Almost Anyone Can Become a Citizen of the Emerald Isle
Citizenship of Ireland is highly desirable. The Irish passport is unique as an EU passport that also offers access to the common travel area (CTA) with the United Kingdom. Therefore, if you have citizenship of Ireland, you can live and work in any EU and EEA country and in the United Kingdom. You have all the benefits of British citizenship plus full access to the European Economic Area.
Citizenship of Ireland by Investment
Irish citizenship by investment is little known. Maybe it could be better described as residency by investment. But the point is that once you have Irish residency, you’re on a path to citizenship. There are several options to get Irish citizenship by investment:
Invest €1m in your own start-up company
You can make a qualifying investment into an Irish company. This can be an existing business or your own new company. It can even be multiple qualifying businesses in Ireland, provided the total invested is at least €1m. The investment must be in your own name. You’re not allowed to buy publicly traded shares or real estate. The money must remain in the business for at least three years.
Invest €1m in a Qualifying Investment Fund
The investment fund must be pre-approved by Immigration Ireland. It must be a Private Equity or Venture Capital fund and be focused on investing in small or medium-sized enterprises. The fund must buy stakes in Ireland-registered businesses that are not publicly traded.
Invest €2m in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS)
A REIT is a publicly listed company used to buy a diverse portfolio of investment property. A REIT is obliged to distribute its profits to shareholders every year. You can invest in multiple Irish REITS, provided the total investment is €2m. Investors must maintain the original number of shares they purchased for at least three years to maintain their investors visa, which will qualify them for citizenship of Ireland. You can receive pre-approval for your Irish investor’s visa before buying shares in the REIT.
Make a Philanthropic Donation of €500,000
You can make a donation to a philanthropic project in the fields of sport, health, arts or culture. You must not obtain any financial benefit from the donation.
Get Irish Citizenship by Descent
If you have an Irish grandparent, you’re entitled to citizenship of Ireland even if you’ve never set foot in the country. You need all the documents proving the link to your grandparent and then submit all the documents to the department of foreign affairs in Ireland. If everything is in order you’ll be added to the foreign births register. After the foreign birth registration you’re recognised as a citizen of Ireland and you can apply for an Irish passport. We have a full post on this topic here.
Citizenship of Ireland by Residency
There are numerous ways to become a legal resident of Ireland. Irish residency can be obtained by getting a job there or by, making an investment or starting a business there. Any British national is automatically entitled to Irish residency due to the common travel area (CTA). After five years of staying in Ireland for at least six months every year, you can apply to get citizenship of Ireland. When you’re approved, you’re entitled to apply for an Irish passport.
Citizenship by Association
Citizenship of Ireland by association is a little more vague than the other categories. The Minister for Justice has the absolute right to waive any other immigration conditions if you can show strong association to Ireland. As we’ve discussed here, anyone with an Irish grandparent is automatically entitled to Irish citizenship. If your connection to Ireland is from a great-grandparent, you may have to apply for citizenship by association. You’ll likely need to prove further ties to Ireland to qualify. Other groups that can qualify for Irish citizenship by association include: Anyone who’s related by blood, affinity, or adoption or is the civil partner of an Irish citizen or even anyone entitled to be an Irish citizen.
Also, anyone who is related by blood, affinity, or adoption or was the civil partner of someone who is now deceased but at the time of their death was an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen may qualify under this category.
Become a Citizen of Ireland by Marriage
This is the fastest way to get citizenship of Ireland if you don’t have any Irish ancestors. If your spouse is Irish and you live in Ireland for at least six months per year, you could become an Irish citizen in only three years.
As you can see, there are many routes to achieve citizenship of Ireland. From making an investment to having an association with an Irish citizen, it’s possible for almost anyone to become a citizen of Ireland.
How long does it take to get Ireland citizenship?
You can apply for Irish citizenships after 5 years of residency (3 if married to an Irish spouse), by investment or if you have an Irish ancestor.