- What are the general requirements?
- Do I need a visa to join my spouse/civil partner?
- Can IAS help with my Long Stay Visa?
- Can my spouse/civil partner sponsor me?
- Can I join my Irish spouse/civil partner?
- Can I join my non-EEA spouse/civil partner?
- Can I join my EU spouse/civil partner?
- Why has my application been rejected?
- Frequently asked questions
- How can I get help from the IAS?
Joining your spouse/civil partner who is residing in Ireland
If you wish to join your spouse/civil partner who is an Irish citizen or who is lawfully resident in Ireland and you wish to stay for longer than three months, you may be eligible to do so under Ireland’s Family Reunification scheme.
The individual who is residing in the State – your spouse/civil partner – will be considered your ‘sponsor’ throughout the entire immigration process.
The reason for your spouse/civil partner being considered your ‘sponsor’ is that the application is viewed as a joint undertaking based on the shared wish that the applicant be allowed to live in Ireland.
The term ‘sponsor’ also represents that your spouse/civil partner will take responsibility for you throughout the duration of your stay in Ireland.
The ability to join your spouse/civil partner residing in Ireland is dependent on many factors, including:
- Your spouse/civil partner’s nationality (whether they are an Irish/EU/non-EEA national)
- The immigration permission they have been granted whilst residing in Ireland (whether they are allowed to bring family members such as their spouse/civil partner to reside in Ireland with them depends upon the immigration stamp they have been given)
- If your spouse/civil partner is a recognised refugee in Ireland
What are some general requirements for non-EEA nationals joining their spouse/civil partner in Ireland?
Whilst each case will demand unique requirements depending on your personal circumstances, your partner’s circumstances and their own immigration permission, there are some primary requirements which apply to all non-EEA nationals hoping to join their spouse/civil partner in Ireland.
- Both you and your spouse/civil partner must commit to living together permanently as husband and wife or civil partners as soon as circumstances permit
- Spouses must be a minimum of 18 years old
- All applicants and their spouse/civil partner, regardless of their nationality, must provide evidence of the claimed relationship to prove that the relationship is genuine
- The marriage certificate/civil partnership certificate must be capable of recognition under Irish law
- It is not sufficient for a relationship to have developed solely over the internet/via telephone etc., a relationship must include a number of face-to-face meetings
Do I need to apply for a visa to join my spouse/civil partner in Ireland?
If you are from a non-EEA visa required country, it is essential that you apply for a long stay (join family) visa.
One of IAS’ dedicated, friendly and OISC-accredited immigration lawyers in Ireland can provide high quality legal assistance with your spouse/civil partner visa application.
This application can be both lengthy and complex, with a significant amount of supporting documentation required.
Currently, there is no form of preclearance required for those non-EEA nationals who are from non-visa required countries.
At the moment, these individuals who wish to join their spouse/civil partner can travel to Ireland without having to apply for a visa to gain entry to the State.
However, non-EEA nationals from both visa required and non-visa required countries must provide sufficient supporting documentation upon arrival to Ireland.
This must be presented to an immigration officer at the border.
Can IAS help me with my Long Stay (Join Family) Visa application?
Yes, an IAS immigration lawyer can assist individuals from non-EEA visa required countries who must apply for a long stay (join family) visa prior to travelling to Ireland.
We can provide expert practical assistance with all aspects of the visa application process. Some key documents which must be provided with your long stay (join family) visa application include:
- Completed and signed application summary form
- Two colour passport sized photographs no more than 6 months old
- Your current, valid passport and any previous passports
- A signed letter of application outlining your reason for coming to Ireland, details of your spouse/civil partner in Ireland who is sponsoring your application and details of any other family member residing in Ireland
- Details of your sponsor’s status in Ireland (i.e. whether they are an Irish citizen, EU or non-EEA national residing in Ireland) and their eligibility to sponsor (your sponsor will be your spouse/civil partner)
- Evidence of the claimed relationship between you and your spouse/civil partner
- Evidence of your finances and those of your sponsor (your spouse/civil partner)
- Evidence of your financial and social dependency on your spouse/civil partner (if applicable)
- Medical/travel insurance
Is my spouse/civil partner eligible to sponsor my application?
For your spouse/civil partner to be eligible as your sponsor, they must fall under one of the following categories of individuals residing in Ireland:
- An Irish citizen residing or intending to reside in Ireland
- A lawfully resident foreign national who is an Employment Permit Holder in Ireland
- A lawfully resident foreign national with Stamp 4 immigration permission (including long term residents)
- A lawfully resident foreign national with an immigration Stamp 5 (indicating that their residence is without condition as to time)
- A Researcher under a Hosting Agreement (including those who hold a Critical Skills Employment Permit)
- A PhD student studying for a doctorate accredited in Ireland
- A Minister of Religion with Stamp 3 immigration permissions
Unfortunately, even if your spouse/civil partner is eligible to make an application as your sponsor, this does not indicate or assume a successful outcome of the application.
An IAS immigration law specialist can strengthen your chances of success by providing a detailed Letter of Representation alongside both your own application and the application of your sponsor. For professional legal assistance with your long stay (join family) visa application, contact IAS on (+353) 061 518 025.
How can I join my spouse/civil partner who is an Irish citizen residing in Ireland?
Marrying or entering a civil partnership with an Irish citizen does not grant you automatic residency rights in Ireland. If you are a non-EEA national, you are required to apply for permission to remain in the State.
As explained above, non-EEA nationals who are from visa required countries and are married/in a civil partnership with an Irish national must apply for a long stay (join family) visa prior to travelling to Ireland.
One key condition is that your sponsor (your Irish spouse/civil partner) must not have relied predominantly on benefits from the Irish State for a continuous period of 2 years immediately prior to the application.
