Ireland’s Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Irish Golden Visa, is a highly sought-after residency by investment program in Europe. And why not! Ireland is one of the world’s most stable and safe economies, offering a favorable tax regime, positive investment climate, and high standards of living.
As the program is gaining popularity, the number of applicants is increasing. As declared by the Irish Ministry of Justice in February 2021, applications for Ireland’s Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) have reached 2,016 and 1,197 applications have been approved by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services (INIS).
The program offers several investment schemes that lead to Irish residency. These include fund investment, enterprise investment, real estate investment trusts, and endowment. Once you become an Irish resident, you and your dependent family members can live, work, and study in the country freely.
This article will give you a better understanding of Ireland IIP and help you plan your investment.
Why Invest in Ireland with IIP
Ireland remains the only native English-speaking country left in the European Union as of Brexit. With access to the entire internal EU market, it’s an ideal hub for entrepreneurs or organizations seeking a European base.
Investing in Ireland with IIP offers many advantages to non-EEA investors along with Irish residence permit. Here are the some major attractions of the program:
Working or Doing Business Without An Additional Permit
Ireland has been ranked amongst the top European countries for doing business. More than 1,000 leading companies like Intel, Twitter, Pfizer, Citi, Huawei, Takeda, Fujitsu, and Novartis have established their operation centers in the country. Once you’ve been approved for the program, you become eligible to work to run a business without a need for an additional permit.
Ireland Is Part of the EU
Ireland is now the only native English-speaking EU member and it serves as the heart of the Eurozone. With this status, the country enjoys free movement of goods, people, and capital within the EU area to companies in Ireland.
Tax Treaties With 74 Countries
Ireland has a double taxation treaty with 74 countries, out of which 73 are currently in effect. This feature ensures that income which has been taxed in one country isn’t subject to taxation again in the other country.
These agreements include direct taxes like the income tax, universal social charge, corporation tax, and/or capital gains tax.
Path to Irish Citizenship
Ireland residency by investment program leads to Irish citizenship provided that you meet necessary requirements. Acquiring an Irish passport is beneficial for investors who are looking for more freedom in business, travel, and lifestyle. Irish passport ranks seventh ahead of the UK and the US passports.
Flexibility With Adding Family Members
You can include dependent children up to the age of 24 in the application for the program. The age limit for the Ireland IIP is older than the typical age limit in the investment programs offered in other EU countries.
Young and Well-Educated Workforce
Ireland has the youngest and most well-educated population in Europe, almost half of which is under 34. Also, it has a flexible and adaptable workforce. As OECD reports, 82 percent of Irish adults aged between 25 and 64 have completed upper secondary education. This is higher than the OECD average of 78 percent.
Corporate Tax Rate Is 12.5 Percent
A key factor for Ireland’s success in attracting foreign investment is the competitive tax rate. It’s 12.5 percent and amongst the lowest in Europe. This is a huge incentive for investors to choose Ireland to set up their business.
Who is IIP Investment for?
Ireland IIP is suitable for non-EEA high net worth individuals with a minimum personal legally acquired net worth of €2 million. Investors are also required to prove their good character, along with a clean criminal record. Please also note that the loans provided to the applicant for the purpose of making an application aren’t considered an appropriate source of funding. Read our Ireland Immigrant Investor Program guide for the other requirements and the application process.
IIP Investment Types
There are four investment options for investors who wish to acquire permission to reside in Ireland through the Immigrant Investor Program Ireland.
Enterprise Investment: Start a Business in Ireland or Invest in an Established Business
Under the enterprise investment option, the investors are required to make a minimum investment of €1 million in an Irish enterprise for a minimum of three years.
- The investment can be made in either a single enterprise or spread among multiple Irish enterprises.
- The enterprise can be a startup or a business already registered. Another requirement is that it’s headquartered in Ireland.
- Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has made a clear preference for investments in nursing homes, social housing, and primary care centers.
- One other requirement is that the enterprise is creating jobs for Irish citizens.
- INIS only accepts applications made under the name of the applicant, not a company.
- Investments made in any commercial property with an intention to lease or rent it out aren’t considered eligible under this option.
