Ireland Visas and Work Permits

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Ireland Work Permits and Visas Specialists

Expanding into a country or hiring a workforce abroad can lead your business to great profits, but unfamiliar laws and regulations can counteract your company’s goals and plans. At Bradford Jacobs, we want to eliminate this complicated part. By using our PEO-service, we can arrange all needed visas and permits including the entire application process without your physical presence.

Ireland visa, residency and permit regulations require expert guidance as they vary according to the country foreign nationals live in – the European Union, the European Economic Area and other foreign nationals are all affected by these complex regulations.

Our team is trained to research the latest information on Ireland visas and work permits - therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. By reading this guide you will get familiar with all the requirements so you or your employees can start working in Ireland in no time.

What types of Work Visas and Permits for Ireland are there?

Ireland is part of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Members of all of these nations can visit, live, or work there without a visa or permission to work. Citizens of the UK and its Crown dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey, and the Isle of Man) may also visit, live and work in Ireland as part of the long-standing Common Travel Agreement (CTA).

However, bringing family from outside the EEA, Switzerland or the UK may mean having to apply for a visa/preclearance to enter Ireland. Third Country Nationals on the visa-exempt list can also visit for up to 90 days without a visa.

Otherwise, they will need a Short-Stay C Visa. For longer stays then applicants must apply for an Irish National Long Stay ‘D’ Visa – plus register for a Residence Permit.

Third country nationals who want to work in Ireland will first require a job offer and apply for the relevant paperwork before entering Ireland from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) or the Department of Justice. There are a number of visa categories for Ireland:

Work Visa for less than 90 days:

  • Approval is needed from the Atypical Working Scheme Division of the Naturalization and Immigration Service
  • Apply for an Employment Visa (Atypical Working Scheme -AWS) from the Department of Justice

    Note: Eligibility is required e.g., Where there is a skill shortage or to provide a high skill to a company or industry for a short period. For more information, check out the Ireland Immigration website. To apply, applicants must register for an INIS account online.

Employment Permits for longer than 90 days:

  • A signed contract is required for all permits
  • Applicants will need to apply for permission to work through an Employment Permit from the Dept. of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE)
  • Long-Stay D Visa (if required) can be applied for upon receipt of Employment Permit to enter Ireland
  • When in Ireland, an employee needs to register for a Residence Permit with a local immigration office to receive an Irish Residence Permit (IRP)

Besides visas, individuals also need to apply for Work/Employment Permits if they want to work in Ireland, and eligibility for a work permit depends on their employments conditions:

General Employment Permit:

  • To attract Third Country Nationals to fill areas experiencing a skill shortage
  • The employer must have advertised the position through an EURES advertisement to offer the job first to Irish and EEA nationals according to the Labor Market Needs Test.
  • Excluded occupations are on the Ineligible Occupations list for general workers.
  • The permit can be agreed for an initial one or two years and renewed for a further three years. After 60 months, the employee may apply to the ‘Immigration Service Delivery’ (ISD) for a long-term Residence Permit
  • The employee can only work in the location and in the occupation as specified on the permit
  • The employer should be trading in Ireland, recorded with the Revenue Commissioners and if pertinent with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies

Critical Skills Permit:

  • This permit is intended to attract highly qualified and skilled workers to live and work in Ireland such as ICT experts, professional technologists, and engineers (replaces the old Green Card)
  • Does not need a Labor Market Needs Test
  • Occupations determined by the labor market and Future Skill Needs 
  • This permit allows families to join the employed applicant immediately. However, for the Long-Term Residency Permit, 60 months of employment must be completed
  • Preferential treatment is also given to permit holder regarding naturalization and immigration once the Critical Skills Employment permit is completed
  • Contracts must be for a minimum of 2 years and permit holders are required to stay with initial employer for the first 12 month and a new permit for another employer will not be issued during those 12 months
  • The employer should be trading in Ireland, recorded with the Revenue Commissioners and if pertinent with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies

Intra-Company Transfer:

  • Facilitates transfer of top management, trainees, and vital personnel from Third Countries to company’s branch office in Ireland
  • Top Management or key personnel must have a minimum salary of €40,000 a year. 
  •  Trainees in key positions must have a minimum salary of €30,000 a year. 

How to obtain an Ireland Work Visa?

