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Stamp 4

Immigration stamps enable non-EEA nationals to live, work, invest, do business, and study in Ireland. The stamps vary by number and are subject to conditions. Stamp 4 is one of the most popular and common stamps in Ireland. If you want to work without an employment permit or do business and access publicly funded services, you can achieve it with Stamp 4 permission.

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Stamp 4 is immigration permission for foreign nationals to work, live, study, and operate businesses in Ireland without an employment permit. Stamp 4 stands out among all Irish immigration stamps as the ultimate boon for immigrants that are non-EEA nationals. Typically, citizens from a non-visa-required country (or spouse/civil partner to one) don’t need to apply for a visa or employment permit to enter Ireland.

If you’re not a citizen of Ireland and want to stay in Ireland for more than 90 days, ordinarily, you need to get immigration permission and an employment permit. However, with Stamp 4, you are not restricted to conditions and permits. You can do the following things:

  • Work without an employment permit in any profession.

  • Start and run a business.

  • Access state funds and services (subject to Government departments or agencies’ provisions).

Who Can Apply for Stamp 4?

Summary of conditions
You can take up employment and are not required to hold an Employment Permit. You can work in a profession, subject to conditions of the relevant professional or other bodies.

You can establish and operate a business. You may access state funds and services as determined by Government departments or agencies. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

Examples when used
You may be given Stamp 4, after you have had a permission to work in Ireland:

  • With a valid Critical Skills Employment Permit for 2 years

  • With a valid employment permit for 5 years

  • As a researcher (with a valid Hosting Agreement) for 2 years.

You may be given Stamp 4 if you are granted permission:

  • To join and reside with your Irish spouse, civil partner or de-facto partner

  • As a convention or programme refugee, or based on subsidiary protection

  • To join your family member who is a recognised refugee or has been granted subsidiary protection

  • To remain with your child who is an Irish citizen

  • Under the Investor and Entrepreneur Programme (including spouse/partner & eligible family member)

  • For Long Term Residence.

Eligibility Requirements for Stamp 4

Your eligibility requirements depend on your visa programme.

For Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP)

The eligibility requirements for STEP are:

  • You must be of good character.

  • You must be free of criminal charges or convictions in any jurisdiction.

  • You must have €50,000 for the required funding.

  • You must have an innovative business proposal.


For Spouse, Civil Partner or De-facto Partners

The eligibility requirements are:

  • You must not be younger than 18 years of age at the time of your application for family reunification.

  • Your marriage must be monogamous, consensual, legalised, and recognised by Irish law.

  • Your partnerships must be similar to marriage and cohabiting for two years before family application.

  • Demonstrate commitment to be together permanently as couples, civil partners or de facto partners.


For Long Term Residency

If you have been offered an Irish Immigration permit, your eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • You must have completed at least 5-year legal residence in Ireland.

  • You must have qualifying stamps or valid Irish residence permit IRP cards as proof of 5-year legal residency.

  • You must have been an employment permit or critical skills employment permit holder.

  • You must have been of good character.

  • You must not have caused an unnecessary burden on the government.

  • You must not have an issue or record with the Irish police.

  • You must have been compliant with all your previous immigration permissions.

  • You must be a legal resident at the application.

  • You must be in employment before, during, and after your application. Self-employment is not allowed.

How Much Does Stamp 4 Registration?

You will be required to pay a fee of €300 per individual registration. Immigration officers may require additional fees depending on your situation.

The following persons do not need to pay for registration:

  • A person under 18 during the registration period.

  • A spouse/civil partner (or surviving) of an Irish citizen.

  • A resident EU citizen’s spouse or dependent.

  • A convention or programme refugee.

  • An individual granted Subsidiary Protection.

  • An individual with granted Permission to stay in Ireland.

  • A family member joined with a recognised refugee in Ireland.

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Yes, if you are currently outside Ireland you may be permitted to come to Ireland to work. You must check if you need immigration permission from the Department of Justice or an employment permit from the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to work before you travel or apply for a visa (if you are a visa required national).

In general, in order to come to Ireland to work a non-EEA national must hold a valid employment permit or immigration permission.

Employment permit
All first time applicants for employment permits must make their application while resident outside Ireland. The Irish employment permit system, which processes these applications, is operated by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE). Detailed information regarding the employment permit system can be found at the following link (DETE Employment Permit Information). If you are required to have an employment permit, you must obtain a permit before you apply for a visa (if you are a visa-required national) in order to travel to Ireland.

Atypical Working Scheme
The Department of Justice issues immigration permission under the Atypical Working Scheme. Information on who is covered can be found here.

Working Holiday Authorisation Programme
Information on the Working Holiday Authorisation Programme can be found here. This programme allows young people to fund an extended holiday through temporary work. Only certain nationalities may be able to participate in this programme.

Trainee Accountant
If you intend to come to Ireland to take up a position as a trainee accountant. Please click here for full details.

Minister of Religion
If you intend to travel to Ireland to work as a Minister of Religion, you will need preclearance approval. This applies to all Non-EEA nationals whether you require a visa or not. Please click here for full details.

If you intend to travel to Ireland to volunteer with an eligible body, you will need preclearance approval before traveling. This applies to all Non-EEA nationals whether you require a visa. Please click here for full details.

Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP)
The start-up entrepreneur programme (STEP) allows you to establish a business in Ireland and to work in the business on a full-time basis. You are not permitted to be employed in any other capacity and must not become a financial burden on the Irish State. You can find out more here.

Immigrant Investor Programme
The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) is open to non-EEA nationals who commit to an approved investment in Ireland. The IIP requires a minimum investment of €1 million, or €0.5 million (€500,000) if an endowment is made from the applicant’s resources and is not financed through a loan or other such facility. The closure of the programme was announced on 15 February 2024.  You can find out more here.

A non-EEA national who is legally employed by a company in an EU country may be permitted to provide services on a temporary basis to a company in another EU country, including Ireland, on behalf of his/her employer without the need to obtain an employment permit.

This is permitted under the Van Der Elst process, for more information and conditions see here. You will still be subject to Irish immigration rules and may require a visa before coming to Ireland.

You may be permitted to come to Ireland to carry out a research project with an accredited research institution under the Scheme for Accreditation of Research Organisations (Hosting Agreement Scheme).

Detailed information on this scheme, including on how to apply and accredited organisations can be found via the following link (DETE Hosting Agreement Scheme).

The scheme allows for a period of between three months to five years, to carry out a research project with an accredited research institution. You do not require a separate employment permit under this scheme.

You must have successfully obtained a Hosting Agreement before you apply for a visa (if you are a visa required national) and undertake travel to Ireland.

If you are a visa required national you must apply for a visa before travelling to Ireland. Find out if you need a visa.

You can apply for all employment visa types up to 3 months before your date of travel to Ireland. You should apply for a visa as soon as possible after the granting of an employment permit/hosting agreement/immigration permission.


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