Ireland has experienced a boom in recent years, thanks in part to Brexit regulations that compelled large corporations to relocate their HQs to Dublin. Prior to that, the mid-90s ‘Celtic Tiger’ phenomenon skyrocketed Ireland’s economy and property market to unprecedented heights. The country soon became one of the EU’s wealthiest member states.
For the new arrival, Ireland has a lot to offer, including stunning landscapes, rich culture, and diverse arts and heritage. Quality of life is excellent, despite high prices in the capital Dublin.
Moving to Ireland
Ireland has two main residency pathways for non-EU citizens. Requirements differ based on whether you are a UK national, or a national of any other non-EU country.
Common Travel Area (UK nationals only)
For those who already hold a British passport, Ireland is the easiest gateway back to EU citizenship. Thanks to the Common Travel Area, an agreement that long predates the European Union, British nationals can freely move to Ireland. They can live there under exactly the same conditions as in the UK. That includes the rights to work, study, and access healthcare and social security benefits.
After just five years of residency in Ireland, you can apply for Irish citizenship. There’s no language requirement other than English, and you don’t need large sums of money or even passive income to move there as part of the Common Travel Area. If the other top option, Portugal, doesn’t appeal to you, then Ireland could be the perfect way to regain your EU citizenship – even without having Irish relatives.
For those who don’t hold UK citizenship, moving to Ireland is somewhat less straightforward but still possible. This is where the Ireland Immigrant Investor program comes into play.
Ireland Immigrant Investor Program (all other non-EU nationals)
Created in 2012, this investment program offers high net worth applicants from outside the EU the opportunity to get residency in Ireland by investing a minimum €1 million into an Approved Investment Fund. The program is aimed at successful business professionals and is designed to encourage investment in Ireland. There are also options to invest in local enterprise and real estate.
Lastly, Ireland offers residency under the Endowment option, in which the investor donates at least €500,000 to a qualifying philanthropic project in arts, sports, health, culture or education.
The Ireland Immigrant Investor program is a great fit for high net worth individuals and families looking for EU residency. The same five year citizenship timeline applies, with no need to pass any language exams.
With an Irish passport, you can live, work, do business, study and retire freely, not just across the 30 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), but also the entire UK. This favourable situation opens up many exciting opportunities for you and your family.
In summary, here’s why Ireland makes a great destination for EU citizenship:
- Dual/multiple citizenship allowed
- No language except English required for naturalization
- 5 year timeline to citizenship
- Only EU passport to give full access to both UK and EU
- Easy option for Brits, no residency visas needed!
📰 Heads up: Below this introduction to Ireland you’ll find all our articles and guides about Ireland.
Healthcare in Ireland
Ireland has two levels of health services, one public and one private. The Irish public health care system provides health services to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, as well as all legal residents of Ireland. Services are free in most cases.
There’s no need to pay tax or Social Security in Ireland to access the public health service. But you’ll need to prove that you’re resident in the country.
The Irish health services may ask for evidence, such as a property deed, rental agreement, or a residence permit.
The second option is private healthcare. Many people opt for this due to long waiting times for certain treatments under the public system.
Ireland uses a general practitioner (GP) system similar to that of the UK. In most cases, you go to your GP first and they will then refer you to a specialist consultant as required. Of course, in an emergency, you can go straight to the hospital emergency room.
GP visits are free of charge for patients holding medical cards (issued due to low income). If you’re not eligible for a card then the visit will typically cost between €45-€70. This may be covered under your private health insurance policy, if you have one.
When you arrive in Ireland and become resident, registering with your local GP is typically one of the first necessary tasks.
Ireland at a glance
- Timeline to citizenship: 5 years
- Dual citizenship allowed? Yes
- Language level for citizenship: English only
- Member of Schengen zone? Yes
- Member of NATO? No
- Population: 4,982,907 (2021)
- Capital: Dublin
- GDP/capita (PPP): 85,400 USD (2021)
- Government: Parliamentary, representative democratic republic
- Ruling party: Three-party coalition
- Head of state: Michael D. Higgins
- Official language (s): Irish, English
- Currency: Euro
- Time zone: Western European Time / Greenwich Mean Time (UTC/GMT)
Banking in Ireland
Ireland has its fair share of established traditional banks. But the arrival of new fintech banks is shaking up the Irish banking scene, even causing closures at some of the country’s major players. This is attributed to the popularity of digital banking and a widespread shift to online services.
Some of the major banks include:
- Bank of Ireland
- Permanent TSB
- Ulster Bank
- KBC Ireland
As a resident of Ireland, it’s also possible to bank with one of the international fintech services. Our favorite options for Ireland are:
We like these better than traditional banks because they have lots of features designed for those who lead a cross-border, travel-centric lifestyle. For example, if you need to regularly exchange money between EUR and other currencies, getting a free account with Wise or Revolut would be your best option.
If you want a solid banking option for EUR only, Germany-based N26 offers one of the best online services we’ve seen. It’s got a sleek mobile app, top-notch customer support, and (with the paid account levels) a useful range of insurance options geared towards the cross-border lifestyle (for example, pandemic travel interruption coverage).
For more information on these banking options in Europe, take a look at our in-depth review.