To obtain the relevant paperwork to be able to live and work in Ireland, potential employees will need to know which employment permit and work visa they qualify for. 

Third Country Nationals who are not on the visa-exempt list and want to work for longer than 90 days require permission to work (Employment Permit) and permission to enter Ireland (D Visa). Also, the process starts in the home country at a local Irish Embassy or Consulate.

The two permits most commonly applied for are – the General Employment Permit and the Critical Skills Permit.

The steps to obtaining a General Employment Permit:

  1. Get a job – one that is not on the ineligible list. The contract must be signed by both parties. Also, the employer must have advertised the position through EURES – an EU employment service - to offer the job first to Irish and EEA citizens according to the Labor Market Needs Test.
  2. Applied for by the employer or employee, through the Dept. of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) Permit’s Section on the ‘Employment Permits Online System’ (EPOS) portal.
  3. When the permit has been approved and received, the employee can then apply for the Long-Stay D Visa to enter Ireland (unless exempt).
  4. The permit can be agreed for an initial one to two years and renewed for a further three years. After 60 months, the employee may apply to the ‘Immigration Service Delivery’ (ISD) for a long-term Residence Permit.
  5. On arrival, employees must register with Garda National Immigration Bureau regarding Residency, after which an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) is issued

For Employers:

  • Should be legally trading in Ireland and registered with both Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies and Revenue Commissioners
  • Ireland follows a 50:50 rule, where 50% of employees must be EEA nationals, but this can be over-ruled in particular circumstances
  • A Labor Market Needs Test is required but there are exemptions
  • Minimum salary offered should be above €30,000 (US$35,632)
  • Occupation offered should not be on the ineligible list
  • Spouses and families are not eligible to be part of the General Employment Permit in the first year

The steps to obtaining a Critical Skills Employment Permit:

  1. Get a job – on the Eligible Occupation list for skilled and highly qualified employees
  2. The Irish employer or the employee applies for the permit through DETE’s permit section and it is issued to the employee with a copy to the employer (for a minimum of two years) through the ‘Employment Permits Online System’ (EPOS) portal
  3. When the permit has been approved and received, the employee can apply for the Long-Stay D Visa to enter Ireland (unless exempt)
  4. Employees can immediately apply for their families to join them, and they can seek employment
  5. On arrival, employees must register with Garda National Immigration Bureau regarding Residency to receive an Irish Residence Permit (IRP)

For Employers:

  • Should be legally trading in Ireland and registered with both Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies and Revenue Commissioners
  • There exists a 50:50 rule for Ireland where 50% of employees must be EEA nationals – but this can be over-ruled in particular circumstances
  • Minimum salary offered should be above €64,000 (US$76,000), unless on the Critical Skills Occupation list when the minimum salary is €32,000 (US$38,000)
  • Spouses and families are eligible to be united with the employee immediately
  • To qualify for this permit, a two-year contract minimum must be forthcoming from prospective employer
  • Check the employee has the qualifications required for this position

How to apply for Work Visa/Work Permit in Ireland

The process generally starts in the home country and applicants should have a signed contract before applying for the appropriate Employment Permit to work in Ireland.

The online procedure to apply for permits should begin at least 12 weeks prior to when the job starts. The application process must include certain documents and details of the employer and employee:

    Documents for Employment Permit:

    • Passport copy with photo and details showing clearly
    • Passport photo
    • Copy of signed contract

    Also details of employer:

    • Details of contact person name, phone number, position, email
    • Company registration or license number
    • Proof employer has advertised the position re: EURES network
    • Name of company – trading as, and registered
    • Type of business
    • Number of those employed from Third Countries and those from EU/EEA/Switzerland
    • Registered name and address of company
    • P30 SEPA returns for previous three months or Receipt of P30

    Job details:

    • Job description, duties, and position
    • Place of work for employee
    • Length of contract
    • Qualifications / skills as required for the position
    • Salary, working hours, overtime, any deductions

    All documents need to be electronically attached and the fees paid for the relevant Employment Permit which will depend on who is applying – the employee or employer. Once started, a number will be generated to log in and out and save drafts. There will be 28 days to complete the application. 

    When the Employment Permit has been applied for and approved, some Third Country Nationals will then have to go on and apply for the Long Stay (D) Work Visa. This will allow the employee to enter Ireland and to stay for longer than 90 days. 

