So your Irish dream has come true and you are ready to move to the Emerald Isle. Here are ten things you should know:
1. The climate is temperate; average 65 degrees in summer, 37 degrees in winter, but it rains a lot – about 150 days a year.
2. You can become an Irish citizen if you, your parents, or grandparents were born there.
3. If citizenship is not an option, then you can stay for three months at which point you have to register with the Irish authorities. Show your passport and bank statement and get what is known as a “permission to remain.” There are certain criteria that must be met, however, if you are to qualify.
4. The permission is usually granted if you can prove you are not a burden on the state. The requirements have changed drastically in the past few years and are still currently under review, but the new terms make it very difficult for a US citizen to retire to Ireland.
Following a review of immigration procedures in 2014, the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) announced in March 2015 that retirees from non-EEA countries who wish to move to Ireland must have an annual income of at least $55,138 (€50,000)—$110,276 (€100,000) annual income for couples in order to acquire a visa. (Keeping in mind that if you are there to retire, you also are not allowed to work in the country and the visa will not allow you permission to do this.)
Even if you do meet these figures during your first year, you need to renew permission every year, making it difficult to plan to stay long-term when rules could once again change before you reapply. Once you are there five years, it usually leads to another single authorization of five years and after ten years, you can get permission to stay permanently.
5. There is a huge difference between settling in Dublin and rural areas. Prices are booming in Dublin and you will pay $400,000 for anything decent property wise. Rural parts of Ireland are very different and good properties can be half that price. Check out some of the cheapest and most expensive homes we've come across.
6. Planning to work in Ireland? Tax rates are high. According to the Wall Street Journal, single people will pay 20% on roughly the first $43,000 they earn and then 41% on the remainder of their income; US Social Security payments are often taxable. Acquiring a visa to allow you to work in the country will also be your first barrier. You can find more information on the various visa you can apply for at www.citizensinformation.ie.
7. Anti-social crime is an increasing problem. Though violent crime rates are low, “petty crime and residential crime is much more common” and has risen in recent years, according to the US Department of State.
8. Ireland is not a very cheap destination. It ranked 34th out of 134 countries by the Economist.
9. Healthcare is a big issue, obviously. Here is what the American Embassy advises:
Of those Americans who are deemed to be resident, “determination is made between 'medical card holders' and 'nonmedical card holders.' Eligibility for a medical card is also determined by a means test. Those who are Irish citizens or are 'ordinarily resident' are welcome to apply for a medical card if they think their income meets the requirements.
Those with medical cards receive nearly all medical care for free, while those without medical cards are: “entitled to free public hospital services but may have to pay in-patient and out-patient hospital charges. They are also entitled to subsidized prescription drugs, medicines and maternity and infant care services and may be entitled to free or subsidized community care and personal social services. They are not entitled to free GP services. They may be entitled to some community care and personal social services.”
10. Nice bonus – free transport is provided for all who are over 66 if they are living permanently in Ireland.
*Originally published in 2014.