We are the first choice for dealing with Immigration related problems in Ireland
We can help you become an Irish Citizen
We can guide refugees and asylum seekers to reunite with their families
We are experts in immigration stamps and can help you stay in the State
Guiding you through the Visa process every step of the way
The Top Immigration Solicitors in Ireland
IMK Law Solicitors are at the top when it comes to Immigration for Ireland.
We have facilitated legal applications for hundreds of Immigrants to Ireland and our successes have been celebrated much by our clients.
We cover the entire field of Immigration, from Visa applications to Long-Term Residency. Whether you are a refugee seeking asylum, or wish to be reunited with your loved ones, we can assist you in all part of the legal process.
This is a particularly sensitive area that must be dealt with carefully or you could end up making an error that can cost you. Luckily, we are here for just that – to ensure your problems are handled professionally, precisely and without delays!
Citizenship & Naturalisation
The citizenship process can be hard and long where a small error during the process of application can lead to the refusal of the application. We guide and assist our client in regard to their entitlement to Irish citizenship by naturalisation or descent.
The laws governing citizenship in Ireland are set out in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts 1956 to 2004 as amended.
A person born in the island of Ireland before 2005 or for those born after 2005 provided that certain criteria are fulfilled;
INIS’s website provides the following summary:
“A person born in the island of Ireland after 1 January 2005 to parents, at least one of whom was an Irish or British citizen or entitled to reside in the State or Northern Ireland without any restrictions on his or her residence, has an entitlement of Irish citizenship. Otherwise, a person born in the island of Ireland after 1 January 2005 is entitled to Irish citizenship only if, during the four year period immediately preceding the person’s birth, one of the parents has been resident* in the island of Ireland for a period of not less than three years and neither parent was entitled to diplomatic immunity in the State.”
Section 6 B (4) of the 1956 Act, as amended by the 2004 Act sets out what is reckonable residence for the purposes of citizenship by birth.
“A period of residence in the State shall not be reckonable for the purposes of calculating a period of residence under section 6A if—
(a) it is in contravention of section 5(1) of the Act of 2004,
(b) it is in accordance with a permission given to a person under section 4 of the Act of 2004 for the purpose of enabling him or her to engage in a course of education or study in the State.
A person can apply for Irish citizenship by fulfilling the statutory requirements of Section 15, 15A or 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 (as amended). Such applications are at the discretion of the Minister for Justice and Equality.
The requirements for Naturalisation:-
- You must be of full age (i.e. eighteen years or older);
- You must intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation;
- You must be of good character;
during the eight (8) years preceding that, have had a total reckonable residence in the State amounting to four (4) years. (Total amounting to five (5) years reckonable residence);
- You must make a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State and undertake to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.
- You must have had a period of one (1) year’s continuous reckonable residence in the State immediately before the date of the application and,
Citizenship can be acquired through descent for applicants born abroad, through a parent, grandparent or great grandparent born in Ireland or through Foreign Birth Registration.
Requirement as per INIS website;
“If either of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you are an Irish citizen, irrespective of your place of birth (unless one of the special conditions relating to birth outside Ireland applies; these are described below). If the parent through whom you derive Irish citizenship was not alive at the time of your birth, but would have been an Irish citizen if alive at that time, you are also an Irish citizen. You derive citizenship through an Irish parent whether or not your parents were married to each other at the time of your birth.
If you were born outside Ireland to an Irish citizen who was himself or herself born in Ireland, then you are an Irish citizen.
If you were born outside Ireland to an Irish citizen who was himself or herself born outside Ireland, and any of your grandparents were born in Ireland, then you are entitled to become an Irish citizen, and can do so by having your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register maintained by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. You can do this by applying to your nearest Irish embassy or consular office. A list of these is available on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs at www.dfa.ie. If you are entitled to register, your Irish citizenship is effective from the date of registration.”
All non-nationals are required by law to have an appropriate immigration permission to remain in the State legally if they wish to stay longer than 90 days for any reason. The authorized State body to register non-nationals is known as Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) which functions under the Minister for Justice and Equality.
Non-nationals are required to have valid passports to have the appropriate immigration stamp endorsed in their passports, and receive a certificate of registration called Irish Residence Permit (IRP). The type of immigration permission issued to non-nationals depends on the purpose of stay of each applicant in the state.
