Ireland has become one of the most popular investment destinations for HNW investors since Brexit vote. Ireland is a strategic country and excellent base to do business in UK, Europe and America. Besides these Ireland is an excellent foreign investment destination to form a company. Low corporate taxes also attract several tech companies to Ireland.
Ireland offers investment based residency to HNWIs and UHNWIs through the Irish immigrant investor programme. The Irish investment scheme is half the price of UK tier1 investor scheme which requires £2 million pounds.
- Stable, competitive, secure and pro-business country, fastest growing economy in the Eurozone
- Best country to do business in the world attractive for investors
- Brexit has created significant demand for Ireland making Dublin as a major financial center.
- Irish citizens are the only nationality in the world, with the right to live and work in both the European Union and the United Kingdom.
- Member state of the EU and within the Euro zone and Common Travel Area with United Kingdom
- World class education and health care system offering super high quality living standards.
- Low corporate tax rate of 12.5%
- EU member state within the Euro zone.
- Irish passport is one of the most powerful passport in the world
The Irish Government created the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) to facilitate investors and business professionals from outside of the EU to avail of the opportunities of investing and locating business interests in Ireland in order to support investment in Ireland and to enhance Ireland’s position as one of the world’s most globalised economies. The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) is open to non-EEA nationals who commit to an approved investment in Ireland.
Investors and their family members receive residence permit to live in Ireland for initial five years. The Investor is not required to live in Ireland, however required to visit Ireland for one day each year to maintain the Residency Permission.
Investors who wish to undertake one of four eligible investments in Ireland and must demonstrate of good character and also have minimum net assets of €2 million euros.
- Endowment (€500,000), reduced to €400,000 if you invest in a group
- Investment Fund (€1 million euro)
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (€2 million euro)
- Mixed Investments (€2 million euro)
Application fee: There is €1,500 fee covers the main applicant and all nominated family members.
All applicants for the Irish Immigrant Investor scheme must clearly demonstrate that they have a legally acquired minimum net worth of €2 million.
Stamp 4 Permission
Applicants must make an application for a Stamp 4 immigration permission which gives permanent residence rights with path to citizenship in Ireland.
New 2019 Changes
The Justice department has announced new changes in 2019 to the Irish Immigrant investor scheme
- Financing through debts/loans not allowed under the scheme
- Charities cannot pay commissions fee to agents or consultants for endowment received.
- Processing time takes 6-9 months for approval due to strict criteria.
- The Investment must be maintained for 3 years.
- All applicants will be subjected to Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know Your Client (KYC), Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)
and Sanction checks.
- INIS will accept IIP applications only through specific window period open certain times a year.
- Following OECD’s Common Reporting Standard, INIS through the Irish Revenue Commissions will spontaneously exchange the personal data of successful IIP applicants with the jurisdiction of tax residence of the successful applicants
Transfer of Investments between Investors
The Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) guidelines do not provide for the transfer of investors between projects. However due to the commercial sensitivities around the closing of some projects it was decided that where projects were frustrated, or did not proceed for commercial reasons, through no fault of the investor, then a single opportunity to transfer to another approved project will be permitted. The written approval of the Evaluation Committee will be required before any transfer completes.
In exercising this option, the investor must not frustrate the completion of the project for which their current IIP approval was granted and a letter from the proposer/developer of the approved project must be provided confirming this. The investor may only transfer to an approved project at a similar investment threshold, i.e. €1.0m project to a €1.0m project. An investor may not transfer to a project that was not approved at the time of their original application. If a project does not commence through no fault of the investor then a single opportunity to transfer to a new project will be afforded subject to the new Project being considered and approved by the Evaluation Committee.
It should be noted that an investor may withdraw from an approved project and not register the immigration permission granted. It is also open to an investor to withdraw and submit a new application for a different Investment option; however where it is established that they frustrated a previous project or caused that project to fail then no immigration permission will be granted and no further applications will be accepted from them to the IIP programme.
