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EU Treaty Rights in Ireland

Under EU treaty rights, citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) have the right to come, live, study, or work in Ireland and receive social security or healthcare. These rights extend to family members of citizens of European Economic Area member countries and Swiss nationals.

If you are not sure about your rights under the EEA, you can always seek the help of experts. An accredited Ireland immigration lawyer can help you with your immigration issues, including family reunifications, short and long stay visaswork visasstudent visas, citizenship, and residency.

Call us on 0333 242 9057 or contact us online for legal assistance.


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    Benefits of Choosing IAS Ireland Immigration Lawyers

    When it comes to obtaining an Ireland visa or permit, IAS Ireland immigration lawyers are well-equipped to help you.

    With IAS’ track record of successfully helping clients visit or immigrate to Ireland successfully, we can help you achieve your goal.

    Our dedicated immigration lawyers provide our services through a comprehensive and personalised approach. With IAS, you enjoy:

    Compassionate support from an experienced immigration lawyer dedicated to your success

    Support in gathering supporting documents and completing a high-quality application.

    Confidence that your case is being handled by an experienced team.

    In-house document checks done by lawyers who are well-versed in Ireland immigration matters.

    Regardless of what your Ireland immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    What are EU Treaty Rights?

    This refers to the rights of the EU nationals and members of the family to freely move within the organization’s territory. Regulations on free migration are set out in the Directive 2004/EC, incorporated into Irish law by the European Regulations Act 2015, which went into effect on February 1, 2016. The regulation is concerned with the free movement of persons.

    EU Treaty Rights guarantee the right to move freely within European Union member states. In general, the right to move freely is obtained from the individual’s active involvement in the host country’s economic activities. Employment, study, self-employment, or a residency based on financial ability are examples of such activities.

    Therefore, under EU Treaty Rights, individuals from the EEA and their family members have the right to travel freely, study, live and work in Ireland.

    How Long Can an EEA National Stay in Ireland Without Restriction?

    The Republic of Ireland permits visa-free travel and freedom of movement to citizens of EU/EEA nations or Switzerland for a maximum of three months. You cannot stay longer than three months unless you have a treaty right.

    If you intend to stay for more than three months, you must either:

    • Be working in an employed or self-employed position
    • Own sufficient funds and have health insurance for your family and yourself
    • Be enrolled in a vocational training or student program
    • Be a descendant of an EEA/Swiss national belonging to either of the categories mentioned above.

    When you come to Ireland with an EEA nationality, you won’t be required to present yourself to an immigration office for registration. This means you don’t need a resident card to live here legally. But if you desire to formalize things and let them go on record, then feel free to visit your country’s embassy while in the country.

    living in ireland

    What If I Have Moved to Ireland for Work?

    Citizens of the European Economic Area and Switzerland may stay in Ireland for a maximum of 6 months if they have relocated to the country for employment. It is possible to claim unemployment benefits from your home country while in Ireland. They can be transferred over and paid for a maximum of 3 or 6 months. If you are employed, your right to live in the country is guaranteed.

    Who is a worker, according to the EU?

    • Anyone performing ‘real and legitimate’ work under someone else’s direction; for a pay check, of course. It is unnecessary to earn a certain amount of work a specific number of hours each week to qualify as an EU worker.
    • Anyone self-employed in a ‘genuine and productive’ job

    You can claim permanent residency in Ireland if you have lived here as an EU self-employed individual or worker for five years. If at any point during the five years, you stopped working due to an illness, accident, maternity, paternity, involuntary unemployment, or involuntarily unemployed to seek vocational training, your worker status remains intact, and you have a right to some social welfare payments.

    Under What Circumstances Can Entry Be Denied to EEA Citizens?

    Due to the EU’s free movement policy, only very few situations can prevent you from entering Ireland. Here’re the circumstances:

    • It’s established that you are carrying a severe contagious disease that poses a grave threat to people living in the country
    • The public stands to be at risk from your past behaviour, depending on your past convictions

    What are EU Treaty Rights in Ireland for Family Members of EEA/EU or Switzerland Citizens?

    Various family members of EEA/EU or Swiss nationals living or working in Ireland can join them in the country if the qualifying citizen exercises their EU Treaty Rights. Family members are divided into two groups under EU Treaty Rights: those who qualify for the rights and those permitted to have them.

    The following are categorized as qualifying members:

    • Direct descendants of EU national or their spouse or civil partner, below 21 years
    • Direct descendants of the EU or Swiss national or their spouse or civil partner over the age of 21 and still dependent
    • The EU citizen’s dependent parents/grandparents and their spouse

    The following are categorized as a permitted family member:

    Dependents or household members of the EU national, or a family member who needs long-term care from the EU national due to a long-term health condition

    A person with whom the EU citizen has at least two years of a durable relationship

    How Are Visas and EU Family Residence Cards Issued?

