- What is family reunification for Non-EEA citizens?
- Which family members qualify for family reunification?
- Financial support criteria for family reunification?
- Family Reunification for family members of Irish citizens
- Family Reunification for family members of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens residing in Ireland
- Family Reunification for family members of Non-EEA Citizens residing in Ireland
- Retained Right of Residence
- How can Total Law help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ireland's family reunification?
Irish immigration rules on family reunification allow non-Irish citizens that have family in Ireland to enter and stay in the country for more than 90 days.
Applying for family reunification is a two-step process:
- An Irish resident sponsor applies to the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) for reunification.
- Then the sponsor’s family member(s) apply for a visa to enter Ireland and obtain agreement from the immigration service delivery to remain in the State.
An Irish resident sponsor can either be an Irish citizen, an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen resident in Ireland, a UK citizen resident in Ireland, or a non-EEA citizen resident in Ireland. There are a number of different criteria that must be met to allow family members permission to come to Ireland.
Sponsors must assume responsibility for the family member they wish to bring to Ireland, and they will have to demonstrate this support when making the application for the non-EEA family member to be granted an Irish entry visa or residence permit.
Which family members qualify for family reunification?
Irish residents can sponsor their family members to enter Ireland long-term. Under the family reunification policy document, non-EEA family members of Irish residents can either classify as qualifying family members or permitted family members.
Qualifying family members
A qualifying family member of an Irish citizen/resident includes:
- Spouse or civil partner
- Dependent child
- Grandchild under the age of 21
- Dependent parent
- Dependent grandparent
- Other direct, dependent descendants or direct, dependent relatives in the ascending line (for example, great-grandparents or great-grandchildren).
Permitted family members
A permitted family member of an Irish citizen or resident includes;
- De-facto partner
- Dependent family members of the Irish citizen that do not classify as qualifying family members.
- Dependent family members based on medical grounds.
Financial support criteria for family reunification
The financial circumstances of an Irish citizen sponsor are taken into consideration when making applications for family reunification.
Irish national immigration policy requires that Irish citizens applying for reunification must;
- When applying for a spouse/child:
- Have earned at least €40,000 over the previous three years combined prior to the application
- Not have been dependent on state benefits for the two years prior to the application
- When applying for elderly dependent parents:
- Have earned at least €60,000 after tax for each of the previous three years if bringing in one parent
- Have earned at least €75,000 after tax for each of the previous three years if bringing in both parents
Irish citizens applying for family reunification must also provide detailed evidence of the relationship with the family member.
Family Reunification for family members of Irish citizens
Qualifying Criteria for Irish citizens applying for reunification with a Non-EEA family member
The family reunification rules allow Irish citizens by birth or naturalisation to make reunification applications for non-EEA family members. These applications will be granted based on the Irish citizen and their non-EEA family members meeting certain qualifying criteria.
Non-EEA family members of Irish citizens outside Ireland will need to make a Long-stay ‘D’ visa application to enter Ireland. Once in Ireland, they can apply for residence permission through the Irish Immigration service.
The application process for reunification with an Irish citizen
Spouse, de facto partners, children and parents of Irish citizens outside Ireland may require a D visa to come into Ireland. Once in Ireland, must make their residence application with Immigration Service Delivery (ISD).
An Irish citizen and their non-EEA spouse or civil partner must visit their local immigration office to apply for permission to reside in Ireland. If the spouse were already resident in Ireland, they would apply for Residence as the Spouse of an Irish citizen through the ISD.
However, if the spouse were already in Ireland without immigration permission, they would be required to fill and submit form RES6 and supporting documents to the local immigration office.
Irish citizens’ dependent parents and de facto partners can apply for permission to remain by completing the application forms found on the INIS website. Applications from de facto partners living in Ireland without valid residence permits are not accepted.
Children under 16 years do not need to register with ISD when they enter Ireland. However, older children must register with the ISD, except if they are EEA nationals or UK citizens.
If the residence application is successful, the family member will be issued a letter granting them permission to remain from the Minister for Justice & Equality. They can then book an appointment to register the permission to remain at their local Immigration Office or at the Burgh Quay registration office in Dublin.
Family Reunification for family members of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens residing in Ireland
EU/EEA nationals living in Ireland and expressing their free movement rights can apply for a family member to join them in Ireland. Exercising their treaty rights means the EU citizen is either employed, self-employed or studying a degree or vocational course or able to demonstrate they can support themselves.
Once an EU citizen expresses their free movement rights, then their qualifying and permitted family members are able to apply to join them.
Applying for reunification as the non-EEA family member of an EEA national
Non- EEA families of EEA nationals must first enter Ireland before they can apply for their residence card.
Once in Ireland, they can apply for the residence card by filling the form EUTR1 if they’re a qualifying family member or form EUTR1A if they’re a permitted family member. Afterward, they will need to submit stipulated supporting documents to prove their family relationship with the EEA national.
If the application for a residence card is successful, the Minister for Justice will issue the family member a residence card with Stamp 4EUFAM, which allows them to work freely in Ireland for up to 5 years.
After five years, Residence Cardholders can apply for a permanent residence card that allows them to live, work or operate a business in Ireland for up to 10 years.
A residence card also allows the holder to travel between European Union member states without a visa when accompanied by their EU citizen family member.
Family Reunification for family members of Non-EEA Citizens residing in Ireland
Non-EEA residents in Ireland do not have an automatic right to family reunification. The right to family reunification for non-EEA Irish residents is dependent on their type of Irish residence permit.
Qualifying Criteria for Non-EEA residents applying for reunification with a Non-EEA family member
Requirements for non-EEA nationals differ depending on their residence permission/status:
- Category A residence permission (such as Critical Skills permit holders) can sponsor a reunification application immediately they arrive in Ireland and before earnings are accrued. However, they must be able to show evidence of projected earnings in the form of their employment contract.
- Category B residence permission (such as General Employment permit holders) must have resided in Ireland for at least a year before applying for reunification with immediate family members. They must also meet a minimum net income in each of the two years prior to their application.
- Persons with refugee status or humanitarian grounds. In this case, they qualify for the automatic right to family reunification.
Applying for reunification as the non-EEA family member of a non-EEA national
Non-EEA family members of non-EU citizens living in Ireland might have to apply for a D visa to enter Ireland.
Once in Ireland, the non-EEA family member must register with their local immigration office to apply for a residence permit. After being granted a residence permit, they must ensure they carry it with them at all times.
Retained Right of Residence
If the relationship between a sponsor and a non-EEA citizen changes, such as in the case of the death of an Irish citizen or divorce, the non-EEA family member may be able to retain their right of residence.
This right is dependent on several factors like the status of the sponsor (citizen, EU resident, non-EU resident) and the family member meeting certain criteria.
The family member will have to visit the Irish Department of Justice to find out if they’re eligible for a retained right of residence and ensure they complete any required forms to maintain their permission/status.
How can Total Law help with Family Reunification?
Applications for family reunification can be very complicated and can be an overwhelming process.
At Total Law, we have highly experienced immigration lawyers in Irish immigration applications. Our expert lawyers will provide you with all the support and assistance you require and help you complete the documents you will need to provide as evidence of your eligibility and your family’s situation.
For more information on how we can help you, get in touch with us. Call us on 0333 305 9375 today. You can also contact us online through our live chat.
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Aside from PhD students, other students are not able to sponsor family reunification applications unless in exceptional cases.
UK citizens residing in Ireland must apply to bring their non-EEA family members to join them. The family member must apply for a long-stay visa (if required) and apply for residence permission once in Ireland. They do not have an automatic right to family reunification.