De Facto Partners and Researchers – Stamp 1G and Preclearance

Stamp 1G

We wrote about the “stamp 3” changes in a recent update.

In summary, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) introduced a long-awaited policy change allowing spouses and de facto partners of critical skills employment permit (CSEP) holders and researchers in the State pursuant to a Hosting Agreement (Researchers), to register their permission to remain on “stamp 1G” conditions. The new “stamp 1G” will allow the holder to work in the State without the need to obtain an employment permit. Previously, “stamp 3” permission was given in these circumstances.


Alongside this change, as of 1st April 2019, a new preclearance policy has been introduced for visa and non-visa required non-EEA de facto partners of CSEP holders and Researchers wishing to travel to the State to live with their partner.

This represents one of the first streamlined “preclearance” applications for non-visa required non-EEA nationals. It is a welcome change which will provide clarity to non-visa required nationals who wish to move to Ireland. Their applications will be assessed prior to their entry to the State so that they are not required to move to Ireland without knowing if or when they will ultimately be granted permission to reside in the State.

Applications are made via an application form prior to travel and there is an administrative fee of €100. If successful, applicants will receive a “preclearance approval letter” which they must present when seeking entry to the State. After entering the State, they will be required to register their permission to remain in the State in the usual way at their local immigration office.

A number of eligibility criteria apply, including that the applicant has resided with their de facto partner for at least two years prior to the application and that both the applicant and CSEP holder/Researcher must obtain medical insurance for themselves and any dependant family members.

The “stamp 1G” permission granted will be for the same duration as that granted to the CSEP holder/Researcher. It is reckonable for the purposes of a naturalisation application, but will not allow the holder to work in the State on a self-employed basis.

Waiting times

While this change is helpful, for the policy to be effective in practice, preclearance applications should ideally not take longer than the processing time for an employment permit so that the family unit is not unduly disrupted due to lengthy administrative processing times for the application of the de facto partner. The INIS state that an 8 week decision period is expected. This will be in addition to the visa application waiting time, for visa-required nationals, as pre-clearance applications must be decided first in those cases before a visa application is made (with the exception of countries where biometric information is required).

Dependant Family Members

One category of persons that have not been dealt with fully in the changes, is dependant family members. The policy states that dependant family members can register on “stamp 3” conditions, as before. It appears that they will therefore still be required to obtain an employment permit if they wish to work in the State e.g. a 16 year old student who wishes to get a part-time or summer job. Is the dependant employment permit still in existence for those persons? Additional clarity on this from the Department of Justice and the Department of Business would be welcome.

Contact Aileen

Aileen Gittens, Solicitor, can assist you in all areas of Irish Immigration – e.g. applications for visas, regularising status in the State, naturalisation applications, employment permits applications, long term residency, immigrant investor programme etc.

If you have a query, contact her at:

Phone: +353 (0) 1 873 5012