IRELAND

Ireland

Ireland IMMIGRATION PROGRAM

The Ireland Immigrant Investor Program was established in 2012 to allow wealthy individuals and families from outside the European Union to obtain residency in Ireland in exchange for making an approved investment in the Irish economy. Although the program does not offer the permanent residence, once the appropriate conditions are met, residency permission can be extended every few years for an indefinite period. The Ireland Investor Immigration Program does not officially provide Irish citizenship by investment, but long-term residency in Ireland can be used to support a citizenship application under the country's naturalisation rules.

INVESTOR VISA IRELAND ELIGIBILITY 2019

Obtaining a "Golden Visa" through the Irish Immigrant Investor Program is the only possible route towards Ireland citizenship by investment currently available. To be eligible for an Irish Investment Visa, a candidate must have a legally accumulated minimum net worth of €2 million. The applicant must also have good character, with no criminal convictions anywhere in the world. Before an EU Investor Visa is officially granted, an applicant must submit evidence to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that he or she has successfully made adequate investment in the country following the program's rules.

AVAILABLE INVESTMENT OPTIONS

Only investments officially approved by the Irish Immigrant Investor Program will qualify an individual and their family for residence in Ireland. Permissible investments under the Ireland Investor Program are divided into four tracks:

ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT

Under this option, Ireland Investor Visa candidates must invest at least €1 million into a qualifying Irish enterprise for at least three years. The enterprise can be an existing business, or it can be a new business started by the investor. The enterprise must be registered in Ireland, and its headquarters must be located in the country. The enterprise must also help the Irish economy by creating or maintaining local jobs.

Prospective immigrants must make the business investment in their name (not in the name of a corporation or trust) and are not permitted to qualify under this option through the purchase of publicly traded shares or real estate that they intend to rent to tenants. Potential candidates may propose a significant investment involving several partners, all of whom are applying to the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program if each investment qualifies independently under the program. It is also possible to invest in multiple qualifying businesses in Ireland as long as the total investment made in the country is at least one million euros.

APPROVED INVESTMENT FUND

Under this option of the Ireland immigration by investment program, candidates must invest at least €1 million into a qualifying investment fund for at least three years. The investment fund must have been pre-approved for the program by Immigration Ireland, and it must be private equity or venture capital fund focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises. The fund must also have a minimum target size of €20 million.

Any domestic investment by the fund must be used to purchase equity stakes in Ireland-registered companies whose shares are not publicly traded. The funds, as well as the fund managers, must be subject to regulation by the Irish Central Bank to conduct any business in the jurisdiction. Only funds managed by an experienced fund manager located in Ireland are eligible for approval under this option of the Irish Investor Program.

There is a list of pre-approved funds available for Ireland investor immigration. The primary criteria for pre-approving an investment fund is its potential to create jobs in Ireland, not its potential to generate profit for the investor. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) does not possess the expertise or authority to recommend any particular investment fund, whether or not it has been pre-approved for immigration purposes. Consequently, INIS does not in any way guarantee the performance of any such fund. An Irish immigration lawyer can help foreign nationals interested in Ireland investor citizenship identify available funds under this investment option.

REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST (REIT)

Under this Investor Visa Ireland option, candidates must invest in an Irish REIT. A REIT is a listed company used to hold rental property in a manner that mitigates investor risk yet avoids double taxation. A REIT will typically invest in a diverse pool of properties to minimise risk and must distribute most of its profits every year.

To qualify for Irish residency under this option, applicants must invest at least €2 million into one or more qualifying REITs for at least three years. The REIT must either be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange or have already applied for listing and given notice of the same to the Revenue Commissioners. Investors must maintain the original number of shares they purchased for the full three years, even if their value rises above the €2 million investment requirement. After three years, the immigrant investor may divest a maximum of 50 percent of his or her shares. One year later, they are allowed to divest an additional 25 percent, and after a total of five years from the original date of purchase, he or she may fully divest. Please note that candidates do not have to identify precisely which REIT they intend to invest in at the time of application because this might disturb market order. Any REIT a foreign national invests in before receiving official approval from Immigration Ireland will not count for the Irish Immigrant Investor Program.

