What is the change? Ireland has reopened its Immigrant Investor Program and Start-Up Entrepreneur Program for applications in 2018.

What does the change mean? Non-EEA nationals investing €1 million of their own money in an Irish venture for at least three years are eligible to apply for residency under the Immigrant Investor Program. Non-EEA nationals proposing a high-potential startup in the innovation economy and funding of €50,000 are eligible to apply for Irish residency to develop their startup.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: “Stamp 4” residence permits under the Immigrant Investor Program and Start-up Entrepreneur Program.
  • Who is affected: Non-EEA nationals investing in an Irish business or proposing an innovative startup in Ireland.
  • Business impact: The programs are intended to attract direct investment and stimulate productive businesses, particularly in innovative fields.

Background: The Immigrant Investor Program provides four options for non-EEA investors with a net worth of €2 million and who intend to invest €1 million of their own funds in an Irish enterprise, investment fund, real estate investment trust or endowment. Residency is valid for an initial two years, then renewable for three years. After five years, residency may be renewed in five-year increments. The 2018 guidelines for each of the four routes under the Immigrant Investor Program are available here.

The Start-Up Entrepreneur Program is available to non-EEA nationals proposing funding of €50,000 in a high-potential startup business. This is defined as introduction of an innovative product or service capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and €1 million in sales within three to four years. The startup must be headquartered and controlled in Ireland, led by an experienced management team, and less than six years old. Residency is initially granted for two years, renewable for three years. After five years, the entrepreneur and family members are eligible to apply for long-term residency. The 2018 eligibility criteria and guidelines for the Start-Up Entrepreneur Program are available here.

BAL Analysis: In reopening the two programs, Ireland joins many countries that are tailoring their immigration programs to attract global direct investment and startups in science, technology and other innovative industries. The two programs offer options for non-EEA investors to invest in or start their business in Ireland and gain Irish residency and access to Europe.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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