Thinking of moving to Ireland?
The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), which was established in Ireland in 2005 to provide a one-stop-shop for asylum, immigration, citizenship, and visa services, should be your first stop for up-to-date information if you're thinking about moving to Ireland from the US.
On September 30, 2020, INIS shared this FAQ document about "Immigration Service Delivery - Impact of COVID-19 on Immigration and International Protection."
We highly recommend contacting your local Irish Embassy or Consulate General if you are planning to move to Ireland from the US.
The following information has been provided by the INIS:
Visas available in Ireland
Important Note: On October 21, 2020, INIS issued this important update about visa processing in the scope of Level 5 coronavirus restrictions.
You do not need an Irish visa to travel to Ireland if:
- you have a valid Irish Residence Permit, or
- you have a Travel Document which was issued by Ireland, or
- you have a document called “Residence card of a family member of a Union citizen” issued, by any country, under 10 of Directive 2004/38/EC (the “Free Movement Directive”). Please contact the authority who issued the document for advice if the document you have comes within the definition of the Directive, as implemented by that particular Member State.
Irish Residence Permit (IRP)
To register you must:
- Be a non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss national
- Be aged 16 or older
- Go to a registration office in-person
- If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date on your IRP, you must apply to extend your immigration permission and renew your registration. If successful, you will be given a new IRP.
An IRP costs €300 per person every time you register and renew. You may also have to pay for a new IRP if your current card is lost or stolen.
You can learn more about IRPs and how to apply here.
Immigration schemes & programmes available in Ireland
Ireland's immigration schemes and programmes are divided: study; work / internships / training; business investment / entrepreneurs; family; religious ministry; independence / long term residence; and other.
You can determine which Irish immigration scheme to apply for here.
- Students: Apply to study in Ireland, including English language, degree programmes.
Work, internships & training
- Employment permits: To get permission to work in Ireland, in many cases you need to apply for an employment permit.
- Atypical working scheme: Permission for short term & other work where there is a skill shortage in Ireland.
- Hosting agreements (for researchers): To work as a researcher with an accredited institution, in many cases you need a hosting agreement.
- Doctors (locum & fulltime): Fulltime and locum doctors must meet special conditions to work in Ireland.
- Working holiday programme authorisation: Young people from certain countries can apply for a working holiday in Ireland for up to 1 year.
- Highly skilled job interview authorisation: Request this authorisation at border control if you come to Ireland to attend a 'highly skilled' job interview.
- Redundant workers & workers with 5 years' permission policy: You may be entitled to work without an employment permit if you have been here legally for 5 years.
- Reactivation employment permit scheme: Use this scheme to legalise yourself if you fell out of the system through exploitation or related reasons.
- Third level graduate programme: Apply to stay in Ireland as a graduate of a recognised Irish body after your studies here finish (stamp 1G).
Business & investors
- Investor & entrepreneur schemes: Stay in Ireland to start a business or make a significant investment subject to certain conditions.
Family, spouses & partners
- Important Notice: Preclearance scheme for De Facto Partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) Holders or of Non EEA Researchers on a Hosting Agreement: On 1 April 2019 INIS has launched a Preclearance scheme for De Facto Partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) Holders or of Non EEA Researchers on a Hosting Agreement.
- Update to the INIS Non-EEA Family Reunification Policy Document: Revised immigration arrangements for the Spouses and De Facto Partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders
- EU treaty rights: EU treaties include rights for families with non-EU/EEA & non-Swiss nationals to travel and live together.
- Marriage or civil partnership with an Irish national: Stay in Ireland with your spouse or civil partner.
- De facto partnership: Stay in Ireland with your long term, de facto partner.
- Parent of a child who is an Irish national: Stay in Ireland with your child who is an Irish national, including how to renew permission.
- Non-EEA family reunification policy: Policy guidelines for staying in Ireland with a member of your family who is a non-EU/EEA & non-Swiss national.
- Refugee family reunification: Stay in Ireland with a member of your family who is a recognised refugee.
- Adopted children: Apply for clearance to bring a newly adopted child into Ireland for the first time.
Religious ministry and Volunteering in Ireland
- Minister of Religion Permission
- Volunteering in Ireland Permission: There are special conditions to be a minister of religion or a volunteer in Ireland.
Living independently & long term residence
- Stamp 0 permission: Live in Ireland with independent means, including retiring to Ireland & visiting academics.
- Long term residence permission: Live in Ireland long term, after you have lived & worked here legally for several years.
- Without condition as to time endorsement: Stay in Ireland without limits on the time you can remain here, subject to other conditions.
- Without condition endorsement: For naturalised Irish citizens with dual-citizenship.
- Extension of visitor permission: Extend a stay in Ireland for more than 90 days for a very exceptional reason.
- Travel documents, eg for recognised refugee, stateless person: A travel document may assist a recognised refugee, stateless person or other qualifying applicant to travel.
- Change your status: In some circumstances, you may apply to change your immigration status.
How to become an Irish citizen
According to Citizens Information, "Irish citizens (in common with all citizens living in Ireland) enjoy certain rights and privileges that are guaranteed under the Irish Constitution. Some of these rights are fundamental rights that arise from living in Ireland. For example, if you are a citizen living in Ireland, you are entitled to equality before the law, freedom to travel, freedom of expression and religious liberty.
"If you are an Irish citizen, you are entitled to carry an Irish passport and leave Ireland to travel abroad, to vote in an Irish election and to be elected to government in Ireland and in the European Union. As an Irish citizen, you are also entitled to live, travel, and work within the European Union/European Economic Area.
"As an Irish citizen living in Ireland, you also have certain duties and responsibilities. For example, you are expected to observe and uphold the basic rule of law in Ireland and to serve on a jury if called upon.
"If you are an Irish citizen living outside of Ireland, you are also entitled to an Irish passport, as well as diplomatic supports from Irish embassies/consulates abroad, etc."
Irish citizenship can be acquired by naturalisation, by descent, and by entitlement.
The INIS re-directs to a separate website, The Irish Citizenship Hub, with all the information you need about obtaining Irish citizenship.
Here are some helpful links about becoming an Irish citizen:
- Check if you are an Irish citizen by birth or descent: Here is a useful guidance questionnaire to check if you are an Irish citizen by birth or descent.
- Become an Irish Citizen by Naturalisation: Here is a useful guide and information to check eligibility to apply for Irish citizenship by naturalisation including application forms, fees and the application process.
- Naturalisation Residency Calculator: Use this calculator to check if you have enough reckonable residence in Ireland to apply for Irish citizenship by naturalisation if you are a Non-EU, non-EEA or non-Swiss national.
- Naturalisation Application Forms: Click here to access the various Citizenship application forms.
- Citizenship Ceremonies: Attending a citizenship ceremony is the final step to complete the naturalisation process.
Here are some FAQs about becoming a citizen in Ireland.
Aside from the above information provided by the INIS, you can read more about moving to Ireland here on CitizensInformation.ie.