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Guide to temporary entry into Ireland under CETA

This guide is for a Canadian business person temporarily travelling to Ireland to do business. It provides general information about temporary entry and stay requirements for business people under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and under Irish law. This guide aims to facilitate the entry of Canadian business people into Ireland for the purposes of exploring, entering and expanding operations in the Irish market. You will find relevant links and summaries of the main steps for work permit and visa applications, including costs and length, for the categories of business people covered in CETA.

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Text of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – Chapter 10: Temporary entry and stay of natural persons for business purposes

CETA entered into force provisionally in 2017, which means that Ireland is bound by the Temporary Entry Chapter. However, there are still significant differences between CETA requirements and the national Irish laws regulating temporary entry. As such, some of the paths for entry identified in this guide do not fully overlap with the categories of business people covered in CETA.  

For any questions regarding Ireland’s temporary entry commitments under CETA, please contact: enquiry-demande.TE@international.gc.ca

Before you travel:

This guide is for information only. It is not the official text of the CETA or Irish laws. Always verify  information using the text of the agreement and official government sources of the country you wish to do business in. You may also seek advice from licensed or authorised individuals like an immigration lawyer or immigration consultant.

Familiarize yourself with Ireland’s guidelines on Covid-19 border closures and exceptions before you travel for business.

Know what Canada’s travel restrictions, testing and quarantine requirements are when you return home from a business trip. 

There are six types of business people covered under CETA:

  1. short-term business visitors
  2. business visitors for investment purposes
  3. investors
  4. contractual service suppliers
  5. independent professionals
  6. intra-corporate transferees

Short-term business visitor

Do I qualify as a short-term business visitor under CETA?

Under CETA, a short-term business visitor is a Canadian traveling to Ireland for one of the following activities:  

The detailed list of activities can be found under Annex 10-D of CETA.

A short-term business visitor cannot:

Under CETA, a Canadian short-term business visitor can stay in Ireland for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

Do I need a work permit or visa?

Under CETA, an eligible short-term business visitor does not need a work permit, but may need a visa.

Under Irish law, Canadian short-term business visitors do not need a Schengen C visa to enter Ireland. Although Ireland is an EU Member State that is not part of the Schengen Area, Canadian nationals are still exempt from an entry visa requirement in Ireland.

Canadian companies can also send non-Canadian nationals locally hired in Canada for short-term business travel in Ireland. In this case, a short stay C visa may be required, if they are not nationals of a visa exempt country. Applications for C visas must be filed with the relevant Irish Consulate/Embassy. The processing time is approximately eight weeks.

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Short stay C visa

Under Irish law, you may not need a work permit. Despite the eligible activities set out in CETA, Ireland does not maintain a formal or detailed list of the activities permitted under short-term business visits. This is at the discretion of the immigration officer upon arrival at a port of entry.

Although it is possible to obtain entry for up to 90 days under Irish law, in practice, Irish immigration officers generally do not grant short-term business permission for longer than 14 days.

Business visitor for investment purposes

Note: The business visitors for investment purposes is covered in CETA, but does not exist under Irish law. A Canadian business visitor for investment purposes may qualify under the short-term business visitor category  under Irish law. To explore other paths for entry into Ireland, please consult Ireland’s official employment permit portal.

Do I qualify as a business visitor for investment purposes under CETA?

Under CETA, a Canadian business visitor for investment purposes is a Canadian manager or specialist responsible for setting up an enterprise in Ireland.

A Canadian business visitor for investment purposes cannot:

Under CETA, Canadian business visitors for investment purposes can stay in Ireland 90 days within a 180-day period.

Do I need a work permit or visa?

This category does not exist under Irish law. There are no specific work permit or visa options for a Canadian business visitor for investment purposes.

A Canadian business visitor for investment purposes may qualify under the short-term business visitor category . To explore other paths for entry into Ireland, please consult Ireland’s official employment permit portal.

Investor

Do I qualify as an investor under CETA?

Under CETA, an investor is a Canadian supervisor or executive, responsible for establishing, developing, or operating an investment, that they or their employing enterprise have committed, or are in the process of committing, a substantial amount of capital to.

Under CETA, Canadian investors can stay in Ireland for up to 1 year, with possible extensions at the discretion of Ireland’s officials.

Do I need a work permit or a visa?

Under Irish law, an investor should apply for the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP). The IIP offers residency in Ireland through certain investment options. If successful, applicants receive ‘Stamp 4’ immigration permission. This allows investors and their immediate family members to live, work, run a business or study in Ireland.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Immigrant Investor Programme?

