EU Residency by Investment – Is Ireland Best for Me?
For many, obtaining residency abroad is beginning to look less like an off-hand possibility for some time in the distant future and more like a sensible option to start exploring immediately.
Coronavirus has, for countless people, brought into sharp focus the importance of having a “Plan B”—meaning more options and fewer limitations. This is probably why more and more Americans are looking into obtaining residency in a second country.
Until recently, The Caribbean was the go-to place for citizens pursuing this path. Now an increasing amount are looking into EU residency as well.
The EU represents a whole continent full of different cultures, markets, and opportunities, and most countries offer several different paths for residency.
If this sounds appealing to you, read on for the ins and outs of becoming a resident by investing in one of the most dynamic and exciting young countries in the EU: Ireland.
EU Residency by Investment: What Is It?
There are many different ways residency or citizenship can be obtained from a country. By far the easiest (for those with the necessary capital) is by investment.
Many countries around the world offer this option, which involves the granting of residency to a person in exchange for an investment of the country’s choosing.
Each nation that allows this path has its own stipulations and regulations surrounding the program. For anyone considering this path, these will need to be researched thoroughly in order to find the state that offers the best options for each individual case.
The Republic of Ireland is one of many states offering the prospect of EU residency by investment, so let’s take a look at what they’re asking for.
How to Achieve EU Residency by Investment in Ireland
Depending on the country in which you’re hoping to invest, the final cost will vary. Ireland itself offers several different investment options as part of its Immigrant Investor Program (IIP). Before we go through those, let’s take a look at what’s required of the applicant themselves.
According to the Irish government, applications are open only to high-net-worth individuals with a personal wealth of at least €2 million. Participants in the IIP mustn’t have any criminal convictions in any jurisdiction.
Once an applicant has met these criteria, there are four different routes they can take to Irish residency by investment.
This is the lowest cost option Ireland’s government offers. It requires an applicant to make a minimum donation of €500,000 to a public project in the area of arts, sports, culture, health, or education.
The government must approve the endowment, and it must provide clear benefits for the public. As well as this, the investment must be purely philanthropic with the investor seeking no financial gain.
This option necessitates an investment of €1 million in an Irish enterprise for at least three years. The investment can go toward an existing Irish enterprise or multiple different Irish enterprises. It can also be put into a startup the investor has established in Ireland.
Like the enterprise investment option, the investment fund IIP requires an investment of €1 million for a minimum of three years.
The chosen fund must come from a pre approved list supplied by the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service and all funds and fund managers are subject to the scrutiny of the Irish Central Bank.
Real Estate Investment Fund
The fourth and final option in the IIP is the Real Estate Investment Fund. It involves applicants investing a minimum of €2 million in any Irish Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) listed on the Irish Stock Exchange for at least two years.
The investment can also be spread across several Irish REITs if the applicant wishes. It is worth noting that the government can sometimes place a cap on the number of Real Estate Investment Fund applications it will accept.
Irish Residency: Pros and Cons
Ireland is a vibrant country with much to offer, even aside from its included EU residency. Anyone thinking about making the move to Ireland, though, should be aware of the possible drawbacks along with the many advantages it can present.
Advantages of Irish Residency
Of course, there are a lot of factors that make Ireland a dream for those seeking residency in another country. Two of which are roughly the same as the reasons so many multinationals have opened offices there.
The first: Ireland’s population is young, educated, and, importantly, English-speaking.
Already knowing the language can be a huge help in social and business situations, not to mention when dealing with various government departments throughout the IIP application process.
Second: Ireland is commonly referred to as a corporate tax haven. Irish Companies benefit from the second-lowest corporation tax in the EU. If you’re thinking of opening or investing in a company, Ireland isn’t a bad place to do so.
One big advantage Ireland has over some other countries is that it, like the US, allows dual citizenship. This means that you won’t have to worry about giving up your existing passport if you eventually plan to become an Irish citizen.
And, of course, living in Ireland, allows easy access to all everything the rest of the EU has to offer.
Disadvantages of Irish Residency
One negative point about Ireland is that it isn’t part of the Schengen Area. While Irish citizens can still travel through the EU with relative ease, movement isn’t quite as free as it is between countries in the Schengen.
There are 26 countries currently signed up to the Schengen Agreement. The agreement provides for the free and unrestricted movement of its citizens within the Schengen area. Since Ireland hasn’t signed up to the Schengen agreement, passports of Irish citizens must be shown upon entry to these countries.
Another thing to factor into your decision-making is Brexit. In 2018, Britain voted to leave the EU. The process for it to do so has already begun and is due to be finalized on December 31, 2020.
While many believe this might drive more companies to move their base from the UK to Ireland, it could also potentially have a destabilizing effect on the economy. Ireland shares a border with the UK and relies heavily on it for trade, and the consequences of Brexit have yet to be seen.
One final thing to note about the IIP is that it doesn’t immediately grant citizenship to applicants who are successful. What they get instead, is the right to permanent residence, which must be renewed periodically.
Only if a resident has been in Ireland for five years, and provided they meet a number of different criteria, can they apply for full citizenship. These criteria state those seeking citizenship must have lived (and paid taxes) full time in Ireland for at least 12 months immediately prior to applying and will need to have kept a clean criminal record.
EU Residency by Investment – Is Ireland Right for You?
Ireland has a lot to offer to investors and prospective residents. Like every other country, however, it’s not without its disadvantages. The decision to seek RBI in a particular place is a big one. It should be arrived at only after a lot of careful consideration and expert advice.
If you’re considering this, or any other path to EU residency, get in touch with our team of experts today to see how we can help make it happen in a way that works for you.