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De Facto Relationship

De Facto Relationship

All non-EEA nationals need immigration permission to remain in the State.  Permission to remain will be in the form of an endorsement in your passport confirming the conditions and period of time for which you have permission to remain in the State. Persons granted permission to be in the State by INIS must also register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

The intention of the Immigration Services when considering De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission (DFPIP) applications is to allow genuine long-term relationships to continue.  It is intended to provide a means by which couples who are already living together in a committed relationship to remain in Ireland on this basis alone.

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


  • the relationship between them is genuine and continuing


  • they live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis


  • they are not related by family

This type of immigration permission is for people who have an Irish citizen or Irish resident life partner (the Sponsor) and would like to live with them in Ireland.  The permission is conditional on the relationship i.e. if the relationship ends the permission ends.

DFPIP may be granted to both opposite and same-sex partners who have been together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership, have been living together for at least two years and have a mutual commitment to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others.

An Applicant will be asked to provide Police Clearance Certificate from any country the Applicant has resided in over the last 5 years.  The Police Clearance Certificate should be no more than six months old at the date of application.

In order to apply for DFPIP, a non-EEA national (the Applicant) who wishes to remain the State and is in a relationship with an Irish National or an Irish Resident (the Sponsor) must be in a position to provide evidence of a durable relationship with evidence of cohabitation of at least two years on the date of application.

In order to assess whether the couple is in a genuine long-term relationship, it will be necessary for the couple to provide

  • dated documentary evidence of cohabitation for at least the preceding two years immediately prior to the date of application.
  • Partners who are not living together at the time of the Application will be required to give compelling reasons for this.


On 01/04/2019 a new Preclearance scheme for De Facto Partners of Critical Skills Work Permit (CSEP) Holders or of Non-EEA Researchers on a Hosting Agreement has come into force. This is a preclearance procedure to facilitate and streamline entry to the State for De Facto Partners of Critical Skills Work Permit (CSEP) Holders or of Non-EEA Researchers on a Hosting Agreement. The preclearance scheme covers both non-visa required and visa required nationals. Before travelling to the State to join their De Facto partner on a CSEP or Hosting Agreement, persons will need to apply for an approval letter from the Preclearance Section in Visa Division.

  • Under the new scheme, non-visa required nationals intending to travel to Ireland for longer than 90 days to join their De Facto Partner on a CSEP or Hosting Agreement, must be able to present a ‘Preclearance Letter of Approval’ to an Immigration Officer when they arrive at the port of entry, otherwise, they will not be permitted entry to the State.
  • Persons, who are citizens of visa-required countries, will also need to apply for and receive a Join Family – De Facto Partner visa before travelling to the State.
  • Persons granted approval under the De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission scheme are entitled to be joined in the State by their dependent children subject to normal immigration checks and visa requirements.
  • From 21 March 2014 INIS will not accept an application for De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission if the Applicant is present in the State on a C Visit Visa or on foot of the Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme.
  • Applications from persons who are unlawfully present in the State and/or who are in the asylum/protection streams at the time of making the de facto application will not be accepted.
  • If the Applicant is a visa required national they must apply for an Irish D Join Partner visa prior to entry to the State.
  • It is the intention of INIS to introduce preclearance for all family type cases administered by a Family Settlement Unit – please see Family Reunification Policy Document(PDF).  When the Family Settlement Unit is established it will be possible to have De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission applications decided prior to entry to the State for non-visa required persons as well as for visa required persons.

Partners who need a visa

If your partner needs a visa, they must apply for a Join a Family Member (D) visa. They must apply for the visa online. In their application, they should make it clear that the purpose of the application is to join you, their partner (an Irish national) in Ireland.

Once they have completed the online visa application form, they will need to print this out and sign it. At the end of the online application, they will be given the address to send the signed form and documents to, usually the nearest Irish embassy or consulate. They must submit these documents and signed the application within 30 days of submitting the online application. Some embassies and consulates have additional requirements.

The online application form will generate a visa reference number which your partner can use to check the progress of their application. Visa decisions are published on the INIS website.

If your partner’s visa application is approved, this only allows your de facto partner to travel to Ireland. This does not give your de facto partner permission to enter the State or to stay here. Your partner cannot travel to Ireland until their visa is granted.

If your partner’s visa application is refused, they can appeal this decision within two months of the date of the refusal letter. The appeal should address the reasons for refusal stated in the refusal letter and provide extra supporting documents if possible. The visa refusal letter will state where your appeal should be sent.

Partners who do not need a visa

If your partner does not need a visa, they must still apply for immigration preclearance by completing the online preclearance application form for de facto partners of Irish nationals and submitting all the supporting documentation, along with a non-refundable application fee.

If your partner’s application for preclearance is approved, they will get a preclearance letter. This letter is valid for 6 months. If your partner does not travel to Ireland within these 6 months, they must submit a new preclearance application. Your partner will need their preclearance letter to:

  • Cross border control into Ireland and to finalise their permission to enter the State
  • Register with immigration after they arrive in Ireland

If the preclearance application is refused, your partner will receive a letter explaining the reasons why their application was refused. They can appeal this decision by responding to the refusal letter with extra supporting documents if required. This appeal must be received by INIS within six weeks of the date of the refusal letter. The appeal process is free of charge.

All citizens of non-EEA countries, whether they need a visa or not, must go through immigration control when they arrive in Ireland. Your partner should tell the immigration officer at the airport or point of entry that they plan to apply for residency in Ireland, based on their relationship with you.

If your partner is allowed to enter Ireland, the immigration officer will place a landing stamp in their passport. The landing stamp gives them permission to stay in Ireland up to the date indicated or for a maximum of 3 months.

At immigration control, your partner should expect to be asked for the following documents at a minimum:

  • Valid passport
  • D visa (if they are from a visa-required country)
  • Their immigration preclearance letter

Registration with the Irish Immigration Authorities.

Your partner must be in Ireland before they can register with immigration and apply for residency permission. Your partner only needs to register with immigration if they plan to stay in Ireland for more than 90 days.

Your partner must register in person with an immigration authority as soon as possible after arriving in Ireland. Registration involves formally requesting permission to live and work in Ireland.

You and your partner need to provide the following to register with immigration and apply for residency:

  • Your preclearance certificate
  • Your original passport
  • Your partner’s original passport
  • Evidence of your joint address in Ireland
  • A registration fee of 300 euro

At the appointment, your partner will have fingerprints and a photo taken.

If Permission is granted

The Registration Officer will put a Stamp 4 in your partner’s passport. Your partner then has permission to live and work in Ireland for the length of time stated on the stamp.

After permission is granted, your non-EEA partner must inform INIS of any change of address within 7 days of moving. Also, if their family circumstances change (for example, if your relationship breaks down) they must inform INIS.

Your partner’s Stamp 4 permission will usually be valid for 1 year. In order to stay in Ireland, your partner will need to renew this permission before it expires.

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