Minister McEntee announces new post Brexit Visa Scheme for non-EEA family members of UK Nationals moving to Ireland
23 December 2020
The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee T.D. has announced that a preclearance/visa scheme is being introduced by her Department for the non-EEA family members of UK Nationals seeking to come to Ireland after 31 December 2020. Eligible non-EEA citizens can apply, before traveling to Ireland, for permission to live in the State and, once secured, they will be able to travel and live in Ireland with their UK National family member.
Announcing the new Scheme, Minister McEntee said,
“At the end of the transition period, UK Nationals who wish to move to Ireland and bring their non-EEA family members will no longer be able to apply under the EU Free Movement Directive. To ensure an alternative pathway is in place immediately following the UK withdrawal from the EU, the Preclearance Scheme will be open for applications from 1 January 2021.”
UK citizens will continue to enjoy existing arrangements under the Common Travel Area including the freedom to live and work in the State after the UK exits the EU. The UK National will be able to sponsor their eligible non-EEA family members to join them in Ireland.
Providing more detail on the new arrangements, Minister McEntee continued,
“This Scheme only applies where the UK citizen has come to live in Ireland after 31 December 2020 or, if living in Ireland before 31 December 2020, is not a beneficiary of the Citizens Rights provisions under the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and European Union.
“If they are living in Ireland on or before that date they, and their eligible non-EEA family members living with them, will in most cases be a beneficiary under the Withdrawal Agreement. The non-EEA family members can simply replace their current residence permission granted under EU law with a domestic permission under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement”.
The policy document (https://bit.ly/38qOt66) sets out the eligibility criteria for the scheme and how to apply. Applications are only required from those planning to stay in Ireland for longer than 3 months. All applications must be made from outside of Ireland and applicants must remain outside the State while their application is being processed.
Applications can be made online from 1 January 2021 at: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/joining-your-uk-national-family-member-in-ireland
Notes for Editors
- With effect from 11pm on 31/12/2020, following the end of the Transition Period under the Withdrawal Agreement, all non-EEA family members of UK Nationals seeking to join or accompany their UK National family member in Ireland, will need to apply, depending on nationality, for either Preclearance or a Visa from outside the State.
- This scheme only applies where the UK national comes to live in Ireland after 31 December 2020 or, if living in Ireland before 31 December 2020, is not a beneficiary of the Citizens Rights provisions under the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (Withdrawal Agreement).
- Applications will be required from both visa required and non-visa required EEA nationals and will be assessed under the relevant policy document which is available on the Department’s website at https://bit.ly/38qOt66. The policy document sets out the eligibility criteria for the scheme and how to apply.
- Applications are only required from those planning to stay in Ireland for a period longer than 3 months. All applications must be made from outside of Ireland and applicants must remain outside the State while their application is being processed. The standard charge for either a visa or preclearance application will apply.
- Visa required nationals will have to make a visa application under the relevant scheme. A list of countries for which a visa is required for travel to Ireland is available on the Immigration Service website.
- Non Visa required Nationals will need to apply for preclearance, and if the application is successful, will receive an approval letter from the preclearance unit which must be presented to an Immigration Officer at the port of entry.
- The scheme outlined above does not apply to those non-EEA family members or dependants of UK Nationals who, from 1 January 2021, hold a valid permission to reside in Ireland under the Free Movement Directive. They will hold the same residence rights to live, work or study in Ireland, if they reside here at the end of the transition period and continue to do so.
- Following the end of the Transition Period, the entitlements under the Free Movement Directive to move freely and reside in other Member States of the European Union will cease to apply to non-EEA family members or dependants of UK Nationals who hold a valid permission to reside in Ireland. The family members or dependants concerned will need to change their current valid Irish Residence Permit card for a new one stating that he or she benefits from the Withdrawal Agreement.
- The family member can apply for the replacement card between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021 through the online registration renewal system which will be administered centrally by the Immigration Service of the Department.