What is the Immigrant Investor Programme?
Citizens of countries outside the European Economic Area can obtain an Ireland residence permit after investing in the state's economy under the Immigrant Investor Programme. This opportunity was established in 2012.
Investors who successfully enter the programme and their close family members get a residence card that allows them to work, study and start a business in Ireland.
Candidates can invest in a local business, an approved fund, a REIT, or a public benefit project. The investment threshold is €500,000.
Benefits of the Ireland Golden Visa programme
Ireland investment visa comes with quite some benefits for the participants of the programme.
Permission to work and study in Ireland. The investment programme provides a Stamp 4 residency, which allows working for a local company, acquiring self-employment status, starting a business in Ireland, as well as studying at universities on the island.
Close family members also get residency. On similar terms, the residency status is also available to the investor’s close family members — their spouse or partner and children under 18 years old.
Low stay requirements. The programme doesn’t oblige investors to physically reside in Ireland for a specific number of months or days. The only requirement is to visit the country at least once a year.
Path to citizenship. Those who are going to reside in the country can eventually obtain citizenship in Ireland by naturalisation. This will become possible at least eight years after becoming a resident. Among its other advantages, an Irish passport allows travelling to 187 countries visa-free, including those of the Schengen area, the United States and New Zealand.
Discount for education. Investors or their family members included in the residency application can take advantage of a one-time €50,000 discount for educational expenses in Irish universities. This discount is valid only for five years after the residence permit has been granted.
Returnable investment. There are several options to invest in the programme, most of which are returnable three years after the residency acquisition.
High quality of life. Ireland is a very comfortable place to live, with developed healthcare and education systems. In 2021, it was ranked the second richest country in the world by GDP per capita.
Who is eligible for Ireland’s residency by investment programme
The investor has to meet specific requirements to be able to apply. A person eligible for the programme is:
- a person of good character;
- has not been convicted of a criminal offence in any jurisdiction;
- has a minimum net worth of €2 million;
- has an interest in investing in one of the four eligible options to support the Irish economy.
of net worth
Under the same investment, the applicant’s close family members can also obtain a residence permit:
- spouse or life partner;
- children under 18 years old for whom the applicant or their spouse or partner has legal guardianship;
- children from 18 to 24 years old who are unmarried and are financially dependent on their parents.
Investment options for Ireland’s Immigrant Investor Programme
Ireland’s Immigrant Investor Programme offers four investment options to foreigners who meet its requirements.
|Investment option||Minimum investment||Conditions and obligations||Return policy|
|Enterprise Investment||€1.0 million||Create a start-up or invest in an existing local business.||Returnable in at least 3 years|
|Investment Fund||€1.0 million||Investment in an approved Investment Fund regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.||Returnable in at least 3 years|
|Real Estate Investment Trust||€2.0 million||Investment to any Irish REIT that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.|
The amount can be spread across a number of different Irish REITs.
|50% in 3 years;|
another 25% in 4 years;
a full refund in 5 years.
|Endowment||€500,000||A philanthropic contribution to a project of public benefit in the arts, sports, health, cultural or educational field.||Non-refundable|
Step-by-step process of obtaining Irish residency by investment
Before investing, an investor first needs to ensure that the programme accepts their candidacy. Here's how the process generally goes.
Step 1: Apply by email. To become a candidate for the programme, first, an investor needs to fill out the application form and email it to IIP&[email protected]. Aside from the form, the email should contain a business plan for the chosen investment option and supporting documentation.
Step 2: Submit the application fee. The application will be processed after the investor pays the fee of €1,500. This payment is non-refundable — even in case of rejection. The payment has to be sent to the Department's bank account. Bank account details for payment of the application fee:
- IBAN — IE65 BOFI 9000 1782 4921 91.
- BIC — BOFIIE2D.
- Name of Account — Department of Justice.
- Bank name — Bank of Ireland.
- Bank address — 2 College Green, Dublin 2.
These requisites are valid for September 2022. Before paying the fee, check the details on the programme’s website.
