How the Irish immigration system works

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

IMPORTANT: From 11 December 2017 the previous registration certificate (GNIB card) has been phased out and replaced by the new Irish Residence Permit (IRP).

Before you travel

Check your immigration roadmap before you come to Ireland, 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, you should apply for immigration permission before you come to Ireland or before you go to an immigration registration office to register.

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

In some cases, you must apply for immigration 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 at border control, an immigration officer will stamp your passport and add a date to the stamp. You must register before this date.

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 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.

Stamps and permits

If your visit to the registration office is successful, the immigration officer will:

  • Put a stamp in your passport to grant you permission to stay in Ireland
  • Issue you with a registration certificate to show you have been registered

Your registration certificate is called the Irish Residence Permit (IRP). Previously it was known as the 'GNIB card'. From 11 December 2017 the new IRP has replaced the GNIB card.

Read more about the Irish Residence Permit (IRP).

Registration costs €300 per person. Some applicants do not pay this fee.

Permission stamps

The type of stamp you receive indicates the conditions of your immigration permission, 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.

Irish Residence Permit (IRP)

The Irish Residence Permit (IRP) is your registration certificate. The IRP indicates:

  • That your permission to stay in Ireland has been registered
  • The type of permission you have, ie stamp number

Your IRP is a very important document. You must carry it with you all times and present it to an immigration officer or a member of An Garda Síochána (police) if requested.

Read a longer description of the new Irish Residence Permit (IRP).

GNIB card (old registration certificate)

From 11 December 2017 all existing registration certificates known as 'GNIB cards' are being replaced by the new Irish Residence Permit (IRP).

The new IRP has exactly the same legal status as the old GNIB card. It does not give you any new rights or entitlements and your responsibilities stay the same.

Read more about the change from GNIB card to Irish Residence Permit (IRP).

IMPORTANT: Do not apply for a new IRP if you currently hold a valid GNIB card. Wait until your GNIB card expires (or is lost or stolen) and then apply as normal.

 

Contact & help

If you have questions, check the support centre for help.

Updated: 8 December 2017

Page history

8 December 2017

Descriptions updated to reflect change from 'GNIB card' to Irish Residence Permit (IRP).

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:

  • Book an appointment to get a replacement, if you live in Dublin City or county
  • Contact your local regional office to get a replacement, if you live outside Dublin"

15 September 2016

Page published.