Explore the most popular Visas for Ireland
Ireland can offer excellent working conditions, low crime rate's in addition to excellent healthcare and education as well as a rich cultural history and sense of national identity.
Ireland Work Permit
An Irish work permit application allows foreign nationals to live and work in Ireland on a temporary basis in order to undertake a specific position of employment with a particular company.
Ireland’s popularity as a migration destination continues to grow. It ranks closely behind the most popular Global Visas services such as US visas, Canada immigration and UK visa applications.
Ranked highly by the United Nations for its quality of life, those who choose Ireland immigration face a wealth of opportunities and a fairly liberal structure of immigration visa services.
Irish work permits apply to all non-EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and, for some categories, applicants wishing to migrate to Ireland can receive an Irish Green Card.
The Irish immigration system is a comparatively uncomplicated structure with a small number of clearly defined immigration services from the straightforward Irish tourist visa for short visits through to permanent residency routes.
Those migrating to Ireland may do so on the premise that they have an offer of employment from an Irish based company and that they will be living and work in Ireland to fulfil this specific position.
Work permits are not dissimilar to the Irish Green Card; it contrasts with UK working permits because a working visa of this kind can be applied for by either the employee or the employer.
Another advantage, which separates Irish working permits from Green Card applications, is that in some cases, job opportunities with lower salaries may qualify and in addition, jobs which offer salaries in the region of €30,000 are not subject to the same shortage sector requirements as Green Cards.
Although intended as a temporary immigration service, an Irish working permit may potentially lead to the opportunity to become a permanent resident in Ireland. The initial grant is for two years which can be extended for a further three years.
Beyond this the permit may be extended indefinitely, proving that the position of employment still exists, during which time an applicant, if they choose, may begin the process of naturalisation as an Irish citizen.
In Ireland, work permit applications are made where an agreed position of employment offers a salary of €30,000 or more. In Ireland, Green Card applications also make provision for job offers with salaries in this region.
However, the key difference is that these Irish visas for working do not restrict applicants to jobs in strategically important sectors, although occupations that are “contrary to the national interest” will not be considered.
In some circumstances a permit for work may be issued where a job offers a salary below €30,000, however, these instances are rare. A list of ineligible jobs is in place for which applications will not be considered.
The ineligible jobs list includes clerical/administrative, general operatives and labourers and a range of specific trades.
An additional requirement of Irish work permits is that all positions for which an application is being submitted must undergo a Labour Market Needs Test.
In Ireland, immigration requires this process to prove that no Irish residents are able to fill the role. The aim is to prevent the displacement of Irish workers by foreign nationals entering the country. The Labour Market Needs Test involves the advertising of the position to ensure that no Irish or EEA national is available for the position.
Finally, applicants must be able to provide documentary evidence of sufficient skills, qualifications or experience to fulfil the requirements of the role for which the application is being submitted.
Changing employer is permitted for an applicant in possession of a permit to work in Ireland. However, the scheme is intended as a means to aid employers to fill positions rather than a vehicle for immigrants to live and work in Ireland per se.
Whilst changing employer is permitted, a new application must be made each time and in addition, whilst applicants are in possession of their first permit they are expected to stay in that position for at least one year.
Spouse Immigration and Dependent Immigration
Whilst an Irish working permit does not grant its applicant free and unlimited access to the job market, it offers at least the potential for applicants to settle permanently in Ireland.
Even in cases where successful applicants do not achieve settled status in Ireland, it is likely that they will reside in the country for a period of some years.
As a result, family immigration for the spouse and dependents of an applicant is permitted. Once family members are legal residents in Ireland they may apply for a spousal work permit or dependent work permit in order to seek and undertake employment.
Ireland Green Card
Applying for an Irish Green Card permit is one of several employment-based immigration services which enable foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to immigrate to Ireland in order to undertake positions of employment.
In Ireland, Green Card applications are designed for those entering the country with valuable skills, qualifications and experience or to work in specific sectors in which a skills shortage is identified.
The Irish system does not have a points based immigration service in place and no points assessment is necessary when migrating to Ireland.
In Ireland, Green Cards are the highest level employment based route for those who wish to live and work in Ireland, and unlike work permits, they offer the possibility of applying for permanent residence after two years.
Also, when applying for a Green Card, no labour market needs test has to be undertaken. This means that a foreign national can be offered a position without the employer needs to demonstrate that there is no local who can fulfil the position.
This Irish visa service can be applied for by either the employer or the employee.
