Visas for Family Members of EU Nationals
Family members of EU/EEA/Swiss citizens seeking to reply on Directive 2004/38/EC (Free Movement Directive) – type of visa for which you should apply
If you are a non-EEA national:
- who does not hold a document called “Residence card of a family member of a Union citizen” as referred to in Articles 5(2) and 10(1) of Directive 2004/38/EC on the rights of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of Member States, and
- wishes to accompany or join an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen family member who is moving to or residing in Ireland pursuant to the Directive 2004/38/EC,
You can apply for a single journey short-stay C visa which will permit you to enter and reside in the State for up to 3 months.
In the event that you wish to remain in the State for more than 3 months as a family member of an EU citizen exercising their free movement rights, you must apply (when in the State) for a Residence Card of a family member of a Union citizen.
How to apply
You must apply online for a visa.
When you have completed the online application process, you must follow the instructions on the summary application form that is created by the online system. The summary form will contain information on where you are to submit your supporting documentation. The summary form which you must print, sign and date must be submitted with your supporting documentation.
You may be required to provide your Biometric Information as part of the application process.
The visa fee for a short stay single entry visa is €60.
If you are a ‘qualifying family member’ of an EU/EEA /Swiss Citizen you are exempt from the visa fee.
The list of ‘qualifying family members’ is as follows:
- Child ( under 21 years)
- Child (under 21 years) of the spouse
- Adopted child (subject to adoption papers)
- Dependent parent
- Dependent parent of the spouse
- Other dependent family members in the direct ascending line ( e.g. grandparent) or descending line( e.g. grandchild)
- Other dependent family members of the spouse in the direct ascending (e.g. grandparent) or descending line ( e.g. grandchild)
If you attend a VFS Centre to lodge your application, a logistics/ administrative fee may be applied by VFS. You are exempt from any other administrative fees relating to the processing of your visa application and may lodge your application in person at the relevant Irish Embassy/Consulate/Visa Office. Any postage or courier charges associated with the submission of your application are at your own expense.
If you are a family member other than a ‘qualifying family member’ you are required to pay the visa fee. Such family members are referred to in the relevant Irish statutory provisions as ‘permitted family members’
If you are required to pay the visa fee you may be able to pay the fee in local currency. You may be subject to additional charges relating to the submission of your documents. The website of the Visa Office/Embassy/ Consulate will have details about additional charges and local payment options.
How long it will take
Applications for a residence card should be decided within six months. However t there have been significant delays n that regard. Sinnott Solicitors can assist any applicant who has experienced a lengthy delay in processing time or an application whose application has been refused. We have taken judicial cases before the High Court on behalf of our clients and those cases made their way to the European Court of Justice
Applications from ‘qualifying family members’ are processed on an accelerated basis.
Applications from ‘permitted family members’ are not subject to the accelerated process. Processing times can vary..
In order for you to establish that you are a ‘qualifying family member’ or a ‘permitted family member’ you must prove:
- that there is an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen from whom you can derive rights under the Directive,
- the existence of the required family relationship to that citizen including where relevant dependency or membership of the household,
- that you will be accompanying or joining that citizen who is exercising free movement rights in Ireland or provide a declaration or statement of confirmation that the citizen will be exercising those rights at the time of your arrival in Ireland.
The proofs that may be required are:
- proof of identity e.g. valid passports for the applicant family member and the EU citizen,
- proof of family link e.g. a valid marriage or birth certificate – this is so that the visa officer can ascertain that the applicant is a family member of the EU citizen,
- where relevant, proof of dependency or membership of the household,
- proof that the EU/EEA/Swiss citizen is exercising free movement rights in Ireland e.g. proof that the EU/ EEA/Swiss citizen already resides in the State or a declaration or statement of confirmation that the EU/EEA/Swiss citizen will be exercising those rights at the time of the applicant family member’s arrival in Ireland – this is so that the visa officer can ascertain that the applicant family member will be residing in the State together with the citizen concerned.
