Are you undocumented in Ireland? Read this page.

These are the most common questions we get from people who are undocumented in Ireland. If you have any other questions or you need help, please contact us - it's safe and private. You can also become a member of Justice for the Undocumented, meet other undocumented people and campaign for a pathway to papers for undocumented workers and families in Ireland - email jfu@mrci.ie for more info. Stay safe and know that you're not alone.

  • Can I get a PPS number?
  • Can I access healthcare?
  • What about serious health issues??
  • Can I access education for me or my child?
  • Can I open a bank account?
  • Can I access social welfare (unemployment benefit)?
  • Can I report a crime?
  • Can I access housing assistance or homeless accommodation?
  • How do I find a job?
  • What rights do I have in work?
  • What do I do if my workplace is raided?
  • Can I get a work permit?
  • Can I get married here in Ireland?
  • Can I go home and come back?
  • What is a Section 3 (Deportation Order)?
  • Can I enter this process voluntarily?
  • What happens if I am refused humanitarian leave to remain from Section 3?
  • What is a Section 4.7 application?
  • What is a section 14 Notice?

  1. Can I get a PPS number?

Yes you can, but there is a risk involved.

To apply for a PPS number you need the following three things:

  • Proof of Identity (Passport)
  • Proof of Address (must be a utility bill e.g. a phone or electricity bill) in your own name)
  • Letter outlining the reasons why you are applying for a PPS (e.g. a letter from your doctor)

If the purpose of applying for a PPSN is for employment or schooling, they will transfer the details to GNIB for them to check if the person has a valid legal status in the country which will result in a Section 3 (deportation order) being  issued. So, do NOT apply for a PPS for that purpose.

The best purpose to apply for PPS is health or education for a child. Even doing it this way THERE IS A RISK and it’s up to you if you want to take it. If refused, get name of officer and the time and contact MRCI.

  1. Can I access healthcare?

Yes you can get healthcare and medical treatment. Check out healthconnect.ie to see what’s available in your local area. In Dublin, you can also access a free medical check up through the Capuchin Day Centre or Crosscare migrant service.

  1. What about serious health issues??

You can access medical treatment for serious issues in hospitals in Ireland. They will request a PPS number but even if you don’t have one you should still be able to access treatment. It is very unlikely they will deny you the treatment because you don’t have a PPS number. We recommend you access the healthcare and then if there is a fee you can deal with this afterwards.

Undocumented people are generally not entitled to medical card (for free medical treatment in hospitals) but can get one on case-by-case basis e.g. if you need emergency cancer treatment or an operation. In this case you can get assistance from your attending social worker in the hospital.

  1. Can I access education for me or my child?

Undocumented children can access primary and secondary school free of charge. The principal will probably ask for a PPS number but they cannot deny access to your child. Unfortunately when they go on to access university the same large fees apply to them as undocumented adults.

You can access third level education but would need a PPS number to get a certificate on completion. You can access FETAC or university courses. The major issue is that undocumented people will be subject to very large international fees for university courses in Ireland. There are free English Language courses available from Fáilte Isteach.

  1. Can I open a bank account?

Yes you can. There is no risk involved, but they may ask for a PPS number (see above). You will need the following:

ID, PPS number, proof of address, utility (electricity/phone) bill in your name (you may need to get your housemate to put your name on the bill if you aren’t currently named on any bills)

  1. Can I access social welfare? (unemployment benefit)

Unfortunately there is no access for undocumented people. The only exception is for an exceptional needs payment (ENP) but this is very difficult to secure and is done on a case-by-case basis. Only apply for this if absolutely necessary as you would be calling attention to your status.

  1. Can I report a crime?

Being undocumented does not prevent you from reporting a crime. It is best to contact MRCI first and we can accompany you to do this with the minimum risk.

Some undocumented people have been asked for Garda Vetting in order to secure employment. There should be no issue or risk involved in this, the section involved will not ask for immigration status.

  1. Can I access housing assistance or homeless accommodation?

Wherever you are in Ireland, Focus can help you. In Dublin, the Capuchin Centre can provide free food and a health check up. You can also access Dublin City Council Homeless Section and Central Placement Service at Parkgate Hall, 6-9 Conyngham Road, Dublin 8.

  1. How do I find a job?

We find the best way to find work is to build connections with other undocumented people. They can share information with you on safe employers and jobs available. Get involved with Justice for the Undocumented (JFU) and we can put you in touch with other undocumented people - email jfu@mrci.ie, it's safe and confidential. Some undocumented people also risk using Gumtree and other job sites but if doing this you need to be careful with the employer and sharing your status.

