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Eligibility of non-EEA spouses, civil partners and de facto partners of Irish/EEA nationals

Non-EEA spouses or partners of Irish/EEA nationals who are intending to accompany their Irish/EEA spouse or partner to work and reside in Ireland should seek permission from the Department of Justice to enter and reside in the State on that basis. Non-EEA spouses or partners of Irish/EEA nationals who are intending to work and reside in Ireland unaccompanied by their Irish/EEA spouse or partner will require an employment permit. The normal employment permit eligibility criteria applies, however, there is no charge for the permit. The application should include the following additional documentation:

  • Copy of the passport pages of the Irish/EEA spouse/partner showing photograph and personal details.
  • Copy of the marriage certificate/license or civil partnership registration.

Civil partnership

Civil partnership only applies to civil partnerships within the meaning of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010.

The definition of Civil Partnership for the purposes of employment permits is where either of two persons of the same sex:

(a) are parties to a civil partnership registration carried out in Ireland in accordance with the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, where the partnership has not been dissolved or is the subject of a decree of nullity;

or

(b) are parties to a legal relationship of a class specified in an order made under Section 5 of the Act. 

De facto (non-marital) relationships

The recognition and determination of de facto (non-marital) relationships is a matter for the Department of Justice.

Applications for employment permits should include a copy of a letter issued by the Department of Justice confirming that the relationship meets their criteria and is recognised as a de facto relationship for immigration purposes.

Economic Migration Policy Unit

2021