Irish Passport holders and South African family members

South African and Irish passports: Immigration Information for South Africans moving and immigrating to the Republic of Ireland

This section is for Irish passport holders with South African dependants, moving to Ireland. For now, we will assume you are already in possession of an Irish passport. If you want to see if you're eligible see below in the links on Foreign Birth Regsitration.

 


EU law vs Irish Laws

 

With an Irish passport moving to the Republic of Ireland you will be moving under domestic Irish law, not EU law, as you are “coming home” or “returning Irish” not moving to a foreign country, even if you have never set foot in Ireland and applied for your passport via birth or registration.

In doing so, you will need to follow the process of Irish laws that govern such things as age of dependants and who qualifies as dependants. As such you should ignore all discussion and postings around EU Treaty as this does not apply to you, even though you are an EU citizen, you are primarily Irish moving to Ireland.

This includes visa-free travel to the EU for your SA dependants, as you are moving to Ireland under domestic law, you do not get the visa free travel an EU member would applying under EU law. So, if you travel to the EU, your SA members need visas to visit that country. Similarly as the UK has left the EU, even though visa free travel applies to the Irish passport holder, travel to the UK for your SA members means they need visas to visit the Uk, including Northern Ireland.

“Please note that we cannot accept applications under EU Treaty Rights provisions from non-EEA family members of Irish nationals.

Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the EU and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States applies only to Union citizens who move to or reside in a Member State other than that of which they are a national”

irishimmigration.ie (ISD)

“If you are returning to Ireland with an EEA spouse, civil partner, de facto partner or other family member, they may enter Ireland freely.

If you are an Irish citizen returning (coming) to Ireland with a non-EEA spouse, civil partner, de facto partner or other family member, you should be aware that there is no automatic entitlement under Irish law for you to have them join you in Ireland.

They will need to apply for residency permission from the Irish immigration services.”

CitizensInformation.ie

 


Entry for the eligible South African passport holding dependents of an Irish citizen

 

If all your eligible dependents are South African passport holders, they do not need an entry visa into Ireland, if you and your partner are MARRIED.

There is no Irish or EU paperwork to be filled out before leaving South Africa and for that matter no paperwork submitted at landing in Ireland, it is all done from within Ireland. This is because Ireland and South Africa have a special agreement that allows South Africans to enter Ireland “visa free.” This entry, however, is subject to having the correct paperwork with you.

You should inform the BMU officer at the airport/point of entry into Ireland of your intention to apply for residency based on your marriage/civil partnership with an Irish citizen.

You should bring the required documentation and at point of entry Border Management Unit (BMU) will issue up to 90 days stamp in the South African Passports.

Note: There are special conditions for the De Facto (Unmarried) spouse of an Irish citizen.

This includes proof of 2-years living at the same address and a pre-clearance visa.

See the Info below on De Facto if you are not married

Note: There are special conditions for the Elderly parents of an Irish citizen or their spouse, this would also require a pre-clearance D visa, see below for more info

Immigration Information for South Africans moving to the Republic of Ireland, Irish and South African passport holders


Registering the South African members

 

After you have entered Ireland you must register with an Immigration Officer.

You should do this within 90 days of your arrival or within the period specified on the stamp provided to you in your passport at the airport (which maybe for less than 90 days).

You and your Irish spouse and children should go together to register.

If you are living in Dublin you need to make an appointment to go to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service Registration Office at 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

If you are living outside Dublin, you should go together to your Garda District Headquarters.

Register at Garda Immigration - How to register at Garda Immigration and Renewals of Residency stamps

There are no fees to pay at these registrations as you are Irish dependants.

 See below for links to how to Register at Garda and how to get an appointment (particularly in Dublin where getting an appointment can be hard).

 


Who are dependants that an Irish passport holder can sponsor?

Spouse (Married)

You will need to provide your Unabrigded(Full) Marriage cert or your Civil Union Cert.

When approved the Spouse will receive a Stamp 4 immigration permission which allows them to live and work in Ireland without the need for an employment permit.

Initially this may only be a stamp in your passport, and you may need to return a few weeks later to receive your Irish Residence Permit (IRP, previously known as GNIB card).

You might only get 1 year Stamp4 which needs to be renewed again before expiry.

Your spouse or civil partner is not entitled to work in Ireland until a Stamp 4 has been issued. 

If a Stamp 4 is not granted (this can happen if there are any issues that need to be clarified such as identity, criminal history or relationship history), your spouse or civil partner may be asked to make a written application for residency (pdf) (Res6 document) to INIS.

This may be in cases where couples are very recently married (see below) or the Garda immigration officer believes the marriage needs further investigation and if either member has criminal convictions.

