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This page offers information to help you navigate the Irish immigration system with your spouse who is a citizen of country outside of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), United Kingdom (UK), or Switzerland.

Eligibility

For immigration purposes, a spouse is defined as a legal commitment (marriage), registered with a civil authority.

There is no automatic entitlement for spouses of Irish citizens to live in Ireland. As the citizen of any country outside of the EU/EEA/UK/Switzerland, your spouse will need to apply for and be granted immigration permission from the Irish Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) in order to live with you in Ireland. In order to be granted permission, your spouse will need to provide sufficient proof of your relationship (marriage certificate), joint address, finances, and other documentation – learn more here and read the step-by-step guide below.

Guide

The following is a step-by-step guide on the Irish immigration process for spouses of Irish citizens. While this page is updated regularly to reflect developments, please remember that it is only a guide – always check irishimmigration.ie or get in touch with your local Irish embassy or consulate for the latest official advice.

STEP 1: Check if your spouse requires a visa and apply if necessary

Depending on your spouse’s nationality, your spouse may require a visa to travel to Ireland. You can check if your spouse needs a visa here.

  • If your spouse is a citizen of a visa-required country, they will need to apply for a Join Family Member (D) visa online and have their Irish visa approved before they can come to Ireland. This visa process can take several months, so plan and apply well in advance of your return. The process for submitting supporting documentation varies by where the applicant applies from: we strongly recommend checking the local embassy or consulate website for specific instructions and requirements prior to making an application
  • If your spouse is a citizen of a non-visa required country, they can travel directly to Ireland without applying for a visa beforehand. However, it is important to ensure that you meet the key criteria for bringing a spouse prior to moving to Ireland

STEP 2: Arrive in Ireland (Border Control)

Upon arrival in Ireland, your spouse should tell the immigration officer that they plan to apply for residency in Ireland based on their marriage to an Irish citizen. They should provide the officer with their:

  • Valid passport
  • Marriage certificate
  • Visa (if required)

It can also be useful to have other supporting documents ready, including bank statements, job offers, proof of address, and more. However, you do not need to give these to the immigration officer unless requested.

If possible, we recommend travelling to Ireland together and accompanying your spouse through border control in the non-EU queue. If you are not travelling with your spouse, make sure that they have your contact details. Having copy of your Irish passport can also ease this process.

Once the immigration officer is satisfied with the information provided, they will place a landing stamp in your spouse’s passport giving them entry permission to stay in Ireland up until the date indicated (usually a maximum of 90 days).

STEP 3: Register for Residency Permission

Once in Ireland, your spouse will need to register for permission to live and work here based on your relationship. They must register within 90 days or before the date on their entry stamp—whichever comes first. This is the case even if your spouse did not require a visa to enter Ireland.

Information on registering for immigration permission for the first time is available on the Irish Immigration site. The registration process differs depending on where you live:

You as the Irish citizen must attend registration appointment with your spouse.

Generally, registration is a straightforward process, but make sure you are prepared! Documents to bring include:

  • Original passports (not photocopies)
  • Proof of joint address in Ireland
  • Proof of finances: €40,000 gross income (pre-tax) over past three years (approximately €13,300 per year)
  • Original marriage certificate (not a photocopy)

In some cases, if you and your spouse do not provide adequate documentation, your spouse may be asked to make a written application for residency which can take twelve months to process. If this happens, contact our office if you need support.

STEP 4: Post-Registration

If residency permission is granted, your spouse will be given a Stamp 4 which grants them permission to live and work in Ireland for the length of time stated on the stamp in their passport. They will also be issued an Irish Residency Permit (IRP) card via post. Make a note of the date at which this permission must be renewed.

If you move within Ireland, make sure that your spouse informs ISD of any change of address within two days of moving. If family circumstances change (for example, if your relationship breaks down), they also must inform ISD.

Citizenship

If you have been married for at least three years and your spouse resided for at least three of the last five years, they may be eligible for Irish citizenship by naturalisation. Learn more about eligibility and applying for citizenship on the Citizens Information website.

Webinar

We regularly offer information sessions on navigating the Irish immigration system with non-Irish loved ones. Watch back our recent webinar on returning to Ireland with a non-Irish spouse or partner below. Keep an eye on our events page for announcements and details on upcoming sessions.

Page last updated on 17 June, 2024

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