Family Reunification – Applications for Parental Migration

The Irish Naturalization and Immigration Services Policy Guidelines on Family Reunification  (December 2013) refers to applications when one person (an Irish citizen or resident) seeks to sponsor a non EEA member of their family. The guidelines make specific reference to cases where the Irish citizen is a child under 18 whose parents are seeking residence in Ireland. In these cases, the guidelines state that the child is not sponsoring the parent – instead, the parent’s residency is considered to be necessary for the wellbeing of the child. The rights of the child as a citizen are most important here.

The guidelines clearly distinguish the “Zambrano” category of cases, which involve parents of a European Union citizen child (which includes an Irish citizen child) obtaining a derived right of residence under EU law due to a risk the child will be removed/excluded from the territory of the EU. This judgment can play a key consideration in some, but not all, of  “parent of Irish citizen child” cases.

According to the guidelines, a parent seeking residency in Ireland through their child must essentially prove that they will be a positive fixture in the child’s everyday life. This means that the parent will provide financial or emotional support through active involvement. However, INIS also looks at the previous actions of the parent (i.e. evidence of criminality), as well as the family’s financial situation, the family’s composition, if and why they were initially separated, and the length of the separation.

While specific financial thresholds are set out for many family reunification scenarios, the guidelines are silent on any specific threshold for the family members of Irish citizen child cases.

Regarding siblings of an Irish citizen child, the guidelines state each case must be looked at individually. It is however specifically stated as follows:

“a series of linked applications, seeking to bring to Ireland both parents and all siblings, on the basis of the citizenship of a single minor would seem to go beyond what is reasonable, particularly if the State would be required to provide financial support for the family”.

Therefore, cases involving a number of family members applying for visas on the basis of one Irish citizen child are not certain of being successful. Financial considerations will play an important role in the Minister’s decision.

It is also important to note that not all cases are the same. If a family lives outside Ireland and has one child who is an Irish citizen, the parents cannot claim personal rights to residency through parentage. Here, the parent would apply for admission in company of the minor child, or adult child with some mental/physical disability. If a child is Irish born, but not entitled to citizenship, then the parent cannot apply for residency based on the birthplace of the child.

From the experience of Brophy Solicitors, most long stay visa applications for parents of Irish citizen children will be granted if the applicant can prove a normal relationship with their child, and be in a position to support themselves.

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