Under Irish law, applicants must be “high-net-worth” individuals with a personal wealth of at least 2 million EUR.

The programme offers 4 investment options for potential investors:

Enterprise investment

A minimum investment of 1 million EUR in an Irish enterprise for a period of at least 3 years.

Investment fund

A minimum investment of 1 million EUR in an approved investment fund for a period of at least 3 years. Such funds must be approved and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

A minimum investment of 2 million EUR in any Irish real estate investment trust that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, for a period of at least 3 years.

Endowment

A minimum philanthropic donation of 500,000 EUR to a project which is of public benefit to the arts, sports, health, culture or education in Ireland.

Refer to the Immigrant Investor Programme for more information about eligibility conditions.

How do I apply for the Immigrant Investor Programme?

Step 1: Make an application on the basis of one of the investment options. At this stage, do not commit any investment funding.

Complete the application form (PDF) and provide all requested supporting documentation, including evidence of your net worth, details of the source of your wealth and evidence of good character.

All documents must be apostilled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Embassy in the applicant’s country of residence. Submit your application to the Department of Justice and Equality (PDF).

Step 2: If your application is approved, make the investment in accordance with your approved application.

Step 3: Provide evidence to the Department of Justice and Equality that you have made the investment.

Step 4: When the department is satisfied that the investment has been undertaken, you will be issued an approval letter granting you and your family members residence permission. This permission is valid for 2 years from the date of issue of the letter.

Step 5: Upon arrival, make an appointment to register their permission at Burgh Quay registration office in Dublin.

How much will it cost?

There is a non-refundable application fee of 1,500 EUR by electronic funds transfer.

How long will it take?

Applications take on average 3 to 4 months although they may take longer if the evaluation committee requires more information from an applicant.

Contractual services supplier

Do I qualify as a contractual services supplier under CETA?

Under CETA, a contractual services supplier is a Canadian service supplier employed by an enterprise in Canada with a contract to provide a service to a consumer in Ireland in an eligible service sector. A list of eligible services sectors under CETA is found under CETA Annex 10-E, number 9.

A Canadian contractual service supplier must also:

For engineering technologists seeking entry as a contractual service supplier, a 3-year post-secondary degree from an officially recognised institution in engineering technology is considered equivalent to a university degree.

For scientific technologists seeking entry as a contractual service supplier, a 3-year post-secondary degree from an officially recognised institution in the disciplines of agriculture, architecture, biology, chemistry, physics, forestry, geology, geophysics, mining and energy is considered equivalent to a university degree.

A Canadian contractual service supplier cannot get paid for their services during their stay in Ireland other than what is paid to them by their Canadian employers.

The Canadian enterprise that employs a Canadian contractual service supplier cannot have any establishment in Ireland.

Fulfillment of the contract must require the temporary presence of the Canadian contractual service supplier in Ireland.

Under CETA, a Canadian contractual services supplier can stay in Ireland for up to 12 months in any 24-month period, or for the duration of the contract, whichever is less. Extensions are possible at the discretion of Ireland’s officials.

Do I need a work permit or a visa?

Under Irish law, a Canadian contractual service supplier will need a Contract for Services Employment Permit. This permit allows the transfer of a non-European employee to enter Ireland to provide services under a services contract between an Irish consumer and a Canadian employer.

A Contract for Services Employment Permit can be granted for up to 24 months originally. This Permit can be extended for a stay of up to five years.  

You will not need a visa to enter Ireland. However, you will be subject to the usual immigration controls at the port of entry. Therefore, all relevant and supporting documentation, including the original employment permit, must be available for inspection by an Immigration Officer. Entry is always at the discretion of the Immigration Officer.

What are the eligibility requirements for a Contract for Services Employment Permit?

Under Irish law, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment examines a number of criteria when assessing a Contract for Services Employment Permit application.

Refer to the Government of Ireland’s Contract for Services Employment Permit webpage for more information about the eligibility conditions.

How do I apply for a Contract for Services Employment Permit?

Step 1: Your Canadian employer or the contracting Irish consumer must apply online for a Contract for Services Employment Permit.

Refer to the user guide (PDF) for details on the application process and the documentary requirements for the employment permit.

Step 2: The processor may request additional information which should be returned within 28 days. The processor will then either grant an application or refuse your application for specific reasons.

Step 3: If successful, register for Residence Permission with the Garda National Immigration Bureau as soon as possible following your arrival in Ireland.

