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Irish Work Permits & Visas - A Definitive Guide

Irish Work Permits & Visas - A Definitive Guide

Submitted by global_admin on Sat, 08/04/2018 - 10:13
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If you want to work in Ireland, you must have the relevant employment visa. This can be a confusing concept for some, so we aim to give you a more in-depth guide to the various type of visas and work permits available.

Work Permits for Non EU or EEA Nationals

Generally speaking, non-EU  and non-EEA nationals  must  have  a  permit  to  work  in  Ireland. EEA (European Economic Area) and Swiss nationals do not need an employment permit.

Since 1 October 2014, the Employment Permits (Amendment) Act 2014 has changed the previous employment permits system. There are now 9 different types of employment permits with with new application and criteria for issuing each of these.. The Act states that any foreign national without an employment permit, who took all reasonable steps to get one, can take civil action against their employer to compensate them for work done or services rendered.

The main types of work permit are: 

General Employment Permit. This is the primary vehicle to attract foreign nationals for occupations which are experiencing a labour or skills shortage. All occupations are eligible unless specifically excluded. A General Employment Permit may also be obtained with respect to a 12-month contract

Critical Skills Employment Permit. This is designed to attract highly skilled people with the aim of encouraging them to take up permanent residence in Ireland. Occupations such as ICT professionals, professional engineers and technologists are catered for under this type of employment permit.

Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit. The objective of this type of employment permit is primarily to support the attractiveness of Ireland as a location of employment for potential and current Critical Skills/Green Card Employment Permit holders and Scientific Researchers. Eligible dependents such as unmarried children, civil partners, and spouses, who have been admitted to the State as family members of holders of these categories of Employment Permits and Researchers may apply.

You can find full details about work permits, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation website.


Certain people coming to Ireland do not need an employment permit to work legally in the country. If you fall into one of the following categories then you will not require a permit:

  •  A citizen of the EEA or Switzerland plus spouses, civil partners and dependants of these individuals.
  • Those granted refugee status in Ireland;
  • Those given permission to remain on humanitarian grounds;
  • If you're a spouse, civil partner or child of an Irish citizen;
  • Postgraduate students where the work is crucial to their study;
  • Non-EEA nationals carrying out scientific research for an approved research organisations;
  • Individuals on the Van der Elst process which allows a non-EEA national who is legally employed by a company in an EU country, to provide their services on a temporary basis to another EU country on behalf of their employer;
  • People on the Atypical Working Scheme which allows eligible non-EEA nationals to do certain short-term contract work in Ireland.


People from certain countries need a visa in order to enter Ireland and should obtain one before they travel. Visa applications should be made to the Irish Embassy or Consulate in, or accredited to, your country of permanent residence or home state. If there is no Embassy or Consulate in your home state, you may make the application to your nearest Irish Embassy or ‘consulate or direct to the Visa Office, Department of Foreign Affairs, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

You do not need a visa to visit Ireland if you are a citizen of the EEA or one of the countries listed in the further information section of this page -

The different types of visas available are as follows:

  • Short stay ''C'' visa - If you're coming to Ireland for a period of 3 months or less (e.g on holidays, business trip or short study course)
  • Long stay ''D'' visa - If you're coming for longer than 3 months on a single entry trip
  • Transit visa - If you're arriving in Ireland on route to another country (does not entitle you to leave the port or airport)
  • A re-entry visa - If you wish to leave the State for a short period of time (this includes Northern Ireland)

The standard non-refundable visa application processing fees are:

Entry and re-entry visas

  • A single journey visa is €60 and is valid for one entry to Ireland up to 90 days from your date of issue.
  • A multi journey visa is €100 and is valid for multiple entries to Ireland up to 5 years from the date of issue.
  • A transit visa costs €25.

There may also be communications charges. If you need any further information about these charges, this is available from your local Irish embassy.

 You should prepare your visa application well in advance and allow 6-8 weeks for your application to be approved if you are applying from abroad. 

You will find full details on the visa page of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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