If you are a non-EU/EEA national, and you want to move to Ireland and join a family member who is already residing there, you will have to apply for Family Reunification for Ireland, also known as an Ireland Join Family Visa.
The Irish Family Reunification visa is subject to certain requirements and eligibility criteria.
Who is eligible for the Ireland Join Family Visa?
You are eligible for the Irish family reunification visa if you are a family member of an Irish citizen or non-EU/EEA resident, such as:
- Immediate family:
- The spouse or child under 18 (also referred to as “Nuclear Family”).
- De Facto partner.
- Elderly parent.
Adopted children are included on the Join Family Visa for Ireland, provided that their adoption is recognized by Irish law and that the child is under 18.
Step-children are also be included on the scheme if the parent can prove that the child is a permanent member of their household.
An applicant who is over 18 years of age is considered “dependent” if they are financially or socially dependent on the sponsor. For example, if they have a physical or mental illness.
You are considered to be in a De Facto relationship if you have been together long-term (longer than 2 years), during which time you have also lived together, but you were not legally married.
In the cases of spouses/de facto partners (Ireland spouse visa), both involved parties must be over 18 years of age.
When it comes to bringing one’s elderly parents to live in Ireland, the Irish authorities have stricter rules. That’s due to the greater potential financial requirements an elderly person, who is unable to financially support themselves, might have on the Irish public purse.
Applications for elderly parents have a lower rate of being approved than those for immediate family members. The financial requirements for bringing elderly parents in Ireland are also greater.
Who Can Sponsor Their Family Members Through the Ireland Join Family Visa?
A sponsor, in the scheme of Family Reunification, is a) an Irish citizen or b) a non-EU/EEA resident living in Ireland lawfully, who wants to bring their family member/s to live in Ireland with them. Therefore, if you want to join your family member in Ireland, your sponsor has to be one of the following:
- An Irish citizen
- Another EU/EEA citizen
- A non-EU/EEA national, residing lawfully in Ireland through an Ireland Employment Permit (work visa).
- A foreign national living in Ireland on a Stamp 4 or stamp 5.
- A Researcher under a Hosting Agreement.
- A PhD student, studying in an Irish accredited program.
- A Minister of Religion who holds an immigration Stamp 3.
When Can You Apply for Family Reunification in Ireland?
The time your sponsor has to spend in Ireland before becoming eligible to bring you with them depends on their nationality as well as their type of permit. The following requirements apply:
Applying for family reunification immediately
You can apply for a Join Family Visa in Ireland along with your family member, or immediately after they move to Ireland, if they fall under one of the categories below:
- Irish/EEA citizen
- Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder
- Business Permit Holder
- Researcher under a Hosting Agreement
- Intra Corporate Transferee
- Scholarship students under an INIS-approved Scholarship Program, such as KASP.
- PhD students
- Full time non-locum doctors.
Applying for family reunification after 12 months
You can apply to join your family member in Ireland 12 months after they move there if they fall under one of the categories below:
- Holders of other types of Ireland Employment Permits
- Ministers of Religion.
- Unless they are maintained by the church – in this case, you may be able to apply for family reunification immediately.
Ireland Join Family Visa document checklist
The documents you have to submit for a Family Reunification Visa for Ireland are as follows:
- The signed and dated application form summary.
- Two passport-size pictures in line with Ireland photo requirements.
- Your original passport.
- Full copies of all previous passports, if any.
- Letter of application which:
- States all your information details.
- States your reason for travelling.
- Includes information regarding your family member in Ireland.
- Includes information of any other family members you have in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU.
- Proof your family member is eligible to sponsor you:
- If your family member is an Irish citizen: Copy of their Irish passport and any other documents which prove their citizenship.
- If your family member is a is a non-EU/EEA citizen:
- Copy of all pages of their passport.
- Copy of their registration document.
- Copy of their work permit or other documents attesting to their permission to stay in Ireland.