ENDOWMENT (DONATION OPTION)

Under this Ireland Investor Program option, candidates must donate at least €500,000 to a qualifying philanthropic project in arts, sports, health, culture or education. Candidates that act in concert with four or more other immigrant investors may invest as little as €400,000 each as long as the total donation goes to a single project. Immigrant investors must not receive any financial return on their contribution. Since this option does not require an investment, there is no minimum holding period.

LONG-TERM RESIDENCY IN IRELAND

After two years, investors can have their Ireland residence permit renewed by submitting evidence that they have maintained their investment for the required holding period (depending on which investment track was selected). As long as a person's investment still qualifies (he or she did not divest too early), they are financially stable (investor has not become a financial burden upon Ireland), and they maintain good character (investor has not been investigated or charged for a criminal offence anywhere in the world), his or her residence permit can be extended for another three years.

After this, Investor Visa holders can apply for an extension of their Irish residence permit every five years after that. There are no further investment requirements, although financial stability and proper character requirements still apply.

IRELAND CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT

The Ireland Immigrant Investor Program is officially a residency program, not a citizenship by investment program. Nevertheless, participants are entitled to apply for Irish citizenship on the same terms as anyone else, and a resident permit can assist immigrant investors in meeting the residency requirements for Irish citizenship.

To be eligible to apply for Irish citizenship by investment, immigrant investors must have been resident in Ireland for at least 12 months immediately before their application date and must have been resident in Ireland for four of the immediately preceding five years before their application date. For citizenship eligibility purposes, "residency" requires an actual physical presence in the country, although a person can still be considered a resident of Ireland if they leave from time to time for business trips or vacations. Candidates must spend most of their time in a given year physically present in Ireland to be considered a resident of Ireland for that year.

DUAL CITIZENSHIP (SECOND CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT)

Since Ireland recognises dual citizenship, the country will not force citizenship applicants to abandon their current citizenship to obtain Ireland citizenship through investment. Consequently, an Ireland Golden Visa may be of particular interest to high net worth individuals (HNWI) interested in getting an excellent second citizenship.

INVESTOR VISA IRELAND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

Required Documents for Enterprise Investment Option:

  • A comprehensive business plan that provides a detailed description of the financial investment being made. The business plan should explain how the business will create or maintain employment in Ireland and how the applicant intends to ensure a financial return on their investment. A template business plan is available on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) website.
  • If investing in an existing Irish enterprise or a non-Irish enterprise that is being relocated to Ireland, applicants must provide recent audited accounts for the current company. This documentation is unnecessary if the individual is starting a new business in Ireland.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST (REIT) OPTION

  • After the Minister for Justice and Equality has approved an Irish Investor Visa application, the applicant must submit a share certificate and a letter from their broker specifying the number of REIT shares purchased, the purchase date, the share price, as well as the total amount of the investment. Applicants will not be granted residence permission until they have submitted this documentation.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR ENDOWMENT OPTION

  • A detailed statement on how the donated funds are to be used by the beneficiary and how it will benefit the public. The business plan template accessible on the INIS website and used for the Enterprise Investment option can be adapted for this purpose.

In addition to the track-specific documentation provisions listed above, the following supporting documents are required for all Irish Investor Visa applications, regardless of the specific investment track.

EVIDENCE OF NET WORTH

Ireland Immigrant Investor Program candidates are required to provide a thorough explanation of their financial activity over the previous 12 months, including the following information and documents.