In Ireland, immigration through this route falls into two streams, based primarily on salary, as follows:
- An application can be made where a specified position offers a salary of €60,000 or more. In this category, immigration to Ireland is available for any occupation except those considered to be contrary to the public interest.
- Applications may also be made where the salary on offer is in the range of €30,000 - €59,999. In this category, applications are restricted to strategically important occupations including certain positions in IT, finance, healthcare, construction and engineering.
- In both streams, applications for Irish visas will take into account whether or not the applicant has the necessary skills, experience and qualifications to fulfil the position on offer. In addition, applications will need to include documentary evidence of a job offer which details the requirements of the position, the salary being offered and the proposed start date of the candidate.
In Ireland, visas for work of this class also require the employer offering the position to fulfil the following criteria:
- An employer must be a registered company trading in Irish territory.
- Employees who migrate to Ireland through this route must be directly employed by the company in question; this excludes agencies, companies who subcontract employees or any other intermediary organisations.
- Companies will not be permitted to bring foreign nationals into the country if their presence would result in more than 50% of a firm’s employees being from outside the EEA.
As a Green Card visa for Ireland can be renewed and may lead to a grant of permanent residency in Ireland, it is likely that successful candidates will be living and work in Ireland for some years if not permanently.
As a result, spouse and dependent immigration are provided for and the spouse and/or dependents of a candidate may join them in the country.
In addition, dependents entering the country under this family immigration service will be permitted to study in Ireland and to work upon securing a spousal or dependent work permit.
Irish Intra Company Transfer
Applying for an Irish Intra-Company Transfer Work Permit to live and work in Ireland is a temporary immigration service which permits foreign nationals to migrate to Ireland in order to perform a specific role for a particular Irish-based company.
The key role of an ICT application is to allow Irish businesses to bring key personnel from an overseas branch to Ireland to attend to a specific need.
An Irish visa of this kind is not intended as a route to a permanent residence in Ireland and the applicant must return to his or her country of residence before or upon the expiry of this type of Irish working permit.
In recent years, immigration to Ireland has increased rapidly and those who wish to relocate to Ireland will encounter a high quality of living and a comparatively liberal structure of immigration visa services.
In Ireland, immigration on a temporary basis through an Irish ICT application is designed with the employer in mind, and accordingly, the benefits are weighted towards the company petitioning for the applicant immigrating to Ireland.
ICT’s are a system whereby an Irish company can bring a senior staff member, key personnel or in some cases trainees, to perform services which cannot be undertaken by any employees in Ireland or to receive training in Ireland which is unavailable in another country where a branch of the operation is based.
Unlike applying for an Irish work permit or making an Irish Green Card application, visas of this kind may only be applied for by the employer.
In Ireland, work permit Intra Company Transfers are issued for a duration pertaining to the stated reason for the transfer.
In the cases of key personnel and/or senior staff members transferring to Ireland, a permit may be issued for up to 24 months and can be subsequently extended to a maximum duration of five years.
The ICT is specifically designed as a temporary immigration visa service and applicants must return to their home country when the grant of leave to remain in Ireland expires.
Where candidates fall into the categories of either key personnel or senior staff members, the following requirements must be satisfied:
- Applicants must earn a minimum of €40,000 pa.
- Applicants must have worked for the overseas branch of the company for at least 12 months before the transfer can be applied for.
Key personnel are generally defined by their specialist knowledge of the products or process of the company. Senior staff members are those who perform a managerial function in the company, supervise the work of other managerial employees, and have the authority, where applicable, to hire and dismiss staff or to recommend such action.
Where applicants are transferring to the UK branch of a company for the purpose of undergoing training, an ICT may be issued for a maximum of one year. In order for this to take place details of the training program must be presented.
Spouse Immigration and Dependent Immigration
Although the Irish ICT visa for staff transfers is not intended as a route to settled status in Ireland and cannot be used as a means of entry in order to apply for permanent, a successful applicant may be living and working in Ireland for a considerable amount of time.
With the exception of the trainee category, ICT’s may last for up to five years, and with this, in mind, the spouse and/or dependent children of a successful applicant will be granted leave to enter the country and remain there for the duration of the primary applicant’s permit.
Family immigration through this route will also permit the accompanying relatives to apply for permission to seek and undertake employment whilst in Ireland.
Irish Spouse Visa
Living and working in Ireland continues to grow in popularity and may be achieved through an Irish work permit or Intra Company Transfer (ICT), or by applying for an Irish Green Card.
Those who successfully apply to live and work in Ireland through Irish work permits or Green Card applications may relocate to Ireland, visa permitting, for several years and in some cases progressing to permanent residency and naturalising as an Irish citizen.
