What type of visa should you apply if you are in a relationship with an Irish citizen?

Irish citizens are in the enviable position of being able to apply under the Immigration EEA Regulations 2016 or if they wish they can also submit an application pursuant to the  Immigration Rules as they are considered ‘settled’ in the UK from their date of entry in the country.

For instance, if an Irish citizen is in a relationship with a non-EEA national, their family members could apply for an EEA family permit, and significantly, they do not need to pay the application fees and immigration health surcharge (IHS) for this application.

In addition, the fiancé (e) of an Irish citizen could also apply for a fiancé (e) visa to enter the UK under Appendix FM. However, they will need to pay the hefty immigration fees and meet the more stringent criteria of the Immigration Rules.

You can apply for an EEA family permit to come to the UK if you are:

  • a visa national residing outside the UK


  • the family member or ‘extended’ family member of an EEA or Swiss national

Who can be qualifying as a direct family member of an EEA citizen?

You must be the EEA citizen’s spouse or civil partner, or related to them (or their spouse or civil partner) as their:

  • child or grandchild under 21 years old, or dependent child or grandchild of any age
  • dependent parent or grandparent

Direct family members have an automatic right of residence in the UK for as long as they remain the family member of that EEA national and that person is either:

  • entitled to reside in the UK for an initial period of 3 months
  • ‘a qualified person’ (working, looking for work, self-employed, studying or self-sufficient)
  • has a right of permanent residence

Please note that an Irish citizen can also sponsor his/her partner if they have been in a durable relationship (the latter usually implies having cohabitated for a 2 years period) under either the EEA Regulations (extended family member) or under Appendix FM of the rules you should seek expert legal advice to discuss the specific circumstances of yours and your partner’s case in order to identify the most appropriate strategy.

Contact Our Immigration Team

For pragmatic advice regarding a prospective application as a European national or a family member of an EEA, please contact our immigration team of experts on 0203 384 3075 or contact us here.

The content of this article is for general use and information only. Since each case should be prepared on its own merit and in light of the constant amendments to the Immigration Rules, it is important to note that the information provided must not be relied upon unless Migra & Co has either given written consent or has been officially engaged in relation to a specific immigration matter. As a result, Migra & Co will take no responsibility for any damage, cost or loss resulting from relying on the information contained in this article, blog and website.

We remain open for business and can arrange meetings by phone call or video conferencing to advise and assist with any UK immigration matters.
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