Ireland, renowned for its captivating dance, Guinness beer, iconic rock bands U2 and The Cranberries, and an impressive list of Eurovision triumphs, also offers a breathtakingly beautiful landscape and a high standard of living. However, obtaining permanent residency in Ireland poses significant challenges for foreigners, as it does not grant residency permits through real estate investments. In this article, you will discover the various pathways to achieve Irish permanent residency.
- Why You Need a Residence Permit in Ireland
- Who Can Get a Residence Permit in Ireland?
- Can Residents’ Spouses and Children Get an Irish Residence Permit?
- Required Documents for Obtaining an Irish Residence Permit
- How Much Does It Cost?
- Can I Appeal in Case of Denial?
- Are There Other Ways to Get an Irish Residence Permit?
- Are There Ways to Live in Ireland Without Citizenship?
Why You Need a Residence Permit in Ireland
Being a member of the European Economic Area, Ireland offers favorable provisions for its citizens and those from the other 29 EEA countries, as well as Swiss passport holders, who can live and work in Ireland without needing visas. For individuals outside these categories, a registration is required if they plan to stay in the country for more than 90 days. Additionally, obtaining an employment permit is necessary for those seeking work opportunities in Ireland.
As of 2023, securing a permanent job has become the primary means of obtaining an Irish residence permit. In the past, since 2012, the country had an enticing program aimed at attracting foreign investments. Wealthy individuals were granted the opportunity to immigrate to Ireland by investing between €500,000 and €2,000,000 in the local economy. However, as of February 15, 2023, the program has been closed.
With a residence permit, foreign citizens have the right to stay and work in Ireland without an additional employment permit. It is valid for five years and can be renewed if the applicant still meets all the criteria.
Who Can Get a Residence Permit in Ireland?
While the main requirement for a five-year residence permit in Ireland is legally living in the country for five years, other conditions may also apply. Documentation and stamps in your passport are essential evidence to substantiate your eligibility for the permit.
Acquiring a residence permit in Ireland does not necessitate being confined to the country for five continuous years. You are encouraged to take vacations or travel for business and personal reasons. However, it is crucial to be mindful of the rule that you should not be abroad for more than 90 days per year. Exceeding this limit may raise concerns with migration authorities when they assess your eligibility for residency status and citizenship.
Here is a full list of the requirements for those applying for a residence permit:
- You must have legally resided in Ireland for the past five years, supported by registration cards or appropriate stamps in your passport.
- During this entire period, you should have held an employment permit or an invitation as an in-demand qualified specialist (formerly known as the green card).
- You must legally reside in Ireland at the time of application for a residence permit.
- You must be physically present in Ireland when you apply. The migration service does not consider applications sent from abroad.
- You need to be officially employed during the application process and maintain employment status until you receive your residence permit.
- You must have never violated the conditions of residence in Ireland.
- Your presence in the country should not have been a burden on the country's budget, meaning you have not received any social payments from the state except for those covered by social security.
- A clean record is essential; you must have no criminal history or any other legal issues.
Cobh. Photo: Kristel Hayes (Unspalsh)
Note: Please be aware that freelancers, meaning those who are not officially employed, are not eligible to obtain a residence permit in Ireland. Additionally, any other types of permits and visas, apart from those listed above, will not provide eligibility for a residence permit.
To obtain a residence permit, applicants must fulfill all the requirements mentioned above. However, it's essential to note that the Department of Justice, responsible for immigration matters, considers only registration cards and passport stamps, not the employment permit or its validity period. If you receive your work permit a few days before getting the stamp in your passport, those days will not be counted towards the required period.
Can Residents’ Spouses and Children Get an Irish Residence Permit?
Yes, family members can be included in your residence permit application. If your application gets approved, your spouse and minor children can also become residents. However, to qualify for a residence permit, they must have legally resided in Ireland for the past five years. All other requirements, except for a work permit, apply to family members as well.
A "family" residence permit is granted with one important consideration: it may not always guarantee the right to work in Ireland. The employment rights for family members are contingent upon the type of work permit held by the family member who was initially granted the residence permit.
Required Documents for Obtaining an Irish Residence Permit
Here is a list of documents you need to submit to the migration service of the Department of Justice in order to declare your desire to obtain an Irish residence permit:
- Completed application form providing personal information and details on any association with illegal or hazardous activities (e.g., criminal record, support to terrorist organizations, military service).
- Color copies of your current passport and all previous passports with stamps confirming your legal stay in Ireland.