As a result, Irish visa services make specific provision for spouse and dependent immigration allowing the immediate family members of the main applicant to migrate to Ireland with them.
Immigration to Ireland has undergone a considerable expansion in recent decades. Rapid economic growth has created a demand for economic migrants, and increasingly, foreign nationals are benefiting from the high quality of life and comparatively liberal immigration service offered by Ireland.
In Ireland, work permit applications, Intra Company Transfers and Green Card visa applications all address the issue of family immigration, allowing the spouses and/or dependents of applicants migrating to Ireland to join them in the country.
The Irish spouse and dependent permit scheme allow these family members to apply for permission to work during their time in the country. This enables those who have entered the country through this family visa route to help to support themselves for the duration of their stay.
In Ireland, spouse and dependent visa applications provide the key benefit of allowing applicants to work without the need to undergo a labour market means test.
Where those entering the country are the relatives of an applicant who has already successfully obtained an Irish work visa this requirement is waived, allowing the dependent family members to seek and undertake employment as easily as possible.
In Ireland, immigration of family members through spouse and dependent permits entails some eligibility requirements, however, these relate to the main applicant and their immigration status.
People applying for an Irish spouse or dependent visa must be joining a primary applicant who is in possession of one of the following:
- a current and valid Irish Green Card permit;
- a current and valid working permit with a grant of at least 12 months duration; and
- a current and valid Intra-Company Transfer Permit with a grant of at least 12 months duration.
In Ireland, spouse and dependent visas are normally issued to coincide with the immigration status of the main applicant. Permits will be granted to match the duration of the primary candidate's work permit, ICT or Green Card application.
Additional Information - Changing Employer
A dependent or spouse visa application is subject to the same rules which govern applicants for work visas, work permit and Green Card holders.
They are obliged to stay with the specified employer for a minimum of 12 months, after which a change of employment may be permitted provided that a new work permit application is made.
Irish Working Holiday Visa
Applying for an Irish working holiday visa allows non-visa nationals to immigrate to Ireland for a maximum of 12 months.
As with working holiday schemes in many other destinations, Irish working holiday visas allow their applicants to experience the country as tourists, as well as supplement their extended holidays by seeking and undertaking employment in the Republic.
The key benefits of a working holiday visa for Ireland is its duration, when compared to a standard Irish visitor visa, and crucially the ability to work in Ireland.
The working holiday route enables applicants to remain in the country for longer, allowing a maximum of 12 months. In addition, candidates may seek employment, working in Ireland as they choose in order to help finance their stay.
Applicants may also leave and re-enter the country during the validity of their permit, however, it is important to note that time spent outside the Republic still detracts from the overall grant.
In Ireland, immigration via this route requires applicants to satisfy the following criteria:
- All applicants must be aged between 18 and 30 years at the time of making the application.
- Applicants must be able to demonstrate the ability to finance their trip to the country. Although the premise of this Irish visa class is that candidates may work in the country, they must be able to prove at the time of application that they are in possession of sufficient funds.
- Applicants must present a current, valid passport.
- Applicants must disclose any prior criminal convictions or dangerous diseases.
Whilst successful applicants may seek and undertake employment without restriction on the type of work, it is important to note that conditions are in place concerning working hours.
Applicants may not work for more than 39 hours per week and in addition, it is not permitted to work for a period in excess of three months with any one employer.
Spouse Immigration and Dependent Immigration
In Ireland, working holiday visa applications may last for a period of 12 months, however, they are nonetheless regarded as temporary immigration services and applicants will be obliged to return to their country of residence at the expiry of the grant.
In Ireland, visas in this class are issued on an individual basis only, and applicants may not include their spouse and/or dependent children in their application.
Each person will need to meet the eligibility requirements and qualify in their own right.
Irish Tourist Visa
Applying for an Irish tourist visa allows foreign visa nationals to visit for a period of no more than three months after which they must return to their country of residence.
In Ireland, visas for tourists offer similar benefits to the equivalent travel documents in other countries such as the UK, Australia and the US.
Irish visitor visas allow their holders to enter the country and to stay for the purposes of tourism or visiting friends and family for a period of up to 90 days.
Irish visas of this kind are specifically intended as a temporary immigration service, and therefore working in Ireland is not permitted.
In Ireland, immigration on a temporary basis through an Irish tourist visa requires applicants to fulfil the following requirements:
- Applicants must be able to provide a current and valid passport with at least six months of validity after the date you intend to leave Ireland.