    The Directive 2004/38/EC and EC Regulation 2015 provide a specific process for granting visas and European Family Residence Cards to family members of EU citizens. Visas for both permitted or qualifying family members are issued at no cost through an “accelerated procedure.” Family members who fall under the scope of the Directive and Regulations are issued a residency card proving their right to live and earn an income in the country for a maximum of five years. The Minister has six months to approve or deny Visa.

    Those who successfully get visas or EU Fam Residence cards must register with the GNIB. At the same time, failed applicants have the right to appeal the decision using the review mechanism outlined in the Regulations and Directive.

    After five years, EEA citizens and their relatives who have lived in the country without breaking any rules in the Directive and Regulations can claim permanent residency. If you do so, you will be issued a Permanent Residence Card.

    Additionally, suppose your circumstance changes due to divorce, separation, or death of the EU national during the five years of residence before you can claim permanent Irish citizenship. In that case, This is referred to as a “retention application.”

    Is It Possible for My Non-EEA Family Members to Join Me Under EU Treaty Rights?

    Yes, through EU Treaty rights, your non-EEA family can join you in Ireland too. Your rights to reside in Ireland as an EEA citizen extends to your family members who are not EU/EEA or Swiss nationals, too.

    However, the non-EEA family member will need to apply for a residence on arrival, register, and get an Irish Residence Permit. Oh, and depending on their nationality, they may also be required to obtain an entry visa before they travel here. Of course, people in this group can either be qualified or permitted.

    A family member who does not belong to the EEA but holds a residence permit from another Switzerland or another EU/EEA country doesn’t need to apply for an entry visa. It is important to remember when staying in a country other than your own, this form of residency card is usually issued to a family member.

    If you are unsure what kind of residency card someone in your family holds, you should contact your home country’s immigration office.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on your EU Treaty Rights case.

    What Documents Do Non-EEA Families Need to Complete to Live in Ireland?

    Every application for an Irish residence card must be accompanied by supporting documents as evidence of the applicant’s relation with the EEA national.

    Additionally, documentation proving that the qualifying citizen is using their right to free movement will be required. Family members who are not EU/EEA or Swiss nationals must also apply for an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) from the country’s immigration office. No fees will be charged to the family of an EEA national.

    The following forms are required of family members who are not from EU/EEA or Switzerland:

    • Form EUTR1: Qualifying family members who are not from EU, EEEA, or Switzerland
    • Form EUTR1A: Permitted family members who are not from EU, EEEA, or Switzerland

    Which About the Requirements for De Facto Partners?

    de facto partner is someone with whom an EU citizen has had a long-term relationship for at least two years. According to the previous statements, these people are in the “permitted” group. They can apply for an accelerated visa and residence card if they are nationals of an EEA country. Otherwise, they must apply for a residence permit upon arrival, complete Form EUTR1A, and obtain an Irish Residence Permit:

    The following criteria are used to classify a person as a de facto partner:

    • Two years or more of sustained relationship
    • There’s no blood relation between the parties, and
    • They intend to stay together indefinitely
    • The parties’ previous civil partnerships or marriages have ended permanently

    What Is the Process for Applying for An Irish Residence Permit?

    In some cases, relatives of EEA citizens are required to apply for permission to reside in Ireland once they arrive in the country. If you are granted permission, you will need to apply for an Irish residence permit. The period to register the permission is 90 days.

    • In Dublin, you can register at the Burgh Quay Registration Office.
    • You must apply at the nearest Garda District Headquarters or regional registration office if you live outside Dublin. Usually, appointments are done online

    But don’t worry if you can’t schedule an appointment within this time frame – they won’t revoke your permission or deport you while you’re trying to register. However, registration is how the government keeps track of who has been granted permission to remain in the country, so make an effort to complete it.

    People who need an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) are:

    • Foreign nationals who are not citizens of Switzerland or an EU, or EEA country
    • Their stay in Ireland will exceed 90 days; and
    • They are at least 16 years old. Younger visitors do not have to register when they arrive. However, as soon as you turn 16, you will have to register.

    If your registration is successful, an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) will be sent to you by post indicating what type of activities you are permitted.

    What Documents Are Required for the IRP?

    When you arrive at the registration desk, be prepared to show your passport, health insurance documents, and proof that you have enough money to support yourself.

    Additionally, depending on the purpose of your visit, you should include any necessary documents, such as original Employment Permit, Working Holiday Authorization, etc.