 

Children

Children under the age of 18years are automically considered dependants

Children under 16 years do not need to be registered, when they turn 16 years they need to be registered at Garda Immigration

Children can be the biological child of both or either the Irish or Non-EU member, or formally adopted children of both or either

Children 18-23 years need to be proven dependants and enrolled in tertiary education to qualify:

Children are minor dependents under the age of 18 years, or dependents in full-time education up the age of 23 years, of either the Irish citizen or their non-EU spouse, civil partner or de facto partner.

For applications of children 18-23 years you need to have them enrolled in study and be proven dependants.

If you have children aged between 16 and 18, or under 23 and in full time education, they must register with ISD if they are not Irish, British, Swiss or EEA citizens.

You may be considered to be a family dependent if:

  • You are aged between 16 and 18, or
  • You are under the age of 23 and in fulltime education
  • Your sponsor is an Irish national, or a person married to an Irish national
  • You normally live together with your sponsor as a member of a family unit
  • You do not normally live separately or apart on a permanent basis.

Children over 16 years usually get a Stamp3 which means they are resident but cannot work, but might in some circumstances get a Stamp4

If this happens you need to show this link to the Garda see the FAQ on What type of permission is granted

If an Irish citizen who is living abroad adopts a child abroad, they should apply for the adoption to be entered in the Register of Intercountry Adoptions.

Once it is registered, the adoption has the same legal status as if the adoption was made in the State. HERE

 

Newly married couples

Newly married couples should look at bringing all additional proof of relationship documents to the Garda Immigration registration.

Have a read on our section on De facto relationships to get an idea of what kind of proof you might be asked for. It might be a good idea to be prepared IN CASE its asked for. De Facto

If a Stamp 4 is not granted (this can happen if there are any issues that need to be clarified such as identity, criminal history or relationship history), your spouse or civil partner may be asked to make a written application for residency (pdf) (Res6 document) to INIS.

This may be in cases where couples are very recently married or the Garda immigration officer believes the marriage needs further investigation and if either member has criminal convictions.

In this case this application can take up to 6 months, in which case temporary residence will be granted pending approval.

If this does occur additional documentation may be required (some of which will be from South Africa)

It may be a good idea to have these documents on the 'in case'. See Required documents.

The Non-EEA member will not be able to work in this time.

As the Spouse or child of an Irish citizen, you can apply to naturalise and then get your Irish citizenship after 3 years of living in Ireland subject to the Residency Calculator and proofs that are collected of co-habitation with the Irish citizen in the Republic of Ireland.

 See below for links to how to Register at Garda and how to get an appointment (particularly in Dublin where getting an appointment can be hard).

 

Other Family Members

Other dependents may be eligible to come, and these may include elderly parents or adult dependents.

These groups have no automatic right to come to Ireland but in some circumstances can get permission.

Family Reunification for Irish citizens’ dependents is not as clear cut as say an EU member moving with extended family.

EU law is used when for example a French passport holder moves to Ireland with their children and dependent elderly parents.

In the case of an Irish citizen wanting to bring a dependent adult outside of the marriage but direct line family, it requires a lot more evidence and there are financial qualifiers too.

Please not there members need to apply for a pre-clearance visa before coming to Ireland and will be on a Stamp0

See links below for Family Reunification and what Stamps mean

 


Immigration Information for South Africans moving to the Republic of Ireland, Irish and South African passport holders De facto

De Facto Partner (unmarried) of an Irish citizen

 

A De Facto partnership is a relationship that is like marriage but that has not been legally recognised or registered.

There are some key requirements to showing you are in a de facto partnership:

  • You must have lived together for at least 2 years (this is known as ‘co-habitation’)
  • You must be able to prove this. For example: joint bank accounts (or bank statements showing money transfers between the two of you, not many people have joint bank accounts in South Africa) shared tenancy agreements, shared home ownership and other evidence that shows you are in a durable, lasting relationship

An application must be made to the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service and it can take 6 months for this to be processed.

It also means the South African De Facto spouse cannot come to Ireland in this time.

Please make certain you follow the Pre-clearance process BEFORE leaving South Africa, you will need this permission in place.

 See links below to more info on De Facto relationships and the pre-clearance visa process.

 


What documents should I take to the Garda Immigration appointment?

 

  • Your Unabridged Marriage/civil partnership certificate
  • Your Passports
  • Proof of your joint address in Ireland (utility bills in joint names at your home address)
  • If you are newly married, or have criminal convictions, read just below for potential additional documents that may be required

 


Dual Passport holders

 

South Africans who hold Irish, British or EU passports, if you were born in South Africa, or you took up citizenship of South Africa by naturalisation or other means, you need to have a South African passport in order to leave the airports in South Africa.

