- Do I need to apply for a de facto partner visa?
- What do I need to know about applying?
- What is the process to live in Ireland as a de facto partner?
- What is preclearance?
- Join Family Member Visa required documents
- How do I apply for permission to remain?
- What are my rights living as a de facto partner?
- What is the Irish Residency Permit?
- Frequently asked questions
De Facto Partner Visa Application
A de facto partner is a general term for anyone who is in a genuine long-term relationship, which is not a marriage or civil partnership. In Irish immigration law, a relationship must meet the following conditions in order to be considered de facto:
- The relationship is akin to a marriage or civil partnership
- The partners share a mutual commitment to living a shared life, at the exclusion of others
- The partners have been cohabiting for at least two years
If your relationship meets these conditions, you could be eligible for the Join Family Member Visa as the de facto partner of an Irish citizen/resident.
Do I need to apply for a visa to enter Ireland as a de facto partner?
If you are a citizen of Switzerland or a country within the EEA, you will not need to apply for a visa to join your de facto partner in Ireland. Also, there are a select group of other non-visa required countries such as Canada and the USA.
Those from countries outside of these areas will need to apply for the Long Stay ‘D’ Join Family Member Visa in order to join their partners in Ireland.
It is important to understand that as the de facto partner of an Irish citizen or Irish resident, you are not automatically entitled to enter and reside in Ireland, even if you are from a non-visa required country.
What do I need to know about applying as a de facto partner?
You will be classed as a de facto partner if your partner is an Irish citizen or has valid permission to reside in Ireland. Your partner could have permission to remain through being a citizen of a non-visa required country, or through having permission to reside in Ireland on stamp 1, 4 or 5.
The principal requirement to reside in Ireland as a de facto partner is the ability to demonstrate that you are in a genuine, committed relationship with your partner.
You must be able to prove to the Department of Justice & Equality that you have been living with your Irish de facto partner for at least two years in order to be eligible for preclearance and the join a family member visa.
What is the full process to live in Ireland as a De Facto Partner?
Before you travel to Ireland, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Apply for preclearance
- Complete an online application for the join family member visa after preclearence has been granted
- Pay application fee
- Gather all required documents to include with your visa application
- Send visa application to office
- If your visa application is accepted, you will receive the join family member visa
Once you have completed the online application, an application summary sheet will be displayed, which you will need to print out. This summary sheet will form part of your join family member visa application, along with your other supporting documents.
On your summary sheet, you will be notified of where to send your visa application to. Ordinarily, this will be your nearest Irish embassy or consulate. You need to send your full visa application within 30 days of completing the online application.
You will need to report to immigration officials when you land in Ireland, even if you have received preclearance and a visa. You will also need to apply for permission to remain in Ireland once you have entered the country.
What is Irish Immigration Preclearance?
Preclearance is the process you need to go through under certain visas and circumstances before travelling to Ireland.
Anyone who wishes to live in Ireland on the basis of being the de facto partner of an Irish citizen or resident must apply for preclearance before they travel to Ireland, regardless of their country of citizenship. The immigration preclearance application costs €100.
If you are from a country which doesn’t have a visa agreement with Ireland, you should apply for your visa after your immigration preclearance has been accepted.
If your application for immigration preclearance is approved, an immigration preclearance letter will be sent to you. It is vital to keep this document safe and to take it with you when you travel to Ireland in order to present to immigration officials.
It is important to note that this letter is only valid for 6 months. You will need to apply for immigration preclearance again if you do not enter Ireland within six months of the date on the preclearance letter.
If the preclearance application is rejected, you will receive a letter notifying you of the reasons for the refusal. It is possible to appeal the decision of the Department of Justice & Equality free of charge.
Which documents do I need to include for a Join Family Member Visa?
The information/documents which need to be provided along with the summary sheet are as follows:
- Your current passport
- Two colour passport-sized photographs with your signature and Visa Application Tracking Number on the back of each
- A signed letter of application which outlines your reasons for travelling to Ireland. You will also need to include full details of your de facto partner in your application
- Evidence which demonstrates the relationship between you and your partner. This might include a registration certificate of the partnership or evidence of common ownership of property
- A full account of your relationship history. This includes information of when and where you met as evidenced by, for example, correspondence by telephone or email, visas, entry/exit stamps on the passport of your partner, photographs
- Financial information
The specific required documentation will be somewhat dependant on your particular circumstances, and you may need to provide additional information.
For full guidance on the documents which you need to include in your join family member visa, please do not hesitate to contact us on (+353) 061 518 025.
What financial Information do I need to provide?
You will need to provide evidence of your finances, and those of your de facto partner with your join family member visa.
The financial information which you will need to include in your application includes:
- Statements of your bank accounts which cover a six-month period immediately prior to your application
- Statements of your de facto partner’s bank accounts which cover the six-month period prior to your application
- If your partner is resident in Ireland, you will need to provide their P60s for the 3 years immediately prior to the date of your application and their 3 most recent consecutive payslips. (Different rules apply to those who are self-employed)
Original documents should be provided. In the vast majority of cases, photocopies will not be accepted.
What is the application fee for a join family member visa?
