Applying for international protection in Ireland


The International Protection Act 2015, which came into effect on 31 December 2016, provides for a single application procedure for international protection. It replaces the earlier system, under which several applications could have been made.

Under the Act, a person who qualifies for international protection is “a person who is either—

(a) a refugee and in relation to whom a refugee declaration is in force, or

(b) a person eligible for subsidiary protection and in relation to whom a subsidiary protection declaration is in force”

Under the Act, your application for international protection will be dealt with as follows:

  • At first instance, it will be handled by the International Protection Office (IPO), which will make a recommendation in relation to your case
  • If the recommendation is negative and you are entitled to appeal, any such appeal will be dealt with by the International Protection Appeals Tribunal
  • Finally, based on the recommendation of the International Protection Office or the International Protection Appeals Tribunal, the Minister for Justice and Equality will decide whether to give you a refugee declaration; give you a subsidiary protection declaration; or refuse your application

You may make an application for international protection at the port of entry. You may also make your application for international protection at the International Protection Office. This section outlines the procedure to be followed in each case.

You can read more in this information note on applications for international protection available on

Transitional arrangements will apply to certain applications for international protection that were made before the commencement date of the International Protection Act 2015, for the completion of processing under the Act.

COVID-19 and applications for international protection

Our document Immigration and employment permits during COVID-19 has information about how applications for international protection are processed during the COVID-19 emergency period.

Application procedure

Whether you are at the port of entry, or are already in the State and applying at the International Protection Office, you will first be interviewed by an immigration officer or an international protection officer. This preliminary interview is to establish whether you wish to make an application for international protection and if so, to find out the general grounds upon which the application is based; your identity, nationality and country of origin; the method of your entry (that is, the mode of transport used and the route you travelled) into the State; the reason why you are in the State; the legal basis for your presence in the State; and whether your application is inadmissible, either because you have been granted international protection in another EU state or because a non-EU state is your first country of asylum.

You will be asked to complete an application form for international protection.

If you have applied for international protection, your accompanying minor children will be included in your application and all decisions taken in relation to your international protection application will apply to them.

When your application is received you will be given a written statement informing you of the procedures for examining your application; your right to seek legal assistance and your right to an interpreter. You will also be informed of your obligations as an applicant for international protection.

As part of the process, you and your dependent minors will be required to have your photographs taken. You will also be required to have your fingerprints taken. Fingerprints of your dependent minors may also be taken. Your fingerprints may be disclosed in confidence to the relevant Irish authorities and to asylum authorities of other countries, which may have responsibility for considering your application under the Dublin III Regulation (an electronic system – Eurodac – facilitates transfer of fingerprint information between Dublin III Regulation countries).

If you refuse to allow your fingerprints to be taken, you will be deemed not to have made reasonable effort to establish your true identity and to have failed in your duty to co-operate in the investigation of your application. This may affect the credibility of your application and lead to your application being withdrawn in which case the Minister for Justice shall refuse to give you a declaration. You should also note that, under section 20 (1) of the International Protection Act 2015, where an immigration officer or a member of the Garda Síochána, with reasonable cause, suspects that an applicant has not made reasonable effort to establish their identity, they may detain the person concerned.

You will be given permission to remain in the State while your application is being examined and you will be issued with a temporary residence certificate setting out your personal details and containing your photograph. The temporary residence certificate is an immigration registration certificate, and you will have to produce it if you are asked to do so at any time by an immigration officer or a member of the Garda Síochána.

When you have received your temporary residence certificate you will be referred to the Reception and Integration Agency, which will arrange for you to be taken to a reception centre in the Dublin area. You will remain there for a short period while your needs are assessed. You will then be relocated to accommodation, which may be outside Dublin, and where you will be expected to stay while your application for international protection is being processed.

Unaccompanied children

A child under the age of 18 arriving at the frontiers of the State (port of entry) or at the International Protection Office and who is not in the custody of an adult, will be referred to the Child and Family Agency (Tusla). The Agency may then decide that an application for international protection should be made on behalf of the minor. Specific arrangements will be made by the Child and Family Agency in conjunction with the International Protection Office for the processing of such an application. The Child and Family Agency is responsible for the general care and well being of the minor and will provide assistance to that minor.

Prioritisation of applications

Under Section 73 of the International Protection Act 2015, the Minister for Justice and Equality may decide that certain classes of applications are to be dealt with as a priority. A decision of this nature may have regard to the following:

  • Whether the applicant possesses identity documents, and, if not, whether they have provided a reasonable explanation for the absence of such documents
  • Whether the applicant has provided a reasonable explanation to substantiate their claim that the State is the first safe country in which they have arrived since departing from their country of origin
  • Whether the applicant has provided a full and true explanation of how they travelled to and arrived in the State
  • Where the application was made other than at the frontier of the State, whether the applicant has provided a reasonable explanation to show why they did not make an application for international protection immediately on arriving at the frontier of the State
  • Where the applicant has forged, destroyed or disposed of any identity or other documents relevant to their application, whether they have a reasonable explanation for so doing
  • Whether the applicant has adduced manifestly false evidence in support of their application, or has otherwise made false representations, either orally or in writing
  • Whether the applicant has cooperated with the application process, as required under section 27(1) of the Act

  • Whether the applicant is a person in respect of whom the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) is providing care and protection
  • Whether the applicant has, without reasonable cause, failed to comply with the requirements under section 16 (3) of the Act not to leave the State; to inform the Minister of their address or change of address; and, if required, to report at specified intervals to an immigration officer or to a specified Garda station and to reside or remain at the accommodation centre allocated to you by the Reception and Integration Agency.

On 27 February 2017, the International Protection Office published details of how certain classes of application are to be prioritised (pdf). Most applications will be scheduled for interview in the main processing stream on the basis of “oldest cases first”. However, certain cases will be prioritised in a separate processing stream, based on the following criteria:

  • Whether the applicant is an unaccompanied minor in the care of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla)
  • Whether the applicant applied as an unaccompanied minor, but has now aged out
  • Whether the applicant is over 70 years of age and is not part of a family group
  • Whether the applicant has notified the IPO since 31 December 2016 that a medico-legal report, indicating likely well-foundedness, has been submitted
  • Whether the application is likely to be well-founded due to the country of origin or habitual residence of the applicant
  • Whether the applicant has notified the IPO since 31 December 2016 that evidence has been submitted, certified by a medical consultant, of an ongoing severe/life-threatening medical condition

There is detailed information in the IPO’s document on prioritisation of applications for international protection (pdf).

Further information

The International Protection Office has published a detailed information booklet for applicants for international protection (pdf).

Where to apply

International Protection Office

Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service

79-83 Lower Mount Street
D02 ND99

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9.30am-1pm, 2-4.30pm
Tel: +353 1 602 8000
Fax: +353 1 602 8122

Page edited: 2 April 2020