today to see what else we have on offer that may best be suited to your needs.
What are the different ‘Join Family’ routes?
Within the Family Visa category, there are several routes that you can venture down if you want to join a family member in Ireland.
These routes are:
- De Facto Partner
- Civil Partner
- Adult Dependent
- Child Dependent
- Dependent of a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder
There is no automatic entitlement for Irish citizens to bring their non-EU spouses or family members into the State, meaning most will need to seek immigration permission to enter and a visa to live there legally.
There are various requirements and documentary proof that you must satisfy in order to be successful in your Family Visa application to Ireland. It is integral that you are fully aware of what is expected of you when you pass border control into the State. Your IAS lawyer will take this weight off of your shoulders by walking you through your eligibility and visa application from head to toe, so call us today to get the ball rolling on your family reunification plans.
What are the key requirements for an Irish Family Visa?
In order to successfully fill your Family Visa application, you will need to submit a portfolio of evidence and supporting documents to verify your immigration claim to Ireland.
To briefly summarise, the key requirements include:
- A notarised document outlining your reasons and intentions in moving to Ireland
- Extensive details of your sponsor and any other family members in the State
- Additional details of any other family members within the EU
- A copy of your sponsor’s Irish citizenship, passport and residency (or proof of settlement and residency rights such as an Employment Permit)
- Documented proof that the relationship to your family member is pre-existing, which varies depending on whether you are applying as a spouse, de facto partner, child or adult dependent (otherwise known as the ‘genuine relationship test’)
There are also financial requirements to be met which usually include copies of bank statements within the past 6 months from the applicant and the sponsor. In addition, proof must be sent that demonstrates how much income the applicant and/or sponsor will earn or is already earning while in the State.
What do I need to know about applying as a Spouse or Civil Partner?
The Spouse and Civil Partner avenues of the Family Visa route are notoriously difficult to overcome. The Irish State is particularly cautious of immigration fraudsters via this route and warns that those who attempt to manipulate the State or seek this route to deliberately gain entry will be punished, refused and/or removed.
It is important to note that being married to an Irish citizen does not guarantee permission to enter and remain into Ireland. Within the Spouse and Civil Partner visa, the requirements vary slightly depending on the nationality of the sponsor while the lengthy criterion dictates a ream of evidence must be submitted to prove that you are in a genuine relationship. At a bare minimum, you and your partner must have met at least once and in-person as the State does not recognise online relationships by webcam, telephone or text as legitimate.
The extensive requirements include submitting marriage or civil partnership documents and sometimes even photographs and witness accounts. Usually, you will be required to submit a full account of your entire relationship history and the pair of you may be invited to an interview upon review of your Family Visa application by the Irish State. Your IAS immigration lawyer will be able to fully prepare you and advise you in advance to pass this seemingly interrogative interview.
What do I need to know about applying for a Family Visa as a De Facto Partner?
A De Facto Partner Visa is part of the Join Family Long Term D Visa but differs slightly in the requirements that you must meet.
Unlike applying as a Spouse or Civil Partner, satisfying the ‘genuine relationship’ test can be an arduous task. This is because you must prove your relationship is valid and ‘akin to marriage’ without having the legal binding to support you.
Since the Irish State is cautious but stringent in cracking down on fraudulent and sham relationships for the purpose of immigration advantages, the De Facto Partner route faces above-average levels of scrutiny. It also has far stringent prerequisites to be met such as long and documented proof of the entire relationship. You and your partner must also have cohabitated together in the same residence for at least two years prior to applying. You must be able to evidence that your relationship is long-lasting and exclusive.
However, unlike most other Family immigration routes into Ireland, the permission is conditional on the relationship. This means if the relationship breaks down, so does the immigration status of the applicant who is dependent upon the sponsor.
Put your faith into the Immigration Advice Service to carry the burden of your De Facto Partner Join Family Visa route for you and start your application by enquiring today on (+353) 061 518 025. Your IAS lawyer can meet you in person or provide you with legal guidance over the phone or even Skype if this suits you.
How long does it take to receive a Family Visa?
Joining a family member in Ireland is not as straight forward as it initially seems. It largely depends on your individual circumstances as well as your family member’s nationality and/or immigration category.
For this reason, it can take significant time to receive a Family Visa into Ireland, and it is best practice to wait until you receive confirmation of your acceptance into the State before booking any travel tickets or making arrangements.
Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis and is handled in chronological order. However, generally speaking, if your sponsor is an Irish national, you should expect your visa within 6 months. If your sponsor originated from a country outside of the EEA, you can be waiting for up to 12 months to actually receive permission to join them.
In addition, you might have to wait until you can even apply if your sponsor falls under what is known as a ‘Category B’ immigration status. The wait could be as long as 12 months after your family member has registered in Ireland.
By contrast, ‘Category A’ holders can usually apply as soon as their sponsor has registered in the State.
It is best to seek immigration advice when deciding which Family Visa route best applies to you and to assess which category yourself and/or your sponsor falls into. This eliminates the risk of applying prematurely and losing your money – or submitting the wrong evidence which can jeopardise your entire case.
