Post Brexit: UK Citizens and non-EEA Family Members
After the 31st December 2020, UK citizens moving to Ireland with their non-EEA family members are no longer able to benefit from the Free Movement Directive (Directive 2004/38EC) which gives broad family reunification rights to EEA citizens. While UK citizens continue to have the right to live and work in Ireland, there is now no automatic right for UK citizens to bring their non-EEA family members with them to Ireland.
The Department of Justice have introduced a new application process specifically for UK citizens who move to Ireland after the 31st December 2020 and who wish to bring their non-EEA family members. It does not apply to family members of UK national who were living in Ireland and exercising their free movement rights prior to the 31st December 2020 as their rights and entitlements are guaranteed by the Withdrawal Agreement.
This new scheme applies for both visa required and non-visa required family members of UK nationals. Non-visa required nationals will need to apply for pre-clearance before moving to Ireland.
Who does this scheme apply to?
This scheme applies to you if you are a non-EEA national and you are planning on moving to Ireland with your UK citizen family member after the 31st December 2020. You must make your application from outside of the State and remain outside of the State while your application is pending. You will need to produce a pre-clearance approval certificate or a valid visa at the Irish border.
The Department of Justice has outlined three different categories of family members:
- Category 1: Spouse, civil partner or de facto partner
- Category 2: Dependent child of sponsor, sponsor’s spouse/civil partner/de facto partner
- Category 3: Elderly dependent parents of sponsor, sponsor’s spouse/civil partner/de facto partner.
Non-EEA family members must have private health insurance from a company authorised by the Health Insurance Authority for the duration of their time in Ireland at a level which provides private healthcare for any period of hospitalisation in a private hospital.
Additionally, non-EEA family members must provide a police clearance certificate or equivalent, not more than 6 months old for each country he/she has resided in within the past five years.
Financial Criteria to sponsor an application
The UK citizen sponsor must not have been totally or predominantly reliant on State benefits (in Ireland or elsewhere) for a continuous period of at least 2 years prior to the application.
The UK citizen sponsor must be able to show that they have earned in each of the 3 years before the application:
- €20,000 gross p/a (over and above any state benefits) to apply for a spouse/civil partner or de facto partner where the couple does not have any dependent children.
- Net income over the threshold to qualify for the Working Family Payment to apply for dependent children.
- Net income of €60,000 after tax for one parent and €75,000 after tax for two parents. The sponsor will be required to sign a legal undertaking to saying they will bear complete financial responsibility for the elderly parent and that any State funds availed of by the relative will be reimbursed by the sponsor.
What is meant by dependency?
For the purposes of this Scheme, any child under 18 years of age who is living with their parents will be automatically assumed as their dependent. The child must be
- the direct descendant of the sponsor or of his/her spouse, civil partner or de facto partner, or
- a legally adopted child of the sponsor or of his/her spouse, civil partner or de facto partner.
It is more difficult to show that an adult child is dependent. The sponsor must be able to demonstrate that the adult child is financially supported by the sponsor and /or the sponsor’s spouse, civil partner or de facto partner on a continuous basis. The dependency must be pre-existing, and sustained prior to the making of the application for family reunification.
The Department of Justice have provided the following examples of dependency:
- the applicant(adult child) is in full-time education in their country of origin or current country of residence and intends to continue in full time education in the State, he/she is under 23 years of age, and needs the financial support of the sponsor and/or the spouse, civil partner or de facto partner of the sponsor,
- where the applicant is not in full time education in the State, he/she is over the age of 18 and is dependent on the care of the parent sponsor, directly or indirectly, due to a serious medical condition that makes independent life impossible,
- having regard to health, financial or social conditions, the applicant could not meet his/her essential living needs (in whole or in part) without the financial or other material support of the sponsor and/or the spouse, civil partner or de facto partner of the sponsor,
- such support is being provided to the applicant by the sponsor and/or the spouse, civil partner or de facto partner of the sponsor, and
- the need for such support existed in the applicant’s country of origin or his / her country of residence immediately prior to coming to the State
In the case of elderly dependent parents the sponsor must prove that
- there is no viable alternative to the parent coming to the State,
- the parent does not have financial resources to meet their essential needs in their country of origin, or country of residence even with remittances from the sponsor,
- the parent is not physically capable of independent living,
- there are no other family members in the parent’s country of residence/origin capable of providing support,
- they can meet the financial thresholds for earnings to support the elderly parent(s) if they come to live in the State.
Elderly dependent parents must be covered by private medical insurance at or above the level which provides for private healthcare in a private hospital.
How do I apply?
There are three parts to the application process:
- Fill in the online application form. This will generate an application summary form and declaration at the end which must be printed, signed and dated.
TIP: Visa required nationals need to select a ‘Long Stay (D)’ as a visa type and select ‘Join Family (UK National)’ as the reason for travel. Non visa required nationals need to select a ‘Long Stay (D)’ as a preclearance type, journey type as ‘single’ and select ‘Join Family (UK National)’ as the reason for travel.
- Supporting Documents: You will need to send in your national passport (valid for at least 12 months from the date of your proposed entry), copies of previous passports, 2 x passport-sized photographs, a letter of application which details your relationship history, evidence of medical insurance, up to six months bank statements and police clearance certificates. You may also need to provide biometric details. You can find more details on the supporting documents here.
- Fees: You may need to pay a €60 fee. Some nationalities are exempted from paying fees. You can find out more here.