De Facto Partner of an Irish National

A new Preclearance process for De Facto Partners of Irish Nationals, launches on Monday 19th August 2019.

If you intend to travel to Ireland for the purpose of joining your De Facto Partner who is an Irish National on/after 1st November 2019, you must apply for immigration preclearance to enter the State before you travel to Ireland. This process applies to both non-visa required and visa required nationals.

Please note that an applicant must be ordinarily resident outside the State when making an application for preclearance to come to join their De Facto Partner (Irish National) for a period longer than 90 days. Proof of residence outside the State will be requested, and the applicant must remain outside the State while their application is being processed. You will not be permitted entry to the State by an Immigration Officer at the Border for the purpose of joining your De Facto Partner (Irish National) on/after 1st November 2019, unless you can produce a Preclearance Approval Letter. Applications from inside the State will not be accepted.

Do not apply for this preclearance if your intended stay in Ireland is for less than 3 months.

Important: A Preclearance letter and visa (if applicable) allows you to travel to Ireland only. They do not give you permission to enter the country or to stay here. An Immigration Officer at border control can refuse you entry even if you have a preclearance letter and visa.

1. About De Facto permission

The initial permitted period of residence under the De Facto permission is 1 year under Stamp 4 conditions. Please see the information below for further details. If you are currently in the State as a De Facto Partner of an Irish National please refer to FAQ's.

Permission to live in the State as the De Facto Partner of an Irish National allows you to seek employment in the State, without the need to obtain a separate work permit. The duration of the permission initially granted to you will be 1 year subject to the conditions below. Further permissions can be sought without reference to the preclearance unit by applying to the Registration authorities (GNIB/INIS Registration Office as applicable) subject to the person meeting all the necessary qualifying criteria under this procedure.

Permission to enter the State as the De Facto Partner of an Irish National allows you to:

  • Work
  • Do voluntary work
  • Study
  • Travel abroad for short periods (e.g. holidays and attending conferences) and return to Ireland
  • Bring immediate family members (dependants) with you, meaning in this case minor children under 18 years of age (*This can be extended to a maximum age of 23 where the child is in full time education and remains dependent on the parent)

With this permission you cannot:

  • Bring any other family members, apart from those referred to above
  • Remain in Ireland under this permission if your Irish partner leaves the country
  • Retain your permission if your relationship ends
  • Rely on public funds

2. Eligibility and conditions

Who can apply

You may apply for preclearance as a De Facto Partner of an Irish National if you:

  • are aged 18 or older
  • are a non EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizen
  • are being sponsored by an Irish National
  • are of good character and good standing, e.g. you can provide a police clearance certificate or equivalent not more than 6 months old for any country you have resided in in the past five years
  • are in a position to show dated documentary evidence of your relationship
  • have resided with your De Facto Partner for at least two years prior to your application
  • intend to live together permanently with your De Facto Partner in Ireland
  • have medical insurance from a company authorised by the Health Insurance Authority of Ireland to cover you and your dependent children (if applicable) in place on your arrival in the State for the entire duration of your stay in Ireland. (further details below)

Who can be a sponsor

You must be invited to Ireland by an eligible sponsor. An eligible sponsor must:

  • be an Irish National
  • intend to be resident in the State and be self sufficient i.e. not on social welfare benefits and must, if necessary, be able to support the applicant and any dependents financially without recourse to Public Funds
  • not have sponsored (or have not been sponsored by) anyone else in the 7 year period prior to the Preclearance application
  • not have been completely or mainly reliant on benefits for a continuous period of two years or longer immediately prior to the application. Furthermore, they must have earned a gross income over and above any state benefits of the equivalent of not less than €40,000, over the three-year period prior to application. This figure will rise for Irish nationals seeking to be joined by multiple family members.

Other requirements

Medical Insurance

You must be covered by private medical insurance, from a company authorised by the Health Insurance Authority for the duration of your time in the State. Your sponsor may include you in their group insurance scheme. Travel insurance may suffice but only during the first year of your stay provided it covers you:

  • for the full period before you arrange private medical insurance
  • at a minimum of €25,000 for accident and €25,000 for illness and disease and
  • for any period of hospitalisation
  • in addition, it is advisable that applicants have insurance to cover repatriation in the event of serious illness or unforeseen events.

