Irish people are habitually a migratory people who, for centuries, have sought opportunity and adventure beyond the shores of this island. Some Irish emigrants never return, but some do. And sometimes, they come back with a non-Irish spouse or partner. But how does this work as far as immigration to Ireland is concerned?
This short guide has the answers for couples who comprise of one Irish citizen and one non-Irish citizen. In order to be eligible, the partnership may take the form of a marriage, civil partnership, or common-law partnership.
Non-Irish family members from an EU/EEA country
The good news is that you may both come to Ireland without needing to apply for immigration status in Ireland. To learn more about the rights of EU/EEA citizens in Ireland, please visit this page.
EU/EEA countries are listed here.
Non-Irish family members from a non-EU/EEA country
A first trip to a spouse or partner’s home country — Ireland, in this case — may simply be a visit. Perhaps the non-Irish person wants to meet the family, explore the island, enjoy the many cosy pubs and cafes and meet the people within, or even begin networking for future opportunities. Whatever the case, it may be appropriate to plan a short-term visit to Ireland before pursuing long-term status in the country.
Citizens of any country listed in the slide below (click to open) do not need a visa to visit Ireland.
Countries whose citizens do not require a visa to visit Ireland
Visa-exempt countries Andorra Antigua & Barbuda Argentina Australia Austria Bahamas Barbados Belgium Belize Bolivia Botswana Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Canada Chile Costa Rica Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dominica El Salvador Estonia Fiji Finland France Germany Greece Grenada Guatemala Guyana Honduras Hong Kong (Special Admin. Region) Hungary Iceland Israel Italy Japan Kiribati Latvia Lesotho Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau (Special Admin. Region) Malaysia Maldives Malta Mexico Monaco Nauru Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Norway Panama Paraguay Poland Portugal Romania Saint Kitts & Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent & the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Seychelles Singapore Slovak Republic Slovenia Solomon Islands South Africa South Korea Spain Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Taiwan Tonga Trinidad & Tobago Tuvalu United Arab Emirates United Kingdom & Colonies United States of America Uruguay Vanuatu Vatican City
Citizens of any country listed below need a visa to visit Ireland, if traveling on a passport or travel document issued by that country.
Countries whose citizens require a visa to visit Ireland
Countries Afghanistan Albania Algeria Angola Armenia Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh Belarus Benin Bhutan Bosnia and Herzegovina Burkina Faso Burma/Myanmar Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad China Colombia Comoros Congo (Brazzaville) Cote d'Ivoire Cuba Democratic Republic of Congo Djibouti Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia Faroe Islands Gabon Gambia Georgia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Haiti India Indonesia Iran Iraq Jamaica Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon Liberia Libya Macedonia (FYROM) Madagascar Malawi Mali Marshall Islands Mauritania Mauritius Micronesia Moldova Mongolia Montenegro Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nepal Niger Nigeria North Korea Oman Pakistan Palau Papua New Guinea Peru Philippines Qatar Russia Rwanda Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Sierra Leone Somalia South Sudan Sri Lanka State of Palestine Sudan Suriname Syria Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor Leste Togo Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Uganda Ukraine Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe
For further information on visiting Ireland, please visit this page.
Staying in Ireland
If the visit went well and you feel that Ireland is the place to build your lives and careers, then the non-Irish spouse or partner will need to apply for status in Ireland, either through one of the many economic programmes and employment permit options that are available or, more likely in the case of couples, based on the ongoing relationship with an Irish citizen.
Again, non-Irish family members who are citizens of an EU/EEA country do not need to pursue this route, as their citizenship bestows residency rights in any EU/EEA country, including Ireland.
For citizens of other countries, however, now is the time to gather knowledge and get moving on your application to live and work in Ireland.
Our friends at the Crosscare Migrant Project have produced expert guides for exactly these types of situations. Their guides are comprehensive, reliable and well-sourced, and we recommend using them without hesitation.
Download the relevant Crosscare essential guide for everything you need to know: