How the Irish immigration system works

You must apply for immigration permission and then register to stay in Ireland for any reason for longer than 90 days, if you are a non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizen.

Before you travel

Before you come to Ireland, check your immigration roadmap, eg if you need a visa.

If you need a visa and you intend to stay for longer than 90 days, you must apply for a Long Stay (D) Visa.

If you come to Ireland using a Short Stay (C) Visa, you will not be allowed to stay longer than 90 days or register with immigration. You will have to leave the country and reapply.

Immigration permission

In general, apply for immigration permission before you come to Ireland or before you go to register at a registration office.

If successful, you will be sent a letter by INIS with instructions about what to do next.

In some cases, you must apply for permission and register during a single visit to a registration office, eg to study in Ireland as a non-visa required person.

If you do not get permission to stay in Ireland, you cannot be registered and will have to leave the country.

Immigration registration

Registration is how we record that you have been given permission to stay in Ireland. It also helps the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) to monitor and manage migration demand.

When you 'register', you are registering that you have permission to stay in Ireland (for a certain reason) for longer than 90 days.

You do not need to register if you are staying for less than 90 days.

Everyone aged 16 or older must register with immigration.

Children aged 15 or younger do not register. However, they must register as soon as they become 16.

When & where to register

If you are allowed into the country, an immigration officer at border control will stamp your passport and then add a date to the stamp.

You must register before the date on the stamp.

If you live in Dublin City or county, go to Burgh Quay Registration Office to register in person. You must also book an appointment online before your visit.

If you live outside Dublin, you must go to a regional office to register. You cannot register at Burgh Quay in Dublin.

At the registration office

When you go a registration office, an immigration officer will meet you and record your details.

If you are registering based on a letter from INIS, the immigration officer will examine the letter to confirm your permission.

If you need to apply for permission during your visit (eg to study), the immigration officer will examine your documents and ask you questions about your plans.

Read a longer description of what happens when you visit a registration office.

If your application is successful, the immigration officer will:

  • Put a stamp in your passport to grant you permission to stay in Ireland
  • Give you a Certificate of Registration (also called a 'GNIB card') to show that you have been registered

A Certificate of Registration (GNIB card) costs €300 per person, though some applicants do not pay this fee.


The type of stamp you receive indicates the conditions of your permission to stay here, including the:

  • Activities you can - and cannot do - during your stay
  • Time period you are allowed to stay

There are several types of stamp with different names, eg Stamp 0, Stamp 1, Stamp 2, etc. Each one indicates a type of permission.

You must be familiar with your stamp number and the conditions that apply to it.

Certificate of Registration (GNIB card)

The Certificate of Registration (GNIB card) indicates that:

  • Your permission to stay in Ireland has been registered
  • It also includes the name of the permission stamp in your passport

The certificate is a credit-card sized plastic card. It is often called a GNIB card because many are issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

GNIB is part of An Garda Síochána, the police force in Ireland.

You must be able to show your certificate to a Garda (police officer) at any time, if they ask for it. As such, you should always carry it with you.

You will also need your certificate when you contact some government departments, eg Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Lost or damaged GNIB card

If your certificate card is lost or damaged:



If you have questions, contact us.

Updated: 10 February 2017

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Page history

10 February 2017

Text added:

Everyone aged 16 or older must register with immigration.

Children aged 15 or younger do not register. However, they must register as soon as they become 16.

Text to link to Visas content also added.

14 November 2016

Text added : "If your certificate card is lost or damaged:

15 September 2016

Page published.