USA and the UK
Emigrate from the USA to Ireland
If you are thinking about emigrating to Ireland from the United States, we can help you make your dream a reality. The laid-back way of life and famously friendly Irish folk charms expats from all over the world. The ‘Emerald Isle’ is a country of breath-taking beauty, with wild and spectacular beaches alongside lush, rolling hills.
However, if you are thinking of emigrating to Ireland, you must abide by immigration procedures, which are not straightforward. On this page, we will set out everything you need to know about emigrating to Ireland, including the different routes which you can go down to become an Irish resident.
Different Emigration Routes to Ireland
It goes without saying that there are many historical links between the United States and Ireland. In fact, many Americans still have relatives and distant family members living in Ireland.
Americans can visit Ireland for up to 90 days without needing to apply for a visa or preclearance. However, if you wish to emigrate to Ireland, you will need to apply for preclearance before you travel to the country.
There are different emigration routes which you can take if you want to relocate to Ireland. The most common routes which you could take are as follows:
- Get an employment permit and work in Ireland
- Join an immediate family member who is already living in Ireland
- Apply for Irish citizenship based on your country of birth/ancestry
The Preclearance Stage
The first step in the process of emigration is applying for preclearance. Preclearance is when non-EEA nationals get permission to travel to Ireland before actually entering the country. The purpose of immigration preclearance is to make the immigration process as straightforward as possible when you arrive at border control and when you register your immigration permission for permanent residence.
You will need to apply for immigration preclearance regardless of the emigration route you choose to go down. It is important to bear in mind that you are not guaranteed entry into Ireland even if your preclearance application is approved.
If your preclearance application is accepted, a letter of approval will be sent to you. You must take this letter with you when you travel to Ireland and present it to border control when you arrive in Ireland.
Emigrate to Ireland for Work
If you wish to emigrate to Ireland for work, you will usually need to apply for an employment permit from the Irish Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) after you have received immigration preclearance.
There are nine different employment permits:
- Critical Skills Employment Permit. This is the main employment permit and is targeted to highly skilled people, such as ICT professionals, professional engineers and technologists who can fulfil roles within the Critical Skills Occupations List
- General Employment Permit. An employment permit which enables you to work in Ireland in a broad range of occupations
- Intra-Company Transfer Permit. Designed to facilitate the transfer of senior management, key personnel or trainees to Ireland who work in a multi-national company
- Exchange Agreement Employment Permit. Designed to facilitate the employment of non-EEA nationals in pursuant to prescribed agreements between Ireland and other parties
- Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit. If you are the dependent/spouse/civil partner/de facto partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder, you can apply for this permit which will enable you to apply for any job in Ireland
- Contract for Services Employment Permit. Designed for situations where a contractor has won a contract to provide services to an Irish company
- Reactivation Employment Permit. For those who entered Ireland on a valid employment permit but who fell out of the system through no fault of their own
- Internship Employment Permit. Designed to facilitate employment in Ireland for those studying in a discipline relevant to occupations under the Critical Skills Employment Permit for the purposes of gaining work experience
- Sports & Cultural Employment Permit. This is for sportspersons and those involved in cultural professions who have the relevant qualifications and skills to develop and operate sporting and cultural activities in Ireland
Employment Permit Application
In the vast majority of cases, you will need to have a job offer/employment contract from an Irish company in order to be eligible for an employment permit. You cannot receive immigration permission to work in Ireland without an employment permit.
Once you have received a job offer and know which employment permit you are applying for, you can complete the online employment permit application form.
However, bear in mind that you might not need to apply for an employment permit to work in Ireland if you are the spouse/civil partner/de facto partner of an Irish citizen, or if you are completing scientific research for an approved research organisation.
If you do need to complete an employment permit application, you will need to provide a number of documents as part of the application process. The specific documents which you will need to submit will depend on the employment permit which you are applying for.
The following documents/information are necessary with all employment permit applications:
- Signature pages
- Passport-sized color photographs
- Copy of passport
- Copies of utility bills
- Copies of certified qualifications
If you move to Ireland on the basis of employment, you will receive an immigration ‘Stamp 1’ in your passport. This affords you the right to work in Ireland and operate a business in the country.
The Ireland employment permit application process can be a complex one. Should you need any help or assistance, our immigration legal experts are at hand. We will work with you to complete application form and advise you on the documents you will need to submit with your application.