A good check to see your status, is to open your South African Identification Document (ID BOOK), if it says South African Citizen on the front page where your details are, you need to apply for a South African passport. If you open your foreign passport and you see where you were born, it will show this when you pass through South African passport control, and they will ask you for your SA passport. Apply at your local Home Affairs.

Dual Nationals depending on how and at what age you obtained your other citizenship, other than South African, may need permission to have that second passport. Please confirm this at your local Home Affairs office.

See below links for retention of SA citizenship

 


Dependants becoming an Irish Citizen by Naturalisation

 

As the immediate family member of an Irish citizen, you can apply to naturalise and then get your Irish citizenship after 3 years of living in Ireland subject to the Residency Calculator and proofs that are collected of co-habitation with the EU citizen in the Republic of Ireland.

Please take particular note of the absences from Ireland for more than 6 weeks per year, and 365 day prior too application can affect naturalisation

See links below on Permanent Residence and Naturalisation

 


Zambrano- Non-EU parent(s) of an Irish child

 

If you already have a permission stamp (eg: a work permit and you are already living in Ireland you can make the application at Garda immigration with all the required proof)

If not, you have to send off a particular form to get approved before you can get your Stamp4

Note: this route may mean the parents are not allowed to work whilst the processing takes place of the permission. It can take a few weeks or anything up to 12 months to be approved it will down to them and proof given.

Once approved you can seek work and all efforts need to be made to remain employed. So, please make sure you have sufficient funds to keep yourselves going in that time, should you choose this route. If that is not available, you may want to look at getting work permits instead.

From the 1st October 2015 all applications for permission to remain in the State on the basis of parentage of an Irish Citizen Child from a Non-EEA parent must be submitted on the Irish Citizen Child Application Form.

Take note of the FAQ's on the link below to Zambrano. 

 


 Travel to the UK or EU

 

Whilst an Irish passport holder is part of the EU and the CTA, travel to the Uk and EU for them is visa free

However for your SA passport holding spouse and children, they would need Uk Standard visitor visas to go to the Uk (including Northern Ireland) and for each EU country a schengen visa for that country

Will an Irish visa allow me to travel to Northern Ireland?

  • No. If you wish to travel to Northern Ireland, you will require a UK visa.
  • Northern Ireland consists of Counties Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone.
  • If you intend to also visit Northern Ireland and return to the Republic, you must obtain a UK visa.

Many flights go via the UK, however, please note any South African only passport holder will need to be in possession of a FULL UK STANDARD VISITOR visa if you fly from UK to Ireland.

Even though you are inside the airport, you actually pass through an international terminal into a domestic terminal and are therefore considered inside the UK.

This does not apply if YOU hold a UK/Irish or EU passport, but if for example your spouse or child does not hold a UK/Irish or EU passport THEY will need a UK Standard visitor visa.

 


 

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

    Irish Citizenship (Foreign Birth Registration FBR) - The basics on how to get your Irish citizneship by ancestry

   Getting prepared for your Foreign Birth registration (FBR) - The paperwork needed to get your Irish citizneship by ancestry

   Joining an Irish national - Irish Immgration website

   Citizens Information - Returning or Coming to Ireland on Irish passport

   De Facto (unmarried) Partners and proofs required - For unmarried people who want to do the EU Treaty with their partner

   De Facto partner of an Irish Citizen - Form to be completed- this is pdf and will download into your downloads file

   De Facto partner of Irish Citizen Pre-clearance before leaving South Africa - Pre-clearance for the non-married (De Facto) partner of an Irish Citizen

    Family Reunification - If you wish to bring depandants outside your immediate family unit, for example elderly parents

    Pre-clearance D visa for non-immediate family members - If you wish to bring depandants outside your immediate family unit, for example elderly parents

   Register at Garda Immigration- How to register at Garda Immigration and Renewals of Residency stamps

   FBR application if you are pregnant (BLOG)

   First time registration - How to register once you are in Ireland

   Fees for registration - There is no €300 registration fee for the SA dependants of Irish Citizens

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

   Zambrano - for the NON-EU parent of an Irish child

    South African Home Affairs - On your SA Citizenship

   South African Home Affairs - On Passports & Travel Documents

   Retention of SA Citizenship - How to hold on to you SA citizenship

   Permanent Residence and Naturalisation - How this works and how to prepare yourself from day 1 for five years time

  Applying for first time Irish passport (2022)- this will download as a .pdf in your device's download files

    Admin before the move

    Admin once you're in Ireland

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