3. Fee

A non-refundable fee of €100 applies to this application and must be paid at the time of the Preclearance application. The fee must be paid by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). The bank details for EFT are set out on the application form. When making any transfer please take into account potential bank charges and currency exchange rates. All charges/costs relating to fee payment must be absorbed by the applicant. The Preclearance Unit cannot process applications where full fee has not been received. Other fees will apply if the Preclearance application is granted, including a fee in respect of a visa if applicable to you, and a registration fee, will also apply.


Non-EEA Nationals requiring an Entry Visa

If your Preclearance application is successful, you must then apply for a visa online and submit your Preclearance Letter of Approval as a supporting document alongside your passport, signed application summary form and photographs where applicable (Visa Fees and/or consular charges will apply in most cases).

However, persons resident in countries where biometrics are recorded as part of the visa application process must make their visa application at the same time that they make their Preclearance application, and have their biometric details recorded . The countries where biometrics are currently recorded are China, India, Pakistan and Nigeria.

When you have completed the online visa application process, you must follow the instructions on the summary application form that is created by the online system. The summary form will contain information on where you are to submit your passport. If you have already submitted all the required supporting documentation with your Preclearance application, you will not need to submit the documentation again for the visa application. You will just need to submit your signed visa application form with your passport as supporting documents.

Non-EEA nationals not requiring an Entry Visa

Non-EEA nationals not requiring an entry visa must have prior approval from the Department of Justice and Equality, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) under this procedure to enter the State as the De Facto Partner of an Irish National.

If your application is successful, you will be granted a letter of approval. This letter of approval must be presented to the Immigration Officer at the port of entry on arrival in the State, who will verify its contents by reference to the applications system. You will not be permitted entry to the State for the purpose of the De Facto Partner of an Irish National and/or will not be registered by INIS/GNIB as the De Facto Partner of an Irish National, without prior approval obtained under this procedure before travel to the State.

4. Documents required

You must submit the completed application form available at the link below with your Preclearance Application. Your application will not be processed if you do not attach ALL the supporting documentation required. If you or your sponsor submit any false or misleading information or false supporting documentation as part of your application, it will result in the refusal of your application. It may also result in you being prevented from making any further applications for a period of up to 5 years.

The Preclearance Section reserve the right to request the originals of documents at any time and reserve the right to request further information where it is deemed necessary. Full certified translations must accompany any documentation not in the English or Irish language.

Letters from companies, universities, schools, colleges, banks, must be on official headed paper and show the organisation's: full name, full postal address, telephone number, website address, email address (Yahoo and Hotmail email addresses are not accepted), a contact person's name and title/position, written signature of an authorised representative (electronic signature is not accepted).

Joint Documents

Both the applicant and sponsor must submit:

  • A copy of current passport (all pages) and full (all pages) copies of any previous passports held
  • Bank Statements (for at least 6 months prior to the application showing incomings and outgoings i.e. living expenses):
    • Bank statements must be on headed bank paper (You may use a printed internet statement but it must be officially certified by your bank. We will not accept uncertified internet statements):
    • They must show your name and address
    • They must show the bank account number and account type, for example checking/current account, savings/deposit account:
    • They must show money paid in and out of the account over the last 6 months
  • Evidence of co-habitation of 2 years or more, for example
  • If renting, Letter from Landlord/ agency, rental contract/ book, dated tenancy agreement:
  • If home owner, evidence of mortgage, house ownership (for example property deeds)
    • Utility bills from both the applicant and the sponsor
    • Proof of rent paid, or mortgage payments e.g. dated bank statements etc.
  • Evidence of financial inter-dependence (for example, transfer receipts, joint accounts, joint purchases, joint assets, or loans)
  • Evidence of contact (for example letters, messages, emails, phone calls etc.)
  • Detailed relationship history supported by verifiable documentary evidence
  • Evidence of where you will reside in Ireland.

Applicant Documents

  • Evidence of Residence outside of Ireland
  • Evidence of legal residence outside country of origin (if applicable)
  • Police Clearance Certificates (not more than 6 months old) from any country you have resided in in the past five years. These must be issued by the police force of that country and must include a full check of that country’s national and local records. Criminal record checks conducted by private companies will not be accepted
  • Evidence of private health insurance, applicant and/or child dependents (where applicable – refer to medical insurance)

Sponsor Documents

  • Signed letter in support of application with an outline of your relationship
  • Evidence that you, the sponsor, meets the financial criteria as set out in the Policy Document. This must include verifiable evidence of income through tax returns, payslips, and employment letters
  • If employed, a copy of your employment contract, a copy of 3 recent payslips, and tax returns from the previous 3 years.
    • Letter from employer to state dates of employment
    • If you have 3rd level qualifications, copies of qualifications(for example degree, doctorate)
    • If you are a current student, transcripts and letter from college to confirm year of study
    • If unemployed, evidence of previous work experience (for example, tax returns, letters from employers etc.) evidence of State Benefits/ engagement with employment services or other.
    • If residing with sufficient financial resources, documentary evidence of financial resources (for example amount, source etc.)
    • If you are self-employed, tax assessment from the Revenue Commissioner for the previous 3 financial years, and bank statements of the business for the last six months.