    There are also cases where INIS sends people letters with registration instructions, usually seen in family reunification cases. if so, make sure you carry all the documents listed in the letter to the registration office

    If you have an Ireland Student Visa, you must bring these documents with you when you register:

    • Original acceptance letter from the institution you are going to attend
    • Proof of school fees payment
    • If you have a scholarship, please provide proof
    • Evidence of private health insurance if you have this type of medical insurance cover
    • Evidence of adequate financial resources (if you plan to stay over six months, you will need €3,000; that’s €500 per month)

    The list above is not comprehensive; it’s always wise to carefully read and follow your letter’s directions. Plus, if you are unsure about anything, you can always contact INIS and inquire what documents are required. Generally, if you are applying for an Irish residence permit pursuant to EU Treaty Rights, you will not need to pay any fees.

    What Does the IRP Look Like and What Does It Permit?

    The Irish Residence Permit (IRP) is a credit-card-sized plastic card that contains a little overview of who you are: these include:

    • Your name
    • Your photo
    • Your birth date
    • Your registration number
    • A concise summary of your immigration authorization, including a stamped number
    • A microchip bearing your photo, personal information, and fingerprints
    • Several stamps

    The different stamps indicate the activities you are permitted while in Ireland, e.g., studying, investing, or working. Keep in mind that:

    • IRP cards are different from Visas which are temporary travel authorization documents
    • An IRP card cannot serve as an ID card; however, it still helps prove you are legally in the country. I keep your IRP card with you all the time so you can show it to authorities if they demand it.
    • In no way does the IRP grant you any new privileges or rights.

    Is It Necessary to Submit Applications When a Child Is Not from the EEA?

    If a European citizen has a non-EEA national child who is a minor, the parent must fill out forms on their behalf if they intend to remain in Ireland for more than three months.

    For each kid, a completed form EUTR1 has to be presented for them to be permitted to reside in Ireland as children of an EU citizen. If the kid has been living in the country for at least five years, their parents can apply for them to stay permanently.

    What If My Application for IRP Is Denied?

    If the application is refused, non-EEA family members of EEA nationals have the right to appeal. They must complete form EU4.

    If you have any questions about your EU Treaty Rights case, our team is happy to assist.

    Can I Apply for A New EUTR1 Or EUTR1A If My Relationship with The EEA Citizen Changes Later?

    Suppose you have previously been granted a EUTR1 or EUTR1A Residence Card, and your circumstances have changed significantly. In that case, you may need to make a new application for residency to continue staying in Ireland. This includes if:

    • The EU or Swiss citizen has died
    • An annulment or dissolution of marriage or civil partnership with the EU national has taken place
    • The EU/EEA or Swiss citizen departs Ireland, leaving children in your care

    In this case, you should submit a completed Form EU5, asking to maintain your residence despite the circumstances.

    Do EU Treaty Rights also apply to EEA Family Members of Irish Nationals?

    No, EU Treaty Rights are only for EEA nationals and their EEA or non-EEA family members who want to live, study or work in Ireland. Therefore, EEA family members of Irish nationals cannot take advantage of this treaty and get a residence card to stay with their relatives in Ireland.

    However, in cases where the family member holds a residence card issued by another EU member state under Article 10 of the Directive, they are allowed to move to Ireland.

    When Can EEA Nationals and Their Families Apply for Permanent Residence in Ireland?

    If you and your family have lived in Ireland lawfully for five years or more, you qualify for permanent residence. There are various forms for different people to fill out.

    • For family members who are citizens of EEA member states, you must complete form EUTR2.
    • If a non-EEA citizen wishes to become a permanent Irish resident based on their relationship with a family member from the EU, the form they will need to fill out EU3

    Of course, your continuous residence will not be affected if you take any of the following temporary leaves.

    • A yearly absence of fewer than six months
    • A 12-month absence due to pregnancy, childbirth, work, vocational training, serious illness, or a job posting to another country by your Irish employer.
    • Absences due to mandatory military service

    When Should I Expect a Response on My Residency Application?

    An application for residency can take up to six months to process and a decision to be rendered.

    Summary Of Forms Required for EU Treaty Rights

    If EU nationals want to take advantage of their EU Treaty Rights to stay, study or work in Ireland, they do not need to fill out any forms. Families of EU citizens who do not belong to the EEA, on the other hand, will. In addition, while applying for Irish permanent residency, both EU nationals and their relatives will be required to fill out application forms.

    Here is the breakdown of the various application forms (we’ve already mentioned all of them in the previous sections, so this is just a summary)

    • Application Form EUTR1: Qualifying family members who are non-EEA nationals must request an IRP using this form
    • Application Form EUTR1A: Permitted family members who are non-EEA nationals can use this form to request an IRP. De facto partners who are not EEA nationals fall into this category.
    • Application Form EUTR2: EU nationals who have resided in Ireland for at least five years following the Directive and Regulations can use this form to request permanent Irish residence
    • Application Form EU3: Family members who are non-EEA and have been in Ireland for at least five years can use this form to request permanent residence
    • Application Form EU4: you complete this form to request for a review of your request for an Irish Residence Permit, or permanent residence has been denied
    • Application Form EU5: If you want to retain your IRP even after divorce or separation from the qualifying family member. You can also use it to request an extension to your residence status after the death of the qualifying family member.