Can I come to Ireland if my family member isn’t an Irish citizen?
If you are an Irish citizen, you can sponsor your non-Irish and non-EU family member to come and join you. To qualify, you must be financially independent from the State for a qualifying period of 2 years while accumulating a gross income of no less than €40,000.
However, if both you and your partner/family member originate from outside of Ireland and outside of the EU, moving to Ireland together can seem like a complex affair. This is because one of you must first gain the right to enter independently, and then act as the ‘anchor’ to sponsor your family member/spouse to come and join you.
To do this, the sponsor must gain legal footing via a valid immigration status on their own. An example of this would be being an Employment Permit holder and taking up a job in the country. If on a Critical Skills Employment Permit (Category A), bringing a dependent family member is a little more streamlined and can usually come in as though a ‘plus one’ under the permission agreements.
After the sponsor has arrived in Ireland and then registered, then the family member can apply to come and join them. However, there is no guarantee that this application would be accepted and it can take significant time to process. For example, Category A permission (researchers, investors, critical skills workers etc) may be able to bring their family member with them before having earned anything in Ireland and immediately after registering. Category B holders sometimes need to have earned and surpassed a certain amount before being able to sponsor their family member.
Call us today on (+353) 061 518 025 or email us your enquiry to hear about our comprehensive packages which aim to reunite you with your family in Ireland, no matter the complexity of your case.
Can I come to Ireland as a dependent family member?
A dependent is someone who relies solely on a primary sponsor, both financially and socially. The Irish State recognises a dependent as someone who has already or intends on remaining in Ireland continually, who is not in full-time education and who depends on the sponsor to live with.
Most commonly, this route is catered for children who wish to join their Irish family members or non-Irish resident who holds permission to remain in the country.
Non-EEA children up to the age of 18 can normally join their family in Ireland without facing stringent requirements to tackle. However, the sponsor would still need to satisfy financial requirements to prove that he or she can adequately provide for the child. Young adults up to the age of 23 who are in full-time education may also be able to join their family in Ireland as a dependent, too.
However, other adult dependents such as elderly relatives face higher hurdles to overcome to join their family in the State. Unlike children, they don’t have an automatic right to reside with their family in Ireland.
Can I come to Ireland if my partner is a Critical Skills Permit Holder?
Aside from the Spouse and De Facto Partner visas, the Irish State offers an additional route to encourage talent to lay their roots in Ireland and to encourage migration.
Since critical skills are in short supply within Ireland, Critical Skills Permit Holders and workers who wish to relocate to Ireland to take up a highly specialised job are able to streamline themselves and their immediate family members into the country under this permission. As of March 2019, married and unmarried partners of Critical Skills workers or Researchers under a Hosting Agreement can not only come along to reside in Ireland but also don’t need to seek their own independent Employment Visa. They can access the job market as soon as they gain permission to reside in Ireland. However, they must successfully apply and gain this permission as a dependent of the Critical Skills Permit holder.
Check with the IAS if yourself or your other half is eligible for this highly sought-after route. It may be that there are other options that are open to you if not that are similar but may entail seeking a different type of permission.
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A sponsor is considered integral across most immigration routes into Ireland, but especially for the Join Family Visa.
To check to see who would be your sponsor, normally this person would be someone who you have a pre-existing relationship with. This person must either have residency permission to legally remain in Ireland or Irish citizenship.
The relationship to your sponsor is dependent on the terms and conditions of your visa, and usually acts as your anchor to stay in Ireland. This means if, for whatever reason, the relationship breaks down and the terms of your sponsorship changes, it may mean you have to leave the country.
Get in touch with IAS today to assess who would be your sponsor and the evidence this individual needs to provide in order to strengthen your immigration claim to Ireland.
There are two different types of immigration status’ to be aware of when it comes to applying as a Family Member of an Irish resident.
First of all, you need to check which category they fall into.
Category A holders are usually:
- Critical Skills Employment Permit holders
- Intra-company transfers
- PhD students
- Non-locum doctors
If your partner or family member falls into Category A, it means you can apply for your (Join Family) Visa into Ireland almost immediately once they have registered.
Category B holders, however, have to wait for up to 12 months after their family member or partner has registered. Those who fall into this bracket include:
- (General) Employment Permit holders
- Stamp 4 holders
- Ministers of Religion
Applications are dealt with by the State in order of receipt. There is no guarantee how long it will take to process your application. However, any mistakes can act as a hiccup in the road towards securing your visa and moving to Ireland to live with your family. That’s why it’s best practice to entrust an immigration lawyer with your case.
If, for whatever reason, your relationship breaks down while you are in Ireland with your other half, you should notify the Garda National Immigration Bureau Registration Officer within 7 days. You must outline the circumstances surrounding your separation in order for your renewal or permission to remain in the State to be received.
There is a possibility that you may be able to remain in Ireland, depending upon your job and if you can secure an immigration status independently. Your IAS lawyer at the Immigration Advice Service would be able to assess your eligibility and your case for you so get in touch with us as soon as you can.