Researchers (on a Hosting Agreement)

A scheme for the admission of non-EEA Researchers has been in operation since late 2007. Full details of the scheme are available on the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation website which is available by following this link: Hosting Agreement Scheme - Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation.

Immigration arrangements for non-EEA nationals to whom the scheme applies and who are coming to Ireland are set out below.

Entry Process

Classes of persons which do not appear in Schedule 1 of the latest Visas Order S.I. No. 473 of 2014 - Immigration Act 2004 (Visas) Order 2014 as being exempt from the Irish visa requirement must apply for an Irish visa prior to entry to the State. The researcher must attach a copy of their contract to their visa application together with supporting documents so as to satisfy the visa officer that they are coming to Ireland to take up a position as a researcher.

Details regarding visa information/requirements can be found under the Visa section of the INIS website.

For researchers who are not visa-required, the first contact they will have with the Irish immigration system is when they present themselves at the port of entry seeking permission to enter the State. It is a matter for the immigration officer to decide whether the person concerned should be admitted to the State. The researcher must be in possession of their original contract to show to an immigration officer at the point of entry. Permission to enter the State will be given if the immigration officer is satisfied and accepts the bona fides of the contract (unless there are other grounds for refusal under the Immigration legislation).

The researcher will be required to register with their local registration office. If living in the Dublin area he/she will need to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2. If living outside the Dublin area he/she should report to their local registration office. Registration must take place within the period specified by the immigration officer at the port of entry.


In order to register the researcher must show the registration officer an original copy of their Research contract. They will receive a Stamp 1 Certificate of Registration.

Family Members

Family members (i.e. spouse and dependants) may accompany or join a researcher to Ireland subject to normal immigration rules. For visa required nationals please click on this link to the Visa Section for Visa application details.

For family members (i.e. spouse and dependants) who are in one of the classes of persons exempt from Irish visa requirements the first contact they will have with the Irish immigration system is when they present themselves at the port of entry seeking permission to enter the State. The spouse and dependants must have all relevant documentations with them to satisfy the immigration officer at the point of entry to the State. Documentary evidence should consist of Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificate in respect of dependant(s), and copy of the researcher's contract if not accompanied by the researcher.

Permission to enter the State will continue to be a matter for the immigration authorities at the port of entry. (Section 4 of the Immigration Act 2004 applies). Family members and dependants who are granted permission to be in the State under these arrangements may only remain for a maximum period equal to the Registration of the researcher.

Persons already in the State as researchers and who comply with the Researcher Scheme should contact their local registration office.

Duration of Contract

With effect from 01/01/2009 the maximum duration of a Hosting Agreement has been extended from 3 to 5 years.

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Additional Immigration Arrangements, with effect from 1st January 2012 for persons who have worked as a researcher as a Hosting Agreement holder for 2 year or longer

Updated Arrangements

Hosting Agreement holders whose Hosting Agreement and Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or GNIB Card are due to expire, after 1st January 2012, having completed 2 years working in the State are not required to apply to the Irish Universities Association to have their Hosting Agreements renewed/extended.

Such persons may present in person to the Garda National Immigration Bureau or, if living outside the Dublin area, to the Garda registration office in the relevant Garda district, for renewal of their immigration registration and may be issued with a Stamp 4.

Persons who qualify for Stamp 4 and whose permission has been renewed on Stamp 1 do not need to return to the immigration office to have their permission updated. Stamp 4 permission will be issued on their next registration i.e. if you have been a researcher for over 2 years and your permission expires in June 2012 there is no need to register until your current permission is due to expire in June.

Where registration is renewed a Stamp 4 will be issued for a 2 years duration.


Persons in the above situation must have complied with their previous Hosting Agreement and immigration conditions and be of good character. Stamp 4 may be granted but it should be noted that the Garda National Immigration Bureau is entitled to refuse registration where there is a valid ground for doing so e.g. the person has come to the adverse attention of the Gardaí or there is evidence that the person lived outside the State for most or all of the previous period of immigration permission, etc.

The immigration Stamp 4 which issues will be valid for 2 years. However, where the person's passport expires earlier than 2 years after registration the Stamp 4 will be given up to the expiry date of the passport. The person concerned may present again to have the remaining period of registration endorsed in their new passport.

Family members

The Spouse, partner or dependants of Hosting Agreement holders will be granted an extension on their current immigration permission and will be granted for the same duration of time as the Hosting Agreement holder or the Stamp 4 holder, as appropriate.

For the spouse or partner who wishes to work in the State, it may be possible to change the immigration stamp from 3 to 1 where an Employment/Spousal/Dependant permit is issued by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

January 12 2011