1. Government Policy on Non-EEA Family Reunification
If you wish to come to Ireland to reside for longer than 3 months with a family member who is an Irish citizen or who is lawfully resident in Ireland you can apply for a long stay (join family) visa.
A comprehensive statement of national immigration policy on the area of family reunification is contained in the Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification published on 31 December 2013. The policies outlined in the document apply to all decision making in relation to family reunification cases where ministerial discretion applies including long stay (join family) visa applications.
The policies do not apply to:
- applications pursuant to Directive 2004/38/EC on the rights of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of Member States
- applications for family reunification by recognised refugees or persons granted subsidiary protection.
Before you apply for a long stay (join family) visa please read the Policy Document carefully to find out:
- who is eligible to be a sponsor for the purposes of an application for family reunification,
- who may be sponsored and the eligibility requirements,
- whether waiting periods apply before a person becomes eligible to sponsor,
- whether a sponsor must achieve a minimum level of earnings prior to being eligible to sponsor,
- what a person who is granted a join family visa may do in Ireland,
- how dependency is measured when this is adduced in support of an application for family reunification.
2. When you can apply
If you wish to come to Ireland to reside for longer than 3 months with a family member who is an Irish citizen or who is permitted to reside in Ireland you can apply for a long stay (join family) single entry visa.
3. How to apply
You must apply online for a visa.
When you have completed the online application process, you must follow the instructions on the summary application form that is created by the online system. The summary form will contain information on where you are to submit your supporting documentation. The summary form which you must print, sign and date must be submitted with your supporting documentation.
You may be required to provide your Biometrics information as part of the application process.
A guide to supporting documentation is set out below.
If you submit any false or misleading information, or false supporting documentation as part of your application, it may result in the refusal of your application without the right of appeal. It may also result in you being prevented from making further Irish visa applications for a period of 5 years.
Please refer to the table of Fees for information on the fee that you are required to pay.
Some applicants are exempt from the requirement to pay the visa fee. Read more here.
You may be required to pay additional charges e.g. relating to the submission of your documents.
You may be able to pay the fee in local currency.
The website of the Visa Office/Embassy/ Consulate will have details about additional charges and local payment options.
5. How long it will take
Applications are processed in date order. You are advised not to purchase travel tickets before you know the outcome of your visa application.
Business targets for the processing of join family visa applications are as follows:
- Sponsor is an Irish citizen
You can expect that you application will be dealt with within 6 months of receipt of all required documentation.
- Sponsor is a person who is entitled to apply for immediate family reunification
You can expect that your application will be dealt with within 6 months of receipt of all required documentation.
- All other sponsors
You can expect that your application will be dealt with within 12 months of receipt of all required documentation.
These business targets reflect the detailed assessment that is required to be carried out in relation to applications for family reunification. They in no way constitute a legal obligation or convey any indication that an application not decided within the timeframe will, in default of a decision, be resolved in your favour.
You can check the processing times for the Visa Office/Embassy/Consulate that is handling your application on their website.
If your application is being processed by the Visa Office, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, Department of Justice and Equality, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin you can check the date of the applications currently being processed on the Visa Decisions page.
6. Supporting documentation
The documents below are important because they provide information about your personal circumstances.
The onus is on you to satisfy the Visa Officer that a visa should be granted for the purpose sought.
The submission of any or all of these documents does not guarantee that your application will be successful.
Original documents must be provided.
If you submit a document that is not in English/Irish, it must be accompanied by a full translation. Each translated document must contain:
- confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document,
- the date of the translation,
- the translator’s full name and signature, and
- the translator’s contact details.
All letters submitted from a business, company or other organisation should be on official headed paper and give full contact details so that they can be verified. These must include a full postal address, name of contact, position in the organisation, telephone number (landline), website, and email address (email addresses such as Yahoo or Hotmail are not accepted).
The Visa Officer considers each application on its merits and may request additional information or documentation.
GUIDE TO SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION
Your signed and dated summary application form and the appropriate fee (where applicable) must be accompanied by the supporting documentation set out below.
If you do not submit the required documentation your application may be refused on the basis of insufficient documentation.
Two colour passport sized photographs not more than 6 months old
Your name and visa application reference number must be printed clearly on the back. More information on photograph requirements here.
Your current passport and a full copy of any previous passports
Your current passport must be valid for at least 12 months.
A signed letter of application including your full contact details
Sponsor’s status /eligibility to sponsor
Evidence of claimed relationship
You must provide evidence of the claimed relationship. The onus of proof as to the genuineness of the relationship rests on you and your sponsor. The nature of the evidence required will depend on the relationship claimed e.g. spouse, civil partner, de facto partner, child. Below are some of the main types of relationships claimed and supporting documentation required.
Spouse or civil partner
Child (under 18 years and unmarried)
Defacto partner (a de facto partnership refers to a relationship akin to marriage including cohabitation for 2 years prior to the application for family reunification)
You must provide evidence of your finances and those of your sponsor including evidence to show that your sponsor meets the minimum level of earnings required (please refer to Chapters 17 and 18 of the Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification.
Evidence of dependency
If you are making your application on the basis of financial and social dependency on your sponsor you must provide documentary evidence to establish that you are actually dependent on your sponsor. While the nature of the documentary evidence may vary from case to case evidence of the following will normally be relevant:
Evidence of medical/travel insurance does not need to be provided with your application. However, the Visa Officer may request it before they make a decision on your application.
If your visa is approved, you must have evidence of medical/travel insurance when you arrive at the port of entry (airport/seaport) and must present it to the Immigration Officer on request.
Previous Visa Refusals
If you have been refused a visa in the past for any country, you must provide the details.
The original letter issued to you by the authorities of that country must be provided with your application.
Not disclosing any previous visa refusals will result in your application being refused.
7. Visa Applications on behalf of a child (person under 18)
If a child under the age of 18 is travelling their birth certificate must be submitted with their application.
If they are travelling either alone or with a person other than their parent/legal guardian (e.g. an adult relative, nurse), a written letter of consent from both parents/legal guardians is required.
These signed consents must be accompanied by copies of the consenting parent/ legal guardians’ passports or national identity cards, which clearly show their signature.
If the child is travelling with one parent/legal guardian, the consent of the other parent/legal guardian is required. This signed consent must be accompanied by a copy of the consenting parent/legal guardian's passport or national identity card which clearly shows their signature.
Where one parent has sole custody, a Court Order bestowing sole custody of the child on the parent concerned must be submitted.
8. Return of documents
All documents accompanying your application must be originals.
You should keep copies of all the documents that you provide.
Original documents such as marriage/birth/death certificates will be returned to you. However, other documents such as bank statements or letters of invitation will not be returned.
If there are particular documents that you wish to have returned, please provide a list of these documents with the application.
9. What activity is and is not permitted
The activities that will be permitted (e.g. right to work without an employment permit, establish or manage/operate a business) will depend on the immigration permission granted to you by the Irish immigration authorities following your entry to the State.
If you are an immediate family member of an Irish citizen you will receive a Stamp 4 immigration permission which will allow you to work without an employment permit or to establish or manage/operate a business.
If you are an immediate family member of a non-EEA sponsor or are a non-immediate family member of an Irish citizen you will have dependent status only and will continue to be subject to the employment permits requirements as operated by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. You will be entitled to apply for immigration status in your own right under the various channels available (e.g. student, work permit, business permission etc).