Permission to enter Ireland
Irish citizens are entitled to enter Ireland.
National of the European Economic Area (EEA) or of Switzerland may be prevented from entering Ireland only in very restricted circumstances – see ‘EEA and Swiss nationals’ below.
Non-EEA nationals need permission to enter Ireland. The rules about permission to enter apply to non-EEA nationals whether or not you are required to have a visa to enter Ireland. When you arrive in Ireland, you must report to an immigration officer. If you are allowed to enter Ireland, the immigration officer may give you permission to remain in Ireland for up to 3 months – see ‘Non-EEA nationals’ below.
Travel with a child aged under 18: The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has published advice for people travelling to Ireland with a minor who is not their child or who has a different surname.
Advance Passenger Information: The European Communities (Communication of Passenger Data) Regulations 2011 requesting airlines to provide Advance Passenger Information (API) apply to all inbound flights to Ireland from outside the EU. It is aimed at improving border control and combating illegal immigration.
EEA and Swiss nationals and permission to enter Ireland
If you are an EEA or Swiss national, you may be refused permission to enter Ireland only if:
- You are suffering from a specified disease or disability or
- Your conduct has been such that it would be contrary to public policy or would endanger public security
You do not have to register with the immigration authorities as EEA and Swiss nationals have specific rights to live and work in Ireland.
Non-EEA nationals and permission to enter Ireland
If you are a national of any other country, you must get permission to enter when you arrive in Ireland.
Preclearance is when non-EEA nationals get permission to enter Ireland before travelling to Ireland. Getting preclearance makes the immigration process as straightforward as possible when you arrive at border control and when you register your immigration permission. Only certain categories of both visa and non-visa required non-EEA nationals can apply for preclearance before coming to Ireland. Currently, ministers of religion, volunteers, spouses and partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders and non-EEA de facto partners of Irish citizens can apply for preclearance.
If your preclearance application is successful and you are a visa required national, you must then apply for a visa online. However, if you are resident in a country where biometrics are recorded as part of the visa application process, you must make your visa application at the same time as your preclearance application. The countries where biometrics are currently recorded are China, India, Pakistan and Nigeria.
If your preclearance application is successful, you will be granted a letter
of approval or preclearance letter. This must be presented to the immigration
officer at border control when you arrival in Ireland. An Immigration Officer
at border control can refuse you entry even if you have a preclearance letter
If you are refused permission to enter
The immigration officer may refuse for any one of a number of reasons. For example, permission may be refused if the immigration officer has reason to believe that:
- You are not in a position to support yourself and any dependants arriving with you
- You intend to take up employment and you do not have a permit
- You suffer from certain specified conditions - these include TB, other infectious diseases, drug addiction and profound mental disturbance (this is defined as “manifest conditions of psychotic disturbance with agitation, delirium, hallucinations or confusion”)
- You have been convicted of an offence which carries a penalty of a year’s imprisonment or more
- You are obliged to have a visa and you do not have one
- You are the subject of a deportation order, an exclusion order or similar order
- You do not have a valid passport
- You intend to travel to Great Britain or Northern Ireland and you do not have a right to enter there
- Your entry or presence in Ireland could pose a threat to national security or be contrary to public policy.
If you are refused permission to enter you must be given the reasons in writing.
If you are granted permission to enter
You may be given permission to enter but with conditions attached. For example, you may only be allowed to stay for a stated period.
The immigration officer may grant you a visitor permission which allows you to stay for a maximum of 3 months. In certain unforeseen circumstances, this visitor permission may be extended.
If you wish to stay in Ireland for longer than this, you must apply for permission to remain by registering with your local immigration office. In Dublin this is the Burgh Quay Registration Office and outside Dublin it is your regional registration office or local garda district headquarters – see ‘Where to apply’ below. You can read more in our document, Registration of non-EEA nationals in Ireland.
However, visa-required nationals who have entered Ireland on a C visa cannot extend their permission to remain. They must leave and apply for a D visa from outside Ireland if they wish to return.