The magnificent scenery of Ireland’s Atlantic coastline faces a 2,000-mile- (3,200-km-) wide expanse of ocean, and its geographic isolation has helped it to develop a rich heritage of culture and tradition that was linked initially to the Gaelic language. Washed by abundant rain, the country’s pervasive grasslands create a green-hued landscape that is responsible for the popular sobriquet Emerald Isle. Ireland is also renowned for its wealth of folklore, from tales of tiny leprechauns with hidden pots of gold to that of the patron saint, Patrick, with his legendary ridding the island of snakes and his reputed use of the three-leaved shamrock as a symbol for the Christian Trinity. But while many may think of Ireland as an enchanted land, the republic has been beset with perennial concerns—emigration, cultural and political identity, and relations with Northern Ireland (comprising the 6 of Ireland’s 32 counties within the province of Ulster that remain part of the United Kingdom). At the beginning of the 21st century, Ireland’s long-standing economic problems were abating, owing to its diverse export-driven economy, but calamity struck again in 2008 when a new financial and economic crisis befell the country, culminating in a very costly bailout of the Irish economy by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund.
The emergence of Ireland as an independent country is a fairly recent phenomenon. Until the 17th century, political power was widely shared among a rather loosely constructed network of small earldoms in often-shifting alliances. Following the so-called “Flight of the Earls” after an unsuccessful uprising in the early 17th century, Ireland effectively became an English colony. It was formally incorporated into the United Kingdom in 1801. A 1914 Home Rule Act was passed but never implemented due to pro-union militancy in the north, the onset of World War I, and the subsequent Irish War of Independence. In 1920 the island was effectively partitioned with the creation of Northern Ireland, a six-county area with devolved powers within the United Kingdom, whereas under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 6, 1921, the other 26 counties became the Irish Free State, a self-governing dominion within the British Commonwealth and Empire. In 1937 the southern state passed a new constitution that offered a more robust expression of sovereignty, and in 1949 it formally left the Commonwealth as the Republic of Ireland.
Do you think of Ireland as the land of Ryanair and Guinness? Well, there is more to the country than alcoholic beverages and low-cost flights. Ireland is one of the best places to do business; it’s been the fastest-growing European economy on multiple occasions in the recent past and it is the 6th best performing economy globally. It’s also highly open to foreign capital and has a reputation for protecting investor funds. Unlike other countries that run Golden Visa programs, Ireland is not just driven by two or three industries. In fact, financial services, alcoholic beverages, aircraft rental, engineering, IT, pharmaceutics, and medical technologies, among others, are the leading industries in Ireland, plus others. The country has top-notch schools and universities, which has led Ireland to have one of the youngest and best-educated workforces in Europe too. Need we mention its high quality of life and that its citizens are happier than the Americans, Germans, and French? The breathtaking landscapes and some of the world’s friendliest people also come as a nice bonus.
But it’s not (just) its fantastic quality of life that attracts global organizations such as Google, Facebook, Pfizer, and Apple to Ireland’s shores, making it a European hub of business and technology. The Irish corporate tax rate is 12.5%, which is further reduced to 6.25% for IT companies and an effective 0% rate on dividends sourced abroad. Other European countries should be jealous of how Ireland has been able to attract lots of foreign capital, and during turbulent economic times too. It’s a real success story. It comes as no surprise that Ireland’s residence by investment program is one of the most popular in Europe at the moment. It’s perfect for the serious high-net-worth investor who’s eager to reap the benefits of Ireland and fit its residence (and potentially citizenship) into their Nomad Capitalist offshore strategy.
What is residence by Investment
A residence by investment program is geared toward high-net-worth individuals – usually entrepreneurs and investors – who are given residence in a country in exchange for their investment. In Europe, these programs are commonly known as “Golden Visas” because of the many “golden” benefits that they offer. All of the countries that run such programs require the foreign investment to build or improve their infrastructure, to create new companies or jobs, or simply to raise capital to boost the economy. That’s the short answer, but there are a lot of nuances that surround each of the programs currently on offer. Whatever the reason, the minimum investment sum will differ per country as will the conditions such as how quickly the applications get processed and how often you will have to renew your residence permit. In this article, we will cover all the details about the Ireland Golden Visa program, from its application process to the potential European citizenship that you could obtain.
