For EU citizens, living and working in Ireland is straightforward. The EU encourages movement of workers between countries and you will find a wide range of services to support you in your move.
EEA and Switzerland
The European Economic Area (EEA) was established in 1994 to enable free movement of people, goods and services between the 28 member states in the EU as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Although Switzerland has not joined the EEA, as a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), it has several agreements in place that allow it to participate.
You won’t need a visa or employment permit if you’re moving to Ireland from the EEA or Switzerland. You will need a valid passport/ID card. You can stay up to 90 days in Ireland with no restrictions after which you will need to be covered under one of the following conditions:
- Be employed, or be self-employed.
- Have enough funds and health insurance to support yourself and any dependents.
- Be enrolled as a student or a trainee.
- Be a family member of an EU citizen in one of the above categories.
It’s a good idea to keep a record of your residence in Ireland by registering with your country’s embassy in Ireland when you arrive. After 5 years in Ireland, you’ll have a right to permanent residence should you choose to adopt that route.
Bringing your Family and Dependants
Family is important in Ireland and as such, you are entitled to bring your family to Ireland with you. Your family is defined as your spouse or civil partner, children under 21 years (or older if dependent), your parents and your parents-in-law. Same sex marriage was finally recognised in Ireland in 2015 and since then, same-sex spouses and civil partners are also recognised in Ireland. If your family members are also from the EEA or Switzerland, no further restrictions will be placed on them.
If your family members are from outside the EEA or Switzerland, they can still come with you, but they will need to apply for residence cards and may also require entry visas. They will also need to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), but as family members of an EU/EEA citizen, there will be no charge for this registration.
Applying for Permanent Residency in Ireland
You can apply for residency after legally living in Ireland for 5 years. This includes General Employment Permit holders. For those on the critical skills list and as a permit holder, you can apply for residency after just 2 years. Once you have been granted residency, you won’t need to worry about employment permits any more.
Be aware that your time spent living legally in Ireland is not based on dates of your visa or employment permits, it’s based on when you register with immigration. This means it’s very important that you do this as soon as possible after arriving as delays in registering can cause serious complications when applying for residency or further permits/visas.
For those of you living in Dublin, you can register at the Garda (Police) National Immigration Bureau, and outside of Dublin you can register at your local Garda District Headquarters. There’s a €300 fee for each certificate of registration issued.
Applying for Citizenship in Ireland
After five years of residency and supporting yourself in Ireland, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship. Being a citizen in Ireland entitles you to apply for an Irish passport as well as to vote in all Irish elections and makes you a citizen of the EU. You can find out more about applying for citizenship at Citizens’ Information.
In order to work in Ireland, you may be required to hold a Visa. For more information on this, read our ‘Making the Move‘ page.