How much will it cost?

The processing fee for a first time Contract for Services Employment Permit is:

If an application is unsuccessful 90% of the fee will be refunded.

How long will it take?

Processing times vary. You must submit your employment permit application least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date.

Independent professional

Please note: The independent professional category is covered in CETA, but does not yet exist under Irish law.

Do I qualify as an independent professional under CETA?

Under CETA, an independent professional is a self-employed Canadian service supplier that is contracted to supply a service to a consumer in Ireland in an eligible sector. A list of eligible services sectors under CETA is found under CETA Annex 10-E, number 9.

A Canadian independent professional must also have:

For engineering technologists seeking entry as an independent professional, a 3-year post-secondary degree from an officially recognised institution in engineering technology is considered equivalent to a university degree.

For scientific technologists seeking entry as an independent professional, a 3-year post-secondary degree from an officially recognised institution in the disciplines of agriculture, architecture, biology, chemistry, physics, forestry, geology, geophysics, mining and energy is considered equivalent to a university degree.

Other requirements:

Under CETA, a Canadian independent professional can stay in Ireland for a total period of up to 12 months in a 24-month period, or for the duration of the contract, whichever is less. Extensions are possible at the discretion of Ireland’s officials.

Do I need a work permit or a visa?

This category does not exist under Irish law. There are no specific work permit or visa options for a Canadian independent professional. All employment permits under the Employment Permits Acts require an employer-employee relationship, either within Ireland or abroad.

A Canadian independent professional may qualify under the Atypical Working Scheme, which applies for short-term work up to 3 months for specific roles only:

Refer to the Atypical Working Scheme webpage for more information about the application process and eligibility conditions.

Intra-corporate transferee

Do I qualify as an intra-corporate transferee?

Under CETA, Canadian intra-corporate transferees are senior personnel, specialists, or graduate trainees at a Canadian enterprise who are being temporarily transferred to a subsidiary, branch, or head company of the Canadian enterprise in Ireland.

Senior personnel are Canadian business people in a senior position within an enterprise who:

Specialists are Canadian business people with:

In assessing such expertise or knowledge, Ireland’s officials will consider abilities that are unusual and different from those generally found in a particular industry and that cannot be easily transferred to another business person in the short-term. These abilities would have been obtained through specific academic qualifications or extensive experience with the enterprise.

Graduate trainees are Canadian business people who:

Under CETA, Canadian senior personnel and specialists can stay in Ireland for 3 years or the length of the contract, whichever is shorter. Extensions of up to 18 months are possible at the discretion of Ireland’s officials.

Canadian graduate trainees can stay in Ireland for one year or the length of the contract, whichever is shorter.

Do I need a work permit or a visa?

Under Irish law, an intra-company transferee will need an Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Employment Permit. This permit allows the transfer of intra corporate transferees from a foreign branch of a multinational corporation, or “Canadian Employer”, to its Irish branch, or “Connected Person”.

You will not need a visa to enter Ireland. However, you will be subject to the usual immigration controls at the port of entry. Therefore, all relevant and supporting documentation, including the original employment permit, must be available for inspection by an Immigration Officer. Entry into Ireland is always at the discretion of the Immigration Officer.

What are the eligibility requirements for an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit?

Under Irish law, the categories of workers who can obtain an ICT Employment Permit are:

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment examines a number of other criteria when assessing an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit application. Refer to the Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit for more information about the eligibility conditions.

How do I apply for an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit?

Step 1: The Irish branch must make the Employment Permit application for an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit.

The Irish branch can apply online using the Employment Permits Online System. There is a user guide (PDF) available on the online system which guides the applicant through the process and details the documentary requirements for each employment permit type.

Step 2: The application is considered. The processor may request additional information, which should be returned within 28 days. The processor will then either grant an application or refuse it for specific reasons.

Step 3: If successful, register for Residence Permission with the Garda National Immigration Bureau as soon as possible following your arrival in Ireland.

How much will it cost?

The processing fee for a new Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit is:

This fee must be paid by the Irish branch. If an application is unsuccessful 90% of the fee will be refunded.

How long will it take?

Processing times vary. The application for any employment permit must be received at least 12 weeks before the proposed employment start date.

What if I am a business person from a category that is not covered?

Entry into Ireland for Canadian business people not belonging to any of the categories covered under CETA is subject to Ireland’s acts and regulations governing entry and stay.

To explore other paths for entry into Ireland, please consult Ireland’s official immigration portal.

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