You need a visa for Ireland

You need a Join Family Visa to join your spouse, partner or family member (who is a non-Irish, non-Swiss & non-EU/EEA citizen) living in Ireland - or to accompany them if they are moving to Ireland.

Your exact preparations depend on your plans and personal circumstances. Some of the most important are described below. Read this information carefully to make sure you have everything you need.

You are from a visa required country and you wish to join a non-Irish, non-Swiss or non-EU/EEA citizen family member in Ireland for longer than 3 months. Change your answers


Before you travel


If you are travelling to Ireland for the purpose of joining your De Facto (unmarried) partner who has a Critical Skills Employment Permit or who is a researcher with a Hosting Agreement, you will need to apply for and receive Preclearance before you travel. 

Apply for a Join Family Visa

You must apply for a long stay Join Family Visa. All long stay visas are also called 'D' visas.

Only some types of family relationship are permitted for this visa. Read more about immigration permission to join a family member in Ireland.

When you travel

Prepare for border control

You will need to prove that you have a valid reason for entering Ireland to an immigration officer at border control.

To do so, you will need your passport, visa, proof of family relationship and other documents.

If you cannot satisfy the immigration officer, you will not be allowed into Ireland.

After you enter

Apply for permission to stay & register with immigration

After you enter the country, you must apply for permission to stay in Ireland and register with immigration before the date shown by the stamp in your passport.

If you don't get permission and register in time, you may have to leave the country.

During your stay

Travel to Northern Ireland & United Kingdom

You cannot travel to Northern Ireland using an Irish visa. You need a visa issued by the United Kingdom.

If you travel from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland and then wish to return to the Republic, you must have a valid multi entry visa or a valid Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or GNIB card.

Leaving & returning to Ireland

If you plan to leave Ireland for a short period and then come back again, you must have a valid multi entry visa or a valid Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or GNIB card.

If you leave without a valid multi entry visa or a valid Irish Residence Permit (IRP) or GNIB card, you will not be allowed back into the country. You will have to apply again for a full visa.

Application conditions

Family relationships & immigration permission

Your family member in Ireland must hold a valid immigration permission and registration for you to join them here.

In addition, only some types of family relationship are permitted. Read more in the Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification (PDF 330KB).

Pre-application waiting period

In some cases, you must wait before submitting an application to join a family member. The waiting period depends on your family member's immigration category in Ireland.

If your family member is in:

  • Category A including researcher, investor, non-locum doctor & more - there is no waiting time. You can apply as soon as your family member is registered with immigration in Ireland.
  • Category B including employment permit holder, minister of religion & more - you must wait 12 months after your family member registers with immigration.

Read page 45 of the Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification (PDF 330KB) for a full description of waiting periods.

Post-application waiting period

Join Family Visas are normally processed 6-12 months after you submit an application, though this may vary.

Updates on visa processing times are published on the INIS website every week.

You cannot travel to Ireland or apply for another visa (eg a short stay visa) while you wait for a decision.

How to apply

How to apply

You must apply from your home country or a country where you are a legal resident:

  1. Read detailed instructions for the Join Family Visa
  2. Submit your visa application online
  3. Send your passport and other documents for processing

You will be given instructions where to send your documents when you apply online.

Visa costs

Extra charges may apply for some applications, eg consular fees.

Other costs

To register with immigration (after you arrive in Ireland):

Help & information


Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service
Department of Justice and Equality
13-14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2
D02 XK70

Email: (if you live in Dublin)
Email: (if you live outside Dublin)



If you have questions, contact us.

Updated: 23 September 2020