    Whereas the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation (DBEI) issues Work/Employment permits, it is the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) that is responsible for issuing the D Visa. However, it is Border Control who decide who stays and who goes! For the Long-Stay D Visa:

    1. Apply online, completing application form
    2. Follow checklist and user guides available on website
    3. Submit application forms and documents to VFS Global https://visa.vfsglobal.com/gbr/en/irl/ or a local Irish Embassy or Consulate

    Documents for Long-Stay D Work Visa:

    • Completed and signed application form
    • A valid passport
    • Passport quality photos
    • Work Visa fees receipt
    • Proof of residence from home country, or the country the individual is applying from
    • Letter detailing reason for travel e.g., employment
    • Proof of accommodation in Ireland and details
    • Details of prior visas – if applicable
    • Proof of financial stability for stay in Ireland e.g., bank statements for previous six months with transactions
    • Proof of return to home country e.g., open return airline ticket
    • Self-addressed envelope – pre-paid and containing: the Employment Permit, Contract with job details, Confirmation from employer regarding employment and duties, Details of salary, Educational diplomas and certificates proving qualified for the job
    • CV and details of job experience
    • Medical insurance receipt for €25,000 (US$29,700) covering illness, accident, and medical treatment

    All documents should be originals unless website states otherwise. They also need to be in English or translated and notarized and both included with the application. Copies must be taken and included. Originals will be returned.

    All documents need to be uploaded to AVATS which is the Irish government’s Online Visa/Preclearance Application Facility. Details will be given on how and where to take the paperwork, to either:

    • A Visa Agency in Ireland
    • A Irish Embassy or Consulate in country of residence when applying outside Ireland

    Upon approval (which takes about eight weeks), employees can travel to Ireland taking all of the relevant paperwork and if Immigration are happy the passport will be stamped with the duration of stay – and they can enter Ireland!

    Make an appointment with an immigration office, which can be booked up to 10 weeks beforehand and once registered, an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) will be issued. Then they are good to go!

    How much is an Ireland Work Visa?

    • Short-Stay C Visa (e.g., for Atypical Working Scheme) €60 (US$71)
    • Multi entry Visa €100 (US$118)
    • Maybe Consular Fees

    Long-Stay D Visa

    • Single entry €60 (US$71)
    • Multiple entry €100 (US$118)

    Permits

    • General Employment 6 months - €500 (US$593); Up to 2 years - €1,000 (US$1,186)
    • Renewals Up to 6 months - €750 (US$890)
    • Up to 3 years - €1,500 (US$1,780)
    • Critical Skills Employment, for only 2 years - €1,000 (US$1,186)
    • Residence Permit (IRP) – registering with immigration - €300 (US$356)

    Working Visa / Permit for Ireland

    When visiting or hoping to work abroad, most citizens will need appropriate documents of one kind or another depending on the rules and regulations of the country they are travelling to, and from.

    Ireland requires visas and permits and although there is plenty of government information on websites, guidance and help getting it right is important to avoid refusal. 

    Ireland is a member of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Economic Free Trade Association (EFTA) so these countries’ nationals have ‘free movement’ with the right to work and live in Ireland. Also, the UK and its Crown dependencies (Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey and the Isle of Man), as part of the long-standing Common Travel Agreement (CTA), do not require an Entry Visa, Work or Residence Permit.

    Some Third Country Nationals also have exemption from entry visas and must check before applying.

    When applying for documentation to live and work in Ireland, there is generally a process:

    • Get a job and decide which category of Work Permit applies
    • Employer or employee can apply and either can pay the fees
    • Gather all necessary documents from both employer and employee
    • It is important to be qualified regarding salary and whether or not the job is on one of the occupation lists:

      - Occupations are excluded on the Ineligible Occupations list for the General Permit
      - Eligible Occupation list for skilled and highly qualified employees for Critical Skills Permit

    • Start the process on the government website, follow the guidelines - the ‘Employment Permits Online System (EPOS) portal. 
    • Make an appointment at a Visa Agency, local embassy, or consulate to present all the documents, have biometrics taken and submit the printed off application form – signed
    • Those who are applying for the Critical Skills Permit, on approval can apply for families to join them immediately; on a General Employment Permit after 12 months
    • When the Employment Permit has been approved, apply for a Long Stay D Visa to enter Ireland (if not visa-exempt)
    • Take all of the necessary documents, and the Permit and Visa, to Border Control. They are the people making the final decision
    • On arrival, employees must register with Garda National Immigration Bureau regarding Residency, after which an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) is issued

    Those who need to work short term, can apply for a Short-Stay Employment Visa (Atypical Working Scheme -AWS) from the Department of Justice for less than 90 days. 