The most common categories of persons resident in the State, as evidenced by particular stamps, are as follows:
Stamp 0 is a low type of immigration permission to stay in Ireland for a temporary period which is normally granted to a person of independent means for 12 months. The holder of stamp 0 is not entitled to work or carry out any business in the State or apply for family reunification. Stamp 0 is also not a reckonable stamp for Irish naturalisation. The holder of this stamp must have private health insurance for the duration of his/her stay in the State. This type of conditional stamp is usually issued to the dependent parents or other family member of an Irish citizen or any other person who is legally resident in the State.
Stamp 1 is issued to a person to remain in the State and to enter into employment conditional to the holder does not enter into employment without obtaining a work permit, does not indulge in business activities, trade or any profession without the permission of the Minister for Justice and Equality and does not remain after a specified date. The holder of Stamp 1 can only enter into employment with the employer who has sponsored the work permit application. If there is cessation of employment the holder is given up to 6 months grace period to find another employment. The holder is also required to return the physical work permit to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. This stamp is reckonable for the purpose of Irish citizenship by naturalisation.
This stamp enables the holder to remain in the State for a specified period of time based on the Third Level Graduate Scheme, after successful completion of a course in the State to seek employment in the State. This type of permission is granted for 1 year after successful completion of undergrad degree and for 2 years after successful completion of Master programme in the State. The holder is permitted to work full time during the validity of the stamp. This type of permission is also issued to the spouse or civil partner of the critical skill work permit holders who were previously issued with stamp 3 which does not confer work entitlement in the State to the holders
This type of stamp is issued to a person for the purpose of accountancy training in the State. This Stamp is not reckonable for the purpose of Irish citizenship by naturalisation.
This type of stamp is issued to a person to remain in Ireland for the purposes of attending a full-time course which is recognised by the Department of Education and Skills conditional to restricted hours of employment. This stamp is not reckonable for the purpose of Irish citizenship by naturalisation.
This type of stamp is issued to a person to remain in Ireland to pursue full time education for a course that is not on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP), for a specified period. The holder of this stamp is not permitted to enter into employment or carry out business in the State. This stamp is not reckonable for the purpose of Irish citizenship by naturalisation.
This type of permission is issued to a person who is dependent on another person who is legally residing in the State. The holder is not permitted to enter into employment or carry out any business or trade in the State, This stamp can also be issued to a retired person with independent means subject to conditions. This stamp is reckonable towards Irish citizenship by naturalisation.
This is the highest type of immigration permission to remain in the State which entails more freedom and entitlements. The holder is permitted to enter into employment or carry out business without a need for a work permit. This type of permission is usually granted to the following persons:-
- Convention and Programme refugees
- Persons who are granted Humanitarian Leave to Remain of Subsidiary Protection
- Spouses, De Facto or Civil Partners of Irish nationals
- Spouses De Facto or Civil Partners of stamp 4 holders
This type of permission can be called a golden immigration permission which entails massive freedom and entitlements. The holder of Stamp 4EUFAM can move freely within the EU member States with his/her EU family member without a need of obtaining an entry visa and can remain hereinafter for a period of 90 days. This type of permission is granted to the following persons:-
- Spouses, De Facto or Civil Partners of EU nationals
- Children under 21 of EU nationals or their Spouses, De Facto or Civil Partners
- Any other dependent family member of EU nationals who either fall in qualified or permitted family categories under the EU Directive 2004/38EC
Stamp 5 permission holder can stay in Ireland without limits on the time, subject to other conditions. Stamp 5 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. A person who is resident in the State can apply for this type of permission having been lawfully resident in the State for a period of at least 8 years.
A person can apply to stamp 5 also known as Without Condition as To Time (WCATT) permission to remain in the State. This type of permission is granted to non EEA nationals who have acquired 8 years, or 96 months, of lawful residence in the State.
While the granting of Without Condition as To Time is indefinite in nature, in practice it is issued to holders for the duration of their current passport and can be renewed thereinafter. Persons applying for Without Condition as To Time must have acquired 8 years of residence based on stamp 1, stamp 3 and stamp 4. Holders of Long Term Residence are not eligible.