The cost of an application is:
- €60 for single-entry visa
- €100 for multi-entry visa
This fee cannot be refunded if your application is either withdrawn or rejected.
How long is the application process for a join family member visa?
All visa applications are processed in date order, but there is no definitive timeframe for the turnaround of your visa application.
A join family member visa is generally expected to be processed within six months of it being received. You can find out the expected turnaround for the visa office which is handling your application by checking their website.
Do bear in mind that during busy times, such as holidays, visa application processing times will take longer.
In order to make the application process as smooth as possible, it is crucial to provide all relevant documents in their proper form, and to fill in all forms correctly.
Our expert immigration lawyers at the Immigration Advice Service can help to ensure your documents are in accordance with the Department of Justice & Equality rules. Call us now on (+353) 061 518 025 for more information.
What should I do when I arrive in Ireland?
Even if you receive preclearance (and a visa, if applicable), you are not automatically permitted entry into Ireland.
When you land in Ireland you need to report to immigration officials, and they will decide whether or not to grant you with permission to enter into Ireland, based on the information you provide.
You will need to inform the immigration officer that you intend to apply for residency in Ireland based on the grounds of your relationship with your Irish resident partner.
The following documents will need to be provided to immigration officials:
- A valid passport
- Your immigration preclearance letter
- Your visa (if required)
If you needed to apply for a visa to travel to Ireland, you ought to bring photocopies of important documents which were included in your application such as evidence of your relationship and financial information.
How do I apply for Irish residency?
Residency permission, or permission to remain is a status given to those who are legally entitled to live and work in Ireland for more than 90 days.
By law, you will need to apply for residency permission through an immigration authority if you intend to stay in Ireland for longer than 90 days.
You can only apply for residency permission once you arrive in Ireland, and this should be done as soon as possible. The registration involves formally requesting the permission to live and work in Ireland.
You must plan to live with your partner for the foreseeable future in Ireland, and be able to prove that you can both support yourself financially, without any help from public funds. You will also need to show that you are of good character and will live in compliance with Irish law.
You will need to provide the following information at the immigration office:
- Your original passport
- Your partner’s original passport
- Your preclearance certificate
- Evidence of your joint Irish address with your de facto partner
You will also need to pay a registration fee of €300 when you apply for residency permission.
If you are living with your partner in Dublin, you will need to make the appointment online. The appointment will take place at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service Registration office in Dublin.
However, if you are living with your partner anywhere outside of Dublin, the appointment will take place at your local Garda District Headquarters. You ought to ring the headquarters beforehand to find out whether you need to make an appointment.
If the application is successful, your passport will be stamped with stamp 4. The stamp will indicate how long you are permitted to stay in Ireland, which is usually one year. It is your responsibility to renew your permission to remain before it expires if you plan to extend your time in Ireland.
If immigration officials reject your application and don’t stamp your passport, you could be asked to make a written application for residency. You will not be able to undertake any work in Ireland without a stamp 4.
What are my rights as a de facto partner in Ireland?
The significant benefit of stamp 4 is that it enables you to work in Ireland without needing to apply for an employment permit or employment visa.
You can also establish and operate a business in Ireland, and you will have access to state funds and services, as determined by the Irish government.
What is the Irish Residence Permit?
The Irish Residence Permit is a card which you will receive if your application for residency permission is accepted.
After you have received the Irish Residence Permit, you must inform the authorities if there are any changes to your family circumstances, including if your de facto relationship breaks down.
As mentioned, it is your responsibility to renew the Irish Residence Permit before it expires.
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Yes, it is possible to join your partner in Ireland under these circumstances. However, your partner must have been granted with permission to reside in Ireland with stamp 1, 4 or 5 in their passport.
You will need to apply for preclearance and a Long Stay ‘D’ Join Family Member Visa before travelling to Ireland. If you are given permission to enter into Ireland, you will need to apply for permission to remain as the De Facto partner of an Irish resident. If accepted, you will get stamp 4 in your passport, which permits you to work in Ireland and start a business.
If your join a family member visa application was rejected, you will receive a letter indicating the reasons for the refusal. If you believe that your visa application has been unfairly rejected, you can officially appeal the decision of the Department of Justice & Equality.
Here are the Immigration Advice Service, one of our expert immigration lawyers can guide you through the whole process of an appeal, maximising your chances of a successful appeal.
Yes, living in Ireland as a de facto partner will count as reckonable evidence towards Irish citizenship. To become eligible for Irish citizenship, you must have lived in Ireland for a period of 365 days immediately prior to your Irish citizenship application and you must have lived in Ireland for four years out of the previous eight before that.
It is your responsibility to renew your Irish Residence Permit before it expires. Any time which you have spent in Ireland unlawfully will not count towards the citizenship time requirements.
You will also need to fulfil a number of other requirements such as being able to demonstrate good character.
Generally, join a family member visa applications will be automatically rejected if they don’t include key documents and information. It is imperative that you make every effort to source all required documents and include them in your application.
However, in very exceptional circumstances, Irish immigration might give some leniency if you cannot provide certain documents.
If you would like some help in ascertaining exactly which documents you need to include in your application, please do not hesitate to contact us on (+353) 061 518 025.