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A complete guide to Stamps, Permissions and Visas – Explained

Stamps, Permissions and Visas are often misunderstood, and the purpose of this section is to provide you with a comprehensive guide to what they are, how they function and the parameters of each one. The terms appear confusing, and they are often mixed up by the Courts of Ireland. We have simplified this section for you to understand.


In simple terms, a Stamp is an inscription in an individual’s passport made by an ICO (Immigration Control Officer) or a member of the Border Management Unit (BMU – Dublin Only) or a member of the GNIB (Approved Ports of Entry outside Dublin), which grants a non-EEA National a certain type of Permission to enter or remain in the State of Ireland. An inscription can be a physical stamp (as commonly seen in passports) or a simple handwritten signature by an Immigration Officer. Stamps are issued on behalf of the Minister for Justice, under Section 4 (1) of the Immigration Act 2004.

All readers should be aware that a Stamp does not give you the RIGHT to reside in the State, as it is simply a Permission granting you entry through an approved port to enter and or remain under certain conditions.

For example, if you have been granted a Stamp 2 Permission, this will be shown on your IRP Card under the “Remarks” section and will describe the conditions of your residence in the State. Under this Permission, you have the right to study as well as partake in causal work, and full time hours during periods of holiday.


Permissions are the most important thing for anyone to understand. Without a Permission, nothing else can legally preside. As mentioned above, a Stamp just represents the underlying type of Permission that a non-EEA National may have. Think of a Permission as being the top point of a pyramid, with Stamps and Permits under it.

Permissions vary greatly, from student Permissions (Represented by a Stamp 2 for instance) to Permission to remain without conditions as to time (represented by a Stamp 5).

Now that you have read the brief introduction to: A complete guide to Stamps, Permissions and Visas – Explained, Check out the videos linked below in order to get an even deeper understanding.

Here is a list which briefly describes each Stamp and corresponding Permission:


Visas are normally referred to in the same way as Stamps. However, they do have a legal definition.

Section 1 (1) of the Immigration Act 2003 defines a Visa as::

“an endorsement made on a passport or travel document other than an Irish passport or Irish travel document for the purposes of indicating that the holder thereof is authorised to land in the State subject to any other conditions of landing being fulfilled”.

Under section 17 of the Immigration Act 2004, it is shown that The Minister (for Justice) can create orders to say who is visa-required and who is not visa-required.

The most common Visas in Ireland are Entry Visas such as a Short Stay C Visa for individuals coming to the State for less than 90 days or a long Reside D Visas for individuals coming to the State for more than 90 days or more.