UPDATE: As of February 2023, Ireland has suspended it’s Ireland Immigrant Investor Program, and applications are not being accepted at this time.
You can obtain residency and eventually citizenship when you make a qualifying investment and apply for the Ireland Golden Visa.
Introduced in 2012, the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) allows foreigners to invest in the country, real estate, or business in exchange for residency for themselves and their family members.
Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and still part of the European Union even after Brexit. This is especially ideal for third-country nationals who want to have easier access to Europe.
The successful Ireland Golden Visa program has brought over 800€ million to the country. There also is no limit to how many visas are granted each year, making it one of the best golden visas around right now.
There are plenty of benefits to applying for the Ireland Golden Visa, including residency, a path to citizenship, and making a lucrative investment.
The Ireland Golden Visa application and approval process can take four to six months to complete.
In this article, we’ll dive into the investment requirements, steps to apply, and why the Ireland Golden Visa may be the right choice to diversify your assets and your lifestyle.
What is a Golden Visa?
A golden visa program allows foreigners to invest in a country in exchange for residency and sometimes even citizenship.
It is a lucrative program that helps boost the country’s local economy and assists investors in broadening their ventures and diversifying their lifestyles.
Golden visas are an excellent opportunity for wealthy individuals looking to diversify their assets and investments. Many retirees also take advantage of these programs.
Benefits of the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program
There are so many benefits to the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program, including making a lucrative investment and earning a profit.
Residency by Investment
When individuals apply for the Ireland Golden Visa and make a government-approved investment, they will receive the right to residency in return.
This residency permit, also known as Stamp 4, is valid for two years. You can continue to renew your residency permit as long as your investment still meets the visa’s requirements.
With your residence permit, you will have access to the programs and benefits that Ireland has to offer, including education, healthcare, and work.
Applicants may include their spouses and dependents on the Ireland Golden Visa.
Dependents must be younger than 18 years of age unless they are full-time students and financially dependent on you. Then the age limit increases to 24.
Your family will also receive residence permits in Ireland and have access to all of the same benefits as the main applicant.
Favorable Tax Rates
Ireland is known for its favorable tax rates for companies and individuals. With a 12.5% corporate tax rate, entrepreneurs interested in the Ireland Golden Visa could save thousands of dollars per year.
If you do not spend more than 183 days in Ireland after getting the golden visa, you will not be considered a tax resident. However, if you earn an income in Ireland, such as from your investment, it will be subject to tax.
Path to Citizenship
While the Ireland Golden Visa doesn’t grant citizenship directly, applicants can obtain it through naturalization.
After legally residing in Ireland for five years and having been present in the country for four of those five years, you can apply for Irish citizenship. Of those four years, you must have been present for the duration of the last year before applying.
When you become a citizen, you’ll receive an Irish passport, which allows visa-free access to over 185 countries.
Low Minimum Stay Requirement
If you do not plan to apply for Irish citizenship through naturalization, then the low minimum stay requirement is a great benefit for your residency.
To retain residency in Ireland with the golden visa, you must be present for just one day per year in the country.
Who is Eligible for the Ireland Golden Visa?
Along with making a government-approved investment in Ireland, there are other eligibility requirements to meet before applying for the golden visa.
To be eligible for the Ireland Golden Visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Non-EEA citizen
- Have a clean criminal record
- Your net worth is at least 2€ million
- You can prove you do not require a loan for your qualifying investment
If you meet the criteria above, then you can consider taking one of the four investment routes to apply for the Ireland Golden Visa.
Ireland Golden Visa Investment Options
There are four paths to take when making a qualified investment to obtain the Ireland Golden Visa. They each have their own benefits and minimum investment requirement, so you can find the best one for your financial goals.
To receive Irish residency, you can invest 1€ million in a government-approved investment fund.
These funds are managed by the Irish Central Bank, and the money from these funds is used towards improving and benefitting Ireland.
You must maintain this low-risk investment for at least three years to remain eligible for your Ireland Golden Visa.
Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
Rather than purchasing a property in Ireland to obtain residency, the Ireland Golden Visa program allows you to invest a minimum of 2€ million in a real estate investment trust (REIT).
The REIT must be listed on the Irish stock exchange. Applicants must maintain the investment for three to five years, depending on the situation.
As a REIT investor, you will receive an income from the profit you make each year. You’ll also get to diversify your shares in many properties with this low-risk investment model.
The most popular investment option for the Ireland Golden Visa is the enterprise investment.
