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Irish Residency

Foreign nationals legally living and working in Ireland for a period of minimum five years, and planning to move permanently to the country, may apply for Long Term Residency permission.

For more information about permanent residency in Ireland, whether you are eligible, what supporting documents you must have, how you can apply, and to receive overall immigration advice and support from our team of expert lawyers, call us today on +353 061 518 025, or contact us online.

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    Overview of Ireland Permanent Residency

    To apply for permanent residency, foreign nationals either need a legal Employment Permit or they may take part in the Irish government’s Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP). Alternatively, they can obtain residency via the family route.

    The eligibility requirements and supporting documents vary depending on which route you take to apply for Long Term Residency in Ireland.

    The Long Term Residency is granted for five years without the need for a further work permit, and is renewable after five years provided you still fulfil the other eligibility conditions (which we have discussed later in this article).

    After eight years of legal residence, you can apply for a ‘Without Condition As To Time’ endorsement, also known as a Stamp 5 permission to remain, which does not come with a pre-specified time validity.

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    Irish Residency via the Employment Permit

    If you have been legally residing in the Republic of Ireland (also referred to as the State) for a minimum of five years (60 months) with long-term work authorization, you are eligible to apply for a Long Term Residency permit, provided you fulfil other eligibility requirements.

    EEA (the EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Swiss nationals are entitled to permanent residence in Ireland if they have been residing in the State legally for five years. They may apply for a permanent residence certificate, but this is not mandatory.

    Irish Residency via the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme

    The Irish government launched the STEP in 2012, to encourage high net worth investors and business professionals from outside the EEA and Switzerland (except Russian and Belarusian citizens) to invest in the country. Such investors will, in return, acquire a secure residency status in Ireland.

    STEP participants must set up their own businesses in Ireland and must work in the said business on a full-time basis. They are not permitted to be employed in any other capacity, and they must not become a financial burden on the Irish State.

    Irish Residency via the Family Route

    Foreign national spouse/civil partner or dependent(s) of an Irish citizen or Long Term Residency permit holder are eligible to apply for Long Term Residency, provided they have legally been residing in Ireland for a minimum of five years.

    The spouse or dependent(s) of an Irish resident will be granted either a Stamp 1G or a Stamp 3 permission. This depends on the type of employment permit the Irish resident holds. Please note that Stamp 3 permission holders will not be allowed to work in Ireland on this permission.

    For EEA, UK and Swiss citizens legally residing in Ireland, their foreign national spouses/dependents must apply for residence to join family in the State.

    Children aged less than 16 years do not need to register for a residency permit until they reach 16 years of age.

    Family get-together

    Am I Eligible to Apply for Ireland Long Term Residency?

    You may be eligible to apply for Long Term Residency permit in Ireland, provided:

    • You have completed a minimum of 60 months legal residence in Ireland, with Stamp 1 or Stamp 4 (issued by Immigration Service Delivery) in your passport, or expired Irish Residence Permit (IRP) cards
    • You have not been an undue burden on the State
    • You are of ‘good character’
    • You have not broken the conditions of your previous permissions to reside in Ireland
    • You are legally resident in Ireland at the time of making the application

    Additionally, for employment permit route, you need to:

    • Hold employment permits/critical skills permits, issued by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE)
    • Be employed in Ireland during and after the application process. Applications from self-employed foreign nationals are not accepted

    For applying via the family route, you must be able to prove that:

    • Your marriage/civil partnership was freely entered into by both parties, conducted in a lawful manner and recognised under Irish law

    Please note that your length of legal residency in Ireland will be calculated by reference to the stamps in your passport or the validity of your expired IRP cards. Any time period for which you do not have a stamp in your passport or you do not hold a valid IRP card, will not be counted.

    If you are unsure about how to calculate the length of your legal residency status in Ireland, you may seek professional immigration advice. You can call us on +353 061 518 025 to speak to one of our immigration experts today.

    Please also be aware that there is no legal definition of what ‘good character’ means in this context. The term generally means that you have not come to the adverse attention of Ireland’s national police, the Garda Síochána, for any criminal activities, traffic offences, or in relation to certain civil cases, or there is no police investigation ongoing against you.

    Have you been living in Ireland and would like to stay there permanently? Speak with us about eligibility and application. Contact Us

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      Who Is Not Eligible to Apply for Ireland Long Term Residency?

