IRELAND – Ways to Retire to Ireland

March 15, 2024

A non-European Economic Area (“EEA”) national wishing to move to Ireland, as a retiree or as a person of independent means, can apply to the Department of Justice (the “Department”) for what is termed a Stamp 0 immigration permission.

A Stamp 0 immigration permission is described as a “low level stamp” as the holder cannot work or engage in any business, trade or profession; is precluded from receiving any state benefits or using publicly funded services; and is not permitted to have a family member join them. The holder of a Stamp 0 permission is expected to continuously reside in Ireland, although reasonable absences for holidays and exceptional family circumstances are permissible.

The Stamp 0 permission must be issued before the non-EEA national can move to Ireland. In addition, Stamp 0 permission applications will not be accepted if an applicant is already in Ireland.

In order to apply, an applicant must be financially independent and must meet the following financial conditions:

  1. Have an individual income of €50,000 per year net of annual expenses;
  2. Have access to a lump sum of money to cover any sudden major expenses. In terms of the amount, the Department of Justice & Equality provides that this should be equal to, for example, the price of a residential dwelling in Ireland which in 2024 amounts to approximately €320,000 as the average cost of a house in Ireland; and
  3. Provide independent verification of these conditions by way of a financial report certified by an Irish accountancy firm, which must also show income and expenditure per month.

In terms of documentation, in addition to the above financial report, which should include evidence of finances, an applicant will need to submit a completed application form, a full copy of their passport, a copy of their birth certificate, a copy of their marriage certificate (if applicable), details of any family members residing in Ireland, reasons for their request, to include details of any Irish ancestry, a police clearance certificate from the applicant’s country of origin and a health declaration from the applicant’s medical provider.

Application processing times vary depending on the volume of applications but the average from submission to granting of permission is typically four months.

If an application is successful, an applicant will be issued with a conditional letter of offer and an agreement form for signature.

For Entry Visa required applicants, they will need to obtain a “D” Visa in order to travel to Ireland to take up their Stamp 0 immigration permission. Non-Visa required applicants can travel to Ireland on the basis of their conditional letter of offer.

Post-arrival in Ireland, an applicant will need to send their conditional letter of offer and signed agreement form to the Department, together with their original passport. Their passport will be stamped and returned to them and they can then attend by appointment at their local immigration office in order to obtain their Irish Residence Permit (“IRP”) Card Stamp 0 which is their residency card.

A Stamp 0 permission is granted for a period of one year and will need to be renewed annually in advance of the current permission expiring. For any renewal application, there is a continuing obligation to satisfy the financial conditions, to include providing an up-to-date financial report.

Although the Department has long stated that time spent on a Stamp 0 does not amount to “reckonable residence” i.e. cannot be relied upon to apply for Irish citizenship, there is an emerging view that this may be incorrect. We will be submitting citizenship applications on behalf of a number of Stamp 0 holders in the coming months and will be sure to provide an update!

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.