Ireland: New Residence Process Announced for Non-EEA Family Members of UK Nationals

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key Points

  • A new post-Brexit residence process is available for non-EEA family members of UK nationals
  • Non-EEA nationals need an entry visa or approval letter to join a UK national family member
  • UK nationals can sponsor qualified non-EEA family members to live in Ireland
  • The new rules apply to non-EEA family members moving to Ireland after December 31, 2020
  • Non-EEA family members must apply from outside Ireland using the online AVATS portal
  • Applicants must receive a Join Family Entry Visa or preclearance approval letter to enter Ireland


The Irish government has introduced a new post-Brexit residence process for non-EEA family members of UK nationals.

What are the Changes?

Non-EEA family members are no longer covered by EU Treaty Rights in Ireland. However, they may be sponsored to live in Ireland by their UK national family members. Non-EEA family members must apply through either a preclearance or visa scheme to enter Ireland.

Who is Affected?

The new residence process applies to non-EEA family members of UK nationals who are moving to Ireland after December 31, 2020. Non-EEA family members who were living in Ireland before the Brexit transition are not affected.

Prior to joining a UK national in Ireland, non-EEA family members should make sure that they meet the eligibility requirements. Individuals who require a visa must apply outside Ireland for a Join Family Entry Visa. Successful applicants will get an Irish Entry Visa Endorsement in their passports. Non visa-required family members must apply through a preclearance scheme outside of Ireland. They will receive an approval letter if their applications are accepted.

What Should Applicants Know?

Non-EEA family members may join a UK national if they fall into one of three categories:

  • Category One: Spouse, de facto partner, or civil partner
  • Category Two: Dependent child of the UK national or a dependent child of the UK national’s non-EEA spouse, de facto partner, or civil partner
  • Category Three: Dependent parent of a UK national (age 66 or older), or dependent parent of the UK national’s non-EEA spouse, de facto partner, or civil partner

Additionally, they must be a non-EEA/non-Swiss national, be sponsored in Ireland by a UK national family member, intend to live permanently with the UK national, have medical insurance from a company recognized by the Health Insurance Authority of Ireland, ordinarily reside outside of Ireland, and be of good character and standing. Applicants must also be able to provide documentation showing their relationship to the UK national.

Looking Ahead

Family members who meet the qualifications above can apply online for a preclearance scheme and Join Family Entry Visa through the AVATS application system. After submitting the initial form, they must file a full application and supporting documentation to their local Irish Embassy. Non-EEA family members may not enter Ireland until they receive an entry visa or preclearance approval notice.


Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.