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How to get Ireland green card?

Getting a green card for Ireland can be a great way to live and work in the country long-term. However, the process can be quite complex with many requirements. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to successfully obtain an Irish green card.

What is an Ireland Green Card?

An Ireland green card, officially called a Stamp 4 visa, allows non-EU/EEA nationals to live and work in Ireland without any restrictions. Once you get a green card, you have free access to the Irish labor market – meaning you can work for any employer or start your own business without needing a work permit.

Green card holders can also access public services like education and healthcare. And importantly, time spent on a green card counts towards the 5-year residency requirement for naturalization as an Irish citizen.

The Irish green card system is relatively flexible compared to other countries. It’s one of the few visas in Europe that allows dual-intent – you can apply for permanent residency even while on a temporary visa.

Benefits of Getting an Ireland Green Card

Here are some of the top advantages that come with getting an Irish green card:

Freedom to Work and Live in Ireland

A green card allows you to take up employment or start a business in Ireland without needing any other permissions. You can work for any employer, switch jobs, or be self-employed.

Your immigration status is no longer tied to a single employer or job offer. This gives you maximum flexibility to advance your career in Ireland.

Access to Public Services

As a green card holder, you’ll be entitled to access all public services in Ireland on par with Irish and EU citizens. This includes access to education, healthcare, housing, social welfare benefits, and more.

Your children can avail free public education including primary and secondary school. And you’ll be able to get subsidized healthcare through Ireland’s public health system.

Pathway to Permanent Residence and Citizenship

The Irish green card serves as a pathway to permanent residence and eventual citizenship in Ireland.

Once you complete 5 years on a green card, you can apply for permanent residence. After that, you’ll typically be eligible to naturalize as an Irish citizen after 6 years of total residence in Ireland.

The green card provides a stable long-term migration route without having to rely on temporary stamps.

Ability to Travel Freely

As a green card holder, you’ll be able to freely travel in and out of Ireland. Your residence rights remain intact even if you leave the country for an extended period.

This allows you to travel abroad for business or family reasons while maintaining your Irish immigration status. You don’t have to continuously live in Ireland to retain your green card.

Protection Under EU Laws

Even though Ireland is no longer an EU member, Irish immigration laws still align closely with EU standards when it comes to green cards.

This means as a green card holder you’ll enjoy rights and protections that conform to European laws regarding non-EU migrants. Things like protection against discrimination and access to social services.

Green Card Application Process

If you meet the eligibility criteria, applying for an Irish green card involves submitting an online application followed by supporting documents. Here are the key steps:

Choose an Eligibility Category

First, you’ll need to determine which green card eligibility category you qualify under. The main options are:

– Critical skills employment
– General employment
– Investment or entrepreneurship
– Scientific researcher
– Immediate family member of Irish citizen

Each has specific requirements in terms of salary, skills, investment funds, etc. We’ll go over these below.

Create an Online Account

You need to create an account on Ireland’s Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) website. This allows you to complete the green card application form online.

Fill the Online Application Form

When logged into your ISD account, find and select the relevant Stamp 4 application form. Complete this form providing details on your eligibility category, employment, qualifications, finances, and family.

Pay the Application Fees

A payment of €300 is required when submitting the online green card application. This can be paid directly through the ISD website via debit/credit card.

Upload Supporting Documents

You’ll need to upload scanned copies of supporting documents including passport, employment letter, qualifications, finances, health insurance, and any other relevant evidence.

Attend Biometric Registration

Once you submit the online application, you’ll be asked to schedule a biometric registration appointment. This is to provide fingerprints and facial scan to verify your identity.

Await Decision

The immigration officer will assess your application and make a decision. This can take 2-3 months on average. You’ll be informed via email once a decision is made.

Collect Residence Permit

If approved, you’ll get a letter with instructions on paying the green card fee (€300-€1,000) and picking up your Irish Residence Permit (IRP) from the immigration office or local police station.

Your biometric data will be stored in the IRP card allowing you to confirm your identity and permission to live/work when required.

Eligibility Criteria for a Green Card

To qualify for an Irish green card, you must meet criteria set for the specific category you are applying under. Here are some of the main options:

Critical Skills Employment

This is the most popular route. To qualify:

– Your job must be in Ireland’s Critical Skills Occupations List. Examples include IT, engineering, finance, medicine, science, architecture.
– Minimum annual salary of €32,000 if newly hired, or €64,000 if already working for the company in Ireland.
– Have an relevant degree or 5+ years experience in the critical occupation.
– Have a full-time, permanent employment offer from an Irish company.