We assist our clients and liaise with INIS in application process for Without Condition as To Time.
The holder of this Stamp is issued a “without condition” stamp in their passport, where they are a dual citizen of Ireland and of another country.
Family relations covers various circumstances that may allow individuals to reunite with their spouse, parents or loved ones through various legal steps.
As an Irish citizen you can make an application for a residence card or visa for your legally married spouse/civil partner subject to fulfilling the criteria set out in Family Reunification Document 2013. INIS website summarizes the requirement as follow:
- Completed, signed and dated (by applicant and Irish National) Application Form
- Your original marriage/civil partnership certificate
- Your original passport(s) and birth certificate
- Your Irish spouse’s/civil partner’s original passport and birth certificate (Passport Cards are not acceptable)
- Divorce papers from applicant and/or spouse (if applicable)
- Evidence of Private Medical Insurance in respect of non EEA national
- Evidence showing that Irish spouse/civil partner (sponsor) meets the published financial criteria set out at 17.2 of Policy
- Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification (e.g. P60s for last 3 years, bank statements for previous 6 months, P21 Revenue Commissioner statements, recent pay slips, financial accounts, etc – this list is not exhaustive)
We advise and guide our clients in making an application for stamp 4 based on their marriage or civil partnership with Irish citizens.
Irish citizens who are in a long term durable relationship with a non-national may apply immigration permission for his/her partner in certain circumstances. Who is De Facto Partner as per INIS Website:
“For immigration purposes a person may be considered the De Facto Partner, opposite or same sex, of another person if:
- they have a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others akin to a marriage or civil partnership in practice though not in law
- and the relationship between them is genuine and continuing
- and they live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis
- and they are not related by family”
We have successfully represented a number of our clients managing to get immigration permission based on their long and durable relationship with the Irish citizen.
Pursuant to the ECJ’s judgment in Ruiz Zambrano v Office National De L’Emploi, Case C-34/09 a non-national can apply for immigration permission on the basis of their Irish citizen child. If a non-national is resident in the State with legal permission in the State can attend the local GNIB Offices and he/she will be granted stamp 4 permission without a need to make an application to INIS.
If a non-national resident in the State is residing in the State without a legal permission can make an application to INIS which normally takes 6-8 months to be determined. The applicant must produce evidence of the child’s citizenship i.e. Irish passport and evidence of their relationship with the Irish citizen child i.e. original birth certificate.
We have successfully represented a number of our clients managing to get immigration permission based on their parenthood of an Irish
Under Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification published in December 2016, a non-national who is lawfully resident in the State may apply to the Minister for a visa or residence card for his/her spouse or other immediate family members.
These applications are assessed on case to case basis at the discretion of the Minister as there is no automatic entitlement to family reunification.
Under the Policy Document immediate family members include spouse and children under the age of 18 or up to the age 23 years if they are in full time education.
There are the following three categories of Sponsors as per the Policy document:
Category A (Eligible to sponsor applications for immediate family reunification -including being accompanied by family members on arrival)
- Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders
- Business Permission Holders
- INIS Approved Scholarship programme students (e.g. KASP)
- Intra Corporate Transferee
PhD Students (subject to conditions including no recourse to social welfare payments)
- Full time non-locum doctors in employment
Category B (Eligible to sponsor applications for family reunification after 12 months)
- Non-Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders
- All Stamp 4 holders not covered by other more favourable arrangements
- Ministers of Religion (there is a case for putting these in cat A provided they are maintained by the church)
Category C (not eligible to sponsor)
- All other non-EEA nationals
There are further conditions to apply for this, but they are complicated mattes which need professional handling. Speak to us to learn more about this process.
EU Treaty Rights
The EU Directive 2008/38EC as transposed in Ireland by the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015, which was brought into operation on the 1st February 2016 guarantees the right of the EU citizens and their non-national family members to move and reside freely within the member States.
EU Directive 2008/38EC applies to the nationals of other EU members State who reside and exercise their EU Treaty Rights in Ireland. Please note that the EU Directive does not apply to Irish citizens. It may only apply in situations where Irish citizen who has previously resided in another member State for 6 months or more under Surinder Singh judgment.