  1. What rights do I have in work?

As a worker, even if you are undocumented you still have FULL labour rights. This includes

  • the right to minimum wage
  • paid notice if your employment is terminated.

If you think your rights are not being met, please talk to MRCI. Make sure to record your hours of work or any incident in the workplace. There can be a danger in reporting but if you speak with us we will advise if you should do it or not.

  1. What do I do if my workplace is raided?

If you are undocumented and have been recently in contact with the Gardaí (police) following an investigation at your workplace or elsewhere, please remember the following:

  • You must provide them with an address
  • It is important that you reside in that address.  Failure to do so can result in your future arrest.
  • There is NO SUMMARY DEPORTATION (being picked up and put in a plane) in Ireland. This means that no one can send you away from Ireland before following a legal process.
  • You might be put on what is called a section 14(1) notice. This requires that you live at a certain address and you report to a Garda station at a given time and date.
  • We recommend you do not ignore this - remember to sign on or you will be in breach of your order. If you need assistance with amending this order (you move for example) you can speak with us about this.
  1. Can I get a work permit?

We believe it is not possible to get an employment permit without an up to date immigration status. If you apply you may put yourself at risk of deportation. Please stay safe! If you are being promised a work permit and are undocumented please come to MRCI for more information. We will explain to you the risks involved and the chances of success and you can then make up your own mind.

  1. Can I get married here in Ireland?

All undocumented migrants can apply for a marriage licence. Yes, the form asks for immigration status but being undocumented does not prevent anyone from obtaining a marriage licence. You need a PPS number and other supporting documents (e.g. birth cert etc). Everyone will be called for an interview like everybody else where their relationship will be “assessed” as “genuine or not”. If you have a complaint in Dublin write to the Registrar https://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/GRO_Contact_Us.aspx.

  1. Can I go home and come back?

It is extremely high risk to leave the country and try to come back. You should only do this if completely necessary. You may be unable to re-enter the country on your return.

Assistance is available for going home permanently if experiencing financial difficulties.

  1. What is a Section 3 (Deportation Order)?

If you are issued with a Section 3 letter DO NOT IGNORE THIS LETTER. Contact MRCI.

This letter, gives you 3 options: a) To consent to deportation b) To apply for Leave to Remain on Humanitarian grounds and c) To return voluntarily to your country of origin.

You NEED legal representation to apply for leave to remain (MRCI can recommend). You need to ask how strong your case is and what the fee will be.

  1. Can I enter this process voluntarily?

Yes you can BUT it is very difficult to be successful and should only be a last resort. MRCI can advise on your chances of success to help you make an informed decision. It can take between 1 month and 3 years for response. You should always view and retain a copy of your application. Make sure to follow up on your application and notify INIS on any change of address/contact details

  1. What happens if I am refused humanitarian leave to remain from Section 3?

You will be issued with a letter stating the refusal. We do not recommend you ignore this letter or hide - we recommend you report to the Gardaí on schedule. You can apply for revocation or injunction through a solicitor. It is very hard to overturn a deportation order as this requires extensive legal work. Contact MRCI to see if you have a case.

If you hold a deportation order and have been recently in contact with the police following an investigation at your workplace or other place, please remember the following:

  • You may have been issued a deportation order in the past without your knowledge. This may be for a number of reasons; you could have failed to respond to correspondence as a result of changing your address or post not reaching you.
  • Once you have been issued a deportation order, you are required to comply to certain terms - these include residing at one single address and notifying the authorities of any change. If you fail to do so, you will be categorised as evading a deportation order and be liable for arrest.

If you are arrested and detained, remember that you are entitled to an interpreter and a phone call. You are also entitled to engage a solicitor at your own cost.

The maximum length of detention is 8 weeks, after which if they fail to enforce your deportation they should release you. If you are released you should comply with the terms and conditions stipulated – namely residing at the given address and reporting upon request.

  1. What is a Section 4.7 application?

This is an application for change of status. You can make this type of application but it is very high risk. It may result in you being issued with a Section 3 (deportation order). Please talk to MRCI before making this application.

  1. What is a section 14 Notice?

When you have come to the attention of the immigration officer and a document is given to you as a reporting mechanism. Your passport will be taken and you will be asked to report to GNIB on the date indicated in the document. Ask for help from MRCI or solicitor.

To contact MRCI for help or advice, click here

To become a member of Justice for the Undocumented, email us at jfu@mrci.ie