When a person moves to a new country this can sometimes mean joining family or friends, but nearly always means leaving loved ones behind. Whether a partner, child, parent or sibling, sometimes people in Ireland will seek to have a family member join them in the State. Your rights and entitlements are different depending on the circumstances of both the person in Ireland and the person hoping to move here.
This section provides information about bringing family members into Ireland if the person already in the country is an EU citizen.
Do European citizens have automatic permission for family reunification?
EU Citizens who are exercising their free movement rights having moved to Ireland have a legal right to apply for family members to join them in Ireland. EU Citizens exercise their free movement rights in the State by working, being self-employed, in vocational studies or being self-sufficient.
What you need to qualify
Family members of EU Citizens are divided into qualifying and permitted categories. Qualifying family members include spouse/civil partner, children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents. Permitted family members include de facto partners, dependent family members, and members of the EU citizen household or dependent family members on medical grounds. Visa-required family members must apply for an entry visa into the State. Visa applications can be made online through the INIS website.
How to apply
When the family member is in the State with the EU Citizen, an application for a residence card can be made through the EU Treaty Rights Section of INIS. Qualifying family members are required to complete an EUTR1 form. Permitted family members are required to complete an EU1A form. Each application for a residence card requires supporting documentation to prove the family relationship/dependency and the EEA national exercising their free movement rights in the State.
How long does it take?
Applications for a residence card are supposed to be decided within six months, but there have been significant delays and are taking six to 10 months to process. The Minister for Justice & Equality may issue a temporary Stamp 4 residence permission to the family member while awaiting the outcome of the application. If the application for a residence card is successful the Minister shall issue a letter granting the family member a residence card (Stamp 4EUFAM) for a period up to five years. Residence Card holders can travel between European member states without the requirement of a visa when accompanied by their EU citizen family member.
What if something goes wrong?
A family member may in very specific circumstances retain their right of residence if the EU citizen dies, leaves the State or obtains a divorce/annulment. A family member may also retain the right of residence if they have been the victim of domestic abuse. An application for retention of a residence card (EU5) would be made in those circumstances.
Longer term residency
If the EU citizen continues to exercise their free movement rights after five years of residence the family member may apply for permanent residence by completing an EU3 application form with documentary evidence confirming the requirements for permanent residence have been established. If granted permanent residence the family member retains the right of residence for a period of 10 years.
What happens if your application is not successful?
If an application for a residence card is refused the family member may seek a review of the decision by completing an EU4 application form explaining why there was an error in fact/law.
If a family member of an EU citizen has been refused residency after a review they may be subject to a removal order/deportation. It is important that you obtain legal advice if you find yourself in that situation.
For further detailed information please contact our Immigration Helpline.