(a) Proof of Investments:

  • Nature of the investment
  • Amount invested
  • Percentage of equity acquired in any company
  • Names of other shareholders and their equity percentages
  • Name of any shareholder who sold the applicant an equity interest
  • Source of the funds invested
  • The registered capital of the company invested in, as it stood immediately after the investment was made
  • The purchase price for any real property that was bought
  • Amounts of any personal investments, share purchases or other securities, and the investment income obtained

(b) Proof of Income:

  • Earned income
  • Job title
  • Duration of employment (if applicant changed positions during the last year)
  • Monthly salary, bonus, and commissions
  • Dividends
  • Inheritances received
  • Gifts received, including the source, the reason for the present and the donor's financial capacity to offer the gift

(c) Proof of Loans:

  • Amounts and repayment dates of any bank loans received
  • Prices and repayment dates of any mortgages granted
  • Amounts and repayment dates of any other investments received

EVIDENCE OF GOOD CHARACTER

Ireland is a safe and reputable country and is only interested in attracting international businessmen and businesswomen who are upstanding and well-respected individuals. Consequently, the following documents must be provided to Irish immigration officials to ensure only deserving applicants are approved for Irish Golden Visas.

Proof of Character:

  • Statement of good character issued by the police in applicant's home country as well as from each jurisdiction he or she has lived in for six months or more consecutively during the ten years preceding the date of their Ireland Investor Visa application. Any family members included in the Immigrant Investor Program application who are over 16 years of age must also provide such statements to be eligible for Ireland investment immigration.
  • Due diligence screening by reputable international risk management or security screening organisation. This is not an absolute requirement but is strongly recommended. An Irish immigration attorney will be able to refer Investment Visa candidates to such an agency.

EVIDENCE OF AVAILABILITY OF INVESTMENT FUNDS

Irish Investment Visa applicants must supply proof of the existence of the funds that will be invested in Ireland. This evidence must include at least one of the following documents.

Proof of Liquid Assets:

  • Letter from a financial institution regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland
  • If funds are not held in a financial institution regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland (for example, if they are held outside of Ireland), personal bank statements from the appropriate bank regulated under the authority of its home jurisdiction showing the amount of funds available in the applicant's name for the three months preceding the application date. These statements must be originals printed on bank stationery, and they must show the full amount of available funds.
  • Letter from a bank outside of Ireland where funds are held, dated no more than a month before the Irish Investment Visa application submission date. This letter must confirm the individual's name, the amount of money held, proof that the appropriate regulatory authority regulates the bank, the years of validity of the information in the letter (which should begin three months before the time of the message and end on the date of the letter), as well as the balance of the account to cover the amount claimed as a credit balance for the three months preceding the time of the message. The letter must be an original document printed on the bank's letterhead.

EVIDENCE OF SOURCE OF INVESTMENT FUNDS

Ireland Golden Visa applicants are required to prove the source of the funds that will be invested through documentary evidence. These sources may fall within the following categories: (a) deeds of sale, (b) business and investment activities, (c) inheritance, and (d) divorce settlements. The following documentation is required to demonstrate the legal accumulation of the money that will be invested in Ireland.

(a) Proof of Deeds of Sale

The original deed of sale with at least the following information:

  • Applicant's name
  • Date of the sale
  • Value of the sale in local currency
  • Copy of the public registration of the sale, if such registration is required in the jurisdiction of the sale
  • Verification letter from an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction of the sale, which includes the following information:
  • Attorney's name
  • Name of the attorney's licensing authority (a bar association for example)
  • Date of the sale
  • Confirmation that the sale was genuine (it occurred) and that it conformed to the laws of the jurisdiction in which it occurred
  • Confirmation that the funds are available to the individual
  • The date the verification letter was issued
  • Identification of what was sold
  • Amount of money the asset was sold for
  • Name of the person who legitimately received the proceeds of the sale
  • The date that the money was received

Please note that in order to be valid for consideration under the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program, the deed must meet all formal legal requirements of the jurisdiction where it was issued.