Family members fall into two different categories:
A Qualifying family member is defined as:
-the Union citizen’s spouse or civil partner
-a direct descendant of the Union citizen,
-or of the Union citizen’s spouse or civil partner and is:
- under the age of 21, or dependent of the Union citizen
- his or her spouse or civil partner
- a dependent direct relative in the ascending line of the Union citizen or is of his/her spouse or civil partner
A Permitted family member is defined as:
(a) irrespective of his or her nationality, is a member of the family (other than a qualifying family member) of a Union citizen to whom paragraph (2) applied and who in the country from which the person has come –
- is a dependant of the Union citizen,
- is a member of the household of the Union citizen, or, based on serious health grounds strictly requires the personal care of the Union citizen
(b) is the partner with whom a Union citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested.
We advise and assist applicants on all aspects of the EU Directive 2008/38EC. We guide and assist in making the 1st application for 5 years residence card, Review application, retention of residence right, removal orders and challenging the breaches of the EU Directive by way of Judicial Review.
]Visa is a permission endorsed in the passport which allows the non-national visa required national to enter the State after satisfying the Immigration Officer at the port of entry.
There are the following two types of visa applications:
This visa permits the holder to enter the State only for a limited period only for the specified purpose i.e. visitors, attending conference, business visit, family member of an EU citizen and tourists.
This visa is issued to applicants who have some connection to the State entitling them to remain on a long term basis i.e. study, work, joining Irish citizen family members and joining non-national family members who are legally residing in the country.
We help and guide our clients throughout the visa application process and appeal process in the event of refusal. We have been successful in obtaining visas for a huge number of our clients over the last years.
Long Term Residency
A person who has been in the State on the basis of stamp 1 or stamp 4 condition for a period of 60 months (5 years) can apply for long term residency.
We assist and advice our clients in application process for long term residence. We have successfully represented a number of our clients in their application for long term residence in the State.
Here are some ways which can help benefit an application towards residency in Ireland:
The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme is a special scheme for EEA nationals with a proposal for a high potential start-up in the innovation economy and funding of €75,000 to be granted residency in this State for the purposes of developing their business.
A High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) is defined by the Minister for Justice as a start-up venture that is as per the department of justice website:
- Introducing a new or innovative product or service to international markets.
- Involved in manufacturing or internationally traded services.
- Capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up.
- Led by an experienced management team.
- Headquartered and controlled in Ireland.
- Less than six years old.
Candidates for the STEP are required to demonstrate that they have access to €75,000 in funding to support the establishment of their business in Ireland. This funding could be from the applicant’s own resources or earnings or could be in the form of a bank loan, venture capital funding etc.
There is no initial job creation targets requirements in the programme.
Successful applicants and their family members will initially be granted two years residence in Ireland which will be renewable for a further three years after review of the business by the Minister for Justice and Equality. After 5 years residence, participants under the programme will be eligible for long term residence in the State. Successful applicants will be given a multiple entry visa for Ireland for the same duration as their residence permission.
We assist and advice our clients in application process for Start-up Entrepreneur Programme.
The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) is special immigration scheme operates by The Minister for Justice and equality for non-EEA nationals who are committed to invest €1m, from their own resources and not financed through a loan or other such facility in an approved investment in Ireland for a minimum of three years.
If the application is successful, the applicant and their immediate family members will be given rights of residence in Ireland. Immediate family members include legally married spouses and children under 18. Children over 18 may also be considered in certain circumstances. Residence Permission is normally granted initially for a two year period, and following a review by the Minister for Justice, will be extended for a further three year period.
There is no requirement for an investor to establish actual residence in Ireland. There is no minimum residence requirement other than the requirement that the persons concerned should visit Ireland at least once in every 12 month period.
The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) varies from time to time. Applications are assessed by an Evaluation Committee that opens window for applications four times annually. At present there is a requirement for applicants to have a net worth of a minimum of €2,000,000 and to invest in Ireland in one of the approved investment programmes of €1.000,000.
We have vast experience in dealing with applications for Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) and we have received approval for a number of our clients under Immigrant Investor Programme. We are currently launching our full scale International IIP program so stay tuned for the upcoming launch!
