What is the change? Ireland has reintroduced a stricter cohabiting requirement for unmarried Irish nationals or permanent residents who sponsor a cohabiting partner for immigration purposes.

What does the change mean? The cohabitation requirement has been lengthened to two years from the current one year.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate. The new rule takes effect Sept. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission (DFPIP).
  • Who is affected: Irish nationals and permanent residents sponsoring a cohabiting partner for settlement based on the relationship.
  • Impact on processing times: Couples must now wait to apply for DFPIP after living together for two years rather than one.

Background: DFPIP allows unmarried couples in a genuine long-term relationship who are already living together to apply for the non-European partner to remain in Ireland based on the relationship alone. Couples must prove that they are in a genuine, committed relationship akin to a married couple or civil partnership. Earlier this year, the cohabitation prerequisite was reduced to one year. However, immigration authorities have now decided to revert to the previous rule requiring that couples prove that they have lived together for at least two years before being eligible for DFPIP.

BAL Analysis: Unmarried couples seeking immigration permission for the non-European partner should be aware of the lengthened cohabitation requirement and must provide evidence that they have lived together for at least two years as of the date of the application. Couples are reminded that the DFPIP benefit is based solely on the relationship, such that if the relationship ends so does the immigration status.