(b) Proof of Business and Investment Activities

  • Financial account documents (profit and loss account or income and expenditure account). The documents should indicate the number of funds available for investment and should meet all the requirements for such a letter that apply in the corresponding jurisdiction.
  • Letter of verification from an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the business is operating, which must include the following information:
  • Lawyer's name
  • Attorney's original signature (not a copy)
  • Name of the bar association or other authority that licenses the lawyer
  • The date upon which the details were confirmed
  • Confirmation that the applicant can lawfully withdraw the appropriate amount of funds from the business

(c) Proof of Inheritance

A notarised copy of the will that includes the following information:

  • Date of the will
  • Identification of Ireland citizenship by investment candidate as a beneficiary
  • Amount of money inherited
  • Name(s) of the executor(s) of the will
  • Any codicils to the will that might affect the amount of money received
  • A verification letter from an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the will was made, which must include the following information:
  • Date of the letter
  • Attorney's name
  • Lawyer's licensing authority (a bar association, for example)
  • The date that Irish citizenship by investment candidate received the money from the will
  • Names of the testator and the beneficiaries
  • Amount of money received
  • Confirmation that the will is signed and valid, and that it conforms to the legal requirements of the jurisdiction in which it was created

Please note that only monetary instruments such as money count towards the investment amount. Ireland Investor Visa candidates cannot use an estimate of the value of any other assets received. If the individual received a house, for example, they are not permitted to use its value towards the requisite investment amount, they must first sell it and then submit the deed of sale following the Ireland immigration requirements detailed above.

(d) Proof of Divorce Settlements

  • A notarised copy of the divorce settlement agreement splitting assets after the divorce
  • A verification letter from an attorney that includes the following information:
  • Name of the lawyer
  • Lawyer's licensing authority (a bar association, for example)
  • The names of the two people getting divorced
  • Date of the verification letter
  • Amount of money received by Ireland citizenship by investment candidate as a result of the settlement
  • The date that the money was received
  • Confirmation that the divorce has been completed and that it is valid under the laws of the jurisdiction in which it took place

(e) Proof of Other Sources

  • Gifts from relatives retained earnings, and funds in a joint bank account may be counted if the amount has been legally acquired and the applicant has the legal authority to transfer these funds to Ireland
  • On a case-by-case basis as determined by Ireland investment immigration officials, other funds may be allowed provided the applicant submits original documentation confirming the source of the funds together with supporting documentation. Government officials for the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program can be contacted directly to discuss the details of these unique requirements.

EVIDENCE OF ABILITY TO TRANSFER FUNDS

Investor Visa Ireland applicants must prove that they can transfer the required funds to Ireland and convert them into euros.

This proof must be submitted in the form of a letter from their bank or financial institution that confirms the following information.

Proof of Available Funds from Bank:

  • Date of letter
  • Amount of money available to be transferred to Ireland
  • Amount of money that the candidate intends to transfer
  • Confirmation that Ireland Investor Visa applicant is the beneficial owner of the funds
  • Guarantee that bank or financial institution will confirm the preceding assertions to INIS if so requested

Ireland Immigrant Investor Program applicants must submit an original of this letter, and it must be printed on official bank letterhead. Under no circumstances will Irish immigration officials accept a copy of this letter instead of an original.

EVIDENCE OF RELATIONSHIP WITH ACCOMPANYING FAMILY MEMBERS

For a family member to be included under a Golden Visa Ireland application, proof of his or her relationship with the primary applicant must be provided.

CHILDREN

All children under 18 years of age may be included in an Ireland Investor Visa application, and they may be issued EU residency by investment, as long as the principal applicant has legal guardianship over them. Dependent children between the ages of 18 and 24 will also be considered for an Irish resident permit if they are unmarried with no civil or common-law partner and are financially dependent on the main applicant.

SPOUSE

A spouse, civil partner, or common-law partner may also be included on an Ireland Golden Visa application. Evidence of the relationship must be demonstrated by a marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate. In cases of a common-law affiliation, Irish residency by investment applications should also include evidence of at least two immediately preceding years of cohabitation to prove the legal relationship with the common-law partner.

