British and South African dependants (summary version)

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Joining your UK national family member in Ireland from 1st Jan 2021


With effect from 11pm on 31 December 2020 following the end of the Brexit transition period, all non-EEA family members of UK nationals seeking to join, or accompany, their UK national family member in Ireland will need to apply through a preclearance or visa scheme.

This scheme applies to both visa required and non-visa required nationals.

So, even though South Africa is a non-visa required country, as your dependants are coming under your British passport, they need this pre-clearance visa approved before they can come to Ireland. The Uk passport can come of course, but not the non-EU members.

Do not apply under this scheme if your intended visit is for less than 3 months.

The Preclearance Scheme only applies when a UK national has come to live in Ireland after 31 December 2020.

UK citizens are not considered ‘non-nationals’ for the purpose of Irish immigration law, and will continue to enjoy arrangements under the Common Travel Area (CTA) including the freedom to live in the State after the UK leaves the European Union (EU). 

This scheme allows certain non-EEA nationals to apply to join their UK national family member in Ireland.

There is no automatic entitlement to family reunification but UK nationals will be permitted to act as a sponsor of such applications.

The immigration permission and application system described on this page is based on the policy document published 23/12/2020. The Department of Justice reserves the right to amend or suspend this policy at any time. The information below is intended as a guide only, the policy document outlines all of the relevant criteria for eligibility for this programme.


EDIT: After seeing several declines recently on these applications, we cannot emphasise enough the proof thats needed, the quality and weight of that proof being very important. The weight of that proof and what you provide must NOT be under-estimated



Table of Contents for this topic:


Who can a UK passport holder sponsor?


I am outside of Ireland, am I eligible to apply under this Scheme?


  • Are a non-EEA, non-Swiss national,
  • Are being sponsored by a UK national,
  • Are ordinarily resident outside of Ireland,
  • Are of good character and good standing, e.g. you can provide a police clearance certificate or equivalent not more than 6 months old for any country you have resided in in the past five years
  • Are in a position to show documentary evidence of your relationship to the UK national,
  • Intend to live together permanently with your UK family member in Ireland,
  • Have medical insurance from a company authorised by the Health Insurance Authority of Ireland (see below for further details).


And I fall into one of the following categories:

Category 1:

  • Spouse,
  • civil partner or
  • de facto partner (you must be aged 18 years or older if applying in this category).

Category 2: Dependent child of:

  • sponsor
  • spouse;
  • civil partner; or
  • de facto partner.

Category 3: Dependent parents (who are aged 66 or older) of:

  • sponsor;
  • spouse; 
  • civil partner;
  • or of de facto partner.

Eligibility to apply does not mean that it is automatically assumed that the non EEA national’s application will be granted under this Scheme.

You must be invited to Ireland by an eligible sponsor.


An eligible UK sponsor must:


  • Be a UK national
  • Intend to be resident in the State or already be in the State and be self-sufficient, (i.e. not on social welfare benefits and must be able to support the applicant(s) financially without recourse to Public Funds)
  • In the case of a spouse/civil partner/de facto partner, not have sponsored anyone else in the 7 year period prior to the preclearance/visa application
  • Not have been completely or mainly reliant on benefits for a period of two years or longer immediately prior to the application.
  • Furthermore, the sponsor must have earned a gross income in each of the 3 previous years in excess of that applied by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) in assessing eligibility for Working Family Payment (WFP).  The WFP does not apply in the case of a married couple, civil partner / de facto partnership where there are no children and consequently a minimum level of assessable income for couples without children is €20,000 per annum, over and above any entitlement to State benefits. This figure will rise for UK nationals seeking to be joined by multiple family members and where dependent parents are involved. (see below for more details on Working family payment amounts, Working Family Payment minimum requirement on the Uk national's salary)


Do I need a visa and what is this preclearance?


To apply under this Scheme, you must, before you travel to Ireland, apply for a pre-clearance D visa.

You should take into consideration the current processing times for preclearance/ visa applications when making an application.

You must apply from your home country or a country where you are a legal resident. Proof of residence outside the State may be requested, and the applicant must remain outside the State while their application is being processed.

IMPORTANT: You will not be permitted entry to the State for the purpose of joining or accompanying your UK family member by an Immigration Officer at the Border, nor will you be registered in the State unless you can produce the appropriate Preclearance Approval Letter a long stay ‘D’ Join Family UK National Visa.

A Preclearance Approval Letter and visa allows you to travel to Ireland only for a specific purpose. They do not give you permission to enter the country or to stay here.

An Immigration Officer at border control can refuse you entry even if you have a preclearance letter.