The Golden Visa Residency Program in Ireland
Ireland offers golden visa to foreign nationals who commit to an approved investment in Ireland minimum €1,000,000 (USD 1.15 million) through Immigrant Investor scheme. Under the IIP golden visa scheme, Investors and families multi-entry visa or permission to live in Ireland initially for first 2 years, later with periodic renewals of 5 years. Ireland is a full member state of the European Union. Ireland is not part of the Schengen arrangements on travel and visas. A Schengen visa or UK visa is not valid for travel to Ireland (exceptions apply).
The Immigrant Investor Programme facilitates non-EEA nationals and their families who commit to an approved investment in Ireland to acquire a secure residency status in Ireland. The Programme was established by the Irish Government in 2012 to stimulate productive investment in Ireland and to offer residency in Ireland with its associated advantages to dynamic business professionals with a proven record of success. The ultimate objective of this programme is job creation and facilitating further Irish economic development.
The following are qualifying investments that qualify under immigrant investor scheme from Government. All applicants for the Ireland Immigrant investor Programme must demonstrate that they have a legally acquired minimum net worth of €2 million.
- Endowment (donation to philanthropic) – €500,000
- Enterprise investment: €1,000,000 invested in an Irish Enterprise for 3 years
- Investment Funds: €1,000,000 invested in an approved fund.
- Immigrant Investor Bond: €1 million invested in the bond at 0% interest rate
- Real Estate Investment Trusts: A minimum investment of €2 million in any Irish REIT that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The €2 million investment may be spread across a number of different Irish REITs.
- Mixed investment: Investment in a residential property of minimum value of €450,000 and a straight investment of €500,000 into the immigrant investor bond, giving a minimum investment of €950,000. The level of investment into the bond would no longer be linked to the value of the property purchased.
Supporting Documents Required for Irish Golden Visa
(A) Documents Required before investment
Proof of net worth. You must have a minimum net worth of €2 million, which you have acquired legally, to qualify for the IIP. The funds must be yours, not of another family member, for example.Explanation of your financial activities from the past 12 months, such as:
- Your income, including employment details, annual income, bonuses and commissions, and any gifts or inheritances you may have received.
- Full details of any investments you made.
- Your loans (bank, mortgage, etc.)
Proof you have the required funds for investment. You must also be able to prove you can transfer them to Ireland.Proof of the source of your funds. You must be able to show how you acquired the funds you intend to use for the investment, for example via:
- Business/investment activities.
- Sale deeds.
- Divorce settlement.
Evidence of character. You must include a statement of character from the authorities from every country you have lived in for more than six months for the past ten years.
- You must include the same type of statement of character for any of your children who are over 16 that you have included on the application.
In addition, depending on the type of investment you will make, you need the following documents as well:
A comprehensive business plan of the enterprise in which you are investing (new or existing), which:
- Identifies the financial investments you are making.
- Shows how your investment will help create or maintain jobs.
- Details how much equity you are acquiring.
- Details how you will receive investment return.
If you are investing in an already-existing business: Most recent audited business account.
Include a profile of the investment fund, which details:
- The investment strategy.
- The source of funding.
- The investment pool for the fund.
- A target return on investment; and
- States the employment projections of the investments under the fund.
Proof you have the required funds for the investment. You do not need to specify which REIT you are investing in.
- A Business Plan. You can find a business plan template on INIS’s website and adapt it to your purpose.
- Proof of how your donation will be used and how it will benefit Ireland.
(B)Required documents after you make your investment
After your application for Ireland Investor Visa has been approved, you have to submit the following documents to the Minister for Justice and Equality:
- Letter from a solicitor which confirms that you have transferred the funds in the Irish business/enterprise.
- Letter from a solicitor which confirms that you have transferred the funds in the Irish business/enterprise.