    Note: forms EUTR1 and EUTR1A were previously referred to as forms EU1 and EU1A up until November of 2020.

    Do EU Treaty Rights extend to EU Workers in Ireland too?

    Yes, EEA national nationals can work in the country with no restriction. Even if you are in between jobs, you may remain in Ireland. Furthermore, you can have your previous country send over your unemployment benefits for three or even six months in some cases.

    What Are the Requirements for Residing in Ireland as A Student Under the Terms of The EU Treaty?

    If you want to exercise your EEA Treaty Rights to study in Ireland, you must be:

    • Enrolled in a college that has been approved by the Irish government
    • Financially well-off to support yourself without being a burden to the Irish social welfare system
    • Have full health insurance

    When your studies end, your right to live in Ireland ends. However, if you got a job or have enough resources, you can use them as a legal basis to request residence.

    Do Brits have to Exercise Their EU Treaty Rights to Reside in Ireland?

    In Ireland, British citizens have the protection of the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK, even if the UK is not a member of the EU. These agreements were struck long ago between the two nations and still stand after Brexit. Under the provisions, British citizens in Ireland enjoy almost the same rights and privileges as Irish citizens. These include:

    • Visa-free travel between the United Kingdom and Ireland
    • The right to work without a work permit
    • Access to public healthcare
    • voting in general elections

    However, if you have a non-EEA family, different rules apply:

    If the family lived in Ireland before December 31, 2020, they could continue living, studying, or working but have to get a new IRP. They can apply for a new IRP online. Of course, as non-EEA, they won’t be allowed to move freely to any other EU country.

    On the other hand, a non-EEA family who didn’t reside in Ireland before December 31, 2020, will need Visa or preclearance and a sponsor who is from the UK and residing or intending to reside in Ireland and must meet the following criteria:

    • They must be financially well-off, too: Their three most recent years’ gross earnings must be greater than what the Working Family Payment amounts should be for your family size
    • If the sponsor is your spouse/partner, they are required not to have sponsored anyone else to come to Ireland for the seven years preceding your EU treaty rights application
    • Their criminal record in Ireland may be examined too

    Family members of UK citizens who wish to join them in Ireland must complete an online form. Pay €60 and send in their application with supporting documents.

    Under what circumstances Can I lose my EU Treaty Rights?

    You may be booted out of Ireland if you are regarded as a threat to public safety or order. You may also be requested to leave for reasons of public health.

    On the other hand, a criminal record does not lead to automatic deportation. If a decision to expel has been made, you will be given adequate time to come up with an appeal; if successful, your EU Treaty rights will be restored. In certain circumstances, this could mean receiving a job seeker allowance.

    European union

    How can IAS help?

    EU Treaty rights protect EU nationals in Ireland as well as their family members. You can exercise the right if you want to live, study or work in Ireland with your family. Depending on the nationality of your family, they may have to possess various documents.

    For help with the legal issues surrounding immigration to Ireland, get in touch with us. We are experienced in various Irish immigration issues, including family reunification, short or long stay visas, work visas, students visas, and more.

    Call us on 0333 242 9057 or contact us via email for legal assistance.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    It takes up to six months for a residency application to be processed and for the applicant to receive a decision.

    EU citizens don’t need to complete an application form if they are exercising their EU Treaty Rights in Ireland.

    However, non-EEA national family members of the EU citizens will. Also, both EU citizens and their family members will need to complete application forms when they apply for permanent residency in Ireland.

    The different application forms are as follows:

    • Form EUTR1 Application: This is for a non-EEA national qualifying family member of an EU citizen
    • Form EUTR1A Application: This is for a non-EEA national permitted family member of an EU citizen
    • Form EUTR2 Application for a Permanent Residence Certificate: For EU citizen resident in Ireland for more than five years
    • Form EU3: For non-EEA family member resident in Ireland with EU citizen for more than five years
    • Form EU4 request for a review: For an EU1, EU1A, EU2, EU3 or EU5 applicant who is seeking a review of their application decision
    • Form EU5 application for retention of a residence card: For an EU1 residence card holder who is seeking to retain permission after divorce or annulment or the death or departure of the EU citizen from Ireland

    EU1 and EU1A were the application forms which were replaced by EUTR1 and EUTR1A respectively in November of 2020.

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