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What is the Difference Between the Ireland Permission Stamps?

There are different Ireland permission stamps with varying requirements and conditions. As such, it can be confusing to keep track of what permissions are granted to each.

Call our immigration lawyers on 0333 305 9375 for immediate help and assistance with your Irish visa, immigration permission, and citizenship processing. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

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The Differences Between the Ireland Permission Stamps

Each Ireland permission stamp indicates a particular type of immigration permit. The difference between them is in the kind of activities that a stamp holder is allowed to do while staying in Ireland.

For example, if you are permitted to study in Ireland, you might receive a Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A, depending on your type of study programme. Whereas if you are permitted to work, you might receive a Stamp 1 or Stamp 1G, depending on your work conditions. The Irish immigration stamps also differ in the duration of time that a stamp holder is allowed to stay in Ireland.

Every non-EEA and non-Swiss citizen who has been granted immigration permission to stay in Ireland for more than 90 days will receive one of these immigration stamps on their passport.

It’s important that you are familiar with your stamp category and the conditions that apply to it, as breaking these conditions may require you to leave the country. You should also be aware that the time you accrue on some stamps may be used to calculate your ‘reckonable residence’ if you apply for citizenship by naturalisation.

Stamp 0 Immigration Permission

Stamp 0 allows an individual to stay in Ireland for a limited period, after which they’ll need to leave. The permitted duration of stay is usually less than 9 months.

Individuals who get a Stamp 0 must be independent and fully financially self-sufficient. They will not be permitted to work or engage in any form of trade for their duration of stay unless with permission from Immigration Service Delivery (ISD).

Permit holders with a Stamp 0 will not be allowed to receive state benefits or use publicly funded services such as public hospitals. Therefore, they might need to have private medical insurance.

Stamp 0 permits are typically granted to persons of independent means who intend to live or retire in Ireland, visiting academics of an Irish university or college, and elderly, dependent relatives of Irish nationals, non-EEA nationals, or non-Swiss citizens.

If you intend to register your Stamp 0 permit at your local immigration office, you must submit an application to Unit 2, Domestic Residence and Permissions Division of the ISD at Burgh Quay.

The Difference Between Stamp 1 and Stamp 1A

Stamp 1 is typically issued to individuals who have been granted permission to work or run a business for a temporary period.

You may be given a Stamp 1 if you have an employment permit to work in Ireland, a permit to operate a business in Ireland, or you intend to work based on a work holiday authorisation.

If you do not have an employment permit, you must have a letter from the ISD stating that you are allowed to work without an employment permit. The letter may also say if you are allowed to run a business or be self-employed.

The duration of stay for a Stamp 1 permit is usually indicated on the permit card and you can renew it before the expiration date. However, if you’re working based on a working holiday authorisation you might not be able to renew your permit.

The time spent on a Stamp 1 permit will count as reckonable residence if you intend to apply for Irish citizenship by naturalisation.

Stamp 1A

Stamp 1A is specifically issued to individuals participating in full-time, paid accountancy training or employed as Trainee Accountants in Ireland.

If you intend to apply for a Stamp 1A permit, you need to have a third-level degree qualification from an education authority in either Ireland or internationally. Also, you must register with a relevant accountancy body before arriving in Ireland.

With a Stamp 1A permit, you cannot start working or enter employment unless you have an employment permit or your letter of permission states that you do not require one.

Additionally, you cannot engage in any other business, trade, or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from Immigration Service Delivery.

This permit is time-bound, and you must complete your accountancy training within four years.

Trainees who fail to complete their training within the four-year limit, including those who have spent an overall limit of eight years with a study permit (Stamp 2, Stamp 2A, and Stamp 1G), will be required to continue their training in another jurisdiction.

Furthermore, you will be required to renew your permits every year. When renewing, you must provide an annual progress report from your training supervisor confirming the exams you have passed and the necessary experience you have gained within the last 12 months.

Stamp 1G Immigration Permission

There are two categories of Stamp 1G recipients:

  • A graduate student who has completed a level 8 and above course and wishes to work in Ireland.
  • Spouse/de facto partners of critical skills employment permit holders and researchers on hosting agreements.

Stamp 1G – Graduate Student

This Stamp 1G permit is issued under the Third Level Graduate Programme and allows individuals to work full-time for a maximum of 40 hours a week. However, it doesn’t allow permit holders to operate a business or be self-employed.

If you intend to apply for this type of Stamp 1G, you must hold a Stamp 2 student immigration permission, which indicates that you completed your graduate studies in Ireland.

This permit is granted for 12 months only. However, if you have completed your master’s degree programme, you may be granted an additional 12-month period, subject to conditions.

If you wish to continue working after your Stamp 1G expires, you must find a job that requires an employment permit and then follow the usual application process with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Stamp 1G – Spouse of a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder or Researchers on Hosting Agreements

This permit allows spouses or de facto partners of critical skills employment permit holders or of researchers in the state on a hosting agreement permission to work in Ireland without an employment permit.

They are also allowed to undertake courses of study in the state. However, permit holders will not be able to operate or establish a business or be self-employed.

Both categories of Stamp 1G permits require annual renewal, and after 5 years, a permit holder can apply for Stamp 4.

Additionally, the time spent on a Stamp 1G counts as residency when applying for Irish citizenship by naturalisation.

Do you need help understanding the permissions offered by your stamp? Our lawyers can help.

The Difference Between Ireland Stamp 2 and Stamp 2A

Stamp 2 permits you to study any full-time course listed on the Interim List of Eligible  Programmes (ILEP) for a specified period, subject to conditions.