From 01/01/2018 no application for transfer will be accepted by INIS and any investor wishing to transfer between projects will be required to submit a new application with the appropriate fees etc.
IIP investors and family members get avail special education discount of upto €50,000 for academic study purposes in Irish University or Institute of Technology within first five years of their immigration permission
Debts or Loans
The Immigrant Investor Program requires a minimum investment of €1m, from the applicants own resources and not financed through a loan or other such facility, which must be committed for a minimum of three years. Immigrant Investor Program guidelines do not provide for the transfer of investors between projects
INIS has announced the applications will be refused if the investments are funded by loans.
A minimum one time donation of €500,000 in a project of public benefit in the arts, sports, health, cultural or educational field as a philanthropic contribution with a clear public benefit. It is the straightforward option and once the endowment is made, no further financial obligation is required.
Investors will receive no financial return or recoupment of the principal.
A group of five or more investors wish to combine their philanthropic endowments to contribute to an appropriate project, a minimum investment of €400,000 per investor will qualify under the Programme
2. Investment funds
A minimum investment of €1 million in an Approved Investment Fund. Investment Funds that have been approved for the purposes of the Immigrant Investor Programme by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). Once such investment fund is IDLF.
Irish Diaspora Loan Fund (IDLF)
The IDLF is a Central Bank of Ireland approved and regulated investment fund which gives overseas investors the opportunity to invest in Ireland, while supporting Irish job creation. The IDLF provides lower cost, asset-secured finance to the Irish hotel sector. Loans are provided to suitable Irish hotels on more favourable terms compared with traditional banking institutions, and are secured against the hotel property. Loans are provided on a fixed 5 year term.
The Irish Diaspora Loan Fund is authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland as a designated investment company. The IDLF is an approved loan origination fund, meaning that funds under investment are used to issue fixed term asset secured loans to Irish hotels which meet eligibility criteria.
Successful Investor Applicants are required to invest €1,000,000 into the IDLF for 5 years and 6 months. In return, the Investor (and nominated family members) will secure Residency Permission for Ireland, enabling freedom of movement within Ireland and the UK (both European Union members). Provided the applicant abides by the programme rules,this Residency Permission will be renewed every 5 years without limit.
3. Business Enterprise
A minimum of €1 million invested in an Irish enterprise which can be a startup or or an existing business registered in Ireland. The enterprise must be registered and headquartered in Ireland.
The investment must be made in the name of the individual seeking residence under the IIP rules
Passive investments such as in real estate not eligible but investments in social housing and primary care centers will be considered. commercial property investment for the purposes of leasing or renting not eligible.
A business plan is important and should indicate how the funds will help create employment and returns.
4 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) A REIT is a listed company, used to hold rental investment properties. It is a globally recognised standard for investment in rental property assets, already established in many developed economies including the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. The aim of a REIT is to provide an after-tax return for investors similar to that of direct diversification. To eliminate the double layer of taxation that typically hinders the holding of property through a company, a REIT is exempt from corporation tax on qualifying profits from rental property. Instead, the company is required to distribute the vast majority of its profits to investors each year for taxation at the level of the investor. The company must have a diverse ownership – no one person or group of connected persons can control the REIT. The taxation provisions that permit REITs to operate in Ireland were provided for in the Finance Act 2013.
A minimum investment of €2 million in any Irish REIT that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The €2 million investment may be spread across a number of different Irish REITs. The investor must declare an intention to invest in a REIT as part of the application process. The full REIT investment that has been approved for the Immigrant Investor Programme must be held for three years from the date of purchase.
An investment in a REIT provides an investor with a lower-risk property investment model in which the investment is diversified into a pool of properties. The debt limits within the REIT reduce exposure to negative equity risk, and REITs are income producing investments which are required to distribute the majority of profits each year, and so generate a regular income stream for investors.
