You are here: Home » The Issues » Immigration & Citizenship
Same-sex couples are treated the same as opposite sex couples in Irish Immigration Provision.
Many Irish lesbian and gay people have partners who are from outside Ireland. Being able to live with your partner in Ireland and to have unrestricted access to work in Ireland are essential requirements for the couple.
If the partner is from another EU country, then under EU rules the partner can move without restriction to Ireland. However, if the partner was from outside the EU, the lack of recognition for their relationship in immigration laws and rules led to those couples being separated or having to leave Ireland to be together.
We have worked continuously on the issue and, starting in 2006, successive provisions now ensure that lesbian and gay couples are treated the same as opposite-sex couples in immigration.
The provisions in immigration are different depending on whether you are in a civil partnership (or foreign relationship recognised in Ireland as a civil partnership) or whether you are a de facto couple - i.e. you are in a relationship, but not a legal relationship. In most cases, if in a de facto relationship, you must provide evidence of being together for at least two years.
The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) is the Government agency with responsibility for immigration policy and regulation. They state that "in summary, the immigration authorities will treat a civil partnership in the same way as marriage." The same principle also applies to de facto partners - same-sex de facto partners are treated the same as opposite-sex de facto partners in immigration provision.
The implications of these changes in immigration will depend on your citizenship and that of your partner as follows:
1. You are an Irish citizen and your partner (either legal or de facto) is from another EU country: under EU provisions your partner is free to come to live and work in Ireland.
2. You are an Irish citizen and your partner is from a non-EEA country (i.e. an EU country plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland): your partner is eligible to apply for a ‘Stamp 4' Visa - i.e. permission to live and work in Ireland on the basis of your relationship.
This means, for example, that an American (or Brazilian, Russian, South African or Chinese) same-sex civil partner or spouse of an Irish citizen is entitled to apply to live and work in Ireland on the basis of their relationships with their Irish partner.
3. You are an EU citizen (but not an Irish citizen) and your partner is from a non-EEA country: your partner is eligible to apply for ‘EU Treaty Rights' which allow them to live and work in Ireland.
This means, for example, that the Brazilian same-sex partner of a French citizen may move to Ireland with their French partner, where their French partner is moving to Ireland to work or study. The Brazilian partner may be able to work in Ireland but only if the documentation furnished by the persons concerned to INIS satisfies the immigration officials as to the genuineness of the partnership. In that situation, Stamp 4 EUFam would be issued to the non-EEA partner who can work in Ireland without obtaining an employment permit.
4. You are a citizen of a non-EEA country coming to work in Ireland (e.g. on a green card or inter company transfer) and your partner is also from a non-EEA country: your partner is eligible to apply to come to live in Ireland. However, in order for your partner to work, they will have to qualify for a work permit in their own right.
This means that, for example, the American partner of a American citizen from Boston moving to or living in Ireland (for example, on an intra-company transfer or Green Card employment permit) will be entitled to seek permission to move or live with this partner in Ireland on the basis of their relationship.
See the INIS website on immigration provisions here or see the GLEN Immigration Briefing Note below.