      Foreign nationals, who have been residing in the State for the required time period (i.e. five years) in any of the below mentioned visa/permission category, will not be eligible to apply for Long Term Residency in Ireland:

      • Individuals living in Ireland on study visa
      • Individuals living in Ireland as Intra-Company Transferees
      • Employees at a foreign embassy in Ireland
      • Individuals holding Permission to Remain under the Working Holiday Visa scheme
      • Individuals living in Ireland under the Turkish Agreement
      • Individuals holding Permission to Remain under humanitarian grounds
      • Individuals holding Permission to Remain under the Irish Born Child (IBC) and IBC-05 schemes
      • Refugees
      Red decoration on pub in Irish street

      What Documents Do I Need to Apply for Ireland Permanent Residency?

      We have listed below the supporting documents that you will need to submit as part of your application process for Long Term Residency permission:

      • Completed application form, signed and dated
      • Full colour copies of your past and current passport(s) or IRP cards showing all your immigration stamps
      • A copy of your current IRP card or Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) card (for non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals living outside Dublin city or county)
      • A copy of your employment contract, or a letter from your employer detailing commencement and terms of your employment
      • Full colour copies of all employment permits issued by the DETE
      • Residence proofs that certify you have been residing continuously in Ireland for 60 months, such as copies of tenancy agreements, bank statements, any other State issued documents etc.

      If you are applying for residency via the marriage/civil partnership route, you will need to submit the following documents:

      • Completed application form, signed and dated (by you and your Irish citizen or resident spouse/civil partner)
      • Your original marriage/civil partnership certificate
      • Your original past and current passport(s) and birth certificate
      • Certified copies of your and your spouse’s/civil partner’s passports
      • Divorce papers from the applicant and/or their Irish citizen or resident spouse (if applicable)
      • Yours and your Irish citizen/resident spouse’s/civil partner’s bank statements for the previous 12 months
      • Copy of your private medical insurance
      • Proofs showing that your Irish citizen or resident spouse/civil partner has earned €40,000 in the previous three years. Documents may include P60s/employment detail summary, P21 revenue commissioner statements, payslips etc.
      • Proofs of your joint accommodation, such as rent book, joint tenancy/lease agreement, mortgage payments, proof of home ownership
      • Proof of address in your and your spouse’s/civil partner’s names, such as recent utility bills, television licence etc.

      Please note that either of the above lists is by no means exhaustive in nature. The Irish Immigration Service may ask for additional documents depending on your personal circumstances.

      How Do I Apply for Ireland Permanent Residency?

      Once you have confirmed your eligibility, and have arranged for the supporting documents required in your case, please start with the application for your Long Term Residency permission with filling up the relevant application form.

      The application process is paper-based, so please download the ‘Application for permission to remain in the State on Long Term Residency’ form from the Department of Justice’s website.

      Please diligently read all the instructions provided in the form and on the Department of Justice website before filling up the form. Incomplete application forms will not be processed and will be returned to you.

      After carefully completing all sections of the application form, please sign it and and send it with all the required supporting documents to the following address:

      Long Term Residence Section
      Unit C – Domestic Residence and Permissions Division
      Immigration Service Delivery
      Department of Justice
      13-14 Burgh Quay
      Dublin 2
      DO2 XK70

      You will need to sign the statutory declaration section in the form before a solicitor, commissioner of oaths or peace commissioner, who will then countersign the declaration.

      Processing Time for Irish Residency

      Processing Long Term Residency applications usually takes between six to eight months. However, this period may vary depending on the volumes of applications with the Domestic Residence and Permissions Division at any given point of time.

      Moreover, if you have not submitted the sufficient level of supporting documents, or if your case involves additional complexities, your application may take longer to process.

      You will receive an acknowledgement from the Domestic Residence and Permissions Division when your application is received and uploaded on their systems. They will also contact you if additional supporting documents are required in your case.

      There are different routes to Irish long term residency. Let us guide you on the path best suited to your scenario. Contact us

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        Fees for Ireland Residency

        The Long Term Residency fee is €500. If your application for Long Term Residency is approved, the Irish Immigration Service will send you a letter of approval. Upon the receipt of the letter, you will need to pay the fee within 28 days to complete the application.

        The fee needs to be paid by bank draft or postal order, payable to the Secretary General, Department of Justice. Cheques are not accepted.

