New Preclearance process to be introduced to help Non-EEA de facto partners of Irish citizens live and work in Ireland






This type of immigration permission is for people who have an Irish citizen life partner (the Sponsor) and would like to live with them in Ireland. The permission is conditional on the relationship and if the relationship ends, the permission ends.


Such permission may be granted to both opposite and same sex partners, one of whom is an Irish citizen, and who have been together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership, have been living together for at least two years and have a mutual commitment to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others.



Preclearance for the De Facto Partners of Irish Nationals


Following on from the recent introduction of a number of key initiatives in the immigration area, including the recent change in relation to re-entry visa requirements, today’s announcement continues the ongoing rollout of the INIS Service Improvement Plan 2018-2020.  A new, streamlined preclearance procedure will now be available for the non-EEA de facto partners of Irish nationals returning to Ireland. The new process will reduce processing times and provide greater clarity for those seeking to join their Irish partner and to reside and work in Ireland.

Applications can be submitted from today’s date, however, to allow a transitional period for those due to arrive in the State in the short term, those arriving in Ireland on or before the 1st November may do so without obtaining a preclearance permission in advance.  Visa required nationals must obtain a visa before travel as usual.

From the 1st November 2019 anyone seeking to join their Irish national De Facto Partner in Ireland for a period of greater than 90 days must obtain a preclearance permission before arrival in the State. This applies to both non-visa required and visa required nationals.

Prior to arrival in the State, the de facto partner of an Irish national will apply to the Department of Justice and Equality for a preclearance approval letter.. Dependent children can be included in the application.


Note: A preclearance letter, along with the relevant visa, if applicable, allows the holder to travel to Ireland only. It does not grant permission to enter the country; an immigration officer at border control can refuse entry even if a preclearance letter has been obtained in advance.


On registering with the immigration service, a Stamp 4 immigration permission will be issued to the applicant. This permission will allow the holder to access the labour market without delay. Previously, an application for recognition of the de facto relationship could only be made on arrival in the State and the de facto partner could not access the labour market pending a decision on their application.


Full details and further information on the revised arrangements, including the criteria for obtaining preclearance , are set-out in the INIS website