How to Apply for a Work Visa in Ireland

Created: Jul 8, 2024 | Updated: Jul 8, 2024

If you're a non-EU/EEA or Swiss national looking to work in Ireland, you must first secure a job in Ireland and apply for a work permit from Ireland's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE). Also, if you're from a country that requires a visa to enter Ireland, you'll need to apply for a work visa from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). 

In this article, we’ll explain the different types of employment permits and requirements you must fulfil to get a work visa in Ireland. 


Table of Contents

Ireland Employment Permit types

If you are from one of the countries that require a visa to enter Ireland, you must first secure a job in Ireland and obtain a work permit from the Irish DETE before applying for a work visa. Ireland offers several employment permits for different occupations. The main categories include:

  1. Critical Skills Employment Permit: for highly skilled foreign workers in sectors with labour shortages. Holders of this permit do not need to take the Labour Market Needs Test.
     
  2. General Employment Permit: for other professionals who do not qualify for the critical skills permit. There is no predefined list of eligible occupations for this permit, except those listed in the ‘Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits.
     
  3. Dependant/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit: for spouses, partners, or dependents of the critical skills employment permit holders. This permit allows you to work in any profession, even those listed as ineligible for other permits, except as a domestic worker. Holders of this permit are exempt from paying visa application fees.
     
  4. Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit: for employees transferring to the Irish branch of their current company. Job roles that qualify for this permit type include senior management, key personnel with specialist knowledge and trainees.
     
  5. Internship Employment Permit: for full-time foreign students enrolled in a higher education institution outside Ireland who want to gain work experience in Ireland. It is valid for 12 months and cannot be renewed.
     
  6. Contract for Services Employment Permit: for foreign workers employed by a foreign company who come to Ireland to work on behalf of their employer. However, the employer must have a contract with an Irish business or individual.
     
  7. Sport and Cultural Employment Permit: for foreign citizens whose skills, experience, or knowledge in sports and culture can help develop these sectors in Ireland.
     
  8. Exchange Agreement Employment Permit: for foreign workers participating in international exchange programs involving Ireland, such as The Fulbright Programme and the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE).
     
  9. Reactivation Employment Permit: for former permit holders who lost their right to work in Ireland due to circumstances beyond their control, such as workplace exploitation or abuse. This permit helps them regain legal work status in Ireland.

Employment permit exemptions

Certain non-EAA nationals do not need an employment permit to work in Ireland. These include: 

  • Workers legally employed in an EAA member state who are temporarily sent to another Member state.
  • People with specific permissions to stay in Ireland, such as spouses of Irish nationals or their civil partners, parents and dependents, and asylees on temporary leave based on humanitarian grounds.
  • Swiss nationals.
  • Employment permit holders with Stamp 4 immigration status. 
     

Where to apply for the Ireland work permit

To apply for an Ireland work permit, access the application form on the Employee Permits Online System (EPOS). Both you and your employer can apply through this platform, which will guide you in selecting the appropriate permit type.

Ireland's work visa requirements

You must meet some criteria to qualify for a work visa in Ireland. These include:

  • A job offer or work contract from an Irish employer.
  • For non-Critical Skills Employment Permits, your employer must pass the Labour Market Needs Test, ensuring no suitable Irish or EU/EAA/Swiss candidate is available.
  • A minimum annual salary of €38,000, for a Critical Skills Employment Permit, depending on the occupation.
  • The minimum salary for a General Employment Permit must be at least €34,000. Other permits may have different thresholds that meet the National Minimum Wage.
  • At least half of the employees in the Irish company hiring you must be EU/EEA/Swiss nationals.

Required documents for an Ireland work visa

When applying for your Ireland work visa online, you must attach various documents, depending on your employment permit type. These include: 

  • A valid passport with at least six months before expiration and two blank visa pages.
  • Previous passports, including details of any visa refusals.
  • A completed and signed online application form (with guardians' signatures if applicable).
  • Two recent colour photographs (measuring 35x45 mm) with a white background, labelled with your name.
  • Signed letter stating reasons for visiting Ireland, family details, stay duration, accommodation plans, and commitment to visa conditions.
  • Employment permit (e.g., Critical Skills, General) and employment contract if available.
  • Employer's letter confirming job details, salary, and accommodation arrangements.
  • Bank statement for the last six months showing transactions and sufficient funds.
  • Valid travel health insurance with an annual premium of approximately €1,594 to cover medical expenses during your stay.
  • Payment proof of visa and service fees (we discuss more on this below).
     

How can Translayte help?

When applying for your Ireland work permit, you must include certified translations for any document not in English or Irish. These translations must faithfully reproduce the original document’s text without adding or omitting any content. This attests that the translation was done by proficient Irish/English translators fluent in both languages, a requirement we strictly adhere to at Translayte. Besides certified translation services in Ireland, we also offer notarisation upon request for added authentication, to ensure that your documents meet the highest required standards. 

How much is a work visa in Ireland?

The cost of a work visa in Ireland varies depending on the Irish visa type and validity period. The work visa fee ranges from €500 for a validity of up to six months to €1,000 for a validity of up to 24 months. Renewals cost €1,500 for six to 36 months.

You must also pay a visa processing fee to cover the cost of handling your application. Single entries cost €60 while multiple entries cost €100

However, citizens from specific countries who meet certain criteria set by the Irish authorities may qualify for a waiver. Applicants for an Exchange Agreement Permit under international agreements are also eligible for a fee waiver for stays up to two years.

How to get a work visa in Ireland

Once you've applied for your work permit, you can apply for an Irish work visa. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you apply for an Ireland work visa:

  • Choose your visa type: Verify which work visa you need, based on your job offer and qualifications. 
     
  • Prepare required documents: Gather all the necessary documents, ensuring they are correct and complete. 
     
  • Complete the online application: Visit the Online Visa/Preclearance Application Facility (AVATS) to access the online application form. Answer all questions truthfully and in English. Save your progress as you go.  
     
  • Print application summary: After completing the online form, print a summary of your application for your records. 
     
  • Submit supporting documents: After submitting the online application, send a signed copy of your application summary and other required supporting documents including the applicable visa fee to the designated office (either an Irish embassy/consulate or a Visa Application Centre). The online summary includes instructions on submitting your application and paying the fees
     

Ireland work visa processing time

The processing time for an Ireland work visa ranges from four to eight weeks or more from the submission date, depending on the visa type you applied for and the volume of applications received. 

Other factors that determine the processing time include the completeness of your application, required interviews and requests for additional information. Always check the Irish Immigration Service website or contact the nearest Irish embassy or consulate for the most current information. 

 

FAQs about Ireland work visas

When should I apply for an employment visa? 

You can apply for any work visa type up to three months before your planned travel date to Ireland. It's advisable to do so immediately after receiving your employment permit.
 

Do I need an employment permit before I apply for a work visa in Ireland?

Yes. You must get an employment permit from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) before applying for a work visa in Ireland, except you are exempt from this requirement. 
 

Can I appeal the decision if my application is denied?

Yes. If your application for a work visa in Ireland is denied, you can appeal the decision directly to the INIS. Ensure to submit relevant supporting documents and adhere to the specified appeal guidelines and timelines provided.
 

Can I transition from an Ireland work visa to long-term residency status? 

Yes. You can transition from an Ireland work visa to permanent residence. To qualify, you must hold a valid employment permit, complete a minimum of 60 months (five years) of legal residence in Ireland, and maintain legal residency throughout the application process. 

You must also be employed during and after the application, have a clean record with the Irish police, and ensure you have not been an undue financial burden on the country. If your application is successful, your spouse and dependents may also apply, provided they meet the same residency requirements.

 

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