For EU citizens, living and working in Ireland is extremely simple. As the EU encourages movement of workers between countries, you’ll find a range of services to support you in your move.
EEA and Switzerland
The European Economic Area (EEA) was established in 1994 to enable free movement of people, goods and services between the 28 member states in the EU as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Although Switzerland has not joined the EEA, as a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), it has a number of agreements that allow it to participate.
Moving and staying
You won’t need a visa or employment permit if you’re moving to Ireland from the EEA or Switzerland, however you will need to have a valid passport/ID card. You can stay up to 90 days in Ireland with no restrictions, and after that, the restrictions are minimal. To stay in Ireland over 90 days you’ll need to:
- Be employed, or be self-employed
- Have enough funds and sickness insurance to support yourself and any dependents
- Be enrolled as a student or a trainee
- Be a family member of an EU citizen in one of the above categories
If you are a UK citizen, these restrictions don’t apply.
It’s a good idea to keep a record of your residence in Ireland by registering with your country’s embassy in Ireland when you arrive. After 5 years in Ireland, you’ll have a right to permanent residence.
Bringing your Family/Dependents
You’re entitled to bring your family to Ireland with you. Your family is defined as your spouse/civil partner, children under 21 years (or older if dependent), your parents and your parents-in-law. As of 2015, same-sex spouses and civil partners are recognised in Ireland. If your family members are also from the EEA or Switzerland, no further action is required.
If your family members are from outside the EEA or Switzerland, they can still come with you but they will need to apply for residence cards and may also require entry visas. They will also need to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), but as family members of an EU/EEA citizen, there will be no charge for this registration. For more details, see our Immigration to Ireland page.
As an EU/EEA citizen, once you’re here you are entitled to the same employment rights as Irish citizens and you may apply for any job. You can also stay in Ireland if you’re unemployed and looking for work. Any unemployment benefits you have been receiving in your home country may be transferred to Ireland for 3 months (6 months in some cases).
You can also take advantage of the European Employment Services (EURES) network, which was established to help both EU/EEA employees and employers by providing information and advice on living and working in another EU country. EURES also assists with job applications, hosts a number of International Job Fairs and hosts the EURES portal –an extensive information resource available in 25 EU languages. DIALOG is a EURES Ireland initiative which is specifically for international workers in Ireland and organises regular seminars and workshops for job seekers.