Step 3: Post the application form. The filled-in application form and the payment proof of the fee have to be sent by post to the following address:
Immigrant Investor Unit,
Immigration Service Delivery
Department of Justice
13-14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2 D02 XK70
Re-check the address on the programme’s website before posting your application.
Step 4: Wait for approval. All the applications are reviewed by the Evaluation Committee, which convenes at least four times a year. This means that after the submission of the documents, applicants have to wait for approval for about three months.
Step 5: Make the investment. Successful candidates receive a pre-approval letter. Only after that must they make their investment following their application and business plan. It is to be done within 90 days from the date of the letter.
Step 6: Gather the supporting documents. After the investment is complete, the applicant gathers supporting documents. The package of required papers depends on the chosen type of investment.
Step 7: Permission registration in Dublin. After the Ministry approves all documents, the applicant will receive another approval letter granting them a residence permit. To validate the permission, they need to make an appointment and register it at the Burgh Quay registration office in Dublin.
Overall, it will take the investor at least six months to obtain residency in Ireland.
The list of documents to submit for the initial application by email
For the initial application for an Ireland investment visa, candidates have to provide copies of documents proving that they meet the programme’s requirements and indicating the chosen investment option:
- Copies of the applicants’ passports.
- Copies of birth certificates for dependent children.
- Copies of marriage, partnership or divorce certificates.
- Proof of personal income.
- Proof of €2 million of net worth, including evidence of stocks, properties in ownership, bank accounts, etc.
- Proof of legal source of funds, including a narrative document explaining the history of their acquisition.
- Evidence of good character for all family members over 16 years old. This includes certificates from police authorities of each country where they have resided for more than six months in the last ten years.
- Health insurance.
- Receipt of the application fee.
Additionally, the candidate has to attach to the application documents proving their ability to fulfil the chosen investment option.
Enterprise investment. If the applicant is going to invest in an existing Irish business, they need to submit the most recent audited accounts for that business.
Aside from that, the applicant looking to invest in any business in Ireland should attach to the application a comprehensive business plan completed in the programme’s template.
Investment fund. When choosing this option, the applicants should provide comprehensive details of the target investment pool and the proposed sources of funding, as well as an investment strategy from fund managers. The full conditions of this type of investment are explained in the Guidelines for funds.
Real estate investment trust. With this type of investment, no additional documents should be provided. The programme doesn’t require the applicants to mention the chosen REIT they intend to invest in.
Endowment. Investors should provide details of how the endowment will benefit Ireland.
Supporting documents after the investment is made
When the investment condition is fulfilled, applicants provide the Ministry with supporting documents. The list of papers depends on the type of investment.
- A letter from a solicitor, who is permitted to practise in Ireland, confirming the funds have been invested in a business in the state.
- A letter from the company stating the financial value that has been invested.
- Payment remittance and bank statement showing transfer of funds.
- A letter from a solicitor, who is permitted to practise in Ireland, confirming the funds have been invested.
- A letter from the Fund Investment Manager that states the financial value of the contribution.
- A copy of the applicant’s subscription certificate.
Real estate investment trust:
- A letter from a solicitor, who is permitted to practise in Ireland, confirming that €2 million has been invested in the REIT.
- A letter from the REIT company stating the financial value of the investment.
- A copy of the applicant’s share certificate.
- A letter from a solicitor, who is permitted to practise in Ireland, confirming that the funds have been donated to the registered charity.
- A letter from the registered charity organisation that states the donated financial value.
- Evidence of transfer of funds and bank statements.
How to renew the Irish residence permit
The initial residence permit in Ireland is granted for two years. After they have passed, the investor needs to renew it. To do so, they should notify the programme’s unit three months in advance and provide evidence that:
- the investment is still in place, or the donation has been utilised by the registered charity;
- they have not become a financial burden on the state;
- they have not been involved with any criminal investigation, as well as indicted or convicted of any criminal offence in any jurisdiction.
If everything is fine, the residence permit will be renewed for another three years. After this period, the investor will have to prove that their investment has remained in place for the required time – for example, three years. Then they will be granted a five-year residence permit.
