The Ireland Investor Immigration Programme grants residency to eligible investors who can evidence personal net assets worth more than €2 million.
Ireland has become an increasingly attractive destination for non-EEA nationals seeking residence in an EU country through investment. A small but highly globalised economy, Ireland offers competitive corporate taxation, access to an educated, English-speaking workforce and a high standard of living.
What is the Ireland Investor Immigration Programme?
The Irish investor programme is available to non-EU citizens who can evidence a minimum net worth of €2 million and who make an approved investment in one of a number of qualifying options. In return, you will be granted Irish residency for you and your family. You may also become eligible to naturalise as an Irish citizen and apply for an Irish passport.
If you are looking to invest in Ireland, it is important to seek legal advice to understand the migration options open to you, to ensure your case is effectively represented to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) and to avoid any delays with your application.
Making an application for Ireland’s Investor Immigration Programme
At DavidsonMorris we help both individuals and commercial employers meet their global mobility needs, including Irish investor visa applications.
We have an established reputation for effective and efficient management of Ireland investor programme applications, providing advice and support through the investment requirements and, where applicable, helping to obtain Irish citizenship and secure an Irish passport.
We also understand the stresses involved with moving across the world, and take great pride in playing a supportive role to ease the pressure.
Your Questions Answered
Am I eligible for the Ireland Investor Immigration Programme?
To qualify under the investor programme for Ireland, you will have to evidence through documentation that your personal net worth exceeds €2 million (or equivalent), that the source of your funds and assets are legitimate and that you meet the good character requirement.
You will also have to invest in one of four approved investment options.
What are the four investment options?
Unlike equivalent schemes in other countries, the Ireland Investor Immigration Programme does not require you to invest the funds prior to making your application. You only have to identify which investment option you intend to proceed with. The investment is then made once your application is approved.
Investors who wish to participate in the scheme must choose from one of four eligible investments in Ireland:
- Enterprise Investment
- Investment Fund
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)
Additional documentation will need to be provided in relation to the investment you opt for. The options carry different benefits and risks for investors, so it will be important to ensure you take professional advice to understand which best suits your requirements and circumstances.
How to apply for the Ireland Investor Immigration Programme
There are four stages to the application process:
- Making your application. Select the investment option you will proceed with and compile a complete and comprehensive application with supporting documentation to INIS.
- The Evaluation committee will review your application, and approve or refuse on the basis of your submission.
- If approved, you are to make the investment in your chosen option.
- After your investment has been placed, you and your family will be granted permission to reside in Ireland.
How long do applications take to approve?
In total, it can take around 4-6 months from submitting your application to INIS for a decision to be made. Delays arise where documentation is not complete and the Evaluation committee requests further evidence to be submitted.
Note also that the Evaluation committee accepts submissions during four windows each year. For 2019 these are:
- 4th March 2019 –8th March 2019
- 20th May 2019 – 24th May 2019
- 19th August 2019 – 23rd August 2019
- 21st October 2019 – 25th October 2019
Can investors bring dependants?
Yes, under the programme you will be able to bring your spouse or partner and children under the age of 18 with you to Ireland. In certain circumstances, dependent children between the ages of 18 and 24 may also be considered if they are unmarried and do not have a life partner, and are financially dependent on their you (e.g. in full time education).
The programme allows your dependants permission to work, study or start their own businesses in Ireland.
How long is residency granted for?
The Irish investor scheme grants residency for an initial period of two years. This is extended by a further three years provided you have made the approved investment.
After the initial five years, residency permission can be extended for a further five years subject to further conditions being satisfied in the the preceding three year period, including that your investment has remained in place for the required time period, i.e. a minimum of three years. Alternatively, after the initial five years you may seek to apply for Irish citizenship.
Investment performance is not a condition for residence. As long as you commit your funds for the required period of time your residence will be extended.
Do I have to live in Ireland to keep my status under the programme?
Full time residency is not mandatory, although you are required to be in Ireland for a minimum of 1 day per calendar year to maintain your eligibility under the programme. This also applies to family members also included in the programme.
However, should you intend to apply to naturalise as an Irish citizen and attain an Irish passport, you will need to satisfy the residence requirement under the naturalisation process.
Is it possible to lose your immigration status?
It is possible to lose your residency status in a number of circumstances. For example, where the individual is convicted of a criminal offence or fails to meet the investment conditions of the programme.
Can I get Irish citizenship through the investor immigration programme?
Automatic citizenship after the five year period is not granted, and there is no fast-track or preference for individuals under the investor programme.
However, you can apply for naturalisation after five years actual residence in Ireland, provided you are eligible. This includes evidencing that you have been physically resident in Ireland for four of the preceding eight years, i.e. 5 years, prior to your application. During each of these years, your home must have been in Ireland and you must have been physically present in Ireland for at least 10 months of each year, after holidays and trips away for business and leisure, have been deducted.
More recently, a court ruling in July 2019 has dramatically tightened the residency rules for obtaining Irish citizenship – requiring the applicant to be ‘continuously resident’ in Ireland the year before applying for citizenship. ‘Continuous’ has been interpreted as meaning no absences at all from the Republic during the 12 month period prior to making the application, including trips to Northern Ireland. As a result, individuals looking to apply for Irish citizenship should take advice well in advance of their eligibility date to ensure they meet the residence requirements under the prevailing interpretation of the rules.
Can I apply for an Irish passport?
If you are successful in naturalising as an Irish citizen, you become eligible to apply for an Irish passport.
What if your Investor programme application is refused?
There is no right to appeal if your application is rejected and your application fee will be lost.
You will be advised of the grounds for refusal. On this basis, it is recommended to take advice on your options and the merits of making a new application, addressing the issue(s) of your refused application.
Ireland Investor Visa Articles
Under the Immigrant Investment Programme, Ireland offers foreign nationals residency in exchange for investment.
The application requirements on non-EEA nationals to qualify for the investor programme are stringent. Errors or omissions will result in processing delays or a refused application. With so much at stake, it’s critical to get it right first time.