Immigration to Ireland

Introducing the Republic of Ireland which is a non-continental European Country (it is located on an island), with a unique northern culture. Ireland has well preserved it's culture, traditions and has a very rich history - it was the center of many armed conflicts since medieval times. Statistics tell us that the population of Ireland currently can be estimated at around 6.3 million. The dominant ethnic groups are Irish, Anglo-Irish and Ulster Scots. The official languages are Irish and English.

The Official currency is the Euro (EUR). Ireland is a member state of the European Union (since 1973), however, it is not a part of Schengen area, instead of being a member of the 'Common Travel Area' with the UK – which is similar to Schengen, but only the UK and Ireland are members.

Immigration services

Immigration services in the Republic of Ireland are pretty well developed. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (, which is responsible for immigration issues, does offer residence permits for a variety of reasons.

Immigration service providers

Here are three email address of companies which offer immigration services in Ireland:

  • E-mail:

N.B. You should keep in mind, that Ireland has a legal system (Anglo-Saxon law), which dramatically differs from European continental legal system (Germanic law). Therefore, it is highly recommended to consult with local lawyers, before making any decisions or legal commitments.

Lawful Immigration

In order for immigration to Ireland to be lawful, immigrant needs to follow all the requirements provided by the legal regulations of the Republic of Ireland. There are several possibilities, depending on the purpose of your visit. You will need a visa, work permit or residence permit in order to visit and/or reside in the country. If you plan to immigrate to Europe for a reasons of work or study – this might be a good option.

The main laws, which regulate immigration to Ireland – are the Immigration Act 2004 and the Aliens Act 1935.

Immigration law

The main immigration law for immigrants from non-EU states in the Republic of Ireland is the Immigration Act 2004 and Aliens Act 1935. Because Ireland does not participate in the Schengen area, the procedure for immigration of non-EU citizens requires extra checks and inspections.

Immigration Statistics

Immigration Statistics in Ireland have been very dynamic since 2003. Since Ireland is located on an island – it is quite hard for illegal immigrants to reach it. The most commonly used tactic is overstaying a valid visa. Currently, most of the immigrants, residing in Ireland, are from other European Union countries. There are many immigrants from Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

The Irish economy proved itself to be very flexible. For the last decade, Ireland provided a large amount of employment for immigrants. During the period 2006 – 2008, Ireland annually hosted around 80 – 100 thousand immigrants.

Most popular cities by population

The most popular city by population is Dublin (1 110 627 people). The second biggest city by population is Cork, which is about 5,5 times smaller (198 582 people) than Dublin.

The population of Dublin increases about 6% every 5 years. On average, according to immigration statistics for the year 2012, there were 2 immigrants for every 1000 population in Ireland.

Migration in and out of Schengen area

The Republic of Ireland is not a member state of the Schengen area. However, border control procedures used for Schengen member states citizens, entering Ireland, are not as strict as for those, who enter Ireland from third countries.

Here is what The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service says about entering Ireland: Non-EEA nationals are required to seek to leave to enter the State by reporting to an Immigration Officer at an Irish port of entry. The onus is on the individual to have all documentation relating to their reasons for entering Ireland for presentation to the Immigration Officer to gain entry. The Immigration Officer may grant leave to enter to a maximum period of three months. They may, depending on the documentation presented grant a lesser period than three months.

You can find more detailed information here:

Residence permit

Irish legislation is very flexible when it comes to the provision of visas and residence permits for immigrants. If you aren't a citizen of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, there are several forms of residence rights that allow you to live in Ireland. Normally, a residence permit in Ireland is called permission to remain. Permission to remain is granted by the Department of Justice and Equality and consists of a special stamp endorsed on your passport.

This is usually called a residence stamp. There are also opportunities to receive an employment permit, business permission or residence for study. There are also 2 investment programs: an immigrant investor program and start-up entrepreneur program.

If you are interested, read more here:

Immigration documents

To read more about the various immigration, residency and citizenship documents in Ireland, please refer to the immigration documents section.


Looking back on the history of immigration in Ireland, one of the biggest immigration waves to Ireland took place in the last few decades. A large number of citizens from Eastern European Countries, after becoming part of the European Union, immigrated to Ireland. According to data from the 2006 census, in year 2006 there were about 18 000 polish immigrants living in Dublin alone.