General Employment

If your occupation is not on the Critical Skills list, you can still qualify under General Employment if:

– You have a full-time job offer in Ireland with a minimum annual salary of €60,000
– Your degree and experience matches the offered occupation
– There is a shortage of workers to fill the position
– The company can prove it tried but failed to hire an EEA worker for the role

Investment or Entrepreneurship

If willing to invest in or start a business in Ireland, you may qualify by:

– Investing a minimum of €500,000 in an Irish enterprise for at least 3 years
– Or investing a minimum of €300,000 in an Irish REIT (real estate investment trust) for at least 3 years
– Or establishing a business in Ireland with a minimum investment of €75,000 creating at least 2 full-time jobs.

In all cases, the investment funds must be verifiable and from a legitimate source. A detailed business plan must be provided showing commercial viability.

Scientific Researcher

If you have been offered a research position by an approved Irish Research Institution:

– You must have the necessary qualifications and track record relevant to the research field.
– The research position must be full-time and have a minimum duration of 1 year.
– You should provide details on the research funding and expected results.

Family Member of Irish Citizen

Non-EU family members of Irish citizens have a straightforward route to a green card, provided:

– You are the spouse/partner, child, parent, brother, sister, grandchild or grandparent of an Irish or EU citizen
– Your family member has been residing in Ireland for at least 12 months
– You can show proof of financial dependency on your Irish family member
– You have comprehensive health insurance coverage

For partners/spouses, you must also prove a genuine relationship exists such as shared residence, financial interdependence, etc.

Application Success Rate

Ireland generally has a high green card approval rate for applicants who meet the eligibility criteria. In 2018, 81% of critical skills employment applications and 73% of scientific researcher applications were approved.

The key reasons for refusal are:

– Not meeting salary thresholds
– Job not considered necessary for economic or social development
– Insufficient evidence of qualifications or work experience
– Criminal convictions or security risks
– Prior immigration refusals

Thoroughly reviewing the eligibility criteria and providing complete supporting documents is crucial to avoid rejections. Using a specialized immigration attorney can also help maximize your chances for success.

Processing Time for Green Card Application

The standard processing time for Irish green card applications is 2-3 months from submission. However, it can vary depending on your nationality and individual case complexity.

Applications from low-risk countries can be processed more quickly, while higher security check requirements for certain nationalities can cause delays. Using priority/fast-track services can help speed up processing by 2-3 weeks.

During peak application periods, processing times can extend up to 6 months as large volumes slow down the system. Maintaining open communication with the immigration authorities can help get updates on your application status.

Documents Required for Ireland Green Card

The main documents required to submit a complete Irish green card application are:

Identity and Basic Information

– Passport – Valid for at least 6 months
– Birth certificate
– Additional national IDs – Proof of identity and citizenship
– Passport photos – Two color passport-size photos
– Evidence of address – Utility bills, bank statements

Supporting your Eligibility Category

– Employment letter – Confirming job offer, duration, salary, etc
– Qualifications – Degrees, certifications matching your occupation
– Employment references – From current/past employers


– Bank account statements – Showing proof of funds/assets
– Pay slips – Minimum 3 months to demonstrate income
– Audited accounts – For self-employed individuals
– Business plan – For investment/entrepreneur category

Other Essential Documents

– Health insurance – Private policy covering your stay in Ireland
– Police clearance certificates – From all countries lived in past 5 years
– Previous passports – Proving past travel history
– Birth/marriage certificates of dependents – If bringing family
– Recommendation letter – From your Irish sponsor where applicable

All documents not in English must be officially translated by approved translators.

Costs for Getting an Irish Green Card

The main costs involved in obtaining an Irish green card are:

– Application fee – €300
– Immigration Permit fee – €300-€1,000
– Private health insurance – €600-€3,000 per year
– Translations and notarizations – €200-€500
– Priority/fast-track fees – €300-€500 (optional)
– Immigration attorney fees – (optional)

You’ll also need to factor in costs for obtaining documents like police certificates, medical checks, application photos, etc.

In total, expect to pay around €2,000-€5,000 for a single applicant when including the first year of health insurance. Costs may be higher if applying with dependents.

Dependents – Applying with Family

If you want to bring family members along when moving to Ireland on a green card, they will need to be included in your application as dependents.

