Any foreign national who is subject to Ireland visas and wishes to travel and stay in the country for longer than 90 days will have to apply for an Ireland Long Stay Visa.
An Ireland Long Stay Visa is also known as a “D” visa. It is issued to foreign nationals who want to go to Ireland for a long-term period, such as for studying, joining a family member, or employment.
Who Needs an Ireland Long Stay Visa?
The rules of how you can enter Ireland, for whatever purpose, change based on the foreigners nationality. As such, you could fall into one of the three categories below:
Considering that Ireland is part of the EU, all citizens from other EU member states, as well as EEA and Swiss nationals are allowed to travel to travel to Ireland without a visa. In addition, if you fall under this category, once you land in Ireland, and you pass through Border Control, you don’t have to ask for permission to stay.
You are allowed to stay in Ireland with no requirements for up to 90 days. For stays longer than 90 days, you will have to prove you can financially support yourself and any family members who came with you.
Non-EU/EEA nationals who are exempt from Ireland long stay visas
There are certain other countries who are not in the EU or EEA, but whose nationals enjoy visa-free travel to Ireland. This also includes Ireland long stay visas.
If you are from one of those countries, you can travel to Ireland without a long stay visa, but once you land, you have to request permission to stay from an immigration officer at Border Control.
You must have the documents which prove your reason for travel, such as a letter of enrollment in an Irish educational institution or a work contract and any other required documents to present to them.
Non-EU/EEA nationals who are subject to Ireland long stay visas
Finally, there are certain countries whose nationals will have to apply for an Irish visa before they are allowed to travel to Ireland.
If you are from one of those countries, you will have to apply for an Ireland long stay visa from your home country. Once you receive the long stay Ireland visa, you can use it to travel there. Then, when you land, you will also have to ask for permission to stay from immigration officers at Border Control.
Regardless of your long stay visa, if the immigration officers determine you do not meet the conditions to enter, they will send you back, even if you have a job/course/family member waiting for you.
What are the types of Ireland Long Stay Visas?
The type of long stay visa you must apply for depends on the reason you want to live in Ireland for. As such, there are:
- Ireland Study Visa. You need to apply for an Irish study visa if you want to travel to Ireland to study in a higher educational institution or a study program which is on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP).
- Ireland Work Visa. You need to apply for an Irish work visa if you have a job contract or job offer in Ireland.
- Ireland Family Reunification Visa. You need an Irish family visa if you are a non-EU/EEA citizen who wants to join a family member living in Ireland.
- Ireland Working Holiday Visa. You can only apply for an Ireland Working Holiday Visa if you are a citizen of a country who has a Working Holiday agreement with Ireland.
- Ireland Internship Visa. You need to apply for an Ireland internship visa if you want to come to Ireland to work as a paid intern.
- Ireland Researcher Visa. You can apply for an Ireland researcher visa if you want to go to Ireland to work as a researched under a hosting agreement.
- Minister of Religion Visa. You have to apply for this visa if you want to go to Ireland to work as a Minister of Religion with a qualified religious body or faith community.
- Volunteer Visa. You need an Irish volunteer visa if you want to go to Ireland for volunteer-work purposes, such as working in a charity or non-profit organization.
How to apply for an Ireland Long-Stay Visa?
If you are not an EU/EEA/Swiss national, the process of getting an Ireland long stay visa and permission to stay in Ireland long-term can be lengthy.
Other than applying for a visa, you have to fulfill certain pre-application and post-arrival requirements.
The requirements you must fill before you can apply for an Ireland long stay visa differ based on the type of visa you are applying for.
For example, for an Ireland study visa, you will have to be enrolled in an Irish educational institution and pay for your course. Or, if you want to work, you will have to get immigration permission to work in Ireland.
You have to meet these requirements since you have to provide proof of them in your Ireland long stay visa application.
Applying for the Irish long-stay visa
You have to fill the application form for the Ireland long stay visa online, via AVATS, the Online Irish Visa Application Facility. After filling in the application form, you have to print the summary form which will appear and then submit the application.
Once you have submitted the online visa application, you will receive instructions on where you can submit the required documents. The location in which you can submit the physical long stay visa application differs based on the country. As such, it can be one of the following:
- The Dublin Visa Office
- An International Visa Application Agency
- An Irish Embassy or Consulate in your country
Compile the Ireland long stay visa document file
When you submit your application for an Ireland long stay visa, you must have several supporting documents, such as:
- The signed application form summary, which you have printed after completing the online application.
- Two passport-sized pictures, in line with Ireland photo requirements.
- Your original passport.
- Copies of any previous passports.
- A letter of application, written by you, which states your reason for travelling to Ireland, details any family members you have in Ireland, and any details specific to your visa.
- Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay.
- Details of any previous visas you were refused.
- Medical insurance. Not necessarily with the visa application, but you must have it when you arrive and request entrance at Border Control.
In addition, you must have several documents which are specific to the type of visa you are applying for.
If you receive an Ireland long stay visa, you are allowed to travel to Ireland. Once you arrive, you must go through Border Control where you have to request permission to stay from an immigration officer.
You must have your long stay visa, your valid passport, and any documents related to your purpose of travel with you, such as proof of enrollment in an Irish school or a work contract/offer.
The immigration officer could decide not to allow you to enter, despite your long stay visa. In this case, you would have to return back to your home country.
However, if they approve your request, they will give you a stamp on your passport which states the number of days you are allowed to stay, and you can enter Ireland.
Registering with immigration
After you enter Ireland, you have to register with immigration and apply for a residence permit before the days you are allowed to stay run out. You can do this by booking a registration appointment in an immigration office in Ireland.
If you are located in Dublin, you must book an appointment at the Immigration Office in Dublin.
If you live outside Dublin, you must book an appointment at the closest Immigration Office to where you live.
You can book an appointment up to 10 weeks beforehand.
How Long Do Long Stay Visas for Ireland Take To Process?
The Ireland long stay visa application processing time is about eight weeks. The processing could be delayed if you have any missing documents, or delayed if you apply during peak travel season.
- For Ireland Work Visa:
- The Employment Permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation.
- Your employment contract/offer, whichever is applicable to you.
- A letter from your Irish employer which confirms your employment and states your salary.
- Proof of previous work experience and qualifications.
- For Ireland Family Reunification Visa:
- Proof your family member is eligible to sponsor you.
- Proof of your relationship to your family member.
- Proof you are dependent on your family member, if applicable.
- For Ireland Study Visa:
- Evidence you are enrolled on an Irish educational institution.
- Proof you have paid the necessary enrollment fees.
- Proof you are eligible to follow the course you are enrolled in.
- Proof of sufficient level of English or Irish, depending on the type of course you are enrolled in.