If you are not a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, there are various types of residence rights or permission to remain that allow you to live in Ireland. Permission to remain is granted by the Department of Justice and Equality and consists of a special stamp endorsed on your passport. This is usually called a residence stamp. The various types of stamp and their meanings are covered in detail below.

General types

Employment permit holders

If you have an employment permit, you have permission to remain in Ireland for as long as your employment permit is valid. You will get a stamp number 1 on your passport. This stamp gives you permission to remain on condition that you do not enter any employment unless you or your employer have obtained an employment permit.

Investors and entrepreneurs

The Immigrant Investor Programme provides investment options (with a minimum investment of €1 million) which allow approved non-EEA investors and their immediate family enter Ireland on multi-entry visas and remain here for up to 5 years.

The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme allows non-EEA participants with an innovative business proposal and funding or financial backing of at least €50,000 to come and set up a business in Ireland. This scheme does not apply to retail, catering, personal services or similar businesses.

Successful applicants to both programmes will be granted a residence permission for 2 years initially. You can read more in our document, Coming to set up a business or invest in Ireland.

Business permission

A business permission scheme that allowed you to start a retail, catering, personal services or similar business was open until 16 March 2016. It is no longer in operation. If you were granted permission before this scheme ended, you will find information about applying for a renewal on the INIS website.


If you are a non-EEA national coming to study in Ireland you must be enrolled in a full-time course on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP). If you are attending a course on the ILEP you will have stamp number 2 endorsed on your passport. You will be allowed to take up casual employment of up to 20 hours part-time work per week in term time or up to 40 hours per week during holiday periods (June to September and 15 December to 15 January). If you are not attending a course on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes, you will not be entitled to take up part-time work or engage in any business or profession. You will get stamp number 2A on your passport.

Third Level Graduate Scheme: Non-EEA students who have graduated with a degree at level 8 or above from an Irish third-level institution and have a current Certificate of Registration may be permitted to apply for the Third Level Graduate Scheme. This scheme provides an extension of their permission to remain for 12 or 24 months to allow them to seek employment and obtain a Critical Skills Employment Permit or General Employment Permit. If they are granted permission to remain, they will get stamp 1G.

Spouse or civil partner of an Irish national

If you are a non-EEA national married to, or in a recognised civil partnership with, an Irish national you do not have an automatic right to live in Ireland. Depending on your current immigration status, you apply for permission to live in Ireland as follows:

If you currently have permission to live in Ireland, you should go with your Irish national spouse or civil partner to register with your local immigration officer as the spouse or civil partner of an Irish national.


If you do not have permission to live in Ireland, you must apply in writing to the Marriage to Irish National Section of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service – see 'Where to apply' below.

You can find details of the application procedures for spouses and civil partners of Irish nationals on inis.gov.ie. Once you have permission to live in Ireland on the basis of marriage or civil partnership with an Irish national you may get a stamp 4 on your passport and you do not need an employment permit or business permission.

EU Treaty Rights

If you are a non-EEA family member of an EEA or Swiss citizen, who meets the requirements as laid out in the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015, you must apply to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service for permission to remain under EU Treaty Rights.

When you register with your local registration office the Certificate of Registration that you receive will be a residence card with the wording 4 EU FAM (that is, the residence card of a family member of an EU citizen). As a holder of this card 4 EU FAM, you will be visa-exempt even if you are a visa-required national and you do not need an employment permit or business permission.

De facto relationships

Non-EEA nationals who are in de facto relationships must have permission to remain in the State. They can apply for a de facto partnership immigration permission.

A non-EEA national whose partner is an Irish national or an Irish resident must provide proof of cohabitation of at least 2 years. If the resident is a non-EEA national, they must have a stamp 1, 4 or 5 residence permission to sponsor an application. Non-EEA nationals with stamp 2 or 3 permission are not eligible to be sponsors.

You can find the application form, the guidelines for applicants, details of the evidence to be submitted and a list of frequently asked questions on the website inis.gov.ie.

INIS will not accept an application for de facto partnership immigration permission if you are in Ireland on a short stay C visa or the Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme.

If you intend to travel to Ireland on or after 1 November 2019 to join your de facto partner who is an Irish national, you must have immigration preclearance before you travel to Ireland. This process applies to both non-visa required and visa required non-EEA nationals.

If you are a non-EEA national whose partner is an EU national (but not an Irish national) you can apply for a residence card under EU Treaty Rights if you have proof of living together in a durable relationship of at least 2 years.