Coming from the EU/EEA to work


As an EU citizen you can come to Ireland to look for work, and you can take up employment or self-employment without needing an employment permit. This also applies to citizens of European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

The EEA is made up of the member states of the EU, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

UK citizens can live and work in Ireland as part of the Common Travel Area.

Residence rights for you and your family

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can travel to Ireland without a visa. You must have a passport or national identity card to enter Ireland. Ireland is not part of the Schengen Area.

You can stay in Ireland for up to 6 months to look for work. You do not have to register with Immigration Service Delivery (the Irish immigration authorities). If you have not found work after 6 months, you can stay in Ireland if you are able to support yourself. You are not entitled to social welfare assistance while you are looking for a job.

However, if you were getting an unemployment payment in another EU/EEA country, you may continue to get this paid. You should ask for a form U2 from the country that pays you before you come to Ireland.

You can remain in Ireland for over 6 months if:

  • You are employed or self-employed
  • You have enough resources to support yourself and your dependents
  • You are a student, have enough resources to support yourself, and you have comprehensive health insurance

Your family

Your EU, EEA, UK or Swiss citizen family members can reside with you in Ireland.

If you have family members that are from outside the EU, EEA, UK or Switzerland, they must apply for residence. If they are from a country whose citizens need a visa to enter Ireland, they must apply for a visa before travelling to Ireland. If the family member has a residence card issued by another EEA country under EU law, they can enter Ireland without a visa.

Returning to Ireland

Our ‘Returning to Ireland’ section has information on rights and entitlements for returning Irish citizens.

Your right to be treated equally

You have the right to be treated equally to Irish citizens and you should not be discriminated against because you are not an Irish citizen. This means, you should have the same rights as an Irish worker regarding:

Looking for work

You can find work in a number of ways:

You can read more about looking for work in Ireland.

You may have to get your professional qualifications recognised in Ireland.

Social security and tax

When you are offered a job, or if you want to start your own business, you will need to get a Public Personal Services Number (PPS number). You also must register with Revenue. Find out more about starting work in Ireland.

As an employee, your employer will make deductions from your pay for tax and social insurance. The amount you pay depends on your salary and your circumstances (for example, if you are married). Your employer must give you a payslip, which will set out these deductions:

  • PAYE: Pay As You Earn – this is income tax
  • USC: Universal Social Charge – this is another tax
  • PRSI: Pay Related Social Insurance – this is social insurance

PRSI contributes to your pension, and if you become unemployed or ill, you may be able to claim a social welfare payment based on your PRSI contributions. You can combine social insurance contributions that you made in another EEA country to qualify for Irish benefits.

If you are self-employed, you must pay your own taxes and social insurance by making an annual tax return.

Family benefits

While you are employed or self-employed in Ireland you can claim family benefits for your dependent children. This includes children that continue to live in another EU/EEA country.

You can continue to get these payments for a period if you lose your job or cannot work due to sickness or incapacity.

Find out more about migrant workers and unemployment.

Employment rights

Page edited: 20 November 2023