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Work & Volunteer in Ireland

Information about Working and Volunteering in Ireland

Visiting Ireland, from certain countries outside of the EU, for a period of fewer than 3 months, requires a short stay visa. This is also known as a category 'C' visa. The maximum stay under a short-term visa is 90 days. This is usually applied for by people wishing to come to Ireland to study a short course, to go on holidays or to take a business trip. A short stay visa allows for a single entry or multiple entries to Ireland.

A long stay visa, also known as a category 'D' visa, allows people visiting Ireland, from counties that require a visa, to stay for more than 3 months. This is usually applied for by people looking to study for a longer time period, to work or to settle permanently in Ireland with family members who are already residents of Ireland. In any of these circumstances, if you wish to stay in Ireland longer than 3 months you must register at the registration office nearest your residence in Ireland. For more information on registration, see the Irish Department of Justice and Equality website.

If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen you can stay in Ireland for up to 3 months without restriction. To stay longer than 3 months you must be engaged in economic activity, enrolled as a student or vocational trainee, have enough resources to ensure that you do not become a burden on the social services of Ireland or have a family member in one of these categories. Citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) can live in Ireland without any conditions or restrictions.

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Work in Ireland

If you wish to come to Ireland and work you will need an Employment Visa. If you wish to stay here longer than 3 months you must also register with Irish Immigration. The Irish Employment Visa falls under the category 'D', long stay visa.

EU resident

If you are if you are a European Economic Area (EEA) citizen you can stay and look for work in Ireland. Your unemployment benefit, from your EEA county of origin, can be transferred and collected in Ireland for up to 3 months. If after, that period, you meet certain conditions, you can apply for Jobseeker's Allowance.

Non-EU resident

If you are a non-EU/EEA and a non-Swiss citizen then you must have immigration permission to stay in Ireland before you apply for an Employment Visa. At border control, you will need to produce your Employment Visa, employment contract and passport. Failure to produce any of these documents will result in you not being allowed to enter the country. If border control is satisfied with your documents then you will be asked to apply for permission to stay in Ireland and register with immigration.

These applications will have to be made before the date stamped on your passport. If you have a critical skills employment permit you can apply for a visa for your family at the same time as you are making your application. With any other employment permit, your family must wait 12 months before they can apply. You can not leave Ireland and travel to Northern Ireland & United Kingdom using your Irish visa. You must have a Re-entry visa.

Volunteer in Ireland

A volunteer visa falls under the category 'D', long stay, visa, i.e more than 90 days. This visa must be applied for at least 3 months before you travel to Ireland, please note that extra time may be needed in order to organise other documents such as proof of finances, medical insurance and proof of sponsorship.

You must apply for and receive a long stay visa before you travel. If approved you can, for example, work with a charity, voluntary or non-profit organisation that has sponsored your visit. This stay is for a time period of over 3 months and no more than 2 years. As a volunteer in Ireland, you cannot bring your family to stay with you. Your family can, however, apply for their own visas independently.

EU resident

Applications for an Irish volunteer visa must be made from the EU/EEA country that you are from or are a legal resident of. If approved an Irish volunteer visa will allow you to undertake a volunteering role within an eligible organisation for up to 2 years, an option of a 3rd year can also be applied for.

Non-EU resident

Non-EU, EEA and non-Swiss citizens can only apply for permission to be a Volunteer in Ireland if you have prior approval from the INIS, Department of Justice and Equality, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.

Who Can Volunteer in Ireland?

You can only apply to Volunteer in Ireland if you:

  • Are a non EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizen or have prior approval from the INIS.
  • Are aged 18 or older.
  • Have been offered volunteering work by an eligible organisation.
  • Can be financially supported, throughout your stay, by an eligible organisation.
  • Can provide police clearance certificate or equivalent, not older than 3 months.
  • Provide a child and/or vulnerable clearance (depending on your role) from An Garda Síochána.
  • Have proof of medical insurance from a company authorised by the Health Insurance Authority of Ireland to cover you for the duration of your stay.

Popular types of volunteering in Ireland

Examples of Volunteer Work in Ireland:

  • Youth Work
  • Befriending/Mentoring
  • Administrative/Office Work
  • Arts (Music/Drama/Crafts)
  • Sports/Outdoor Activities/Coaching
  • Teaching/Tutoring/Supporting Learning
  • Counselling/Listening
  • Events and Stewarding
  • Charity Work

There are an estimated 3,000 volunteering opportunities across Ireland at any one time. For further information on Volunteering In Ireland see volunteer.ie. You can also click here to find out about your rights as a volunteer in Ireland.

Studying in Ireland

The Third Level Graduate Scheme of 2017 states that a citizen from a non-EEA country who has been awarded a degree from a recognised third level education institution in Ireland can seek employment in Ireland, for a period of time after their studies. This is only applicable to students who have received a qualification at level 8 or higher. Please note, that some educational institutions in Ireland are accredited by an awarding body based outside of Ireland and so do not meet the criteria of this scheme.

Cost of living in Ireland

In 2018 the cost of living in Ireland was 8.9% higher than that of the U.S, excluding rent. The price of rental property is 6.3% higher in Ireland than that of the U.S. A 2016 study by the Irish Central Statistics Office found that Ireland was the 4th highest European country to live in. A 2017 study by Eurostat found that Ireland was the 2nd most expensive EU state in terms of goods and services.

Help and Further Information

  • Visas

  • Visa Division
  • Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service
  • Department of Justice and Equality
  • 13-14 Burgh Quay
  • Dublin 2
  • Ireland
  • D02 XK70
  • visamail@justice.ie
  • Work Permits

  • Registration