Continuing the extremely boring but necessary topic for international marriages: today I will focus on bringing your non EU spouse to EU country. Because bringing your pet was more important and a priority to cover on this blog.
In the first part I will talk about Ireland and in my next post I will write how it looks in Poland. Rules are slightly different, in Ireland there’s EU1 card, some countries have a family passport etc. etc. so it would be great if you shared your own experience to help other international couples.
I have to say that even thought in Ireland we need a lot of paperwork to be done, it’s almost free if you don’t count the cost of printing an official bank statement or sending a registered letter at the post office. In most of the cases you can forget about expensive lawyer and stressful interviews (I’m looking at you, US – but I totally get why you have to be strict about it). With spending maximum 25 Euro we are now awaiting the decision if Sing can get a 5 years stay. Did I mention that in the time you wait for the decision your non-EU spouse CAN WORK or traveler around, just like being EU citizen him-/herself! How cool is that?
Please remember I’m talking about a Hong Kong citizen who doesn’t need a visa for a 90 days visitor stamp. If your loved one is required to have a visa to enter EU countries he or she is required to obtain a re-entry visa if you want to leave Ireland, for example to travel. It’s the official information we got in the letter from Irish Naturalisation And Immigration Service so I guess it’s better to keep that in mind.
Now let’s start step by step!
1. Before you start anything GET YOUR PPS number. It’s something like social security card in America, but you don’t need to pay PPS-tax and basically you need it for anything. Especially one letter proving you never took welfare in Ireland.
To get the PPS you need to provide proof of the address (it can be a bill in your name or a letter from a friend you live with and bill under his name, but I went there 4 times until they said my proof is valid enough so I guess the tenancy agreement is the most powerful proof of the address you can have and once you have it be sure you make yourself a bank account and that your landlord or the agency sent out your information to PRTB because you will need it later on), valid passport or national identity card and A REASON. I know it sounds stupid, but you won’t get PPS just like this, you need to have a letter of offer of employment, school enrollment or letter from a bank – there is a whole list you can find on welfare.ie. To be honest the easiest way is through driving license form and we went that way. 20 minutes and one extremely ugly photo later you get the good news that your letter will come in around 10 business days, but both of our letters took around a week.
2. Once you get a PPS you go to the Department of Social Protection with your PPS number and ask them to write a short letter you never took welfare in Ireland.
3. Now it gets much much easier and faster. You have to chose what is your exercise of EU Treaty Rights: employment, self-employment, study, involuntary unemployment and residing with sufficient resources. You need to be engaged in one or more of the activities to apply for the card.
We chose residing with sufficient resources living in a rented flat so I will focus on those circumstances.
If you’re working or studying or own your own flat, have kids etc. you will be asked to bring different documents, you can find full lists by clicking here (click click).
For the EU1 form itself click here (click click)
4. Take Irish passport-sized photos of you and your spouse. It costs about 7.50 Euro for I think 6 photos at O’Sullivans (chain pharmacy-and-more stores).
5. Start collecting your personal documents. Submit ORIGINAL passport for your spouse and ORIGINAL passport or national identity card for yourself (EU citizen). You also need to submit ORIGINAL evidence of relationship with the EU citizen, in our case it was marriage licence. Only those documents are submitted in their original form, the documents in part 6 and 7 are COPIES.
6. Once you’re done with personal documents start collecting COPIES of the evidence of current activities. Since we applied as ‘residing with sufficient resources’ we had to present copies of bank statements (only official statements count, not printed from online banking or at the bank itself, it takes around 4 business days to get them and for AIB it costs 3 Euro per page), copy of the magic letter I wrote about in the part 2 that you didn’t take any welfare, copy of the letter from your insurance provided, it needs to cover both of you (we used VHI, circa 80 euro a month for both of us).
The most tricky part about this activity is that they never tell you how much is enough, some sites say 20k, some other people say that minimum 30k Euro in savings, but once we get the answer I surely tell you.
7. Last but not the least is collecting the COPIES of evidence of residence for both of you. If you’re renting like us you need to provide copies of letter from landlord/agency or the tenancy agreement (that you already used to get your PPS, right?), copies of your PRTB letters (it can take month or more but if you call them you can get it in 4 business days just like we got) and copies of utility bills for the applicant and the EU citizen (we still didn’t get any in both of our names since electric bill is issued every two months and we didn’t want to wait, but we send out different bills under our names at the same address).
8. Now you put all the documents, passports, photos and other evidence into a nice big envelope and send as registered or express mail to EU Treaty Rights Unit, Residence Division, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 and wait for their respond.
In meantime you will receive two letters from INIS – first one will inform you what documents they got and eventually if they need more of them (in our case it was PRTB letter), at the same time they will give back the original documents and passports (we asked them to give them back ASAP so we can visit my family and guess what – in less than a week from the date I SEND the documents, I already got those back) and the other one will be your permission to reside in state, that also means you’re allowed to work. With the letter, national card/passport of the EU party and passport of non-EU party, and the evidence of the relationship, you go to the Immigration Office at your local Garda (Police) station and your spouse will get a special stamp (and a card 11 days later in Limerick) in his passport saying (s)he awaits the decision and has a right to reside in the state until such and such date or until you get a result.
You do exactly the same when you receive the approval.
It isn’t as bad as it looks, it doesn’t take as much time to complete all the documents and if I knew the trick with PPS and welfare letter, if I knew I had to make sure our information will be sent to PRTB it would make me much less stressed and I hope this whole post will save trouble to all of you who wants to move to Ireland with their non-EU spouse.
For now – please keep your fingers crossed for us!
I hope I wrote everything, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask and if you been in a similar situation, as I said, it would be great if you shared how it looks in your country or what you had to do to live in your spouse’s country. Let’s help each other out 🙂