The Immigrant Investor Visa Program in Ireland was initially established in 2012, aiming to allow wealthy non-EEA individuals and families to obtain residency in the country in exchange for investing in the Irish economy. Even though this program doesn’t offer a permanent residence, once the applicant meets the appropriate set conditions, residency permission is extended every couple of years for an indefinite period.
The Irish Investor Immigration Program may not provide citizenship officially to these individuals through investments, but, residing in the country for a long time can be used to support the application for citizenship under the naturalisation rules in the country.
Eligibility of the Ireland Investor Visa in 2020
If you are looking to obtain citizenship through investment in Ireland, then the first thing you should do is to obtain a “golden visa” through the investor program. For you to be eligible for this visa, you must have accumulated a minimum of two million Euros net worth and must have done so legally. You must also have good character, with no criminal records.
Before being granted the EU Investor Visa officially, the applicant has to provide evidence to INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration service) that he or she has made adequate investment in Ireland successfully, and is in accordance with the rules and guidelines of the program.
Available Investment Visa Options
Enterprise investment – in this option, the candidate must have at least a one million Euros investment in a qualifying Irish enterprise for a minimum period of three years. This enterprise can be a new business that the investor started or can be an already existing business. Another requirement is that the enterprise has to be registered in Ireland, has to have its headquarters in the country, and must be able to help the country’s economy through the creation of jobs to the local community.
The investors have to register the business in their own name and are not allowed to purchase publicly traded shares or rental properties that they intend to rent out to tenants. This may be applied in an individual capacity or as partners. If it’s the latter, all the individuals in that partnership have to qualify independently under the program. Also, as a partnership, the total contributions have to amount to one million Euros and above.
Approved investment fund – under this option, the candidates must make an investment of one million Euros into a qualifying investment fund for a minimum period of 3 years. This fund has to be approved by the immigration office for the program, and it must be a venture capital fund or private equity mostly focusing on SMEs. The minimum target for the fund is twenty million euros.
Only private-owned shares are traded under this option. The funds and everyone else involved must be subject to regulation by the central bank of Ireland, in order to ensure that everything is within the jurisdiction. For an investment fund to be approved, the immigration officer looks at its potential to create jobs for locals in the country, rather than its ability to generate profits for the investor.
Real estate investment trust (REIT) – for this option, the candidates are required to invest in an Irish REIT. Basically, a REIT holds the rental property in a way that prevents investor risk but also protects the investor from double taxation. A REIT also minimises risks by investing in a diversified pool of properties, and profits from the fund are distributed annually.
Candidates under this option must invest a minimum of two million euros in one or more REITs for a minimum period of 3 years. For the first 3 years, the investors are required to maintain the same number of shares they originally purchased. After the 3 years, the investor can divest a maximum of fifty percent of his/her shares. And after one more year, they are allowed to divest an additional 25%. The investors can fully divest after a total of five years.
Endowment – under this option, applicants are required to donate at least half a million euros to a philanthropic project in areas like health, culture, sports, arts, or education. The investors are not allowed to receive any financial return coming from their contribution. And since there are no investments required under this option, there is no minimum holding period.
The process of application
Step 1: the very step for all aspiring immigrant investors in Ireland is to find an exceptional immigration lawyer.
Step 2: evaluate immigration investment as well as citizenship by investment options available to you with the help of the lawyer
Step 3: collaborate with the immigration attorney in Ireland to obtain the required supporting documentation and evidence.
Step 4: visit the immigration offices to submit your application, based on the available options mentioned above, together with all the relevant documentation. At this time in the process, the investment isn’t required, but you are required to pay a non-refundable fee of 1500 euros.
Step 5: obtain the golden visa application approval from the immigration evaluation committee. This committee is the one that recommends immigrant investor visa applications for approval in the ministry of justice.
Step 6: once the application is approved, the candidate is required to make the prescribed investment in full, and must submit proof of the same.
Step 7: supply evidence of your medical insurance.
Step 8: provide an affidavit of good conduct issued by the attorney general in Ireland. Remember that this is separate from the certificate of good character from the police department.
Step 9: After the investment is confirmed officially, the applicants will be granted a 2-year residency term in the country, which will apply to all their eligible family members.
This is basically what you need to do if you are an immigrant and you are looking to invest in Ireland. The process is a bit lengthy but it is worth it.