    To apply, applicants must register for an INIS account.

    Ireland Business Visa

    Do you want to send an employee to Ireland for business purposes? If they are not a citizen of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the Common Travel Agreement (CTA) or on the visa-exempt list for Ireland, then employees will need a 90-day Irish Business Visa (Short-Stay C Visa).

    This allows holders to:

    • Attend meetings or conferences
    • Network or negotiate company contracts and agreements
    • Work for 14 days, or less, starting and finishing within one 14-day period

    Not allowed:

    • Unpaid or paid leave for 15 days or more. If longer is required, a short-term Atypical Working Scheme Permit (AWS) is required
    • Benefit from any public facilities e.g., hospitals

    Note: The Business Visa allows travel to Ireland but entering Ireland is dependent on Border Control.

    To apply for the visa, this must be done from the home country or country of residence and applicant will need to provide proof. This will need to be started three months before travelling to Ireland.

    How to apply for a Business/ Short-Stay C Visa:

    1. Start the application for the visa online at AVATS. Where to send the documents will be provided as part of the online process. Select Short Stay (C) Visa type, putting purpose for travel as ‘Business’ and selecting appropriate choice between a single entry or multiple entry visa
    2. Pay the fees for the visa (proof/receipt will be needed for submission)
    3. Send all documents and passport for approval. A stamp will be included in the passport if successful. All documents will be returned, which will take around eight weeks
    4. At the end of the process, take a note of the application number given
    5. Print, sign, and date the application summary pages. These will need to go to the address on summary sheet with all documents
    6. The application office will give details about payment method and in which currency. Some applicants may not need to pay – so check carefully https://www.irishimmigration.ie/preclearance-and-entry-visas-fees/

    Fees for the Short-Stay Visa (2021): 

    • Single Entry: €60 (US$71) 
    • Multiple Entry: €100 (US$118)

    Documents:

    • Application summary printed off
    • Letter from sponsor in Ireland
    • Confirmation of accommodation in Ireland for duration
    • Proof of medical insurance for duration of stay
    • Check with Visa Application office about fees; ‘proof of payment’ required or proof of exemption
    • Passport with validity of six months after return from Ireland. Plus, copies of all pages in previous passports – without these, there may be a delay
    • Itinerary for Ireland
    • Two color photographs – passport size – each signed and with the AWATS application number on reverse
    • Financial support for length of trip e.g., bank statements, banking history, a letter confirming stability from bank, or a letter from companies at home or in Ireland agreeing to pay expenses and which ones. If a third-party is financing the trip, more documentation is required.
    • Proof of intentions to return home
    • Details of any visa refused plus original documents (this is important or the visa application may not be successful)

    NOTE: Documents are required within a month of starting the online application. The approval process will not be started until all documents are received.

    However, the application process can vary, and there can be more details and documents to be required.

    Ireland Visa for EU Citizens

    Ireland is a member of the European Union (EU) and benefits from the ‘free movement’ of people, so no entry visa, work permit or residence permit is required by EU Citizens who wish to live and work in Ireland. From October 1, 2021, citizens from the EU require:

    • A valid national ID card or
    • A valid passport for duration (may be required by ferries or airlines)

    If an individual’s family members are not from the EU or European Economic Area/Switzerland, then a Join Family Visa is required.

    EU Citizens and family members can remain in Ireland for the first three months without restriction.

    However, to stay longer than three months, they must meet certain requirements:

    • Employed or self-employed
    • Have the financial means to support themselves and family members and have sickness insurance so as not to be a liability on the social services
    • Be signed up as a trainee or student
    • A family member who falls into one the above

    EU Citizens also do not require a residence permit (IRP) or registration with the immigration department.

    Ireland Visa for USA Citizens

    United States citizens do not require a visa to travel to Ireland for less than 90 days. However, nationals will need to make sure they have a valid passport for the duration, funds to cover the length of stay and a return ticket. They can stay for a period of 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

    Border Control has the final say as to whether US Citizens can enter Ireland, so they must make sure to have proof of financial means for the duration of stay. Have proof of accommodation, or if on business the appropriate documentation. 

