If you are thinking about immigrating to Ireland, then aside from moving over to work or study – you need to consider when you register with Irish immigration you will be assigned a permission stamp which holds different conditions and entitlements whilst you reside here in Ireland. One of the tricky things about these permission stamps and conditions is some of these stamps don’t allow you to be able to work, and more importantly for those looking to immigrate to Ireland permanently with the intention of becoming citizens and following the steps to eventually apply for an Irish passport – knowing what these different types of permission stamps and conditions are, is really important as some stamp permissions cannot be used towards naturalisation! To review the full list of permission stamps and conditions you can find them on the INIS website here.
There are 10 different stamp requests – some won’t really apply to you if you have only just moved over.
Stamp 6 is for Irish Citizens with dual passports; and Stamp 5 is given to someone who has legally resided in Ireland for 8 years…. so yea, if you are reading this post related to non-EEA nationals then these two stamp conditions might not really be useful or interesting to know about (for right now!).
Stamp 0 is a stamp that is given to people who are only residing in Ireland for a temporary time. They are not allowed to work and there are a set of conditions that they would need to meet before being allowed to reside in Ireland for a specified short duration.
Right, those are the ones that might not apply but let’s dig into the other permission stamps, as I think these will be the ones most applicable to a lot of readers situations.
This is one that I am currently am on. Stamp 1 is given to any non-eea national who holds a valid work permit. You might also be assigned stamp 1 if you come over here to start and operate a business here.
The most important conditions applicable to this stamp are that you need a valid work permit before you can work in Ireland. This work permit is assigned based on the employer you mentioned in your application and you cannot change employers without reapplying for a new work permit. This stamp means you are tied to the employer detailed in your work permit. The time you work and live in Ireland on a Stamp 1 is counted towards applying for Irish Citizenship via naturalisation.
You might also be given a stamp 1 if you are here in Ireland on working holiday visa (you can see the eligible countries for this program here), A working holiday visa is only valid for 12 months, cannot be renewed and cannot be used towards citizenship here in Ireland. If you arrive here on a working holiday visa, you will need to leave the country and apply under another condition (i.e with a different work permit) whilst you are outside of Ireland.
Stamp 1 G
This is could be assigned to you for one of two reasons: The first is if you are a graduate student. Stamp 1G is assigned to you after you have completed your studies and allows you to look for employment based on the third level graduate program. You can work on a stamp 1G but you are not allowed to own your own business or be self employed. If you are on stamp 1G as a graduate the same conditions and permissions you had on stamp 2/2A apply for you here too. Like Stamp 1, if you intend on staying in Ireland after the stamp expires, you have to apply for a new work permit and follow the usual application process for this (in advance of it expiring!).
If you are a spouse/ de facto partner of a critical skills work permit holder/ researcher here on hosting agreement, the rules recently changed that you will now be assigned stamp 1G. This changed in March 2019. Previously spouses arrived with stamp 3 conditions and were required to apply for a Dependent Partner/Spousal Employment Permit. This was the route I had to take, I wrote about my experience in this post. It was a bit a lengthy process and a lot of misunderstandings between recruiters and employers who saw stamp 3 and immediately assumed we were not entitled to work in Ireland (however one of the big incentives for critical skills work permit holders and researchers is that their spouses can come over with them straight away and they would be allowed to work once they had successfully fulfilled the conditions of the DPSEP application.
So the rule was changed, now spouses/ de facto partners don’t need to go through an application process and are assigned stamp 1G. But it is not without its conditions! If you apply for the old DPSEP (still available to apply for and renew, as this is the work permit I currently have) once you are given a work permit, your stamp changes to stamp 1 and you are able to enjoy all the conditions and permissions available to stamp 1 in the same way as other employment permit holders who work and live in Ireland do. However on stamp 1G, the main difference here is that you need full medical aid coverage/insurance whilst living in Ireland (meaning you can’t make use of public services or public funding which you can if you are on a stamp 1!!). You cannot own your own business or be self employed. Your stamp 1G is renewed annually until you have been on stamp 1G for 5 years and then you can apply for stamp 4. Your stamp conditions are tied to your spouse, the holder of the critical skills work permit or researcher.
Stamp 2 / 2A
These are stamps assigned to different types of full time students. On this stamp, like 1G you are not allowed to make use of public services or public funding, you are allowed to work (on stamp 2 only, not stamp 2A) however its temporary/casual work and you are restricted to 20 hours a week during school term and 40 hrs a week over holidays. You cannot own your own business, and this stamp cannot be used towards citizenship by naturalisation. This is a big one, as we have a friend who studied here for a number of years before applying for a work permit and continuing to live and work in Ireland. As a result she ended up being in Ireland for over 8 years before she was able to apply for Irish citizenship.
This is assigned to the spouse/ de facto partner of a critical skills work permit holder or research who is residing in Ireland but is not working. Stamp 3 might be assigned to you if you are over here as a volunteer for a charity or non profit, or a minister of a religion. You are given permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period and would need to renew before that time limit expires. You can use the time you are on stamp 3 towards application for citizenship by naturalisation. The big one for this stamp condition is that you cannot work or be engaged in any business whilst on a stamp 3.
Stamp 4 is assigned to you when you are able to stay in Ireland for a specified time, subject to certain conditions ofcourse. You can use your time on stamp 4 towards applying for citizenship by naturalisation.
Rob recently went through the process of changing from stamp 1 (with a critical skills work permit) to stamp 4. The big change here is that now he no longer needs to hold an employment permit, meaning that he is not tied to one employer and is able to change jobs, look for employment and work in a profession without holding a work permit or having to apply for a new employment permit each time. He can also establish and operate his own business on a stamp 4 (if he wanted to!). Like all the other stamps, this stamp is given for a certain period and before it expires, he needs to renew it in time. As a critical skills work permit holder / researcher, you can apply for stamp 4 once you have work in Ireland for 2 years. If you are like me, or perhaps you hold a general work permit, then you would need to work in Ireland on stamp 1 for 5 years before you apply for stamp 4.
There are a list of other possible reasons you might be granted stamp 4 permission, the most obvious ones are if your spouse/partner is Irish; or if your spouse is EU/ EEA/ Swiss based on EU treaty rights; or if you joining your family member who is a recognised refugee, you might also be allowed to remain on stamp 4 conditions if your child is an Irish citizen (and no, we did not meet the requirements when our daughter was born, so she is not Irish – read more about getting pregnant as an expat in Ireland here)
You might also be waiting to build up your application for citizenship or maybe you are not wanting an Irish passport but just intend on working and living in Ireland indefinitely, in which case you might be granted stamp 4 as a long term resident of Ireland (and then may move to stamp 5 depending on how long you are here for).
Sho! thats a lot of info! Obviously it goes without saying you should not take my word as gospel, this is just how I see the permissions and conditions based on my own experience – if you are not sure which apply to you, I suggest contacting citizen information.
IMMIGRATING TO IRELAND? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!
Not traveling much these days, just living simply,
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