Call us now on +1 844 290 6312 for more information about how we can help you secure your Ireland employment permit.
Can I Emigrate to Ireland as the Spouse of an Irish Resident?
One of the main routes through which Americans emigrate to Ireland is through familial ties. If you are the spouse/civil partner of an Irish citizen, you could be eligible to emigrate to Ireland on the basis of your relationship.
You could also be eligible for Irish residency if you are married to an EEA/Swiss national who is resident in Ireland.
In order to move to Ireland on the basis of your marriage/civil partnership to an Irish citizen, you will need to apply in writing to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), unless you have already entered Ireland legally within the last 90 days.
In addition, you must send the hand-written, completed application form along with supporting documentation to INIS.
You will need to provide the following documentation:
- Original marriage/civil partnership certificate
- Original passport and birth certificate
- Original passport and birth certificate of the applicant’s Irish spouse/civil partner
- Evidence which shows that the applicant’s sponsor has the financial means to support themselves and their partner
You should also include a photocopy of all the documents which are submitted as INIS will use the copies for processing purposes.
If your application is accepted, you will get ‘Stamp 4’ immigration permission in your passport. This means that you will be able to work and study in Ireland without any restrictions.
When the applicant arrives in Ireland, they must apply for immigration permission at their local registration office as soon as possible (more on this below).
Emigrate to Ireland on Basis of a De Facto Relationship
De facto relationships are classed as those which are akin to a marriage/civil partnership. To emigrate to Ireland on the basis of your de facto relationship to an Irish citizen you will need to apply for de facto partnership immigration permission.
To be eligible, you need to prove that you have cohabited with your Irish citizen partner for at least two years and that you have a mutual commitment to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others.
If the applicant’s sponsor is an Irish resident, they must have stamp 1, 4 or 5 residency permission in their passport.
If your partner is an EU national and not an Irish resident, you can apply for a residence card under EU Treaty Rights if you can prove that you have lived together for at least two years in a stable relationship.
The process of becoming an Irish resident through a de facto relationship is as follows:
- As with all emigration applications, you will need to apply for immigration preclearance before travelling to Ireland
- Travel to Ireland and prepare for border control with your passport and immigration preclearance letter
- Apply for residency permission at a registration office when you arrive in Ireland. This should be done as soon as possible
- You will be given a registration certificate, known as the Irish Residence Permit
It is worth bearing in mind that if you lived in Ireland under this immigration permission, you would need to renew your permission to remain every 12 months.
Moving to Ireland as a Family Member of an Employment Permit Holder
If you are the spouse/civil partner or dependent of an Irish resident who is living in the country under an employment permit, you can usually join your family member in Ireland.
In this situation, you would get a ‘Stamp 3’ in your passport, which doesn’t afford you the right to work in Ireland. However, if your partner is a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder, you will get stamp number 1G, which will enable you to work.
Other Emigration Routes to Ireland
There are a number of other emigration routes which U.S. citizens could go down if they wish to relocate to Ireland.
The Immigrant Investor Programme enables those with a minimum investment of €1 million to relocate to Ireland, along with their immediate family, for up to five years.
The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme allows international entrepreneurs with an innovative business proposal and funding or financial backing of at least €50,000 to set up a business in Ireland. However, this scheme does not apply to retail, catering and personal services business ideas.
With both of these immigration permissions, you will initially receive residency for two years.
As mentioned above, if you are married/in a civil partnership with an Irish resident who is an EEA/Swiss national, you could still be eligible to move to Ireland on the basis of your relationship to them under EU Treaty Rights. You will need to apply to INIS for permission to remain under EU Treaty Rights.
Once you have registered with your local registration office, you will receive a residence card with the wording ‘4 EU FAM’. You will not need an employment permit to work in Ireland if you are living under this immigration permission in the country.
Under the Zambrano ruling, non-EU parents of a dependent child who is a citizen of, and resident in, an EU member state can emigrate to that EU member state. This means that American parents of dependent Irish citizen children can live in Ireland. Those who meet this criteria won’t usually need an employment permit to work in Ireland.
What Do I Need to do When I Arrive in Ireland?
As alluded to above, even if you are given preclearance and your immigration applications are accepted, you still need to report to border control when you arrive in Ireland. Ultimately, you need to prove to the immigration official that you have a valid reason for entering the country.
