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Investors looking to Ireland for EU Citizenship

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Global investors who, prior to Brexit, may have focused their attention on the UK as a gateway to Europe, are now turning to Ireland for European residency.

Through the Irish Investor Programme, the Irish government offers residency in Ireland in exchange for approved investment in the country's economy with the potential to lead to Irish citizenship.

Step forward Ireland

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, Ireland is stepping forward as a preferred route into Europe for investors seeking alternative residence rights.

With a first-class education system, steady economy and political stability, the country offers a high standard of living and access to an English-speaking workforce.

Its highly competitive corporate taxation regime, extensive double tax treaties and financial support systems have already attracted global super companies to base their European networks in Ireland. Looking at tech alone, Google, Facebook, Paypal, Microsoft, eBay, LinkedIn have bases in the republic.

Ireland is also considered to be open in trade terms. Geographically speaking, it sits at the peripheral of Europe, but it offers the same access to and benefits of the single market - notably, the free movement of goods, services and people within the Eurozone - while also maintaining strong trade links with the US.

What is the Irish Immigrant Programme?

The Irish Immigrant Programme (IIP) has been developed by the Irish government as a highly attractive route for non-EEA nationals to gain residency in Europe.

The scheme allows you to leave and enter the country as many times as you like, provided your status remains valid.

Under the scheme, investors from non-EEA countries and their immediate family members are granted 'Stamp 4' residency in Ireland for an initial period of two years. After two years, a review will be held to ensure the investor has met the conditions of the scheme. If successful, a further three years' residence will be granted.

After this initial five-year period, the investor and their family become eligible to apply for Irish residence in five year increments.

In effect, the IIP provides permission to reside in Ireland indefinitely.

The scheme can also lead to Irish citizenship and an Irish passport, provided you meet the criteria, including residency requirement.

Stipulations under the scheme

The IIP Is available to citizens of non-EEA countries who have a personal net worth of more than €2 million

The funds must be accessible by you and evidenced as legitimate in source, eg. inheritance, endowment, divorce settlement, commercial activity,

You have to make a minimum investment of €1million in an approved activity, committed for three years at least. The investment funds relied on for the application must be from your own funds and not financed through a loan or similar.

You will also be assessed against the good character requirements, with no criminal convictions from anywhere in the world.

The scheme is relatively relaxed in its conditions on investors, designed to allow investors to conduct business as required without stringent residency or presence thresholds. To retain residence, you only have to have visited Ireland at least once in every 12-month period. You will not have to have established actual residence in the country to retain residency.

Required investments

Applicants select one of four different types of investment options:

  • Enterprise Investment
  • Investment Fund
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)
  • Endowment

Commitment of the full, stipulated investment amount for the relevant minimum period is the critical factor. There will be no evaluation of the return of performance of your investment.

How to apply

You apply using the application form, which you must complete fully and accurately.

Along with the form you also supply supporting documents that evidence your eligibility, including legitimate source of funds.

Applications are submitted to the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service during one of the application windows. In 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

The Evaluation Committee conducts an independent review of all applications received.

Currently, the application fee is €1,500. This is non-refundable.

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