Eligible dependents for the green card application include:

– Spouse or civil/de facto partner
– Children under age 18
– Children aged 18-24 in full-time education
– Other dependent relatives if living with you full-time or requiring care

Dependent family members need to provide proof of relationship such as marriage or birth certificates. Evidence that you can support your dependents financially is also required.

Additional costs, documents and health insurance will be required when including dependents. But getting a green card together is typically faster than separate family visa applications.

Renewing an Irish Green Card

An initial Irish green card is valid for 2 years. After that, you must renew it to continue residing in Ireland. The renewal steps are:

Ensure You Still Meet Eligibility Criteria

Your immigration status and eligibility category should not have changed when applying for renewal. For employment-based green cards, you need to continue working for the same employer.

Complete Online Renewal Form

Access your ISD account and complete the online renewal application form indicating your desire to renew. You’ll need to provide current employment and income details.

Pay the Renewal Fee

A fee of €300 is payable for green card renewals.

Attend Biometric Registration

You’ll need to once again provide updated fingerprints and facial image at an INIS centre. This verifies your identity for the renewed card.

Await Decision

The immigration officer will assess your renewal application and make a decision, which can take 1-2 months.

Collect New IRP Card

If approved, you can pick up your new Irish Residence Permit card from the INIS centre. This will be valid for another 2 years.

Repeat the renewal process as many times as required during your time living in Ireland on a green card.

Path from Green Card to Permanent Residence

After holding a green card for 5 years, you become eligible to apply for permanent residence in Ireland, which offers even more stability and a pathway to citizenship.

Here is the process to upgrade from a green card to permanent residence:

Meet 5 Year Residence Requirement

You must have legally resided in Ireland on valid immigration stamps (like green card) for at least 5 years continuously.

Show Integration Into Irish Society

This includes financial self-sufficiency, stable employment or business, contributions to community, knowledge of English and life in Ireland, absence of criminal convictions, etc.

Apply Using Form EUS1

Access your ISD account and complete Form EUS1 online application for permanent residence. Pay the €300 application fee.

Provide Updated Documents

Submit updated identity documents, employment details, bank statements, health insurance, tax records, and address history covering your 5 years in Ireland.

Attend Interview

You may need to attend an in-person immigration interview to further demonstrate your integration and eligibility for permanent residence.

If approved, you’ll no longer need immigration renewals. You can live indefinitely in Ireland and apply for naturalization as an Irish citizen after 6 years total residence.

Dual Citizenship Possibilities

Ireland generally allows dual citizenship so getting an Irish green card does not require you to renounce your original nationality.

You can be a citizen of Ireland and another country at the same time once you meet the naturalization requirements.

However, please check the laws of your home country regarding dual citizenship to ensure you retain your rights when obtaining Irish citizenship.

Traveling to Ireland on Green Card

As an Irish green card holder, you have minimal restrictions on travelling in and out of Ireland. You can leave and re-enter the country multiple times with few limitations.

Your green card remains valid even if you are outside Ireland for an extended period, as long as:

– You continue meeting the green card eligibility criteria
– Your absences are temporary and Ireland remains your primary centre of interests
– You don’t spend more than 6 consecutive months absent from Ireland in any calendar year unless due to an emergency

This allows you the flexibility to travel abroad regularly for holidays, family visits, business trips, etc. while retaining your Irish residence rights.

Tips for a Successful Green Card Application

Here are some top tips for getting your Irish green card application approved without delays or complications:

– Carefully read all eligibility criteria and ensure you meet them clearly
– Start collecting required documents and translations well in advance
– Get complete health insurance coverage for your planned length of stay
– Disclose all relevant information accurately on the application forms
– Organize documents systematically to upload easily with the online application
– Provide strong verifiable evidence of your finances, employment, qualifications, etc.
– Be responsive to all communication and information requests from immigration authorities
– Consider hiring an immigration attorney to assist with your application
– Remain patient and positive through the process. Complex applications take time.


Ireland’s green card scheme offers an excellent opportunity for non-EU nationals to legally live and prosper in the country on a long-term basis.

Thorough preparation and meeting all the requirements is key to getting approved stress-free. The process enables you to reside indefinitely in Ireland, access all services and benefits, establish your career, and pave a pathway to Irish citizenship.

With the comprehensive guidance provided in this article, you should now have clarity on the entire process and criteria for successfully obtaining your Irish green card.