    The U.S. State department also recommends that any health insurance is checked for validity in Ireland plus supplemental insurance to cover repatriation.

    For those American citizens looking to work in Ireland, the process will start in the US with a signed contract from an employer. The employee or the employer can then apply and pay for an Employment Permit. The process starts online, and documents are taken to a local Embassy, Consulate or visa agency in the home country or country of residence.

    They can apply for:

    • The Critical Skills Employment Permit for highly qualified specialists – there is a list of suitable occupations which may depend on salary and education
    • The General Employment Permit for occupations not on the ineligible list
    • A Short -Stay Atypical Working Scheme (AWS) for work of less than three months.

    An entry visa is not required for American citizens to enter Ireland, but the decision lies with Border Control. Once in Ireland and registered with the Immigration office, an Irish Residence Permit will be issued.

    Ireland Visa for Canadian Citizens

    An entry visa is not required for Canadian citizens to travel to Ireland for tourism or business for a 90 day-period. However, there are certain considerations:

    1. The Canadian government recommends six months validity on passport after the planned duration of the trip. Check with travel company on the validity of passport type e.g., emergency passport
    2. There should be blank pages for visa stamps
    3. As part of trip to Ireland, check if any ‘transit’ visas are required from countries entered ‘en-route’
    4. Border Control has the final say on entry to Ireland, so any documents related to travel are advised e.g., return tickets, proof of sufficient financial means for the trip duration, documents for business trip

    If Canadians are wanting to work in Ireland, they will need an Employment Permit (unless part of the Student Work Abroad Program). An employment contract is the first step, then the employee or employer can apply and pay for the permit through the Irish website: https://epos.djei.ie/EPOSOnlineportal

    There are a number of choices regarding work permits but the two most common, for more than 90 days are:

    • The Critical Skills Employment Permit for highly qualified specialists – there is a list of suitable occupations which may depend on salary and education
    • The General Employment Permit for occupations not on the ineligible list
    • The Short -Stay Atypical Working Scheme (AWS) for work of less than three months.

    Canadians do not require an entry visa once the Employment Permit has been approved. After entering Ireland and registering with the Immigration Office, an Irish Residence Permit will be issued.

    Ireland Visa for Chinese Citizens

    Generally Chinese citizens require a short-stay visa to enter Ireland. However, if they are in possession of a UK short-stay visa then this can also be used in Ireland without the necessity of a separate visa under the British Irish Visa Scheme (BVIS). 

    A Short-Stay visa can be applied for online at least eight weeks before the planned trip. Chinese citizens will be required to give fingerprints. When travelling for business purposes, a Short-Stay Visa is required and on application, business must be indicated.

    If people are looking to work in Ireland for longer than 90 days, they require one of the nine options of Employment Permits. The most common for employment are:

    • The Critical Skills Employment Permit for highly qualified specialists – there is a list of suitable occupations which may depend on salary and education
    • The General Employment Permit for occupations not on the ineligible list
    • However, if a Chinese Citizen is looking for work for less than 3 months, they can apply for a Short -Stay Atypical Working Scheme (AWS).

    After receiving approval for the Employment Permit, Chinese nationals will also have to apply for a Short-Stay visa for the (AWS) or Long-Stay for more than 90-days.

    Border controls make the final decision, so it is very important to have all paperwork including permit and visa confirmation. 

    When entering Ireland, Chinese citizens need to register with immigration to receive an Irish Residence Permit (IRP).

    Ireland Visa for UK Citizens

    Citizens of the UK and its Crown dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey, and the Isle of Man) have the right to visit, live and work in Ireland as part of the long-standing Common Travel Agreement (CTA), so do not require an entry visa, employment permit or residence permit.

    If UK nationals are bringing family from outside of the EEA, Switzerland, or the UK, they may have to apply for a Join Family Visa or Preclearance to enter Ireland.

    Although a passport is not required, it is advisable for Border control as they will require proof of home country, especially if born outside of the UK.

    Also, some ferry companies and airlines require a passport as a form of ID. If used to enter the country, it must be valid for the duration of trip. UK Emergency travel documents are accepted to enter, transit, and exit Ireland.

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    Expanding into Ireland? You will need a firm grip on permit and visa compliance if moving your staff there. Contact us today for more information.