Permission to remain in Ireland
Foreign nationals other than EEA and Swiss nationals need permission to live in Ireland. There are different types of permission for non-EEA nationals including those for students and those who are working in Ireland. Other non-EEA nationals who have permission to remain in Ireland are those who have been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection. One specific type of permission to live in Ireland is known as permission to remain. This is a status that is granted at the discretion of the Minister for Justice and Equality. Leave to remain may be granted to people who have been refused a refugee or subsidiary protection declaration but who are not returned home for humanitarian or other compelling reasons.
People given permission to remain
A person who has been refused a refugee or subsidiary protection declaration may be granted permission to remain in the State. A person may also withdraw from the asylum process and seek permission to remain in the State. Permission to remain is granted at the discretion of the Minister for Justice and Equality, usually on humanitarian grounds.
There are 2 groups of asylum seekers who may be given permission to remain in the State:
People who withdraw from the asylum process
In general, people who withdraw from the asylum process and seek permission to remain are those who marry or enter into a civil partnership with an Irish citizen and those who marry or enter into a civil partnership an EU citizen.
People who were refused a declaration
If the International Protection Office has made a recommendation that they should be refused a refugee or subsidiary protection declaration, and this recommendation has not been overturned by the International Protection Appeals Tribunal, the Minister may consider whether they should be given permission to remain in the State.
Parents of Irish citizen children
Under the Irish Born Child Scheme (IBC/05) a number of non-EEA national parents of children born in the State prior to 1 January 2005 were granted permission to remain for an initial period of 2 years. Many of them had their permission to remain extended subject to certain conditions in 2007, 2010 and 2013. From 1 October 2015, there is a new application procedure to renew their permission to remain – see 'How to apply' below.
On 8 March 2011 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in the Zambrano case C 34/09, that an EU member state may not refuse the non-EU parents of a dependent child who is a citizen of, and resident in, an EU member state the right to live and work in that member state. Non-EEA parents who meet the Zambrano criteria may be given permission to live and work in Ireland without the requirement for an employment permit or business permission.
From 1 October 2015, there is a new application procedure for non-EEA parents applying for permission to remain based on parentage of an Irish citizen child – see 'How to apply' below.
Rights of people granted permission to remain
Persons granted permission to remain do not have all of the same rights as persons granted refugee or subsidiary protection status. They must have been resident in Ireland for 5 years before they are eligible to apply for Irish citizenship. They do not have the right to family reunification but anyone who is entitled to reside and remain in the State may apply to the Minister to permit family members to join them. The Minister for Justice and Equality can grant or refuse permission on a discretionary basis. In addition, foreign national parents granted permission to remain under the Irish Born Child Scheme (IBC/05) are not eligible for maintenance grants or free fees for third-level education.
How to apply
For those who withdraw from the asylum process the procedure for seeking permission to remain is as follows:
- If you are the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen details of how to apply for permission to remain are on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). If you are a family member of an EEA or Swiss citizen you apply to INIS EU Treaty Rights section - see 'Where to apply' below.
- Your letter of application must be accompanied by the relevant original documentation, such as your marriage or civil partnership certificate.
- INIS will then consider your application and advise the Minister for Justice and Equality accordingly who will make a decision on your application.
- You will be informed in writing of the outcome of your application.
If you are applying for permission to remain as the parent of an Irish citizen child, from 1 October 2015, you must apply using the Irish citizen child application form (pdf). Guidelines for completing the form are available on the INIS website. The completed form should be sent to INIS Residence Division Unit 4 – see ‘Where to apply’ below.
If you are granted permission to remain, you must register with your local immigration office.This is the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) if you live in Dublin and your Garda District Headquarters if you live outside Dublin.
Where to apply