You should bring copies of your important documents to present to border control when you arrive. The immigration official will decide based on the information you have provided whether or not you can enter into Ireland.
Immigration Registration in Ireland
If you emigrate to Ireland on the basis of employment or being the spouse/civil partner/dependent/de facto partner of an Irish citizen/resident, you will need to register with your local immigration office as soon as possible after you arrive in Ireland. Failure to do so could result in you being deported from Ireland.
If you are going to live in Dublin, you will need to register at the Burgh immigration office. Otherwise, you will need to register at your nearest immigration registration office. Currently, it costs €300 per person for the initial IRP application and for every renewal of the IRP.
If immigration officials are satisfied with the information you provide, you will be given an Irish Residence Permit (IRP). This is a registration certificate which you should carry with you at all times.
The IRP indicates your immigration permission has been registered as well as the type of immigration permission you have.
You will need to renew your IRP before it expires in order to keep your legal status in Ireland. After five years of reckonable residence (legal residence that counts toward naturalization) in the country, you will usually be eligible to apply for Irish citizenship.
Emigrating to Ireland as Irish Citizen by Birth
If you have Irish ancestry or you were born in Ireland, you could be eligible for Irish citizenship even if you do not live in Ireland.
With Irish citizenship, you will, of course, not be subject to any immigration conditions and will be free to emigrate to Ireland.
Irish Citizenship by Birth
- If you were born on the island of Ireland on or before 1st January 2005, you are automatically eligible for Irish citizenship
- If you were born in Ireland on or after 1st January 2005 and one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you are eligible for Irish citizenship by birth
- If you were born on or after 1st January 2005 and one of your parents is British, or has permission to reside in Ireland or Northern Ireland, you are eligible for Irish citizenship by birth
Irish Citizenship by Descent
There is also another route to Irish citizenship known as Irish citizenship by descent. You could be eligible for Irish citizenship even if you haven’t ever stepped foot in Ireland.
If one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth and you were born outside of Ireland, you will be eligible for Irish citizenship. Also, if your parent was deceased at the time of your birth but would have been an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you are eligible for citizenship.
If one of your grandparents was born in Ireland you are eligible for Irish citizenship, even if they have renounced their Irish citizenship.
There is also a route to Irish citizenship through adoption. If a child was adopted by an Irish citizen or a couple where either spouse was an Irish citizen, they will be eligible for Irish citizenship.
If you would like more information on citizenship by birth or descent, including the full requirements and application process, our immigration attorneys are here to help. Call us now on +1 844 290 6312 for immediate assistance.
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If you are looking to emigrate to Ireland from the USA, there are many things which you need to take into consideration.
Firstly, you will need to establish which emigration route you wish to take and all the immigration procedures required within that route, including the requirements you need to fulfil.
In most cases, if you are not applying for Irish citizenship, the process begins by applying for immigration preclearence, followed by the completion of an immigration application.
Once your application has been completed and your portfolio of documentary evidence has been submitted to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, you will need to wait for a response. There is no set processing time for both immigration preclearence and standard immigration applications.
It is not possible to say how long the emigration process will take. It is a lengthy and often, quite complex process and no individual application is the same.
For more information about the emigration process and how long we estimate it might take for your emigration application to be processed please call us now on +1 844 290 6312.
In certain circumstances, it is possible to apply for Irish citizenship if you have Irish ancestry, even if you have never stepped foot in the country. Of course, as an Irish citizen, you will not be subject to any immigration conditions.
- If one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth and you were born outside of Ireland, you will be eligible for Irish citizenship. Also, if your parent was deceased at the time of your birth but would have been an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you are eligible for citizenship.
- If one of your grandparents was born in Ireland you are eligible for Irish citizenship, even if they have renounced their Irish citizenship.
If you are an American national with no connection to Ireland through an immediate family member, you will usually need to have a job offer to apply for an employment permit and subsequently work in Ireland. Simply put, without a job offer, you will not be able to move to Ireland long-term for the purposes of work.
If you are the spouse/civil partner/dependent/de facto partner of an Irish citizen/resident, you could be eligible to move to Ireland on the basis of your relationship. Your immigration permission under this basis may confer the benefit of being able to apply for any job in Ireland.
For more information on working in Ireland, including full details on all the employment permits, please call us now on +1 844 290 6312.