If you are legally resident in the State, you may be eligible to sponsor a visa for your non-EEA family members to join you from outside of Ireland or to apply for a residence permission for non-EEA family already in the State. Your immigration status will determine what type of application you have to make.
The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) recently published guidelines for family reunification with non-EEA nationals, which detail the financial and other considerations that will be taken into consideration. Nasc has prepared a brief Factsheet which summarises the criteria which will be applied.
Also, see our Campaign Page for more information on Nasc’s campaigning for Family Reunification rights.
Persons with a right to apply for family reunification with non-EEA family members include:
- Persons with refugee status
- Persons considered eligible for subsidiary protection status
- EEA nationals (who are exercising their Free Movement Rights)
Refugees and persons who have been granted subsidiary protection have the legal right to apply family reunification with certain family members. However, they often experience long waiting times for a decision on their application.
How to apply: Applications for family reunification based on the sponsor’s status as a refugee or a person eligible for subsidiary protection should be made to the Family Reunification Section of the INIS first regardless of whether the family members are living in the State or outside the State. If the application is successful the sponsor should then apply for a visa which should be issued as a matter of course. Nasc recommends getting expert advice before making an application for family reunification if you have this type of status. See here for information on Nasc’s legal service. See also the INIS website.
EEA citizens (EU citizens and citizens from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) have the legal right to apply for certain non-EEA family members to join them in Ireland once certain economic and employment criteria are established. For EEA citizen sponsors there are specific forms which should be completed and returned to the EU Treaty Rights Section of INIS.
Discretionary Applications for Family Reunification with non-EEA family members:
Irish Nationals who have not exercised their free movement rights and all other categories of non-EEA nationals do not have a right under Irish legislation to family reunification under Irish law. The Minister for Justice and Equality may in his discretion grant visa applications or residence applications made by family members of Irish or non-EEA nationals. Applications will be required to satisfy the financial and other criteria set down in the new Family Reunification Policy Document. (See here for Nasc’s summary of the guidelines).
How to apply: Spouses, civil partners and children of Irish citizens, already in Ireland, may direct their applications to the Spouse of an Irish National Section of INIS (more details available here); de facto partners of Irish nationals, already in Ireland, may make applications to the De Facto Residency Permission Application Section (more details available here). Family members who are living outside the State will be required to make a ‘D’ visa application. Information on applying for a visa is available here.
There is a exception for minor Irish citizen children who have distinct rights to the care of a non-EEA parent upon whom they are dependent. The Court of Justice of the European Union in the case Ruiz Zambrano v Office National de L’Emploi (C 34/09) recognised the rights to reside and work in the State of non-EEA citizen parents of dependent Irish citizen children. For more information on whether a child born in Ireland is an Irish citizen, please see our FAQ page and our Citizenship and Naturalisation page.
How to apply: Parents may make applications to the Residence Division Unit of INIS. Further information regarding the application process, including the documentation required to make an application, is available here.
Family reunification for all other non-EEA migrants living in Ireland is dependent on length of residence and financial circumstances. For a breakdown by category, see the INIS Family Reunification Policy Document and all the Nasc Factsheet.
The information presented here is provided in good faith and every effort is made to ensure that it is accurate and up to date. All content is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. Nasc does not accept liability for the use or misuse of the information presented here. Thank you for your co-operation.
Nasc is a non-profit organisation. We receive no government funding, demand no payment from our clients, and rely on donations to enable us to provide our service. If you have found the information on this page useful, please consider making a donation – every euro received goes towards helping us to protect human rights, promote integration and campaign for change.