All non-national who are not otherwise exempted and who wish to work in Ireland legally require a permit in Ireland. The Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation deals and process work permit application under various schemes. There are the following 9 types of work permit as per The Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation website:
- Critical Skills Employment Permit
- Dependent Partner/Spouse Employment Permit
- General Employment Permit
- Intra-Company Transfers Employment Permit
- Contract for Services Employment Permit
- Internship Employment Permit
- Exchange Agreement Employment Permit
- Sports and Cultural Employment Permit
- Reactivation Employment Permit
We assist both employers and prospective employees to prepare employment permit applications and appeals in the event of refusal to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and assist clients. Our specialist and dedicated work permit specialist team guide those on the Graduate Scheme to apply for an Employment Permit in order to move from the Student Immigration Pathway to residency in Ireland based on their employment
A non-national can apply for visa and immigration permission for the purpose of pursuing a course of study. This type of immigration is issued on strict condition which the student must adhere to renew his/her permission in the State. A holder of student permission may change his/her status to stamp 1, 3 or 4.
We guide the students on how to change their status in the State pursuant to Section 4 (7) Immigration Act 2004
Refugees & Asylum Seekers
A person who is in Ireland and cannot return to their country of origin because of fear of persecution based on one of the conventional grounds can make an application to the Minister for the declaration of Refugee Status. There are several categories surrounding refugee status:
A person who seeks international protection to be declared as a refugee is an asylum seeker. A person who spent time in the State on the basis of temporary permission to pursue his asylum application is not reckonable towards Irish citizenship by naturalisation.
A person who has qualified all the requirements of the definition of a refugee under the 1951 Geneva Convention is convention refugee.
A person who does not qualify under the strict definition of refugee maybe eligible for subsidiary protection under section 2 of the International Protection Act 2015.
Permission to Remain
A person who is not granted either a refugee status or a subsidiary protection declaration, the Minister under Section 49 of the International Protection Act 2015 will consider whether the applicant should be given leave to remain in the State or not. The Minister will consider different factors including the applicant’s family and personal circumstances, connection to the State and humanitarian considerations to decide whether the applicant should be given leave to remain in the State or not.
Pursuant to Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, The Minister for Justice and Equality has the power to issue a deportation order against any non EEA national who is in the State without lawful permission of the Minister.
Persons who are residing in the State illegally are issued with a letter of intention Pursuant to Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 by the Minister to issue a deportation order. This notice is also known as section 3 notice and it gives an opportunity to a person to respond within 15 days with the following options:
- Consent to a Deportation Order
- Leave the State voluntarily within a certain period
- Submit a Humanitarian Leave to Remain application
If a person chooses option 1, a final deportation order will be made to effect the deportation.
If a person chooses option 2, it means a person will return to his/her country of origin voluntarily and deportation order will not be issued after confirming the voluntary return to his/home country with a voluntary return unit.
If a person chooses option 3, an application for humanitarian leave to remain can be made with full submissions to the Minister as to why he/she may not be deported from the state. The Minister considers these applications on a case by case basis and in some cases it takes up to years for this type application to be determined.
An asylum seeker who has received a declaration of refuse status or subsidiary protection may apply to the Minister for permission to his/her immediate family members to enter and reside in the State.
Section 56 of International Protection Act 2015 provides that recognised refugees have a right to have following family members join him/her in the State:
- Spouse or civil partner – provided that the marriage or civil partnership is in existence when the application for international protection is made
- Parent(s) – if the sponsor is aged under 18 and is not married on the date the application for family reunification is made
- Parents’ children (aged under 18 and not married) if the sponsor is aged under 18 and not married on the date the application for family reunification is made
- Child who is aged under 18 and not married on the date the application for family reunification is made
A person may apply within 12 months of being granted a refugee or a subsidiary protection declaration or from the date of your arrival in Ireland as a programme refugee. You apply for permission for your family member (s) either:
- To enter and reside in the State if they are living outside the State or
- To reside in the State if they are already in the State on the date of your application
We provide comprehensive guideline, advice and assistance to our clients to make application for family reunification if they have either a declared Refugee status or been granted subsidiary protection pursuant to EU Directive 2004/83EC
We advise and guide our clients in respect of the Section 3 and deportation procedure, and in making applications to revoke deportation orders