  • Non-Visa Required nationals and Visa-Required nationals will apply for a preclearance letter of approval.
  • They will apply for a long stay ‘D’ visa under the specific application to Join a UK national

Applicants are advised to allow up to 6 months for the processing of applications.



Your application:


Fill in the online application form.

This will generate an application summary form and declaration at the end which must be printed, signed and dated.

The online application form is signed by the parent or legal guardian of the child when under the age of 18 years.

When you are filling in your information on the online application form


To complete the process, you must submit your passport & supporting documents for processing.

Where you submit your application depends on where you are living.

The summary application form will direct you to the relevant office.

It is very important that you submit your documents and fee to the correct office within 30 days of completing the online application form.

Each non EEA person (regardless of age) will have to make a separate application following the steps above for preclearance or a visa depending on their nationality.

A non-refundable fee of €60 applies to preclearance/visa applications and must be paid in full at the time of the preclearance application.


Do not provide false or misleading information on the application form. Doing so can result in you being prevented from making further visa/preclearance applications for a period of up to 5 years.

You have to submit your original passport with at least 12 months valid after the proposed date of entry to Ireland.

You must provide evidence of medical insurance for a period of 1 year from your proposed date of entry into Ireland with your preclearance or visa application that satisfies the criteria outlined below:

You must be covered by private medical insurance, from a company authorised by the Health Insurance Authority.

The sponsor may include you in their group insurance scheme so long as this insurance plan covers you from the date of entry into the State at a level which provides for private healthcare for any period of hospitalisation in a private hospital. Which must include hospital cover and a minimum of €25,000 for Accident and €25,000 for Disease. The insurance coverage covers the person for any period of hospitalisation.

Bank statements must be on headed bank paper. You may use a printed internet statement but it must be officially certified by your bank. This means that every page must be notarised by the bank and the statement must be accompanied by a letter from the bank. We will not accept uncertified internet statements.

  • You have to demonstrate that you are of good standing, and to prove this you have to supply police clearance for every country that you have lived in for 5 years prior to your application. The police clearance may not be older than 6 months. This is for all members over the age of 16 years.
  • You have to be able to prove your relationship to the UK national. A marriage certificate on it's own is no longer sufficient
  • You must intend to live with the UK family member permanently. 
  • Proof of earnings for the 3 years prior to arrival in Ireland, including 3 years tax certificates
  • Proof of the British national earnings in Ireland is above Working Family Payment minimum requirement on the Uk national's salary for each dependant

SA2Eire note: This is just a summary of what is required.

Please download the Policy Document to see every item.

We have identified up to 18 possible documents needed for the application (family dynamics depending)

and have gone through a thorough Breakdown of this document and created a Checklist.

We have also done screenshots of the application process and what needs doing.

(See below for the links)


 Applicants are advised to allow up to 6 months for the processing of applications


They will notify you if your application is approved, and will send you a preclearance letter of approval. It is important that you check your details on this letter for any errors.

The preclearance letter is valid for 6 months. If you do not use it to travel to Ireland within the validity period on the letter, you must recommence the application process and submit a new application.

It is also recommended that you have clear evidence of your medical insurance cover with you when you arrive at the border.

You will not be permitted to travel to Ireland unless your visa is valid.


Further info on this:

   SA2EIRE a full breakdown of the policy document: Scheme in relation to Non EEA Family Members of UK Citizens intending to reside in the State

  •    Specified categories of non-EEA family members of a UK citizen may apply under this Scheme
  •    Who can apply under this scheme
  •    Detailed Guidelines- inlcuding the financial requirements, health insurance and police clearances
  •    Eligible family members
  •    Eligibility requirements
  •    Change in circumstances
  •    Documents required and a checklist for South African dependants
  •    The Application Process
  •    Registration and fees once in Ireland
  •    Unsuccessful applications
  •    Paperwork preparation and a checklist for South Africans

   British and Non EU supporting documents and requirements

  •    Documentation required from all applicants and the requirements and formats of those documents
  •    Documents specific to relationship types
  •    Finances and how to prove them

   Checklist of documents needed for this application

  •    Checklist of documents to make it easy for you to gather these documents

   See Details of application form

  •   Screenshots and detailed step by step of the application


Important links: 


  #MapMyMove- Our coaching Services - Confused or lost and need some direction, book a session with us to help untangle the confusion and work out your route of immigration


   Working Family Payment minimum requirement on the Uk national's salary

   Terms and Conditions of the Non-EU members Residency Stamps - What are they allowed to do in the state?

  Do my family members need an entry visa to come with me or join me after I am in Ireland?

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