The Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP), also known as the Ireland investor visa, offers non-EU nationals the opportunity to gain residency in Ireland and to become eligible for an Irish passport, in exchange for a qualifying investment.
Following the closure of the equivalent investor scheme in the UK, the IIP is proving an attractive immigration option for non-EEA nationals looking for EU citizenship through investment.
Unlike investor visas in many other countries, the Ireland Investor Immigrant Programme does not require you to invest the funds prior to making your application. When you apply, you only have to identify which of the four investment options you intend to proceed with. The investment is then made once your application is approved. This removes a significant amount of financial risk for investor applicants compared with investment visa schemes offered by other nations.
What are the investment options for the ImmigrantInvestment Programme?
There are four investment categories under the IIP. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, which we outline below. Applicants should take professional advice to determine which option is best for their goals and circumstances.
This is the most commonly used investment option. Enterprise Investment suits those who have determined Ireland to be a suitable location to create a new enterprise or to invest in an existing company.
Under the Enterprise Investment option, you can elect to invest a minimum of €1 million either into a single or multiple Ireland-based business(es) for at least three years.
The flexibility of this option is that the enterprise can be a start up, set up by the investor, or an existing business, provided it is registered in Ireland.
There is an additional job creation requirement with this option and other stipulations as to the type of investment apply. For example, the investment cannot be made by a corporation, even if it is wholly owned by the applicant. Investment in property to rent, either residential or commercial, and publicly traded securities, will also not qualify.
The investment also has to be made under the name of the applicant and not a corporation.
As part of your application, you will need to provide a comprehensive business plan which details the financial investment that has been made and also the level of equity you will hold in the business. If the enterprise is already established, you should provide the company’s latest financial records.
The Investment Fund could be attractive if you want to use regulated investment intermediaries to invest in qualifying investment funds that are approved and regulated by the Central Bank.
The Investment Fund requires a minimum of €1 million to be invested in an approved fund, for at least three years. An approved fund is a low-risk investment fund commissioned and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Funds must be invested in Irish registered companies. The companies cannot be quoted on the stock exchange.
Applicants are advised to carry out due diligence and to take advice from experienced professionals; the fund managers must be suitably experienced, located in Ireland and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland to conduct business in Ireland. The Irish Central Bank has authority to check and approve both the fund and the fund managers.
When applying, you would need to provide a detailed breakdown of the investment fund, including information about the source of funds, investment strategy, investment pool for the fund, return on investment targets and employment projections of the investments under the fund.
Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
For lower-risk property investment, divided into a collection of properties, REITs are a good option if you are looking for lower risk property investment and the ability to diversify the investment into a collection of properties.
Under the REIT option, a minimum investment of €2 million is to be made in any one or more Irish REITs listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. For a minimum period of three years, the number of shares in the REIT approved for qualification under the IIP must be retained by the investor even if their value rises above the €2 million original investment.
Most of the profits are distributed each year, creating regular income stream. REITs are also exempt from corporation tax on qualifying profits from rental property. The scheme’s debt limits mean REITs generate consistent income and are geenrally less vulnerable to negative equity risk.
This option is arguably the most straightforward for investors, and has a philanthropic focus. The investment is used to support projects that benefit the Irish public.
Endowment has the lowest of the four investment thresholds: a minimum investment of €500,000 is required, made to a project providing wider public benefit in the areas of arts, sports, health, culture or education. Where five or more investors pool their funds, the minimum threshold can be reduced to €400,000 per investor.
The investment is non-refundable. No return is promised on the endowment funds, although it also carries no additional financial obligations.
Do I have to prove the investment has performed to maintain my status?
No, there is no evaluation of the return of performance of your investment. The sole requirement is that the full, stipulated investment amount has been committed for the required period into the approved investment option.
If you are interested in attaining residency in Ireland by investment, the immigrant investor programme could be for you.
We can support you throughout the entire process, from initial guidance on the investment options through to compiling the application and – if applicable – advice during the five year residence period in preparation for naturalisation.
If you have any questions about the Ireland investor visa or for help with your application, contact us.
Ireland Immigrant Investment Programme FAQs
How much do I need to invest in Ireland to get PR?
You must have a personal net worth of at least €2 million, and you must also make a minimum, qualifying investment under one of four investment options.
How can I get Ireland citizenship by investment?
You can become eligible for Irish citizenship through investment if you have held residency status in Ireland for at least five years under the Immigrant Investor Programme and meet all the naturalisation requirements.
Last updated: 7 March 2022