These courses fall under these programmes:

  • English language programmes lasting for 25 weeks
  • Higher National Diploma
  • Degree (undergraduate)
  • Master’s degree
  • PhD

English language students who wish to study beyond the 5-week limit will need to move to another course on the ILEP.

Some of the conditions for having Stamp 2 immigration permission include the following:

  • You cannot receive state benefits or use publicly funded services unless you are entitled through other means.
  • You can only take up casual employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week during school sessions and 40 hours per week during holidays.
  • You are not allowed to engage in a business or trade.
  • You can only study for a maximum of 7 years, during which you must show yearly progress and have an attendance of at least 85%.
  • You must continue to reside in Ireland for the duration of your permission, except during holidays, specific family circumstances, or work commitments that require you to travel outside the state.

Stamp 2A

Stamp 2A is similar to Stamp 2, providing holders with permission to study full-time in Ireland. The difference is that Stamp 2A grants permission to study courses that are not on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP).

The Stamp 2A permit is usually given to the following categories of people:

  • Foreign students taking up a semester abroad at an Irish University or college.
  • Students who wish to study at a private secondary school in Ireland.
  • Spouses of some financially independent students (granted under limited circumstances).

With a Stamp 2A immigration permit, you will not be allowed to work or operate a business in Ireland. Also, you will not be able to access state funds or use publicly funded services and must have private medical insurance.

Furthermore, you can extend your stay in Ireland past the expiration date. However, a Stamp 2A permit is not reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

What Does Stamp 3 Immigration Permission Indicate?

A Stamp 3 permit indicates permission to stay in Ireland as a volunteer or a minister of religion for a specified period.

Stamp 3 can also be issued to spouses, civil partners, and family members of non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals who hold a work permit.

With your Stamp 3 permit, you cannot work or operate a business unless you have a work permit from the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment (DETE).

You can renew your Stamp 3 if you wish to stay in Ireland past its expiration date. Also, the time you spend on this stamp is reckonable as residence towards your citizenship application.

Irish Immigration Stamp 4 

Stamp 4 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions.

It is typically issued to individuals who have permission to:

  • Work in Ireland with a critical skills employment permit for 2 years
  • Work with a valid employment permit for 5 years
  • Work as a researcher with a valid hosting agreement permission for 2 years
  • Join a spouse, civil partner, or de facto partner who is an Irish national.
  • Parents who want to remain with their child who is an Irish citizen
  • Join a family member who is an EEA/Swiss citizen based on the EU treaty rights.
  • Reside as a convention or programme refuge or based on subsidiary protection.
  • Join a family member who is a recognised refugee or has subsidiary protection status.
  • Stay under the Investor and Entrepreneur Programme (also applies to spouses, partners, and family members).
  • Stay in Ireland for long-term residence with an Irish permanent residence permit.

The Ireland Stamp 4 permit is quite popular because it is typically issued to long stay ‘D’ visa holders and offers several benefits. These benefits include:

  • Taking up employment without an employment permit
  • Working in a profession, subject to conditions of the relevant professional or other bodies
  • Permission to establish or operate a business
  • Access to state funds and services as determined by government departments.

Stamp 4 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship.

What Does a Permit to Stay in Ireland with Stamp 4D Indicate?

The Stamp 4D permit was created following Brexit. It is issued to non-EEA family members or dependents of British citizens who wish to live in Ireland.

The British national’s family members that are eligible include:

  • Spouses
  • Civil partners
  • De facto partners
  • Dependent children (of either partner)
  • Elderly dependent parents (of either partner).

The British national will need to sponsor an application for permission for the eligible family member(s) to reside with them in the State. The immigration officer will take the following into account when considering the application:

  • The non-EEA national’s overall immigration history
  • The sponsor’s conduct, especially if they had come to the adverse attention of the An Garda Síochána or the Irish immigration authorities
  • The closeness and genuineness of the relationship between the sponsor and the non-EEA national
  • The sponsor’s capacity to financially support the non-EEA national throughout their stay.

If you require a stamp 4D and are from a visa-required country, you must have a long stay ‘D’ visa. However, if you are from a non-visa-required country, you must apply for a pre-clearance letter.

The Stamp 4D permit is issued for 12 months and can be renewed after the first year for a 2-year period and thereafter for a 3-year period.

With Stamp 4D, holders are allowed to work without an employment permit. as long as they are not dependent children.

Our lawyers can give you advice to ensure you don’t break the terms of your visa.

Stamp 5 Immigration Permission

Stamp 5 is issued to individuals who have completed eight years of legal residency in Ireland.
Stamp 5 indicates permission to stay in Ireland without limits for a particular time. This stamp is valid until the expiry date on the permit holder’s passport.

The time spent on Stamp 5 counts as reckonable residence towards citizenship.

What is a Stamp 6 Immigration Permission?

Stamp 6 permit is usually issued to Irish citizens with dual citizenship.

You must hold an Irish passport or be entitled to hold one to be eligible for a Stamp 6 permit. An immigration officer will place the stamp 6 permit on your non-Irish passport after you have applied for permission to remain in Ireland ‘Without Condition.’

How Can IAS Help You?

Getting an Ireland permission stamp can be quite challenging due to the complex requirements outlined in each stamp category.

That’s where our lawyers come in. Our immigration lawyers have extensive knowledge of immigration rules and experience navigating the Irish immigration system.

If you choose IAS, you will be assigned a dedicated Irish Immigration lawyer to work on your case.

Your lawyer will ensure that you meet the requirements for the stamp you are applying for, and if you intend to renew your stamp they will assist you in applying for registration before they expire.

Call us today on 0333 305 9375, for further information on how we can help you.

Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our professional services.

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

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