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Glossary of immigration terms

Glossary of Immigration Terms

Asylum seeker A person who is seeking to be recognised as a Convention refugee under the Geneva Convention 1951
Business permission Written permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality to a non-EEA national to allow you to become established and engage in business in Ireland. Business permission usually lasts for 1 year initially.
A visa-required national will still need a visa as well as the business permission.
If you hold a business permission, you will have residence stamp number 1 endorsed on your passport.
C Visa The type of visa that allows a visa-required national to come to Ireland with a view to staying a maximum of 90 days (3 months). It cannot be renewed and the holder must leave the State on or before expiry of the visa.
Certificate of Registration A card issued to all legally resident non-EEA nationals who stay in Ireland for more than 3 months. Possession of this Certificate of Registration verifies that the person has registered with their local immigration registration officer.
The card is a credit-card sized document. It includes the person’s photo, the number of the relevant residence stamp (see below), date of expiry and the GNIB reference number. Sometimes called a GNIB card or a residence permit. There are several different versions of the card, depending on the person’s status, which are described below. There is a fee for the card of €300 (with exceptions).
Convention refugee A person who is recognised as being a refugee under the criteria set down in the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, as implemented by legislation in Ireland.
A Convention refugee will receive residence stamp no. 4 and will not need an employment permit or business permission to work in Ireland.
Critical Skills Employment Permit The Critical Skills Employment Permit is for a restricted list of occupations in the annual salary range from €30,000 to €60,000 and for occupations in the annual salary range above €60,000. If you hold a Critical Skills Employment Permit you will have residence stamp number 1 endorsed on your passport.
D Visa A visa that allows a visa-required national to come to Ireland with a view to staying more than 90 days (3 months). The holder must register with the relevant immigration registration officer.
EEA national A citizen of one of the member states of the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA is made up of the EU member states (see EU national below) together with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. There are similar arrangements for Swiss nationals so the term EEA national is often used to cover EEA and Swiss nationals.
No residence stamp is placed on the passport of an EEA national on arrival in Ireland.
In general an EEA national does not need an employment permit or business permission to work in Ireland.
Employment permit A document which non-EEA nationals must have in order to be allowed to work in Ireland.
There are 9 types of employment permit including General Employment Permit and Critical Skills Employment Permit. If you hold an employment permit, you will have residence stamp number 1 endorsed on your passport.
EU national or EU citizen A citizen of the European Union. The members of the EU are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
No residence stamp is placed on the passport of an EU national on arrival in Ireland. An EU national does not need an employment permit or business permission to work in Ireland.
Garda National Immigration Bureau The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) is responsible for all immigration-related Garda operations in the State.
General Employment Permit A type of employment permit issued for occupations in the annual salary range from €30,000 to €60,000 and for a very few employments with annual salaries below €30,000. Some occupations are ineligible for employment permits and the employer must have shown that the relevant vacancy could not be filled from within the EEA or Switzerland. It lasts for 2 years and is renewable. If you hold a General Employment Permit you will have residence stamp number 1 on your passport.
GNIB card Another name for the immigration certificate of registration.
Immigration officer Immigration officers are appointed under statute by the Minister for Justice and Equality. Their functions include interviewing those arriving in the State to establish whether they are foreign nationals, and if so, whether they have the correct documents and whether they should be given permission to land or be in the State. This permission generally takes the form of a stamp on the passport. It is usually known as a residence stamp or it may be a landing stamp only.
International protection Under the International Protection Act 2015, there are 2 forms of international protection, that is, refugee status and subsidiary protection.
Immigration registration officer A member of the Garda Síochána who is responsible for the registration of non-EEA nationals who stay in Ireland for more than 3 months.
In the Dublin metropolitan region this function resides with the Burgh Quay Registration Office. Outside this area, the local immigration registration officer is the Superintendent at the local Garda district headquarters.
Permanent residence card The type of Certificate of Registration issued to a non-EEA national family member of an EU citizen who has lived in the State for 5 years. The card will record the fact that the family member’s permission to remain is residence stamp no. 4 EU-FAM. Even if the holder is a visa-required national, they will not need a re-entry visa when returning to Ireland after a stay abroad. Application form EU 3 is used to apply for this type of GNIB card. There is no fee.
Permanent residence certificate A letter issued to an EU citizen who has lived in Ireland for 5 years or more.
Application form EU 2 is used apply for this certificate. There is no fee.
Permitted family member A non-EEA national dependant (or partner) of an EU citizen who is not a qualifying family member (see below). They have completed an application form EU1A and have been approved as a permitted family member by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) under the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015.
A permitted family member will receive residence stamp no. 4 EU-FAM and will not need an employment permit or business permission to work in Ireland.
Programme refugee A person who has been invited to Ireland by the government, usually in response to a humanitarian crisis and at the request of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In general, they have the same rights as Convention refugees.
A Programme refugee will have residence stamp no. 4 on their passport and will not need an employment permit or business permission to work in Ireland.
Qualifying family member The non-EEA national spouse, civil partner or dependent relative of an EU citizen who has exercised the right to move to and live in Ireland under the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015.
A person who has been approved by INIS as a qualifying family member and has completed an application form EU1 will receive residence stamp no. 4 EU-FAM and will not need an employment permit or business permission to work in Ireland. The Certificate of Registration will be 4 EU-FAM (which is the residence card of a family member of a EU citizen.
Residence card A type of Certificate of Registration that is issued to a non-EEA citizen who is a qualifying family member or permitted family member of an EU citizen under the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015.
Form EU 1 or EU 1A is used to apply for this card. There is no fee.
Residence document The type of Certificate of Registration issued to non-EEA national dependants of citizens of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland under the European Communities (Aliens) Regulations 1977 and the European Communities (Right of Residence for Non-Economically Active Persons) Regulations 1997.
Formerly issued to non-EEA dependants of citizens of all the EEA and Switzerland, it is no longer issued to non-EEA dependants of EU citizens, who qualify for residence cards.
The holder of a residence document will receive residence stamp no. 4 EU-FAM and will not need an employment permit or business permission to work in Ireland. EU 1 form is now used to apply for this as well. There is no fee.
Residence stamp or permission to remain An endorsement placed on the passport of a non-EEA national permitting them to remain in Ireland. It specifies the duration for which the person is permitted to remain and the conditions under which they may remain (for example, whether they are allowed to work or not). This stamp must be kept up to date at all times.
The different types of stamp are explained below.
Stamp number 0 Issued to a non-EEA national, for example, who is permitted to remain in Ireland for a specific, temporary and limited purpose on condition that they do not receive State benefits and have private medical insurance. Examples include a retired person of independent means or a visiting academic.
Stamp number 1 Issued to a non-EEA national who has received an employment permit, a business permission or a working holiday authorisation. Since 1 March 2014 there are new arrangements for doctors.
Stamp number 1A Issued to a non-EEA national trainee accountant (pdf).
Stamp number 1G Issued to students who are permitted to remain under the Third Level Graduate Scheme.
Stamp number 2 Issued to a non-EEA national student who is permitted to work for up to 20 hours a week during term and up to 40 hours a week during holidays. (The student must be attending a full-time recognised course of at least a year).
Stamp number 2A Issued to a non-EEA national student who is not permitted to work.
Stamp number 3 Issued to a non-EEA national who is not permitted to work, such as a visitor, a minister of religion or the spouse, civil partner or dependant of an employment permit holder.
Stamp number 4 Issued to the following categories of people, all of whom do not need an employment permit to work in Ireland.
  • *Spouses and civil partners of Irish nationals
  • *Family members of EEA nationals
  • *People who have permission to remain on the basis of parentage of an Irish child
  • *People granted international protection (refugeeor subsidiary protection status)
  • *Former asylum-seekers granted leave to remain
  • Non-EEA nationals on intra-company transfer
  • Non-EEA nationals who have working visas or work authorisations
In addition, people in the category marked * do not need a business permission.
Stamp number 4 (EU FAM) Issued to non-EEA national family members of EU citizens who have exercised their right to move to and live in Ireland under the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015.
People holding this stamp are permitted to work without needing an employment permit or business permission, and they can apply for a residence card under the Regulations.
Stamp number 5 Issued to non-EEA nationals who have lived in Ireland for at least 8 years and who have been permitted by the Minister for Justice and Equality to remain in Ireland without condition as to time (WCATT).
People holding this stamp do not need an employment permit or business permission.
Stamp number 6