IRELAND INVESTMENT PROGRAM APPROVAL PROCESS

All Irish Golden Visa applications will be evaluated by the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program Evaluation Committee, consisting of senior Government officials. During the process, all supporting documents will be thoroughly reviewed, and the details of the investment proposal will be intensely analysed. If the Evaluation Committee approves an Irish Investor Program application, it will then issue a favourable recommendation to the Minister for Justice and Equality, who will make the final decision. Once approved by the Minister, the applicant and their family will be accepted in principle for Ireland Golden Visas.

The Evaluation Committee will adjudicate an Ireland Investment Immigration Program application on a variety of factors.

Assessment Components:

  • Applicant's profile
  • Proposed project's commercial viability
  • Jobs likely to be created in Ireland by the project
  • Project's overall impact on the Irish economy

POST-APPROVAL REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURES

Once an Immigrant Investor Program Ireland application is approved, the applicant must complete the remaining steps to be given Ireland residency by investment formally.

Final Requirements:

  • Make the investment, and submit documentary evidence that the prescribed investment was made in full
  • Submit proof of sufficient private medical insurance
  • Prepare an Affidavit of Good Character in which primary applicant affirms, on penalty of perjury, that he or she has no criminal convictions. Any adult family members included in the Ireland citizenship by investment application must also complete this requirement independently affirming that they also have no criminal record. The main applicant can make this affirmation on behalf of any children under 18 years of age within their affidavit.

Golden Visa candidates will need to be personally present in Ireland to prepare their affidavits. Since they will not yet have been issued an EU residence permit by this time, INIS will assist individuals in obtaining any necessary visas.

The main applicant and all accompanying family members will be issued "Stamp 4" residence permits that will allow the holder to live, work, start a business and/or study in Ireland as desired for the next two years, without any further visa requirements (there will not be any need for student visas or working visas, for example). Neither the principal applicant or any family members are required to live in Ireland. However, they need only visit the country once every calendar year, even if only for one day.

IRELAND INVESTMENT VISA PROCESSING TIMES

Most Ireland Immigrant Investor Program applications are adjudicated within three to four months of formal submission. A significant percentage of applications, however, take longer than this. In many cases, Investment Visa application processing delays result from the Evaluation Committee had to ask the applicant for further information that was not included in the initial application. Consequently, it is in an applicant's best interest to submit as complete an application as possible so that processing can be expedited. Hiring an experienced Ireland immigration lawyer can ensure that an Irish Golden Visa application is completed properly and that all essential supporting documentation is included, to minimise processing delays.

GOLDEN VISA IRELAND EXTENSIONS

After two years, the principal applicant and any of their accompanying family members may apply for three-year extensions of their Irish resident visas. To gain an extension, an investor immigrant must show the following.

Investor Visa Extension Requirements:

  • Investment is still in place (actual investment performance is irrelevant)
  • Golden Visa holder has not become a financial burden upon Ireland
  • Golden Visa holder has not been investigated, indicted, or convicted for any criminal offence anywhere in the world

After five years, all investment requirements will lapse, and the applicant may withdraw his or her investment if they so desire. At this time, the applicant and their accompanying family members may renew their Irish Investor Visas for successive five-year periods for as long as they wish, subject to the following conditions.

Long-Term Residency Requirements:

  • Investor Visa holder does not become a financial burden upon Ireland
  • Investor Visa holder is never investigated, indicted, or charged with a criminal offence anywhere in the world

If you are interested in professional help applying for an Ireland Investor Visa or Ireland citizenship by investment, you should ideally contact one of our experts at Alan and Partners (A&P).

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Capital City Dublin
Total Area 9,833,520 km2
Languages English and Gaelic
Population 5,068,050 (2016 estimate)
Currency Euro (€) (EUR)
Visa-Free Countries 147
Nearest Country Shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom

Time zone:

  • Greenwich Mean Time / Western European Time (UTC)
  • Summer (DST) Western European Summer Time[b] (UTC+1)

For more further details, please contact one of our highly qualified consultants from Here