Why Choose the Enterprise Investment Option?
The Enterprise Investment option is ideal for investors and entrepreneurs who wish to start an enterprise or invest in an existing Irish business. If you have your own business strategy, you can benefit from Ireland as your main location with this option.
Enterprise investment is the most popular option among foreign investors who apply to IIP.
Investment Fund: Invest in Irish Funds
Under the investment fund option, the investors are required to invest a minimum of €1 million in an approved Investment Fund for a minimum of three years.
- All funds are required to be invested in Ireland and represent equity stakes in Irish registered companies which are not quoted on any stock exchange.
- Regulation of the funds and fund managers by the Central Bank of Ireland is another requirement.
- Only fund managers with an established record of managing regulated funds are accepted to manage funds in Ireland.
Why Choose the Investment Fund Option?
Investors who aren’t very familiar with Irish investments or enterprises usually opt for this option. This gives them the opportunity to work with an expert fund manager and get an Irish residence permit in return.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT): A Lower Risk Property Investment Model
The REIT option entails a minimum investment of €2 million in any Irish REIT listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. A REIT is a listed company that is used to hold rental investment properties. It’s a globally recognized investment standard in rental property assets.
- This option allows the investors to spread their €2 million investment in more than one REIT.
- REITs aim to provide an after-tax return for investors similar to that of direct diversification. They’re also exempt from corporation tax on qualifying profits from rental property. This helps to eliminate the double layer of taxation.
- The company distributes the vast majority of its profits to investors each year for taxation at the level of the investor.
- You’re eligible to divest a maximum of 50 percent of your shares after three years from the date of purchase. After four years from the purchase date, you can divest an additional 25 percent. You can opt to completely divest after completing five years.
- Even after divesting completely, you’ll have the right to keep your Irish residency status.
- If you’re planning to invest in a REIT, please make sure to declare this in your application process. Your application will be approved by the Minister only if it’s recommended by the Evaluation Committee.
Why Choose the REIT Option?
A REIT investment is considered to be a lower-risk property investment model as the investment is spread into a pool of properties. A REIT is also less exposed to negative equity risk thanks to the debt limits. REIT investors benefit from a regular income as REITs distribute the majority of profits every year.
Endowment: Invest in Projects of Public Benefit
This option entails a donation of €500,000 in a project in Ireland. The key criteria is that this project is beneficial to the public in the arts, sports, health, cultural, or educational field.
- This investment option is totally regarded as a philanthropic contribution with a visible public benefit.
- Investors can opt to make an endowment as a group of five or more people. In this case, a donation of €400,000 per investor will suffice.
- The Endowment option promises no financial return due to its nature.
Why Choose the Endowment option?
Endowment is the most straightforward investment option offered in IIP. Once you make your investment, you’re not liable to further financial obligation under the program.
Endowment is the second most popular option among foreign investors who apply to the Immigrant Investor Programme Ireland.
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Benefits of Investing in Ireland Through the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP)
Ireland IIP stands out with many benefits among similar residency and citizenship by investment programs.
Fast Approval of the Residence Permit: Once the process is completed, you can expect to receive your residence permit between four to six months.
Low Stay Requirements: Ireland IIP allows investors to stay in the country only for one day a year to keep their residence permit. This is an advantage for investors who have business interests outside of Ireland. If you’re not planning to apply to Irish citizenship in the future, you and your nominated family members can enjoy this benefit and renew your Stamp 4 visa per the requirements.
No Investment Before the Approval: Ireland IIP requires the investors to complete their applications before they commit their investment. It’s a huge relief for investors as they don’t have to deploy funds before they make a significant investment.
Discount on Educational Expenses: If you’re planning to invest in Ireland by IIP, you’re eligible to receive a €50,000 discount to spare for educational expenses for a university in Ireland.
Keep the Status After Claiming the Investment Back: IIP allows investors to claim their investment back after five years. After this period you’re not required to make an investment to renew your residence permit.
No Language Tests or Interviews: Ireland IIP doesn’t require the applicants to speak English. No interviews are required either to obtain an Irish residence permit.