- Colour copies of all registration cards, including the active one.
- A copy of your employment contract or an official letter from your employer, detailing your employment start date and terms of employment.
- Colour copies of all employment permits issued by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
- Supporting documents verifying your residence in Ireland for the past five years, such as employment certificates, bank statements, and rental agreements.
The migration service may request additional documents whenever it is deemed necessary.
Note: All documents and copies must be of high quality.
It is crucial to avoid giving inaccurate or dishonest information during the application process. All details will be thoroughly verified, and any discrepancies may result in the denial of your residence permit. Transparency is vital, and you should not attempt to conceal any criminal records. While migration authorities may overlook certain old offenses, deceitful actions will undoubtedly lead to an unfavorable outcome.
Mail the documents to the following address:
Residence Unit 3
Immigration Service Delivery
Department of Justice
13-14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2 D02 XK70
Dublin. Photo: Juho Luomala (Unsplash)
How Much Does It Cost?
A state duty will only be applicable if your application receives a positive response. Once your application is processed, you will receive a letter from the migration service. If the letter confirms your approval, you will be required to pay €500 within 28 days. Please note that payment can only be made through bank or postal transfer, addressed to the Secretary General of the Department of Justice. Other payment methods are not accepted.
In case of a missed payment deadline, there is an option to make the payment later. However, this may result in having to repeat some steps and potentially endure a longer processing time. Once the fee is paid promptly, you will receive another letter confirming the issuance of your residence permit. Before celebrating, it is essential to take this letter to the nearest office of the migration service for registration, which incurs an additional fee. After completing this step, you are now free to celebrate your successful acquisition of the residence permit.
Can I Appeal in Case of Denial?
If your application for a residence permit is denied, there is no option for an appeal. However, you have the opportunity to reapply. In the formal denial letter, migration officials must provide an explanation for the rejection. If you choose to make a new application, it is advisable to consider their comments and address any issues accordingly.
Are There Other Ways to Get an Irish Residence Permit?
In Ireland, in addition to a five-year residence permit, there is an opportunity to acquire permanent residence status, which is unrestricted, subject only to the validity period of your passport. However, the eligibility criteria for permanent residency are more stringent. The primary requirement is to demonstrate that you have legally resided in Ireland for the past eight years.
For the permanent residence application in Ireland, the list of documents needed remains similar, with one notable change. Instead of an employment permit and contract, you are required to submit financial documents, including copies of tax returns and bank statements for the past six months.
Unlike a five-year residence permit, there is no state duty required for obtaining a permanent residence in Ireland. Instead, a registration fee is applicable. After receiving your passport back with the appropriate stamp, it is essential to promptly register on the migration service website. Failure to do so may result in the loss of your residence status. Therefore, ensuring timely registration is crucial for maintaining your permanent residence status in Ireland.
NOTE: Please be aware that a permanent residence permit is granted on an individual basis. Therefore, spouses and minor children do not automatically receive a residence permit. Other family members must independently qualify and meet the requirements to obtain their own residency status. Each individual must fulfill the necessary criteria to earn the right to residency in Ireland.
Dublin. Photo: Diogo Palhais (Unsplash)
Are There Ways to Live in Ireland Without Citizenship?
If you have accumulated sufficient funds, you have the opportunity to relocate to Ireland with a retirement visa. The primary requirement for retired individuals aspiring to settle in Dublin or any charming Irish village is to demonstrate their ability to sustain a comfortable lifestyle.
To qualify for a retirement visa, a retired foreigner must have an annual income of at least €50,000. Additionally, it is essential to possess a substantial amount of money in your bank account, sufficient to cover unforeseen expenses, including potential house purchases. However, investment funds that are not immediately accessible are not considered for meeting these financial requirements.
Retired foreigners applying for a retirement visa must provide an extensive set of documents, including:
- Copy of passport with a valid visa.
- A copy of the birth certificate.
- A copy of the marriage certificate.
- Bank statements for the last six months, along with other documents confirming financial sufficiency.
- Proof of medical insurance coverage for services in private clinics.
- A police clearance certificate.
- A health declaration.
In a Nutshell
To obtain a residence permit in Ireland, you need to establish long-term residency in the country and preferably have employment there. Adherence to the laws and timely completion of all necessary documents for legal stay are essential. By following these steps, becoming a resident when the time comes will be a smooth process without encountering any issues.
Cover photo: Alejandro Luengo (Unsplash)