Register as a volunteer
To stay in Ireland for longer than 90 days as a volunteer (eg in a charity or non-profit), you must apply in person at a registration office.
If successful, you'll be given permission to stay (subject to conditions) and registered with immigration.
Your exact preparations depend on your personal circumstances. Some of the most important are described below. Read this information carefully to make sure you have everything you need.
You plan to be a volunteer in Ireland. Change your answers
Before you travel to Ireland
Check immigration conditions
There are some special conditions for being a volunteer in Ireland. For example, you are allowed to be paid a small amount for your work.
However, the type of work you do, the number of hours you work and your relationship/contract with your employer must not meet standards that would require an Employment Permit.
Check if you need a visa
If you need a visa, apply for a Long Stay (D) Visa.
If you come to Ireland using a Short Stay (C) Visa, you will not be allowed to register. You will have to leave the country and reapply.
Bringing your family or children to Ireland
In general, you cannot bring your family with you to Ireland as a volunteer. However, your family members can apply to come to Ireland independently if they wish.
If your family joins you, anyone aged 16 or older must also register.
When you arrive in Ireland
Check your registration date
If you are allowed into Ireland, an immigration officer at border control will stamp your passport and then add a date to the stamp.
You must visit a registration office in person before this date to:
- Apply for permission to stay here, ie to study
- Register your details with immigration
If you don't get permission/register in time, you may have to leave the country.
Find a registration office
If you live in Dublin City or county
You must go to Burgh Quay Registration Office in Dublin City centre.
Before you visit, you must book an appointment online. For best choice, book your appointment 10 weeks in advance.
Do not go to Burgh Quay without an appointment, as you will not be allowed to register.
If you live outside Dublin City or county
You must go to the registration office nearest to where you live. Registration offices are located at Garda Síochána (police) stations around the country.
You may need an appointment to visit a regional registration office. Contact your local office before you visit to check opening days & times.
When you register
Documents you will need
You must bring the following when you go to register:
- Your passport
- Proof that you have private medical insurance
- Proof that you have access to enough money to support yourself
- An original letter of sponsorship (see notes below)
If these are missing, you cannot be given continued permission to stay in Ireland and your registration won't be renewed.
+ Click to view notes about documents
Letter of sponsorship
Your letter from the sponsoring organisation must:
- be on headed paper
- indicate the duration of your volunteer role (start date and end date) with the sponsoring organisation
- confirm that your volunteer role is a genuine position and is available for you to take up
- confirm that the sponsoring organisation will fully support you for accommodation, finance and general upkeep
- confirm that your volunteer role is the sole purpose of your stay in Ireland
In addition, the letter must include an explanation of the nature and function of the sponsoring organisation.
This could include references to its Articles of Association or its registered charity number.
Cost & payment options
You must pay a fee of €300 per person to register. You can pay by:
- Bank giro: A giro is a pre-printed form and can be collected from any registration office.
- Credit card or debit card: These can be used at Burgh Quay Registration Office and some others.
Contact your local office to confirm payment options before you arrive.
Visit the registration office
At the registration office an immigration officer will examine your documents and decide if you should be given permission.
They will also record your personal details for registration (eg fingerprints & photo) and collect the €300 fee.
Most visits take about 1 hour, including some waiting periods.
Read more about what happens when you visit a registration office.
If your visit is successful
Before you leave the registration office, the immigration officer will:
- Put a stamp in your passport to grant you permission to stay
- Give you a Certificate of Registration to show you have been registered
The type of stamp indicates the conditions of your permission, including the:
- Activities you can - and cannot do - in Ireland
- Time period you are allowed to stay
The Certificate of Registration (also called a 'GNIB card') indicates that:
- Your permission to stay here has been registered
- It also includes the name of the stamp in your passport
Certificates of Registration are called 'GNIB cards' because they are often issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).
There are several types of stamp with different names, eg Stamp 0, Stamp 1. Each one indicates a type of permission.
In most cases you will be given Stamp 3 for permission to be a volunteer.
However, you could get a different stamp based on the judgement of the immigration officer. Read a longer description about stamps and permission.
After you register
Update or modify your details
You should inform us if your personal details or circumstances change, for example:
- The reasons for your registration change, eg your volunteer position ends
- You change your home/postal address
- Other details change, eg you change your name
You should also contact us if there is a problem with your documents (eg we misspelled your name) or if you lose or damage your Certificate of Registration (GNIB card).
Renew your registration
Permission expiry & renewal
Permission to be a volunteer is usually valid for 12 months.
If you wish to stay in Ireland longer, you must renew your permission & registration before they expire.
If you do not renew in time, future applications could be affected by gaps in your record. In some circumstances, you may have to leave the country.
If you have questions, contact us.
Updated: 2 November 2016
Tell us about any issues on this page
If you find a problem with this page, email email@example.com
2 November 2016
Text change from: "For best choice, book your appointment 6 weeks in advance."
5 September 2016