Only REITs that have a listing or have applied for a listing on the Irish Stock Exchange and which have given notice to the Revenue Commissioners under Section 705E of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 are eligible for the REIT investment option under the Immigrant Investor Program.
Stamp 4 permission granted under IIP is equivalent of permanent residence.
After five years of legal residence
Irish Passport is the sixth powerful passport in the world with visa free access to 185 countries in 2018.
These are frequently asked questions about Irish investor immigration scheme.
What is the processing time?
Please allow 6-9 months. This is because the Justice department introduced stringent application checks.
Can i finance the investment?
New rules introduced do not allow financing. Such applications will be refused according to statement by INIS
When should i make the full investment?
The full investment must be made within 90 days of the date of approval letter issued by Evaluation committee and Ministry of Justice.
Do i need to prove personal net assets?
Yes, Applicants are required to demonstrate a minimum personal net worth of €2million. Assets solely owned by other individuals, including a spouse, will be not accepted as evidence of net worth.
Are there any residence conditions?
No but you just need visit Ireland for 1 day to complete biometrics and other steps. IIP scheme simply requires investors and their family members to visit Ireland at least once per calendar year.
Remember if you dont live in Ireland for certain number of you will not get citizenship.
Does this program have any quotas or limits?
Are there any restricted countries who cannot apply for this scheme?
None. but certain country nationals subjected to sanctions may not apply. Please check with INIS
What type of businesses qualify for investments?
Any Irish enterprise that is headquartered in Ireland, has the bulk of its operations located in Ireland, where at least 60% of its employees are based in Ireland and at least 60% of its cost base is located in Ireland may qualify for IIP.
Does Ireland have EU membership?
- EU member country: since 1 January 1973
- Currency: Euro. Euro area member since 1 January 1999
- Schengen: Ireland has negotiated an opt-out from Schengen area, so not part of Schengen.
Does an Irish visa allow me to travel to Northern Ireland?
No. If you wish to travel to Northern Ireland, you will require a UK visa.
How to naturalize for Irish citizenship?
IIP investors with stamp 4 permission can become irish citizen by naturalization
- 18 years of age.
- Legally resident in the State for at least 5 years out of the last 9 years. (egally for at least 1825 or 1826 days over the last 9 years)
- No criminal record
Who are eligible family members?
You can include the following dependents in your application for residence permit
- Spouses, partners
- Minor children (under 18)
- Children between the ages of 18 and 24 can be included if they are not married with full time education, financially dependent on parents
What is the holding period of investments?
Can i invest in startups?
Yes you can make €1m enterprise investment in startups. The startup must be registered and headquartered in Ireland and the investment must support the creation or maintenance of employment.
Can i buy investment funds?
Yes, the €1m fund invested for 3 years follow these conditions
- Fund must approved for the purposes of the Immigrant Investor scheme by INIS
- All funds must be invested in Ireland and must represent equity stakes in Irish registered companies that are not quoted on any stock exchange.
- Funds and fund managers must be regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland to conduct business in Ireland.
What is Common Travel Area (CTA)?
Common Travel Area rights can only be exercised by UK/Irish citizens. The Common Travel Area, covers England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Irish and UK citizens have the right to live, travel, work and study within the Common Travel Area.
Irish and UK citizens can live in either country and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including:
- Access to social benefits
- Access to healthcare
- Access to social housing supports
- The right to vote in certain elections
Read more here
I have UK visa, can i travel to Ireland?
Read the Irish short stay visa waiver scheme
Can i visit UK using Irish visas?
Indian and Chinese can visit UK for short stays through British Irish Visa scheme (BIVS). The British Irish Visa Scheme allow for travel to and around the Common Travel Area (CTA) on a single visa.
Under the BIVS, Indian and Chinese nationals can travel to the UK from Ireland ONLY using these Irish short stay visas:
- visit (family/friend)
- visit (tourist)
All other visa categories such as work or study visas do not qualify. If you have an Irish short stay visa and want to also visit the UK you must travel to Ireland first.