Additionally, your Irish spouse/civil partner must have earned, over the three years prior to application, a cumulative gross income over and above any State benefits of no less than €40,000.
All non-EEA nationals – visa required or not – must register for permission to remain in Ireland for over 90 days (3 months).
You may be granted right to enter the State, however only once you have registered with immigration and have gained permission to remain are you entitled to reside in Ireland with your spouse/civil partner for longer than 3 months.
Once you have entered the State, both you and your Irish spouse/civil partner must visit your local Garda National Immigration Bureau Registration office with the following:
- Your original marriage/civil partnership certificate
- Your original passport
- Your Irish spouse’s/civil partner’s original passport
- Evidence of your joint address
How can I join my non-EEA spouse/civil partner residing in Ireland?
If you are a non-EEA national and would like to join your spouse/civil partner who is also a non-EEA national currently residing in Ireland, your ability to do so depends largely on the immigration status of your partner.
In order for your spouse/civil partner to sponsor you and to be eligible for immediate family reunification, they must be residing in Ireland as one of the following:
- Critical Skills Employment Permit holders
- Business Permission holders
- INIS Approved Scholarship programme students
- Intra Corporate Transferees
- PhD Students (subject to conditions)
- Full time non-locum doctors
Or, to be eligible to sponsor your application for family reunification after 12 months, your partner may be:
- A non Critical Skills Employment Permit holder
- A Stamp 4 holder who is not covered by more favourable arrangements
- A Minister of Religion
Any other non-EEA national residing in Ireland will not be eligible to sponsor your application for family reunification.
The reason for this is, if your spouse/civil partner falls within one of the above categories, this infers a certain desired level of income earnings.
Therefore, their immigration status correlates with their ability to support you and your application to join them.
How can I join my spouse/civil partner who is an EU national in Ireland?
If you are a non-EEA national and wish to join your spouse/civil partner who is an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen residing in Ireland, you must apply for a ‘Residence Card of a Family Member of a Union Citizen’.
This is also known as an ‘EU Treaty Rights’ application since your spouse/civil partner must use their EU Treaty Rights to sponsor your application.
The application process involves the submitting of several forms complete with supporting documentation.
It can take up to 12 months to process.
There are two types of residence card which may be applied for, however those who are joining their spouse/civil partner must apply for the residence card ‘for a qualifying family member of a Union citizen’.
An IAS immigration lawyer can provide you with practical assistance throughout this application process.
After submitting your application for this residence card, you will be sent a letter which may give you temporary permission to reside in Ireland until a decision on your application has been reached.
If you are granted permission, you must then register to extend your permission in order to stay over 90 days.
Why has my application been rejected, can IAS help?
Family reunification in Ireland can be a difficult process to navigate, especially when considering the level of supporting documentation and forms of evidence required to prove the sincerity of your relationship. Your application to join your spouse/civil partner may be refused for a number of reasons.
Some key factors which may/will inhibit your chances of joining your spouse/civil partner in Ireland are:
- If either you or your partner is considered a threat to public security, public policy or public health
- If either has a criminal record/previous relevant immigration history – this does not lead to automatic exclusion but is extremely influential
- If inadequate or inconsistent information was provided/you have not sufficiently demonstrated the existence, durability and closeness of the relationship
- If the marriage/civil partnership is perceived by INIS to be for the sole purpose of residency in Ireland
- If your partner cannot provide financial support for you (if your partner is an Irish citizen, the economic assessment would be less onerous than for non-EEA sponsors)
One of our experienced immigration experts can help you in the event that your application to join your spouse/civil partner in Ireland is rejected. We have years of experience when it comes to appealing application decisions.
Contact us on (+353) 061 518 025 to find out more.
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Once you have registered with immigration authorities for residency permission in Ireland, you will be given an immigration stamp to indicate the conditions of your stay.
Those who are granted permission to reside in Ireland with their spouse/civil partner who is an Irish citizen will be given a Stamp 4 and may be entitled to stay in the State for an initial period of 36 months.
A Stamp 4 allows you to reside and work in Ireland without the need to acquire an Employment Permit. It will also detail the exact length of time that you are permitted to reside in the State.
Stamp 4 is also reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. This means that any time spent on this immigration permission will be counted towards the necessary time required for Irish citizenship.
If your spouse/civil partner is a non-EEA national residing in Ireland, your immigration permission will be subject to employment permit requirements as set out by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
If you wish to extend your stay in Ireland, you may be eligible to renew your immigration. This must be done before your current permission expires.
An IAS immigration lawyer can help with your extension/renewal.
Contact us on (+353) 061 518 025.
If you separate with your spouse/civil partner who sponsored your application to reside in Ireland, you must notify your local Garda National Immigration Bureau Registration Officer within 7 days of this change of circumstances.
You are also required to write to the Spouse of Irish National Unit at least 3 months prior to the expiry of your current immigration permission and must detail the change of circumstances surrounding your separation.
A general requirement for the retention of your immigration status in the event of a divorce/separation is that you must have been married/in a civil partnership for at least 3 years before the separation with at least the last 2 years spent residing in Ireland.
The sponsor (your spouse/civil partner) cannot be joined by a further spouse or partner until a minimum of 7 years have elapsed from the date of the first spousal permission.
At the IAS, we can help with every step of your Spouse/Civil Partner application for residency in Ireland.
Whether you need help with a Long Stay (Join Family) Visa, help with immigration registration or renewal, require legal advice regarding your eligibility, or perhaps need assistance with appealing a decision, our immigration lawyers in Ireland are able to help.
Take a look at our comprehensive packages to consider which best suits your needs; our advice package, application package and appeal package are sure to be invaluable throughout your immigration journey.
We provide advice sessions in person, via Skype or telephone.
To get in touch with one of our immigration specialists, please call (+353) 061 518 025.