        Please be aware that if the fee is not paid within the required 28 days, your application will be closed without any further notice.

        What If My Application Has Been Approved?

        If your Long Term Residency application is approved, Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) will send you a letter of approval. Please pay the Long Term Residency fee of €500 within 28 days from the date of that letter, as mentioned previously. When this fee is received, you will be issued with a letter granting you Long Term Residency for five years.

        Once you have received the permission letter, please make an appointment with your local immigration office to register this permission. You will have to pay the appropriate registration fee at this stage, which is in addition to the €500 permission fee. Once the registration process is complete, you will be allowed to work in Ireland without an employment permit.

        For foreign nationals applying for Long Term Residency via the marriage/family route, your Irish citizen or resident spouse/civil partner will need to accompany you to your local immigration registration office, to register your residency permission.

        What If My Application Has Been Refused?

        ISD will send you a letter stating the reasons for refusal in case your application has been refused. There is no appeal process, but you may reapply for Long Term Residency permission at any time. Please pay particular attention to the reasons why your previous application was refused while reapplying.

        For foreign nationals applying for Long Term Residency via the marriage/family route, if your application has been refused, you must appeal within two calendar months from the date of refusal. Please pay attention to the reasons for the refusal of your application, and address them in your appeal.

        Ireland Long Term Residency Renewal

        Long Term Residency permission can be renewed after five years. You will need to attend at your local Immigration Office to renew this permission.

        You must be able to provide evidence proving that you have been living and working in Ireland for the previous five years, such as P60s showing your employment records.

        Let us improve your chances of successfully obtaining an Ireland residency permit. Contact us

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          Ireland Residency ‘Without Condition As To Time’

          Non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals can apply for Irish residency ‘Without Condition As To Time’ (i.e. Stamp 5 permission to remain) once they have completed eight years (96 months) legal residency in Ireland. As the name indicates, this permission does not come with a pre-specified time validity.

          Please note that only the immigration stamps in your passport or the validity of your expired IRP cards can be used in calculating the 96 months. Any time period for which you do not have a stamp in your passport or you do not hold a valid IRP card, will not be counted.

          Please be aware that only Stamp 1, Stamp 1G, Stamp 3, Stamp 4 and Stamp 4S in your passport can be counted towards calculating the length of stay for your Stamp 5 application.

          How Can IAS Help?

          Obtaining Irish Long Term Residency is a complex and time-consuming process. Even if you meet the eligibility criteria, it is of utmost importance to fill up the relevant forms correctly and completely as well as submit all required documentation.

          Speak to IAS.

          Our team of sympathetic immigration lawyers have the required expertise to assist you, regardless of your personal circumstances or the complexity of your case.

          If you are seeking overall advice with your Long Term Residency application or you would like an immigration expert to complete your application on your behalf, we are here for you. We also offer document and application checking services if you just need a final check to confirm that your documents and application adhere to ISD regulations.

          To know more about the bespoke services we provide and how we can help you, message us online or please call us on +353 061 518 025 today to speak to our team of legal advisers.

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                    Related pages for your continued reading.

                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    Long Term Residency permission can be revoked if the Irish immigration authorities discover at a later date that you have not met the qualifying criteria, or have provided false information.

                    Permission can also be revoked if you fail to register your permission with your local immigration office as required.

                    In such a scenario, if you do not have any other valid permission to stay in Ireland, you may be deported to your country of origin.

                    To become an Irish citizen by naturalisation, you need to be a legal resident in the State for at least five years out of the previous nine years, including one year of continuous residence immediately before your application date, provided you fulfil other prescribed conditions.

                    Other eligibility criteria and required documentation are also similar to that of a Long Term Residency application.

                    Having Irish citizenship and an Irish passport comes with more security and freedom. While you can stay in Ireland for an extended period with the right to work, study and live on a Long Term Residency permit, you will not have access to all government benefits that accompany full Irish citizenship as well as voting rights.

                    However, whether you apply for a Long Term Residency permission or for Irish citizenship by naturalisation will depend on your personal circumstances and requirements. Call us on +353 061 518 025 today to discuss your options.

                    You cannot travel to the UK or Europe based on your Irish residency permit. The entry requirements for the UK or any European countries will depend on the country of your passport, i.e. South Africa in this case.

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