If you submit a document that is not in English/Irish, it must be accompanied by a full translation. Each translated document must contain:
- confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document;
- the date of the translation;
- the translator’s full name and signature; and
- the translator’s contact details.
All letters submitted from a business, company or other organisation should be on official headed paper and give full contact details so that they can be verified. These must include a full postal address, name of contact, position in the organisation, telephone number (landline), website, and email address (email addresses such as Yahoo or Hotmail are not accepted)
Visa Applications on behalf of a child (person under 18)
If a child under the age of 18 is travelling alone their birth certificate must be submitted with their application.
If a child under the age of 18 is travelling either alone or with a person other than their parent/legal guardian (e.g. adult relative), a written letter of consent from both parents/legal guardians is required.
These signed consents must be accompanied by copies of the consenting parent/legal guardians’ passports or national identity cards, which clearly show their signatures.
If the child is travelling with one parent/legal guardian, the consent of the other parent/legal guardian is required. This signed consent must be accompanied by a copy of the consenting parent/legal guardian’s passport or national identity card which clearly shows their signature.
Where one parent has sole custody, a Court Order bestowing sole custody of the child on the parent concerned must be submitted.
EU family member Visa Approval
If an application for a residence card is successful the Minister shall issue a letter granting the family member a residence card (Stamp 4EUFAM) for a period up to five years. There is no automatic entitlement to a Residence Card on the basis that you were granted a visa. Residence Card holders can travel between European member states without the requirement of a visa when accompanied by their EU citizen family member. Please see our detailed section about EU Residence cards on our website https://sinnott.ie/immigration/eu-treaty-rights/
In the event that your visa application is approved you will be issued with a single journey short stay ‘C’ visa which will permit you to enter and reside in the State for up to 3 months.
If you are granted a short stay ‘C’ visa on the basis of the Directive and are joining an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen who is exercising free movement rights in the State you are advised to ensure that, on arrival in the State, you have proof of the EU/EEA/Swiss citizen’s residence in the State in your possession for production on request to the Immigration Official at the port of entry.
Failure to provide such proof may result in you being refused entry to the State and a visa warning being entered on your passport.
If you are granted a short stay ‘C’ visa on the basis of the Directive and accompanying an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen who intends to exercise free movement rights in the State you must, on arrival in the State, be accompanied by the EU/EEA/Swiss citizen.
Failure to be accompanied by the EU/EEA/Swiss citizen may result in you being refused entry to the State and a visa warning being entered on your passport.
In the event that you wish to remain in the State for more than 3 months as a family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen exercising their free movement rights, you must apply (when in the State) for a Residence Card of a family member of a Union citizen.
What if the circumstances of the applicant change?
A family member may in very specific circumstances retain their right of residence if the EU citizen dies, leaves the State or obtains a divorce/annulment. A family member may also retain the right of residence if they have been the victim of domestic abuse. An application for retention of a residence card (EU5) would be made in those circumstances. Sinnott Solicitors have a detailed section on the website about retention of residence cards here: https://sinnott.ie/immigration/eu-treaty-rights/#Retention_Residence_Applications
Long term residency Application
If the EU citizen continues to exercise their free movement rights after five years of residence the family member may apply for permanent residence by completing an EU3 application form with documentary evidence confirming the requirements for permanent residence have been established. If granted permanent residence the family member retains the right of residence for a period of 10 years.
What happens if your application is not successful?
If an application for a residence card is refused the family member may seek a review of the decision and explaining why there was an error in fact/law.
If a family member of an EU citizen has been refused residency after a review they may be subject to a removal order/deportation. It is important that you obtain legal advice if you find yourself in that situation.
Judicial Review of EU Residence Card Refusals
Ultimately if your application for a residence card is refused, you may be entitled to make an application for judicial review to the High Court in respect of the refusal. For a detailed discussion on the Judicial Review Process, please see the judicial review section on our website as follows: https://sinnott.ie/judicial-review/