3 business visa routes to residency in Ireland (in 2020)


1. Employment visa 📝


Route 1: Employment

The first option is a work visa. 

There are two types, the ‘Critical Skills Employment Permit’ and the ‘General Employment Permit’. 

To get a Critical Skills Employment Permit, you must:

  • be applying for a job that offers a minimum salary of €60,000 and have a relevant degree or specific experience;
  • where the salary is between €30,000 and €59,999, you must be applying for a job listed on the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List and have a relevant degree qualification or higher. You must possess relevant qualifications, skills and experience.

For a Critical Skills Employment Permit, your employer will not be required to advertise the role. It lasts for two years after which you get a ‘Stamp 4’ permit, which is more or less equivalent to permanent residence in other countries.

To be eligible for a General Employment Permit you must have:

  • a job offer;
  • relevant qualifications, skills and experience;
  • a minimum salary of €30,000 (apart from a limited number of exceptions); and
  • a ‘labour market needs test’ (unless an exception applies).

Even if you have a Critical Skills Employment Permit or General Employment Permit, in some cases you still need a ‘pre-entry’ visa. 

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2. Entrepreneur visa 📈


Route 2: Entrepreneurs

Ireland has a Start-up Entrepreneur Programme. To be eligible, you need to have a proposal for a high potential start-up (HPSU) in the ‘innovation economy’ plus €50,000 in funding. Your Irish start-up venture must be one that:

  • introduces a new or innovative product or service to international markets;
  • is capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising €1 million in sales within three to four years of its establishment;
  • is led by an experienced management team;
  • is headquartered and controlled in Ireland; and
  • is less than six years’ old.

The programme does not apply to retail, personal services, catering or other businesses of that nature. If your application is successful, you and your family members will be granted a two-year residence permi. This is renewable for a further three years.

3. Investor visa 📊


Route 3: Investors 

There are four options for investment:

  • €1 million in Irish enterprise;
  • €1 million in an investment fund (approved by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service);
  • €2 million in any Irish real estate investment trust listed on the Irish Stock Exchange; or
  • €500,000 in a public benefit project in the arts, sports, health, cultural or education sectors.

You must have a net worth of €2 million. You must be willing to invest for at least three years, under the first three options above. If your application is successful, you will be granted residence for two years. This is renewable for a further three years, subject to continued compliance with the scheme’s criteria.


If you are a long-term employment permit holder and long-term residency permit holder you can apply for Irish citizenship. You must:

  • have been legally resident in Ireland for at least five of the previous nine years (excluding time as a student). This should include one year of continuous residence immediately before the application date;
  • intend to continue living in Ireland;
  • be of good character; and
  • attend a citizenship ceremony and declare an oath of fidelity to the Irish state.
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