- The purpose of the visit must be substantiated by either a letter of reference or documentary evidence of a hotel booking which provides details of the dates that the applicant will be in Ireland.
- Applicants must be able to provide satisfactory evidence that it is their intention to return to their country of residence. This may be provided by a range of documentary evidence to show employment or family commitments in the country of residence.
- Evidence must be provided to show that the applicant is able to fully support him or herself throughout the duration of their stay in Ireland. Alternatively, in cases where a candidate is staying in Ireland with friends or family, it is permissible to submit a letter from the host, which claims full financial responsibility for the candidate. In these circumstances, it will be necessary to prove that the host has sufficient funds to do this.
Spouse Immigration and Dependent Immigration
In Ireland, visit visa applications are designed specifically for those who intend to enter the country for a short period and return to their country of residence at the expiry of their visa.
With this in mind, unlike an Irish work permit or an Irish Green Card, Irish tourist visas do not specifically provide for the spouse or dependent children of a successful applicant to migrate to Ireland with them.
Additional Information - Changing Status
If a candidate secures a job offer and a work permit application is submitted on their behalf by the Irish employer, the candidate may theoretically remain in Ireland on their existing grant of leave, then continue to reside in Ireland once the working permit is granted.
In practice, however, processing applications for Irish work permits can be a long one and it is likely that the process will exceed the 90-day grant of the entry visa.
In these circumstances, a candidate would need to return to their country or residence before re-entering Ireland with the permit to work.
Applying for Irish citizenship is possible for those who were born in Ireland, those who are married to an existing Irish citizen and through the process of Irish naturalisation.
Naturalising as an Irish citizen brings with it all the benefits enjoyed by Irish citizens including the right to live and work in Ireland on a permanent basis and the right to vote.
As with naturalisation in any country, a grant of citizenship is the concluding step in relocating to Ireland. Citizenship is not gained easily, and for those who wish to naturalise as an immigrant, a minimum residency requirement will be necessary as well as the fulfilment of other criteria.
The benefits of naturalising are self-evident; Irish citizens are granted the right to reside in the country permanently and are permitted to seek and undertake employment in whichever field they choose.
With this visa, no restrictions are placed upon the applicant's right to continue living and working in Ireland.
As discussed, Irish naturalisation may be pursued by three groups of people:
- Those born in Ireland,
- Those pursuing citizenship based upon marriage and,
- Those wishing to naturalise after a period of residence in the country on an Irish visa or work permit.
For those migrating to Ireland who wishes to naturalise under the third route, the key requirement is that an applicant must have lived in Ireland for five years.
The applicant must be a resident in Ireland at the time of the application and must have lived in Ireland for five of the nine years directly preceding the submission.
In addition, the applicant must have spent the last year of this nine year period in continual residence in Ireland.
Candidates wishing to apply for Irish citizenship through the residence route must also be able to fulfil the following requirements:
- Applicants must be aged at least 18 years.
- Applicants must be considered to be of good character. Ireland's national police the Garda Síochána will provide a report into the background of each candidate.
- Candidates must be able to demonstrate that it is their intention to continue living in Ireland after the process is complete. In addition, it will be necessary to make a formal declaration of loyalty to the state.
It is important to note that whilst applicants in possession of Irish work permits and Irish green cards may apply for naturalisation in Ireland subject to meeting the residency requirement, holders of Intra Company Transfer permits may not. These are specifically intended as a temporary measure designed to aid the operations of a company; applicants must return on or before the expiry of such a permit.
An Irish study visa application also does not allow its holder to apply for citizenship. Residency in Ireland under a student visa does not count towards the five-year residency requirement.
In Ireland, immigration services allow a candidate pursuing citizenship based on birth to qualify automatically if he or she was born in Ireland. The same is true if an applicant was born abroad but either parent is an Irish citizen who was born in Ireland.
However, in cases where an applicant was born outside Ireland to an Irish citizen parent who was ALSO born outside Ireland, the applicant must register with the Department of Foreign Affairs or an Irish embassy.
In cases where candidates wish to apply based upon an Irish-born grandparent, citizenship is still possible but will depend upon the provision of proof of direct kinship. This requirement can usually be satisfied through birth, marriage and death certificates or current documents such as passports and driving licenses.
Applying to become an Irish citizen on the basis of marriage is valid where an applicant has been married for three years or more to an existing citizen who has held citizenship status for the same period.
Applications must be accompanied by a marriage certificate and proof of the citizen's status as well as documentary proof and a written statement of your marriage and cohabitation status.