Ireland continues to be a popular destination for tourists and expatriates, despite its often challenging climate. An Irish passport provides numerous advantages, including the ability to live, work, travel, and invest in real estate within the EU without constraints. However, many of these benefits can be enjoyed legally in Ireland without holding a passport. The key is obtaining an Irish permanent residence permit. Read on to discover who is eligible for it and how to obtain one.
- Who Must Gain Permanent Residency in Ireland?
- Key Things to Know about Applying for Permanent Residency in Ireland
- The Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme
- Who Is Eligible for Permanent Residency in Ireland?
- Who Is Not Eligible for Permanent Residency?
- The List of Required Documents
- Application Process
- Extending Your Permanent Residence Permit
- An Indefinite Residence Permit
- Who Does Not Need Permanent Residency?
Who Must Gain Permanent Residency in Ireland?
Essentially, anyone desiring to reside, work, or operate a business in Ireland without complications must acquire a permanent residence permit. This credential is a crucial prerequisite before pursuing Irish citizenship. In fact, permanent residents can indefinitely stay in Ireland even without an Irish passport. Permanent residency provides nearly all the benefits of a passport, with the exception of the right to vote in elections and seek public office.
Here are some of the significant advantages that permanent residents enjoy in Ireland:
- Visa-free access to all EU countries.
- The ability to purchase real estate within the EU without requiring special permits.
- Access to education and healthcare services.
- Access to the services of European banks.
Photo: Mick Haupt (Unsplash)
Key Things to Know about Applying for Permanent Residency in Ireland
The primary requirement for obtaining a permanent residence permit in Ireland is to have resided in the country for a continuous period of five years. Foreigners applying for permanent residency will receive a special stamp in their passport, known as Stamp 4. This stamp is initially valid for five years and can be renewed thereafter.
After legally residing in Ireland for eight years, you become eligible to apply for Stamp 5, also known as the "Without Condition As To Time" status. This residence permit is indefinite as long as your passport remains valid. The subsequent step in the naturalisation process is applying for citizenship.
The Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme
If you choose to invest in the Irish economy, one method to obtain permanent residency is through the "golden visa" program. This option allows you to invest in an existing business, a start-up, or an investment fund in Ireland. It's important to note that the golden visa itself does not grant permanent residency, but it does enable you to extend your stay in the country. Investors who wish to apply for citizenship will follow the same general procedures as other applicants and should eventually obtain a Stamp 4 permit.
The requirements for candidates vary depending on the type of investment they choose. For example, if you opt to invest in a fund, the minimum required amount is €1,000,000. This same minimum investment amount also applies to investing in a business. Additionally, a golden visa can be obtained for investing in a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), a unique option not available in most other countries. However, in this case, the minimum investment requirement is higher at €2,000,000. It's important to note that participants in these programs may be eligible to recoup their investment within three years. Another pathway to investment residency involves making an irrevocable donation of at least €500,000 to a socially significant cause.
Unfortunately, buying real estate in Ireland does not make you an Irish resident.
Who Is Eligible for Permanent Residency in Ireland?
You can apply for a permanent residence permit in Ireland if:
- You have lived in Ireland for at least 60 months (five years);
- You have lived in Ireland on a work permit or as a relative of an employee of a local company with Stamp 1 or Stamp 3. In addition, permanent residency opens access to the Irish job market. In other words, permanent residents can work in Ireland without any work permits.
All candidates are required to demonstrate their reliability and financial solvency. It's essential to ensure that your current residence permit remains valid at the time of your permanent residency application. If you are applying as an employee of an Irish company, you must also provide proof of your employment as part of your application.
Who Is Not Eligible for Permanent Residency?
You cannot apply for Irish residency if:
- You live in Ireland on a student or tourist visa.
- You arrived in Ireland under a relocation programme within the same company.
- You work at a foreign embassy in Ireland.
- You only have a Critical Skills Employment Permit (a kind of Green Card for highly-skilled professionals). This card is not the same as a traditional residence permit; you should apply for it separately.
- You have obtained a residence permit under the IBC and IBC-05 (Irish Born Child) programmes. Children born to Irish citizens and people born in Ireland before 2005 automatically become citizens of Ireland.
Photo: Mick Haupt (Unsplash)
The List of Required Documents
Applicants for permanent residency in Ireland are required to present the following documents:
- A copy of your work permit.
- A copy of your current residence permit or a similar document.
- A copy of your ID, including pages with personal data and all stamps; If you have obtained a new ID after arriving in Ireland, you must submit copies of the pages in your previous ID that have Irish stamps on them.
- Financial documents confirming your continuous stay in the country and financial solvency.
You should submit your application by mail to the Long-Term Residency Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). Immigration officers will review your residency application and ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements. If your application is not approved, you will receive a decision on your case within a week. If your application is accepted by the authorities, they will initiate the processing of your application.
Once your application is approved, INIS will send you a confirmation letter. Following this, you will be required to pay a fee of €500 within 28 days, which can be done at a bank or through a postal transfer. Subsequently, INIS will notify you of the issuance of a long-term, five-year residence permit known as Stamp 4. To obtain this stamp, you will need to visit the Garda National Immigration Bureau office in Dublin.
Applications for permanent residency are usually processed within six to eight months. However, some cases may take more time.
Extending Your Permanent Residence Permit
Luckily, you do not have to re-apply for permanent residency in order to extend it. When the current permit expires, you simply need to visit the nearest immigration office and renew the stamp for the next five years.
An Indefinite Residence Permit
You are eligible for "Without Condition As To Time Endorsement" if
- You have lived in Ireland for 96 months (eight years).
- You have had Stamp 1, Stamp 3, Stamp 4, or an EUFam Card.
- And you are in Ireland at the time of application.
Stamps 0, 2/2A (a student visa) and some others count in as the period of your stay in the country.
You can apply for the "Without Condition As To Time Endorsement" only within the last six months of your current residence permit's validity. Once your application is approved, you should send your passport to INIS by registered mail. Your passport will be returned to you in the same manner, but this time with Stamp 5. Following this, you'll need to visit the nearest immigration office to register your new residence permit. The entire process may take up to six months.
A permanent residence permit is the first step on the path to Irish citizenship. You are eligible to apply for an Irish passport by naturalisation if you have lived in Ireland for five of the last nine years. You must not leave Ireland for 12 months before applying for citizenship.
Who Does Not Need Permanent Residency?
Not all individuals wishing to obtain Irish citizenship need to acquire a permanent residence permit. For example, individuals born in Ireland before January 1, 2005, automatically receive Irish citizenship. Those born after this date can become Irish citizens if one of their parents was an Irish citizen at the time of the child's birth or if they have legally resided in Ireland for three of the last four years. Additionally, children born to British parents or refugees are also eligible for automatic citizenship.
Children or grandchildren of Irish citizens can also obtain an Irish passport without the need to acquire a residence permit if they were born abroad. In this case, the process begins with registering your birth certificate with the Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland, which typically takes up to six months.
In a Nutshell
You can obtain a permanent residence permit in Ireland if you have resided in the country for an extended period on a work visa or through a family reunification program. Permanent residency in Ireland is initially valid for five years and can be extended. After eight years of continuous residence in Ireland, you become eligible to apply for an indefinite residence permit, and after an additional three years, you can apply for Irish citizenship.
Cover photo: Jason Murphy (Unsplash)