- A letter from the Fund Investment Manager confirming you have transferred the funds.
- A copy of your subscription certificate
- Letter from a solicitor which confirms that you have invested €2 million in REIT.
- A letter from the REIT company which confirms the sum you have invested.
- Copy of your share certificate.
- Letter from a solicitor which confirms that you have transferred the funds to the Irish registered charity.
- A letter from the registered charity which confirms you have transferred the funds.
- A payment remittance and bank statements proving you have transferred the funds.
- The solicitor who issues your letter must be cleared to work in Ireland.
When can you apply for the Ireland Investor Visa
The windows for submitting an Ireland Investor Visa application only open five times a year for only a few days. The INIS publishes the dates when the windows for the application will be open every year.
For 2019, the windows for application are as follows:
- 4 March 2019 -15 March 2019
- 8 April 2019 – 12 April 2019
- 20 May 2019 – 24 May 2019
- 19 August 2019 – 23 August 2019
- 21 October 2019 – 25 October 2019
What family members can you include on the Ireland Investor Visa?
The family members that you can include on your Ireland Golden Visa application are:
- Your spouse/partner.
- Your minor children (under 18 years old).
In some cases, children between 18 and 24 can be included on the Ireland Investor Visa if they are unmarried and they are financially dependent on you – for example, they are still in school/university.
Mandatory Documents Required for Irish Investor Visa
- Family name.
- Given names.
- Date of birth.
- Country of birth.
- Passport number.
- Date of issue of passport.
- Date of expiry of passport.
- Place of issue of passport.
- Current residential address.
- Address for official correspondence (can be Irish immigration lawyer’s office).
- Telephone number.
- Email address.
- Residence history (list of past addresses).
- Additional passport information (if the applicant holds a second citizenship).
- Occupation and business activity information.
- Name and address of employer or business.
- Position with employer or business.
- Description of business activities.
- Marital status.
- Detailed information about spouse including employment details (if applicable).
- Detailed information about children including school details (if applicable).
- Irish immigration history.
- Immigration history in all other countries.
- Comprehensive financial information.
- Criminal history.
- Deportation history.
In addition to providing the requisite information listed above, Irish Golden Visa candidates must also sign a legal declaration on the preeminent application form.
- Step 1: Talk to Immigration Ultimate- We Have the best resources available
- Step 2: Evaluate Ireland investment immigration and citizenship by investment options with legal counsel
- Step 3: Work with an Irish immigration attorney to obtain all required supporting documentation
- Step 4: Submit an application to Ireland immigration officials based on one of the four currently available investment options, together with supporting documentation. No investment is required at this time, but a non-refundable filing fee of €1,500 must be paid for the main applicant and any accompanying family members. Ireland Investor Visa applications are only accepted during official intake “windows” that occur approximately five times a year and last about 25 days each.
- Step 5: Obtain approval of Ireland Golden Visa application from the Immigration Ireland Evaluation Committee. The Evaluation Committee is empowered to recommend Investment Visa applications for approval by the Minister for Justice and Equality.
- Step 6: Once the Minister for Justice and Equality approves an Irish Investor Visa application, the candidate must make their prescribed investment and submit proof that the investment has been made in full
- Step 7: Supply evidence of sufficient private medical insurance
- Step 8: Submit an Affidavit of Good Character issued by an attorney at law licensed to practice in Ireland. This requirement is separate from the statement of good character from the police that was included in the initial application.
- Step 9: Once the investment is officially confirmed, successful applicants will be granted an initial two-year residency in Ireland together with any eligible family members that were included in the application. Ireland Investor Visa holders need not actually reside in Ireland to maintain their residency.
Benefits of Irish Residency by Investment
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is the Ireland Investor Program subject to a numerical quota on how many residence permits will be issued each year?
- If I get married or have children after my Investor Visa has been granted, can my new family member get one too?
- How should my Investment Visa application fees be paid?
- What can I do if my application is rejected?
- Is Irish citizenship for sale?
- Do many people immigrate to Ireland?
- Under what conditions might an investor residence permit be revoked once it has already been granted?
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