The Ireland Investor visa is offered through the Irish Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP). It is available to citizens of non-EEA countries who have a personal net worth of more than €2 million and who make investment in an approved activity.
Designed to offer residency in exchange for investment, Ireland’s investor visa allows the visa holder and their family to live and work in the country for an initial period of 5 years. After this period, provided the naturalisation requirements are met, they may become eligible to apply for Irish citizenship and an Irish passport.
Applying to take part in the scheme isn’t however straightforward. The investment options should be carefully considered and, in addition to the initial eligibility and investment requirements, you will also need to maintain your status, as it can be withdrawn.
Benefits of the Ireland Investor Visa
The Irish investor visa is becoming increasingly attractive as a route into Europe for non-EEA nationals following the UK’s departure from the EU.
Ireland offers investors a close and stable relationship with Europe, with competitive business tax rates and the benefit of a native English-speaking workforce.
Against this backdrop, Ireland’s investor visa is positioned to offer investors much-sought-after access to Europe with the potential to gain an Irish passport and all rights conferred on citizens of EU countries.
Ireland investor visa requirements
To qualify, you will need to meet the scheme requirements. You have to be of ‘good character’ and not have a criminal conviction in any jurisdiction.
The requirement for personal net worth is that you are worth more than €2 million (or equivalent). This can include assets such as commercial activity, inheritance, endowment, divorce. It must be accessible to the applicant for investment under the scheme and the source must be evidenced as legitimate.
You have to make a qualifying investment activity from one of four investment options:
- Enterprise Investment
- Investment Fund
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)
How to apply for the Irish Investor Visa
Once you have determined which investment option suits your needs, you apply using the application form, which you must complete fully and accurately. You will also be required to submit your supporting documentation relating to your identity, eligibility and proof of source of funds. You will also need to provide a comprehensive business plan, tailored to the investment option you have selected and detailing your investment plans.
No investment is required at this initial, application stage.
The application fee is €1,500. This is non-refundable.
In addition to documentation relating to the investment option, applicants also have to submit the following evidence that they meet the scheme requirements:
- Your current, valid, original passport and a photocopy
- Two recent passport size photos
- Original and certified copy of the birth certificate
- Original and certified copy of the marriage certificate
- Payment receipt of the application fee
- Evidence of private medical insurance
- Proof of income
- Proof of loans
- Evidence of relationship with other family members
- Proof your net worth was legally acquired and is valued at at least €2 million.
- Proof of investment funds to meet the investment option requirement, and that these funds are available to you to transfer in accordance with the relevant investment option rules.
- Proof of the source of funds and that these are legal.
- Proof of good character by way of a statement of character from the police authorities in all countries where you have lived for longer than six months in the past ten years.
What happens after the application is submitted?
Applications are assessed by an Evaluation Committee, which will make a recommendation to the Minister of Justice on your application. If the Committee and Minister decide in your favour, you will receive a pre-approval letter inviting you to transfer the funds and to make the proposed investment.
Once the investment is finalised, you will be sent a letter confirming your right to live in Ireland.
The next step is to get your residence permit. You do this by making an appointment to register your residence at the registration office in Dublin.
How much does the investor visa application cost?
Currently, the application fee is €1,500. This is non-refundable.
Who are classed as ‘dependants’?
The investor visa also offers residency status, on similar terms to you, to your dependants, being your spouse, partner and children under 18. Exemptions are available for children between 18 and 24 where they are unmarried and in full time education and financial dependant on you.
You will need to evidence your legal relationship to each dependant such as a birth certificate and marriage certificate.
Will I need a visa to re-enter Ireland?
The scheme acts as a multi-entry visa, so you can leave and enter as many times as you like, provided your status under the scheme remains valid.
Do I have to live in Ireland to maintain investor status?
It is not a mandatory condition of the investor visa to have to live in Ireland to maintain your residency status. This allows participants in the scheme the freedom and ability to continue to direct and conduct business interests overseas. However, if you choose not to make Ireland your home, you will not be eligible to apply to naturalise at the end of the 5-year scheme.
Can I get Irish citizenship by investing?
The investor visa can open up the path to citizenship after 5 years of residency, where the eligibility criteria have been met.
You have to 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 the year, after holidays and trips away for business and leisure have been deducted.
A court ruling in July 2019 tightened the residency rules significantly. Applicants must now show they have been ‘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. 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.
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.
Does Ireland accept dual nationality?
Ireland does recognise dual nationality. Applicants would however need to check with the laws of their current country of nationality if dual nationality is accepted. If not, by naturalising as an Irish citizen, you may be relinquishing your previous nationality, which would have implications for your immigration status in your previous country of residence and as such you would be travelling to and attempting to enter the country as an Irish national.
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.
Last updated: 7 March 2022