- Proof of your family relationship:
- For spouses:
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate.
- If you and your partner have not lived together since the marriage, provide evidence of your relationship history, such as visas, pictures, correspondence, etc.
- For children under 18:
- Birth certificate/adoption papers.
- If the sponsor has custody of a child, they should include their custody papers.
- In cases of shared custody, consent from the other parent is required.
- For De Facto partners:
- Evidence of your relationship, such as registration certificate of partnership (if applicable), proof of shared ownership/tenancy, mail which proves you have shared the same address, etc.
- Proof of your relationship history, such as visas, pictures, correspondence, etc
- Proof of sufficient financial requirements:
- Bank statements over the past six months of both you and your sponsor.
- Proof your sponsor meets the minimum income requirements:
- P60s for the previous 2 years (1 year if your sponsor has only been in Ireland for that time).
- Three most recent payslips.
- A work contract which is valid for at least one year from the date of application and which states the sponsor’s salary.
- Notices of Assessment of income, if your sponsor is self-employed.
- If your sponsor can apply to bring you to Ireland immediately, provide a work contract which states their annual income, or other evidence of their earnings.
- If applicable: Proof you are dependent on your sponsor, such as:
- The amount and frequency of financial support you receive from them, such as through bank transfers.
- Evidence of why you are unable to provide for yourself/cannot receive state benefits.
- Proof of income sources, if any.
- Evidence of your living costs, like rent, utilities, food, medical, education and costs, etc.
- Evidence of a medical condition rendering you dependent on your sponsor.
- Medical insurance. You do not necessarily need to have travel medical insurance when you submit your Ireland visa application. However, you must have it with you to present it at the immigration officers at Border Control.
- For spouses:
Keep in mind:
All your documents have to be in English – if they are not, they must be translated and notarized. Include both the translation and the original in the application.
All your documents have to be originals, unless stated otherwise. You need to include a self-addressed and prepaid envelope with your application which the visa processing officers can use to return your passport and other relevant documents.
Some documents may not be returned, so make sure to make copies of all the documents you submitted so you can show them at Border Control.
All the documents from companies/organizations, such as the bank statements or work contracts, have to be in official headed paper. The letter must include the contact information of the company/organization.
What Are the Financial Requirements of the Ireland Join Family Visa?
In order for an Irish citizen/resident to be eligible to sponsor you to Ireland through the Join Family Visa, they must be able to prove they can provide for you financially. The financial requirements differ based on whether the sponsor is an Irish citizen or a non-EU/EEA lawful resident.
If the sponsor is an Irish citizen
If you will be joining an Irish citizen family member, your sponsor must have earned a cumulative gross income of over €40,000 in the three years prior to the application.
In addition, your sponsor cannot have been totally or predominantly dependent on Irish state benefits in the two years prior to the application.
If the sponsor is a non-EU/EEA national
If you will join a non-EU/EEA resident family member, the financial requirements are as follows:
For non-EU/EEA nationals who are eligible to bring their family members to Ireland immediately
If your family member’s permit/visa allows allows them to bring you with them immediately (see the section above) they don’t have to prove any accumulated sum upfront. However, they must prove they have continued to meet the requirements of their permission to stay once they apply for renewal.
In all other cases
If your family member has another type of Ireland work permit, they have to prove that, in the two years before application (or 1 year, if you are applying to join them 1 year after they moved to Ireland), they’ve earned the gross income which is set by the Irish Department of Social Protection when assessing the eligibility for Family Income Supplement.
As such, if you are applying as part of a household with dependent children, your sponsor must meet the following requirements:
|Number of children||Weekly income must be higher than:|
|8 or more||€1,308|
If you are applying to join your spouse, and you have no children, the minimum annual income requirements for an Ireland spouse visa are €30,000 – which is the income threshold for most types of Ireland work permits.
How to Apply for the Ireland Join Family Visa?
