IRELAND: Stamp 4 Processing Delays and New Deadlines

December 20, 2018

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) is now requesting that Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) holders apply for their Stamp 4 permission four months in advance of the expiry date of their CSEP, (i.e., once they have completed 20 months on their employment permit).

Previously, CSEP holders had to complete 21 months before applying for a Stamp 4 permission. The change is due to an increase in Stamp 4 processing times, as the DBEI has recently focused on reducing employment permit processing times.

The DBEI states that “no person awaiting a decision in relation to a Stamp 4 application in these circumstances will be asked to cease work or to leave the country”

What is Stamp 4?

Stamp 4 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period. It allows a holder of a CSEP for two years, or a general employment permit for five years, to remain in Ireland for a further two years (renewable) and work without a work permit, after their CSEP has expired.

To qualify, applicants must be resident and working in Ireland for at least 21 months out of the 24 months validity of the CSEP.

The employee’s details in the Stamp 4 application must be the same as for the original CSEP – job title, duties, location and remuneration. If these details have changed it could lead to a refusal, and a new Critical Skills Employment Permit would be required.

If the applicant’s remuneration is lower than for the original CSEP, the application may be refused outright. If remuneration is significantly higher, an explanation should be provided, as it could be seen as a new role.

Our Advice

Employment Permit applicants and their employers should allow for significantly longer processing times and the upcoming minimum wage increase.

Travel plans should be postponed where possible until the IRP appointment has been booked to avoid the need to reschedule travel or IRP appointments. Assignees should never travel without an up-to-date IRP Card.

Non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss nationals aged 16 years or over, who wish to stay in Ireland for any reason for longer than 90 days, should book the next available appointment with the immigration authorities for IRP registration.

Appointment holders are advised not to request their appointment is rescheduled, as this may put them at the back of the queue.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to Ireland, please email us at