For further permit renewals, the investor will only have to prove that they haven’t become a financial burden on Ireland and haven’t been involved in any criminal activity.
How to obtain citizenship after joining the Ireland residency by investment programme
Investors who got an Ireland residence permit under the Immigrant Investor Programme do not have any preferential status for naturalisation. If they want to become citizens of Ireland, they will need to follow the procedure that dictates their type of residency.
To obtain citizenship, residents are required to physically reside in Ireland for at least five of the nine years preceding the application. This includes the twelve months prior to the application that they have to have lived continuously in Ireland.
The alternatives to Irish residency by investment
Besides Ireland, other European countries allow foreigners to obtain residence permits by investment.
Investors can travel through Europe visa-free, start international businesses and take advantage of high-quality healthcare and education after getting residency. They also open up a pathway to citizenship in those countries.
Portugal’s Golden Visa Programme offers participants seven different investment options, from which the purchase of a real estate for at least €280,000 and the purchase of €500,000 investment funds units are the most popular ones. Both of these options allow returning the investment in 5+ years.
Investors obtain residence permits for two years. To keep the residency card and be able to renew it, they need to spend at least seven days a year in Portugal and still own the investment asset. After five years of holding the residency card, investors can apply for citizenship by naturalisation.
Greece Golden Visa Programme allows investors to obtain residency after purchasing real estate worth €250,000+ or choosing one of the other five investment options. The necessary investment in properties in Greece is the lowest compared with other EU Golden Visas.
The participants get a 5-year renewable residence permit card. After seven years of residence in Greece, investors can apply for citizenship by naturalisation.
Spain Golden Visa Programme provides participants with six investment opportunities, from which the purchase of €500,000 worth of real estate is the most affordable one. The residence permit the investor gets is valid for two years and allows them to work in the country. After renewal, the residence card will be valid for five years.
After ten years, the investor can apply for citizenship by naturalisation. Please note that Spain doesn’t allow dual citizenship, so applicants must renounce their previous citizenship in most cases.
Malta Permanent Residence Programme requires its applicants to have at least €500,000 in available assets, including at least €150,000 of liquid financial assets, such as deposits, stocks or bonds. During the first five years of residency, the participant still has to possess these assets.
There are two options to invest — purchasing real estate or renting it for five years:
- Properties for purchase have to cost at least €300,000 in the south of Malta or on the island of Gozo and at least €350,000 in the north or centre of Malta.
- Rental property must cost €10,000+ per annum if located in the south of Malta or on the island of Gozo, and at least €12,000 per annum if situated in the northern and central parts of Malta.
The investor will also have to pay a €40,000 administration fee and €2,000 charitable donation. There’s also a contribution fee, which is €58,000 if one rents real estate and €28,000 if one buys it.
The residence cards the investor gets are valid for five years, and the residency status is life-long.
Frequently asked questions
Ireland does have a residency by investment programme that is called Immigrant Investor Programme, and it has been operating since 2012. Applicants invest €500,000 in the country’s economy.
The investment threshold in Ireland’s Immigrant Investor Programme is €500,000. To be able to return their investment eventually, the applicant will have to contribute €1 million and more.
Ireland does not provide citizenship by investment. However, there is a pathway to it through a residency-by-investment programme. The applicants invest at least €500,000 in the country’s economy and obtain a residence permit. After that, they can obtain citizenship by naturalisation.
To do so, they will have to physically reside in Ireland for at least five of the nine years preceding the application.
No. Ireland does not issue passports in exchange for investment in real estate. However, there is a residence-by-investment programme that can eventually lead to obtaining citizenship.
One of the options to join the programme is to invest €2 million in a Real Estate Investment Trust.
Yes, Irish legislation allows citizens of the state to hold passports of other countries. If you obtain Irish citizenship by naturalisation, you don’t have to give up the passport of your country of origin.
There are multiple ways to move to Ireland and legally reside there. One of them is investing and joining the Immigrant Investor Programme.
Completing all steps of the Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme will take around 6—7 months.