Can be placed on the foreign passport of an Irish citizen who has dual citizenship, and who wants their entitlement to remain in Ireland to be endorsed on their foreign passport.

This stamp certifies that the holder of the passport is permitted to remain in Ireland without condition.

Subsidiary protection A status granted under the International Protection Act 2015 to a person who does not qualify to be a refugee under the Geneva Convention 1951 but who is at risk of serious harm if sent home.
Temporary residence certificate A document issued by the International Protection Office to asylum-seekers. It contains personal details and a photograph of the person who is seeking asylum. It is not an identity document.
Visa An Irish visa is a certificate stating that the foreign national identified in it is permitted by the Government to be present at the frontier of the State for the purpose of seeking permission to enter the State. A visa is valid only if affixed to a passport or travel document.
The granting of a visa only a form of pre-clearance. A visa merely permits a person to travel to the state during the validity period of the visa. The visa does not grant permission to enter or reside in the State. This permission is given by the immigration officer at the point of entry, who has the authority to grant or deny such admission. Applicants’ passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the intended date of departure from Ireland following visits.
Visa-required national A person who needs a visa if travelling to Ireland. The states whose nationals do not require a visa are listed in Schedule 1 of the current Visas Order. The list of states can change at any time and a new Order is issued in this case. EEA nationals do not require visas. There are about 60 other states listed in the Order, whose nationals do not require a visa.
Page edited: 9 January 2017

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