Residence rights of family members

Introduction

If you move to Ireland you may be able to bring your Non-EEA family members to live with you. Your right to have your family join you in Ireland depends on:

  • Your residence status in Ireland
  • Your family relationship with the person

In some cases, you have a legal right to be joined by your family. But in many situations, you must show that you have the income to support them and satisfy eligibility criteria. The information on this page is mostly about spouses, partners and dependent children.

Family members of Irish citizens

You do not have an automatic right to be joined by your family if they are non-EEA nationals. If your family member is an EEA, Swiss or UK national, they do not have to apply for residence permission.

Spouses from outside the EEA, UK and Switzerland

If you are returning to Ireland with your spouse, they may need an entry visa. They should apply for a long stay (D) visa. Your income in the 3 years before the application should be more than €40,000 in total, not including any social welfare payments you received during that period.

After they arrive on a long stay visa, or if they are from a country that allows them to travel to Ireland without a visa, you should both go to your local registration office to apply for permission to reside in Ireland.

If your spouse is already resident in Ireland (for example, if they have a student visa), they should make an appointment to go to their local registration office to apply for residence as the spouse of an Irish citizen.

But if your spouse lives in Ireland but does not have permission to live here, they must make an application by filling in a form and sending supporting documents to Immigration Service Delivery (ISD). This also applies if your spouse is an international protection applicant.

Partners

If you are returning to Ireland with your de facto non-EEA partner, they must apply for a visa or preclearance before coming to Ireland. A de facto partner is a person you are in a relationship with that is like a marriage, but you are not married.

If you are in a de facto relationship with someone who is already resident in Ireland (for example, if they have a student visa) they can apply for residence based on their relationship with you. You are eligible to apply if you have been in a relationship for 2 years or more.

Applications from de facto partners who are living in Ireland without a valid residence permission in Ireland are not accepted.

Children

Children under 16 do not need to register with ISD. If they plan to join you in Ireland, they may need to apply for a visa to enter the country.

If you have children aged between 16 and 18, or under 23 and in fulltime education, they must register with ISD if they are not Irish, British, Swiss or EEA citizens.

Family members of UK citizens

If your family member was living in Ireland before 31 December 2020 and has an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) that was granted based on their relationship with you, they can continue to live in Ireland. The IRP should say Stamp 4 EUFAM. They must exchange this IRP before the end of 2021.

Non-EEA and non-UK family members of UK citizens who move to Ireland from 1 January 2021, must apply for residency. They do not have an automatic right of residence in Ireland.

You should check if they need a visa for entering the State. If they do not need a visa, they must apply for preclearance before travelling to Ireland if they plan to make an application for residence.

Family members of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

If your family members are also EU/EEA, Swiss or UK citizens, then you do not have to make an application for them to join you here in Ireland. They do not have to register with Immigration Service Delivery (the Irish immigration authorities).

If your family members are non EU/EEA, Swiss or UK citizens, they must apply for residence.

Qualifying and permitted family members

In EU law, there are 2 types of family member who can apply for a residence card: qualifying family members and permitted family members.

The following are qualifying family members:

  • Your spouse or civil partner
  • Your child or the child of your spouse under the age of 21
  • Your grandchild or your spouse’s grandchild under the age of 21
  • Your dependent parent, or dependent parent of your spouse
  • Your dependent grandparent, or the dependent grandparent of your spouse
  • Other direct, dependent descendants or direct, dependent relatives in the ascending line (for example, great grandparents or great grandchildren) of either you or your spouse

Children over 21 are generally considered qualifying family members if they are in education, or are dependent on you due to an illness or disability. You will have to show that your parents or grandparents (or the parents or grandparents of your spouse) were dependent on you before they came to Ireland.

Permitted family members include:

  • Your partner
  • Any relative who is part of your household that is not a qualifying family member
  • Any relative who needs your personal care because of illness or disability

You can read about residence rights of EEA citizens and their families.

People who have international protection status

If you were granted international protection (either refugee or subsidiary protection status) or you came to Ireland as a programme refugee, you have a right to family reunification.

You can apply for the following family members to join you in Ireland:

  • Your spouse or civil partner
  • Your children aged under 18
  • Your parents if you are under 18

Other Non-EEA citizens

You may be able to invite your family to live with you in Ireland depending on the type of residence permission you have.

Critical Skills Employment Permit holders

If you have a Critical Skills Employment Permit, your spouse or partner, and your dependent family can apply to join you immediately

Students

If you are studying in Ireland, your family cannot join you in Ireland except in exceptional circumstances.

Employment permit holders and Stamp 4 holders

If you have an employment permit (other than a Critical Skills Employment Permit) or a Stamp 4, then your family can apply to join you in Ireland after 12 months. The policy of Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) (pdf) is to assess each application on its own merits, and you do not have a right to be joined by your family.

You should have enough income to support your family. If your spouse or partner wants to join you in Ireland, you should have earned at least €30,000 per year in the 2 years before the application.

For children, the amount you should earn is based on the weekly Working Family Payment income limits for your family size.

Dependent elderly relatives

If your parents, or other elderly relative that is dependent on you or your spouse or partner, wish to join you in Ireland, you must have:

  • Income of €60,000 per year for one relative
  • Income of €75,000 for two relatives

Both your income and that of your spouse or partner is considered. Having the income does not guarantee that permission will be granted. You can read about the other requirements for elderly dependent relatives on the ISD website.

Relatives in Afghanistan

A new scheme for family members of Afghan citizens to join their family in Ireland has been announced.

Afghan nationals who are living in Ireland on or before 1 September 2021 can apply for up to 4 close family members who are living in Afghanistan or who have left Afghanistan to go to certain neighbouring countries.

The scheme will open in December 2021. Full details of how to apply and who can qualify will be published soon.

Further information and contacts

You can read more about non-EEA family reunification in the policy guidelines (pdf).

EU Treaty Rights Application Unit

Department of Justice

Residence Division
Immigration Service Delivery
13/14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2
D02 XK70
Ireland

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
Page edited: 1 October 2021