Immigration Process for Non-EEA Citizens Intending to Work in Ireland

This article aims to summaries an immigration process which is followed before a non-EEA citizen worker can travel and engage in employment in Ireland. Details if each step can be viewed on the websites of Department of Justice, relevant Irish Embassy Consulate and Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

The process most non-EEA citizen workers required to undertake before travelling to Ireland for work generally consists of the following:-

Step 1: Application for an Employment Permit

Step 2: Application for a Visa

Step 3: Registration with a local Immigration Officer in Ireland

Step 1: Application for an Employment Permit

Prior to travelling to Ireland for work non-EEA workers are required to apply for an employment permit. At present the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation operates 8 employment permit applications, namely:

  • Critical Skills Employment Permit
  • Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit
  • Exchange Agreement Employment Permit
  • Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit
  • Contract for Services Employment Permit
  • Sports and Cultural Employment Permit
  • General Employment Permit
  • Internship Employment Permit

All of the above have certain requirements as regards qualification, skills, experience and salary level. Details of requirements before an employment permit is granted was discussed in our previous Article titled “Employing non-EEA Nationals – Yours Questions Answered”.

Once an employment permit is granted a non-EEA worker can proceed to the next step in the application process.

Step 2: Application for a Visa

Following a successful application for an employment permit a non-EEA worker can then apply for an entry visa. An entry visa allows a visa required non-EEA worker to enter Ireland for the purpose of work and on the basis of an employment permit.

Not all non-EEA nationals are required to apply for an entry visa. Citizens of certain countries are permitted to travel to Ireland without an entry visa and remain here for up to 3 months e.g. citizens of USA, Australia, Canada, Brazil. The full list of countries whose citizens do not require visa to enter Ireland can be found on the INIS website

The visa application is made to the Irish Embassy/Consulate located in the country where the applicant resides or if none in the country, to the nearest one.

A visa application is made on-line and all relevant supporting information together with visa summary sheet is forwarded to the Irish Embassy/Consulate by post. It takes several weeks for the relevant Visa Section to process an application.

Once a visa application has been approved the non-EEA worker can then travel to Ireland to begin work but is subject to the usual immigration controls on entry to Ireland.

Step 3: Registration with a local Immigration Officer in Ireland

Once in Ireland a non-EEA worker is required to register with his/her local Immigration Officer. It is in the best interest of a non-EEA worker to register as soon as possible following arrival.

Delay in registering could affect applications in the granting of long term residency and/or citizenship. Immigration permission to remain should, where applicable, be renewed at least one month before its expiry date, in order to avoid unlawful presence.

Upon successful registration a non-EEA worker will be issued with a registration certificate called an Irish Residence Permit (IRP). At present an IRP costs €300 per person.

Re-entry Visa

A visa required non-EEA citizen requires a re-entry visa if he/she wishes to travel outside and return to Ireland during the term of his employment here. This application can be made by registered post or in-person.

In the absence of a re-entry visa if a non-EEA national leaves he/she will be required to apply for a new entry visa from abroad.

For further information on this topic please contact Laura Graham at

Keywords: Publication, Laura Graham, Employment Law

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