Children’s documents (where applicable)

  • Children’s Birth Certificate(s)
  • Full copy of current passport(s) of children (If they will join you in the State)
  • Full copy of previous passport(s) of children (If they will join you in the State)
  • Evidence that the applicant and/or sponsor is the children’s legal guardian
  • Evidence that the applicant and/or sponsor has the permission of any other guardian to have the children live with them in Ireland.

5. How to apply

You need to apply for immigration preclearance to join your De Facto Partner (Irish National) in Ireland before you travel to Ireland.

Application form (Version 1.0 published 19 August 2019)

Please complete the Preclearance application form and send it together with the required supporting documentation (listed above) to:


Preclearance Unit
Visa Division
Immigration Service Delivery
6 – 7 Hanover Street
Dublin 2, D02 W320


After you apply

After we receive your application and documents, we will check that you have:

  • Answered all questions
  • Attached all requested documentation
  • Paid the application fee

Applications are generally processed in the order they are received.

6. Decision and next steps

*Please note - applications are generally processed in the order they are received.

If your application is approved

We will notify you if your application is approved, and will send you a Preclearance letter. Your Preclearance letter is an important document. You will need it to cross border control into Ireland and to finalise your permission to enter the State as the De Facto Partner of an Irish National and immigration registration after you arrive here.

The Preclearance letter is valid for 6 months. If you do not use it in time, you must submit a new application from the beginning.

If your application is refused

We will notify you by letter if your application is refused outlining the reasons why your application was refused. You can request an appeal of this decision by responding to the refusal reasons with extra supporting documents if required. This appeal must be received by us within six weeks of the date of the refusal letter. The appeal process is free of charge.

Appeal of the decision

If your appeal is approved, we will send you a preclearance letter as described above. If your appeal is refused, we will send you a letter outlining the reasons. You cannot request another appeal. Do not attempt to come to Ireland without preclearance approval (and a visa if relevant) as you will not be allowed to enter the country.

Applying online for your visa (If you are a visa required national)

AVATS is the online visa application system. To apply for a visa click on the button below, answer all questions in AVATS fully and honestly.

Apply for an Irish visa online via AVATS

Border Control

When you arrive in Ireland, you must show your original preclearance letter (and visa, if applicable) to the Immigration Officer at border control. If you cannot satisfy the Immigration Officer, you will not be allowed to enter the State. Both the letter and the visa must be valid on the date you arrive here. If you are given permission to enter, the officer will place a ‘landing stamp’ in your passport. The landing stamp gives you permission to stay up to the date indicated by the stamp (typically 90 days).


7. Immigration permission and registration

After you enter the country, you must visit a registration office before your landing stamp expires to:

  1. Extend your permission to stay for longer than 90 days and to
  2. Register your details with Immigration

If your visit is successful, you will be given immigration permission to stay as the De Facto Partner of an Irish National, based on immigration Stamp number 4.

Read how to extend your permission and register for the first time.


8. Renew your immigration permission/registration

You must visit a registration office to renew your permission and registration about 6 weeks before they expire.


If you have questions about renewal contact us :




De Facto Relationship Unit
Residence Division (Units 5 and 6)
Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service
PO Box 12695
Dublin 2
D02 XK70

9. Frequently asked questions

Document icon

Our top questions and answers can be found in this FAQ's document.



If you have questions about preclearance contact us:




Preclearance Unit
Visa Division
Immigration Service Delivery
6 – 7 Hanover Street
Dublin 2, D02 W320



Note: The immigration permission and application system described on this page is based on the Immigration policy for De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission in Ireland published 19th August, 2019. The Department of Justice and Equality reserves the right to amend or suspend this policy at any time.

The information above is intended as a guide only, the policy document " Immigration policy for De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission in Ireland" outlines all of the relevant criteria for eligibility for this programme.


Updated:19 November 2019

Back to top of page