Immigration permissions

You must have immigration permission to stay in Ireland if you are a non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizen. You must also register with immigration if you wish to stay here for longer than 3 months. 

First of all, you should be clear: What do you want to do in Ireland?

Or, maybe your intention is to apply for asylum, so called International protection. Then you must report to an immigration officer at border control before you enter the country. Read about the Irish asylum system and who can apply

If you are given permission to remain in Ireland, an immigration officer will place a stamp in your passport. Each stamp has conditions.

If your application for permission to stay in Ireland is successful, an immigration officer will put a stamp in your passport. This usually happens during a visit to a registration office.

About stamps

There are several types of stamp with different names, e.g. Stamp 0, Stamp 1, etc. Each one indicates a type of permission, including the:

  • Activities you can - and cannot do - in Ireland
  • Timeframe you are allowed to stay

For example, permission to study a degree in Ireland (as well as other types of study) is indicated by Stamp 2 or 2A. Language school semester as well will give you the right to get stamp 2 or 2A

You must be familiar with your stamp and the conditions that apply to it because if you break these conditions, you may have to leave the country.

Later, the time you accumulate on certain stamps may be used to calculate your 'reckonable residence' (subject to conditions) if you apply for citizenship by naturalisation.

Stamp 0 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a temporary period, subject to conditions.

Summary of conditions

You must be of independent means, i.e. fully financially self-sufficient

Alternatively, your sponsor in Ireland must be of independent means and can support you fully.

You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services, e.g. be treated at a public hospital.

You must have private medical insurance.

You must not work or engage in any business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS.

Examples when used

You may be given Stamp 0 if you have permission to:

Stamp 1 indicates permission to work or operate a business in Ireland, subject to conditions. Stamp 1 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

Summary of conditions

You must not start a job or enter employment unless you or your employer has obtained an employment permit for you.

If you do not have an employment permit you must not engage in any business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS.

If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

Examples when used

You may be given Stamp 1 if you have permission to:

Stamp 1A indicates permission in full time, paid accountancy training (with a named organisation regulated by the IAASA) for a specified period, subject to conditions. 

Stamp 1A is not reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

Summary of conditions

You must not engage in any other business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS.

If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

Examples when used

You may be given Stamp 1A if you have permission to:

Stamp 1G indicates you have finished your studies in Ireland and have permission to look for employment here under the Third Level Graduate Programme, subject to conditions.

Summary of conditions

You can work for a maximum of 40 hours per week.

If you wish to continue working after Stamp 1G expires, you must find a job that requires an employment permit and then follow the usual application process.

Your other permissions and conditions remain the same as for Stamp 2/2A.

Examples when used

You may be given Stamp 1G if you have permission to:

Stamp 2 indicates permission to study a full time course on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP) for a specified period, subject to conditions. 

Stamp 2 is not reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

Summary of conditions You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services (e.g. public hospitals) unless you have an entitlement via other means.

You can work in casual employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week during school term and 40 hours per week during holidays.

You must not engage in any other business or trade.

If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

Examples when used

You may be given Stamp 2 if you have permission to study the following:

Stamp 2A indicates permission for full time study in Ireland for a course that is not on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP), for a specified period. Stamp 2A is not reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

Summary of conditions

You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services, e.g. public hospitals. You must have private medical insurance.

You must not work or engage in any business, trade or profession.

If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

Examples when used

You may be given Stamp 2A in the following circumstances:

  • Semester abroad (i.e. at an Irish university/college)
  • Study at a private secondary school in Ireland

Please read carefully this article

Stamp 3 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 3 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

Summary of conditions

You cannot work or engage in any business, trade or profession.

If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

Examples when used

You may be given Stamp 3 if you have permission to:

Stamp 4 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 4 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

Summary of conditions

You can take up employment and are not required to hold an Employment Permit.

(Note: You cannot be employed in the general labour market if you were granted permission under the Investor or Entrepreneur Programmes.)

You can work in a profession, subject to conditions of the relevant professional or other bodies.

You can establish and operate a business.

You may access state funds and services as determined by Government departments or agencies.

If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

Examples when used

You may be given Stamp 4 if you have had permission to work in Ireland:

You may be given Stamp 4 if you are granted permission:

It may happen, that after 5 years of legal residing in Ireland you will decide to apply for citizenship by naturalisation. Please make sure, you are using the right form, after the 8th of June 2018 there is a new form in place for adults. Please read carefully the article in our blog

Stamp 5 indicates permission to stay in Ireland without limits on the time you can remain here, subject to other conditions. Stamp 5 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

The stamp will be valid up to the expiry date on your passport.

Examples when used

You may be given Stamp 5 if you have permission to:

Stamp 6 indicates you are an Irish citizen with dual-citizenship.

Examples when used

You may be given Stamp 6 in your non-Irish passport if you have applied for permission to:

You may apply yourself and get any of this stamp, or you better ask you lawyer for help in order to proceed correctly and then your application would be successful and you will avoid writing long letters of explanations, what and why you have done wrongly or why have you broken immigration laws, rules or conditions. Just to remind you that if you break immigration laws, rules or conditions, you may have to leave the country.

If you are thinking about change of your immigration status, please read this article firstly