Applicants can invest a minimum of 1€ million in an already established or new company in Ireland.
If you plan to open your company in Ireland, you must submit a business plan which includes creating local jobs and benefitting the Irish economy.
If you plan to invest in established enterprises, you can diversify your investment and allocate the investment to multiple companies.
The least popular, yet least expensive, investment option for the Ireland Golden Visa is an endowment.
Applicants can donate 500,000€ to a philanthropic program that benefits the arts, sports, education, or health in the country.
This investment is least popular because there is no financial return on it, like the REIT, enterprise, or investment fund. However, it is an easy way to obtain Irish residency.
How to Apply for the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program (IIP)
There are roughly six steps to apply for the Ireland Golden Visa and receive residency.
Step 1: Consider Your Investment Option
There are four investment options for the Ireland Golden Visa program. These include:
- Investment Fund – 1€ million
- Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) – 2€ million
- Enterprise Investment – 1€ million
- Endowment – 500,000€
It’s important to consider which investment route you plan to take that will help you reach your financial goals. They are great opportunities for entrepreneurs, retirees, and wealthy individuals looking to diversify.
It’s important to note that you will not have to make your investment until later in the application process.
Step 2: Submit Your Application
When you have chosen which investment to make, you can submit your application and necessary documents to the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD).
Along with your application, you’ll need to submit the following documents:
- Original passport + copy
- Two passport-sized photos
- Original birth certificate + copy
- Marriage certificate + copy (if applicable)
- Proof of net worth
- Proof of substantial funds
- Statements showing source of funds
- Proof of income
- Certified police certificate
- Health insurance policy with coverage in Ireland
- Proof of loans
- Proof of relationship with dependents
There is also a 1,500€ non-refundable application fee. You must also submit the receipt of payment with your documents.
Step 3: Due Diligence
The ISD will complete their due diligence and ensure you meet the requirements for the Ireland Golden Visa.
They will give you a pre-approval if they see that you are qualified for the visa.
Step 4: Make Your Investment
After receiving pre-approval from the ISD, you’ll have 90 days to make your investment.
During this time, you will also register for a national tax ID and open local bank accounts to make your investment.
Step 5: Submit Documents
After making your investment, you will submit documents to the Minister proving that you have done so.
They will then grant a final approval for the Ireland Golden Visa through a letter.
Step 6: Retrieve Residence Permit in Ireland
Once you have received your final approval letter, you can go to Ireland and retrieve your residence permit. Immigration officials will also take your biometric data.
The initial residence permit is valid for two years.
Frequently Asked Questions
While applying for the Ireland Golden Visa and obtaining residency may seem straightforward, you may still have some questions about the process and benefits.
How long can I live in Ireland with the golden visa?
The initial residence permit is valid for two years and can be renewed as long as you still maintain your qualifying investment.
Does the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program lead to citizenship?
Yes, obtaining the Ireland Golden Visa can put you on a path to getting Irish citizenship through naturalization.
After living in the country for five years and being physically present in Ireland for at least four years, you can start the citizenship process.
Can I bring family members with the Ireland Golden Visa?
Yes, you can bring a spouse and dependents with you to Ireland when you apply for the golden visa.
Dependents must be under the age of 18 unless they are full-time students and financially dependent on you. If this is the case, the age increases to 24.
How long does it take to get the Ireland Golden Visa?
The entire application and approval process can take between four and six months depending on your investment route and where you’re applying from.
Can I get a loan to make my qualifying investment for the Ireland Golden Visa?
No, you may not take out a loan or receive financing to make your qualifying investment. You must prove that you have the personal funds for the investment.
Does Ireland have a strong passport?
The Irish passport allows visa-free travel to over 185 countries. As part of the European Union, you’ll also easily get a travel visa to Schengen Area.
How long do I have to maintain my investment?
You must maintain your investment for three to five years to keep your residency in Ireland. However, after five years, you may liquidate the investment and remain an Irish resident.
Should I work with a lawyer to apply for the Ireland Golden Visa?
It’s always a good idea to work with a legal professional when applying for visas, making foreign investments, or relocating abroad.
They are able to guide you in the right direction and have expert knowledge of the process and how the country works. You’ll save yourself expensive and time-consuming mistakes when you allow a lawyer to submit your application and assist you in your investments.
While it isn’t necessary, it definitely is much easier and less overwhelming to work with a lawyer to apply for the Ireland Golden Visa.