Permission to enter Ireland

Introduction

Ireland has rules and laws about who can enter the country. If you are a citizen of a country that is outside the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland or the UK, you must have permission to enter Ireland.

You get permission to enter Ireland from an immigration officer at the airport or ferry port where you enter Ireland. If you enter Ireland through Northern Ireland, you must get permission to enter after your arrival. You may also need to apply for and be granted a visa to enter Ireland (see ‘Non-EEA nationals and permission to enter Ireland’ below).

An immigration officer can refuse permission for you to enter Ireland, even if you have a visa or residence permission in Ireland.

Ireland is not part of the Schengen Area. This means that you must have a national passport or national identity card to enter Ireland from the EEA.

Travel with a child aged under 18: Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) has published advice for people travelling to Ireland with a minor who is not their child or who has a different surname.

Entering Ireland during COVID-19

You should read the rules on quarantine and testing before you travel to Ireland.

Ireland is operating the EU Digital COVID Certificate for travellers arriving from the EU and EEA.

EEA, UK and Swiss nationals and permission to enter Ireland

EEA, and Swiss citizens have the right to move freely in the EEA, and you can only be refused permission to enter Ireland in very limited situations:

  • You are suffering from a serious contagious disease which poses a serious threat to the population
  • Your past behaviour, including any criminal convictions you may have, is deemed to pose a substantial risk to public security or public policy

UK citizens can travel freely to Ireland as part of the Common Travel Area.

You do not have to register with the immigration authorities as EEA and Swiss nationals have specific rights to live and work in Ireland.

If you are travelling with family members who are not citizens of the EEA, UK or Switzerland, they need to have permission to enter and may have to apply for a visa.

Non-EEA nationals and permission to enter Ireland

If you are a national of any other country (other than the United Kingdom), you must get permission to enter when you arrive in Ireland.

Visas

You may have to get a visa before you can travel to Ireland. A visa is a type of preclearance that allows you to travel to Ireland. You still have to get permission to enter Ireland at your port of entry to the State even if you have a valid visa.

Preclearance

If you do not need a visa to enter Ireland, you have to get pre-clearance before you travel to Ireland if you are moving here because:

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 and visa.

Preparing for entering Ireland

You should read the latest COVID-19 travel rules for Ireland.

You must have a passport or recognised travel document if you are coming from a country outside the EEA. You may also need to have a visa.

You should have proof of the reasons you are coming to Ireland. The documents you need depend on the purpose of your trip. If you are visiting Ireland for a short period, you should have:

  • Proof that you have money to support yourself and your dependents
  • Proof of where you are staying while you are in Ireland
  • A return ticket to go back to the country where you normally live
  • Proof that you are working or studying in your home country, or have other important things (for example, family commitments) to return to

If you plan to travel to the UK as well, you must have permission to enter the UK before you come to Ireland.

If you are moving to Ireland, you have to show that you meet the requirements for your reasons for moving here. Some examples of the reasons for travelling to Ireland are:

Travel over the Christmas period

If you are a resident of Ireland and you plan to travel abroad over Christmas, you should print and carry the Travel Confirmation Notice (pdf). This document confirms that immigration permissions were renewed automatically, and that you do not need a re-entry visa to return to Ireland if you have an IRP that expired on or after 20 March 2020.

If you plan on returning to Ireland after 15 January 2022, you must have a valid IRP. Otherwise, you must apply for a visa to enter Ireland.

Your children under 16 who live in Ireland, do not need a re-entry visa to return to Ireland between 15 November 2021 and 15 January 2022.

Being refused permission to enter Ireland

The immigration officer may refuse your permission to enter Ireland if the immigration officer believes:

  • 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
  • You have come to Ireland for a different reason than you have given the immigration officer

If you are refused permission to enter you must be given the reasons in writing.

What happens if I am refused entry to Ireland?

If you are refused permission to enter Ireland, you may be detained in prison.

If your solicitor thinks that the refusal was unlawful, they may apply to court for an injunction to stop you from being deported. This is a type of court order that prevents the deportation from going ahead while the court decides if the refusal was lawful.

You may be deported back to the country where you normally live.

If you are granted permission to enter

This information is for citizens of countries outside the EEA, Switzerland and the UK.

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 will stamp your passport with information about the conditions of your stay.

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 want 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 about Registration of non-EEA nationals in Ireland.

However, visa-required nationals who have entered Ireland on a C (or ‘short stay’) visa cannot extend their permission to remain, unless they were granted a C visa to join an EEA family member. They must leave and apply for a D visa from outside Ireland if they want to return.

Contacts

If you are living outside Dublin, you should contact your regional registration office or your local garda district headquarters

Burgh Quay Registration Office

Immigration Service Delivery

Department of Justice
13/14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2
D02 XK70
Ireland

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 8am to 9pm, Friday 8am to 6pm

Immigrant Council of Ireland

2 St Andrew Street
Dublin 2
Ireland

Opening Hours: Information and Referral Service: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 10am - 1pm
Tel: +353 (0)1 674 0200
Fax: +353 (0)1 645 8059

Nasc Migrant and Refugee Rights

34 Paul Street
Cork
T12 W14H

Tel: 021 427 3594
Page edited: 15 November 2021