I'm currently planning to move to Ireland. My husband is in the UK and works there. I would like to know if it's possible that he continues to work in the UK while we rent a place in Ireland and I stay there while the application for my residence card is in progress. We're hoping that once I get the card I can join him in the UK.

I'm South African, living in South Africa. I don't need a visa to stay in Ireland for up to 90 days. My husband is a British citizen and we're in the process of buying property in Ireland.

  • The answer depends on your nationality and that of your husband. Since you have not mentioned these, I am voting to close as "unclear what you're asking." You can edit the question to add this information; if you do I will remove my vote. That said, if you are not an EU citizen then you do not actually have any EU treaty rights to reside in Ireland while your husband is in the UK.
    – phoog
    Apr 20, 2018 at 19:39
  • Well I haven't recanted my close vote because I apparently forgot to vote in the first place.
    – phoog
    Apr 20, 2018 at 19:59
  • So basically I can't stay in our house while he he comes on weekends to see me in Ireland until he gets a job tranfer or another job in Ireland?
    – Ms T
    Apr 20, 2018 at 20:17
  • You can for up to 90 days, or if you can get some other kind of visa. Is your eventual plan to move to the UK?
    – phoog
    Apr 20, 2018 at 20:32
  • Well for now the focus is getting settled in Ireland
    – Ms T
    Apr 20, 2018 at 20:48

2 Answers 2


Your plan appears to be ill conceived. The first problem is that you cannot benefit from EU freedom of movement in Ireland unless your EU-citizen husband is in Ireland. You can enter as a visitor for up to 90 days without a visa, but to stay longer you will need either a visa or your husband.

The second problem is that you cannot apply for a UK residence card unless you and your husband qualify under the Surinder Singh ruling. For that, you must have lived together somewhere in the EU other than the UK. If you can't qualify for the Surinder Singh ruling, you could apply for a regular spouse visa.

Furthermore, to apply for a UK residence card, you must be in the UK. To enter the UK, you would apply for an EEA family permit.

You write

We're hoping that once I get the card I can join him in the UK.

If by "the card" you mean an Irish residence card, that also won't allow you to move to the UK. You would still need to satisfy the requirements of the Surinder Singh route.

Keeping in mind that you can only get an Irish residence card after your husband moves to the UK, The Irish residence card does have one benefit: it would allow you to travel to the UK without a visa provided you are traveling with your husband or joining him in the UK.

  • Thank you so much that was helpful. The whole thing can be confusing especially for us. We've tried the UK spouse visa before but due to its complications we thought going to Ireland is the easiest way to to be together. We will settle in Ireland as long as it gets us together and be able to visit his family as well. As for him working in the UK I suppose we have to start applying for jobs in Ireland right away.
    – Ms T
    Apr 20, 2018 at 20:55

The confusing thing is the Surinder Singh part. A EU citizen has the right under EU free movement laws to freely move and work in any other EU country, and bring their family with them, with one exception: The EU free movement laws don't apply to their own country. So your UK husband can move with you to any European country except the UK. (A French husband could move anywhere with you except France, and so on).

The UK has another law (named after Surinder Singh) and that is that UK citizens are allowed to move from another EU country back to the UK together with their family. Other countries (like Germany) have no such rules. So you can move with your UK husband to Ireland, live there for a while, then move with your UK husband to the UK.

  • Oh yes I totally get it now. Thanks for taking your time to explain to me
    – Ms T
    Apr 20, 2018 at 21:47
  • 1
    "Other countries (like Germany) have no such rules": that is incorrect. The Surinder Singh route is so called because of a court case that forced the UK to create it, but the principle applies throughout the EU. Germany doesn't make the information easy to find, but it is available.
    – phoog
    Apr 21, 2018 at 13:36

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