What is the change? The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service has introduced a new type of permission for foreign volunteers engaging in unpaid activities in Ireland.

What does the change mean? The volunteer must be sponsored by an eligible registered organization in Ireland to perform structured activity in an approved sector. The residence permission is valid for up to two years, with an option to extend for a third year.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Volunteer permission (Stamp 3 residency permit).
  • Who is affected: Non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals over 18 years old volunteering with an eligible organization in Ireland.
  • Business impact: The permit may benefit spouses or other family dependents of the primary applicant who wish to volunteer and do not have authorization to work.

Background: Applicants must have an offer for volunteer work from an eligible organization that is listed in the Public Register of Charities or a sporting organization recognized by Sport Ireland. They must also demonstrate that they are qualified to do the volunteer work, can support themselves financially for the entire period, have a clean criminal record and will be covered by private health insurance during their stay. If approved, the residency permit will be issued for one to two years (renewable for an additional one year), and will allow the holder to change organizations once during any 12-month period and travel outside Ireland for up to 90 days. Paid activities are not allowed, and volunteers may not bring any family members to Ireland or change their immigration status while in Ireland.

BAL Analysis: The volunteer permission is required for foreign nationals volunteering for longer than three months and is a good option for family members of expatriate employees who may not be eligible for work authorization as dependents.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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