- What is Non-EEA Family Reunification?
- Which Family Members Qualify For Non-EEA Family Reunification
- Non-EEA Family Reunification For Irish Non-EEA Residents/Citizens
- Application Process For Non-EEA Family Reunification
- How Long Does Application Take?
- Required Documents
- What Happens if an Application is Unsuccessful?
- When Will I Receive Permanent Residence?
- What are the Rules for Family Members of Refugees in Ireland?
- What is Retained Right of Residence?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Non-EEA Family Reunification?
For those moving to Ireland, Irish law makes it possible for your family members to join you via Family Reunification. The Non-EEA family reunification route is exclusively for non-EEA citizens with family in Ireland.
Irish immigration considers different factors to determine if a non-EEA family member can join their family in Ireland. The rules mainly depend on if the family member in Ireland is a non-EEA/non-Swiss or EEA/Swiss national.
If the family member in Ireland is an EEA/Swiss national, then non-EEA family members can join them if they’re exercising their free movement rights. Exercising their free movement rights implies that they’re either self-sufficient, working, self-employed, or vocational studies.
Which Family Members Qualify For Non-EEA Family Reunification
To qualify as a non-EEA family member of an Irish citizen/resident, you must be any of the following:
- Spouse/civil partner
Aside from qualifying members, permitted family members can also apply. Permitted family members include:
- De facto partners
- Dependent family members of the EEA resident or their civil partner or spouse
- Other members of EEA citizen households who are dependent family members for medical reasons
Non-EEA Family Reunification For Irish Non-EEA Residents/Citizens
Non-EEA family members of non-EEA residents in Ireland don’t get any automatic right of reunification. They only qualify for family reunification depending on the resident permit of the family member in Ireland.
Usually, you can join your family in Ireland if they hold certain employment permits or if they’re on refugee status. For instance, Critical Skills Employment Permit holders can bring their family members to Ireland immediately.
In addition, their family members get Stamp 4 in their passports and can work in Ireland without seeking an employment permit.
For other employment permit holders, like General Employment Permit, your family members can only qualify for family reunification after working for a year. Importantly, your salary must be above the limits for Family Income Supplement.
Qualifying family members include civil partners, spouses, and children below 18 years. If you’re a dependent family member above 18 years old and not a spouse or civil partner, you can’t apply for family reunification.
Application Process For Non-EEA Family Reunification
For non-EEA family reunification, each family member must apply for a Long Stay ‘D’ Join Family Visa. A successful visa application permits you to travel to Ireland but not enter.
Upon arriving in Ireland, you must apply for residence to receive a residence card. This application involves completing the EUTR1 form for qualifying family members and the EU1A form for permitted family members.
While you wait for a decision on your application, you’ll get a temporary Stamp 4 residence permission in your passport. You’ll get Stamp 4EUFAM permission if your residence application is successful.
Stamp 4EUFAM permits you to reside in Ireland for up to five years. You can renew your permission when it expires and apply for permanent residency if you meet the requirements at the time. With Stamp 4EUFAM, you can travel across EU member countries with your family member.
All Long Stay ‘D’ visa holders must officially register at an immigration office once they enter Ireland. Without registering with immigration, you can’t stay in Ireland for more than 90 days.
The immigration will issue you an Irish Residence Permit if your registration is successful; you must carry this residence permit with you at all times.
How Long Does Application Take?
Irish visas are processed in date order. Nevertheless, your Long Stay ‘D’ Join Family Visa should take a maximum of 6 months to apply, from the date you submitted your complete documentation.
The application process takes that long due to the detailed assessment the immigration will carry out to confirm your relationship with the Irish citizen/resident. However, different visa offices and embassies have different processing times; you should confirm the duration from where you applied.
The visa office will not process your Long Stay ‘D’ Join Family Visa for family reunification if you don’t submit all necessary documents. These documents include;
- Signed and dated application summary
- Two colour passport-sized photographs
- International passport
- A signed letter of application
- Proof of status of your sponsor (Irish citizen/resident family member)
- Proof of relationship between you and your sponsor
- Proof of your finances and those of your sponsor
- Proof of dependency (most especially for permitted family members)
- Medical or travel insurance
- Previous visa refusals (if any)
What Happens if an Application is Unsuccessful?
You can apply for a review of the decision if your residence card application is unsuccessful. For this, you’ll complete the EU4 application form. In the form, you’ll state why you believe the decision on your application is wrong.
You must apply for a review of the decision within 2 months of receiving the refusal letter. However, if your application for review of the decision is refused, you’ll have to exit Ireland subject to a removal order.
When Will I Receive Permanent Residence?
As mentioned earlier, the Stamp 4EUFAM lasts for 5 years. After that, you can apply for a permanent residence card or simply renew your Stamp 4EUFAM. You can apply for Irish permanent residence if you have lived in Ireland consecutively for five years.
Application for permanent residence involves completing the EU3 application form. You have to provide documentary evidence to show that you meet all the requirements for permanent residence.
Application for permanent residence usually takes six to eight months to process. However, in some particular circumstances, it can take longer.
What are the Rules for Family Members of Refugees in Ireland?
Non-EEA family members of refugees can join them in Ireland if the Irish resident has official refugee status or is under subsidiary protection. In addition, family members can only apply for reunification within 12 months of the Irish resident getting refugee status or subsidiary protection.
Qualifying family members include spouses/civil partners and children not over 18 years. If the Irish resident who is a refugee or under subsidiary protection is under 18, the qualifying family members are parents and minor siblings.
Family members of refugees in Ireland can apply from within or outside Ireland. For the application, the refugee must write to the INIS Family Reunification Section requesting family reunification for each family member.
If INIS approves the application, they’ll send a letter of approval. Then, the refugee will complete a questionnaire and submit it to the Irish embassy or consulate in their family member’s resident country. The beneficiary must also submit other necessary documents for the visa application.
These documents include:
- Signed and dated application form
- Family reunification approval letter from the INIS
- Two coloured passport-sized photographs
- International passport or travel document
If the visa application is successful, the applicant can now travel to Ireland. They’ll follow the same steps as mentioned earlier, including applying for a residence card and registering with immigration for a residence permit upon entering Ireland.
What is the Retained Right of Residence?
If the circumstance of your family reunification visa changes, you can still retain your right to live in Ireland. You can retain your right of residence in the following circumstances:
- The EU citizen dies
- The EU citizen and family member divorce
- The EU citizen leaves the state
- The family member becomes a victim of domestic abuse
You have to complete the EU5 form to apply for retained right of residence.
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If you’re a non-EEA national student, you generally cannot sponsor your family members to join you in Ireland. Your dependent family members – spouse, civil partners, and children under 18 – need to apply to reside in Ireland in their own right. Nevertheless, there are exceptions if you can prove you have sufficient funds to support your family or if you’re a Ph.D. student.
Complete family reunification can take between 12 to 14 months. This involves the duration of the visa application and application for a residence card and permit upon arriving in Ireland.
Yes, the Immigration Advice Service can help you with your Non-EEA Family Reunification and other Irish immigration visa applications. We have offices in various locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland with highly experienced and dedicated immigration lawyers who have successfully helped many applicants complete their Irish immigration and citizenship applications.
You can reach out to us today on 0333 305 3612 to find out how immigration service can help you.