Can i visit EU schengen area using Irish residence permit?
Ireland is not a part of schengen, so third country nationals who are not EU citizens, need a schengen visa.
I am non-EU citizen living in Ireland. Can i visit UK with stamp 4 permission?
You will need a separate UK visa, as a third country national.
What is the effect of Brexit on free movement in the Common Travel Area?
The Common Travel Area pre-dates Irish and UK membership of the EU and is not dependent on it. The Government of Ireland and the UK Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, reaffirming their commitment to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances.
Post Brexit, Irish and British citizens continue to move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and entitlements including access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits, and the right to vote in certain elections.
What is not allowed in enterprise investment for IIP?
- Investing in residential property
- An investment by a corporation, owned 100% shares by the applicant will not be acceptable.
- Purchase of publicly traded securities will not be considered as an eligible investment
- Cutting jobs and moving jobs offshore
- investment in commercial property for the purposes of leasing or renting
Investments in social housing and primary care centre allowed
What is Real estate investment trust (REIT)?
A REIT is a corporation, trust, or association that invests directly in income-producing real estate and is traded like a stock.
It is one of the qualifying investments allowed under IIP rules. The Irish REIT must be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The €2 million investment may be spread across a number of different Irish REITs maintained for 3 years.
REITs own many types of commercial real estate, ranging from office and apartment buildings to warehouses, hospitals, shopping centers, hotels and timberlands. Some REITs engage in financing real estate.
REIT provides an investor with a lower-risk property investment model in which the investment is diversified into a pool of properties.
After three years from the date of purchase, the investor may divest no more than 50% of the shares purchased for the IIP. Where an investor has divested shares during year three, the investor may, after four years from the date of purchase, divest no more than a further 25% of the shares purchased for the IIP. After five years from the date of purchase, no requirements on the retention of shares will apply to investors.
To eliminate the double layer of taxation that typically hinders the holding of property through a company, a REIT is exempt from corporation tax on qualifying profits from rental property. Instead, the company is required to distribute the vast majority of its profits to investors each year for taxation at the level of the investor.
The debt limits within the REIT reduce exposure to negative equity risk, and REITs are income producing investments which are required to distribute the majority of profits each year, and so generate a regular income stream for investors.
Why endowment is the cheapest investment option?
The Endowment route is the cheapest investment option for foreign investors applying for immigrant investor scheme. The requirement of €500,000 is reduced to €400,000 if you invest in a group
How can i prove evidence of source of funds?
You can prove you legally acquired wealth the following as evidence
1. Business and investment activities
2. Deeds of sale
5. Divorce settlement
What if my application is not approved?
Where an application is rejected, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) will communicate the reasons for that rejection in writing to the applicant.
The decision of the Minister for Justice and Equality on an application is final and a rejection of an application for residence under the Immigrant Investor Programme shall not be subject to a review or appeal. This does not, however, prevent the person concerned from making a new application at a later date.
How can i apply for stamp 4 extension?
After 5 years, you can prolong the permission
- Investment has remained in place for a minimum of three years;
- Not become a financial burden on the Irish State.
- Not been investigated, indicted or convicted in relation to any criminal offence in any jurisdiction
- Physical residence in Ireland is not a condition for renewal of residency permission under IIP rules.
- Investment yields or performance not taken into consideration
Can Ireland revoke the residence permit issued?
Residency status under the Immigrant Investor Programme may be withdrawn later in the following circumstances –
- Acquisition of the status was fraudulent;
- Holder being the subject of a deportation order;
- In the event of the holder being convicted of a criminal offense in any jurisdiction;
- Fails to meet the conditions of the scheme as regards duration of the investment (eg. not maintaining the investment)
- If the investor failed to disclose material information available to them at the time of the application or renewal that would, if known to the immigration authorities, have made them ineligible on the grounds of character.
If the immigration permission of the main applicant/investor is withdrawn, then the permission granted to their family members are also withdrawn.