Before you can apply for an Ireland family reunification visa, your sponsor has to apply for permission to bring you to Ireland.
Before you apply for the visa: Getting permission for family reunification
Your sponsor has to apply in writing to the Family Reunification Section of INIS. They must include the following information in the letter:
- Their name, personal ID, and address
- Information about every family member they want to bring to Ireland (name, birthday, address, nationality, and what type of relationship you have).
After the INIS receive the letter, they will send your sponsor a questionnaire as well as a list of documents. They must complete the questionnaire and return it to the INIS along with all the required documents.
If the application for family reunification is approved, only then you can apply for an Ireland Join Family Visa.
Applying for the Ireland Join Family Visa
You must submit an application for an Ireland family reunification visa online. After submitting the online application, you have to submit the required documents (see below) for processing to a specified address.
In addition, you have to pass through Border Control to request permission to stay as well as register with the Ireland immigration services and obtain a residence permit.
Keep in mind that you only have to apply for an Ireland entry visa if you are from a country whose residents are subject to Ireland visas. If you are from an Ireland visa-exempt country, you can travel to Ireland without a visa, but you’ll have to pass through Border Control and convince them you meet the requirements to enter.
Nationals who do not need a visa to travel to Ireland have to apply for family reunification permission after they enter Ireland at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.
Click here to see who needs an Ireland visa.
You must complete the online form for Ireland visas via AVATS, the Irish visa online application facility. Once you access the form, you have to select the duration of your travel as well as the reason, and fill in all the subsequent sections and questions.
After you complete the online application form for Ireland family reunification, you will be directed to a summary of the form. You have to print the summary, sign it, and date it where instructed.
Once you press “Submit”, you will also receive information where you can send your supporting documents.
Submitting the documents
The address where you can submit your documents for the Ireland family reunification visa changes depending on the country. It could be, for example, an Irish embassy/consulate in your country or a visa application agency.
You must enclose your original passport and all your documents in a large, strong envelope and mail it to the specified address.
If your visa application is accepted, you will receive your passport with the visa affixed to it via mail.
Upon arrival to an Ireland port of entry, you have to pass through Border Control and request permission to stay regardless of whether you need an Irish visa or not.
The immigration officers at Border Control decide if you meet the requirements to enter. To convince them, you must have several supporting documents (the ones on the checklist below), which prove your relationship to your sponsor and that they are fit to sponsor you.
Registering and getting your residence permit
If the immigration officers at the Ireland port of entry decide you’re fit to enter Ireland, they will put a stamp on your passport. The stamp states the number of days you are allowed to stay in the country.
Before those days are up, you must register with immigration and request an Ireland Residence Permit at the Garda National Immigration Bureau.
Ireland Join Family Visa processing time
The processing time for an Ireland Join Family Visa differ depending on the nationality of your sponsor and their permission to remain in Ireland. As such, the following Ireland Family Reunification visa processing times apply:
|For family members of Irish citizens||Six months after receiving all required documents|
|For family members of non-EU/EEA nationals who are eligible to bring their family members to Ireland immediately||Six months after receiving all required documents|
|For family members of non-EU/EEA nationals who can bring their family members to Ireland after 1 year||Twelve months after receiving all required documents|
The conditions of the Irish Join Family Visa
If your sponsor is an Irish citizen, you will be issued an Ireland Stamp 4, which lets you work in Ireland without the need to obtain a separate Employment Permit.
If your sponsor is the holder of a Critical Skills Employment Permit, you are eligible for the Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit. This type of Irish work permit will let you work in any profession in Ireland, even those on the ineligible occupations list except as a domestic operative. It is also issued free of charge.
If your sponsor is the holder of a General Work Permit, or any other type of Ireland visa/permit, you will have to apply for your own Employment Permit to be allowed to work.
If you are the elderly parent of an Irish citizen/resident, you will receive a Stamp 0, which allows your sponsor (ie. your child) to support you fully.