Visas and Residency Permission



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Visas and Residency Permission
Note: This page is only a brief summary. It may not apply in your particular circumstances and you should not rely on it to make important decisions: instead, please consult the immigration service, a legal adviser or the immigration services website (www.inis.gov.ie) (note that at time of writing www.inis.gov.ie is out of date as it does not yet reflect recent improvements to the Start up entrepreneur visa; until it is updated, informal advice is available from the start in Ireland team at startinireland@enterprise-ireland.com ).
Visas to move yourself and your startup to Ireland long term.

Citizens of European Union (EU) member states and citizens of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein can relocate to Ireland and set up and run businesses, or accept employment, without needing any visas or immigration permission.


Some other people who already have an Irish residency permission, for example on the basis of a work permit or Irish spouse etc, may also be eligible to set up businesses in Ireland without applying for a visa or immigration permission; this varies depending on the individual circumstances.
Anyone else who wishes to live and run a business in Ireland requires an immigration permission to do so. There main immigration programme for such people is the Start up Entrepreneur Programme. It is targeted at people who want to relocate to Ireland to found or grow their start up. It provides for long term residency permission for the entrepreneur and their family including a work permit for the spouse. They must demonstrate that they have the ability and credible plans for a start up that will

  • be innovative and scalable,

  • controlled from Ireland,

  • capable of competing on global markets

  • capable of achieving at least 10 jobs in Ireland within 3 – 4 years.

  • Be able to raise €50,000 if one entrepreneur (plus family) is seeking residency under the programme and €30,000 for each additional entrepreneur who needs a visa. For example, a team of three founders, one each from France (no visa needed), Russia and US, who wished to relocate long term to Ireland with their families, would need to raise €80k to qualify. Unlike the entrepreneur visas in many other countries, there is considerable flexibility as to the sources of this investment: it can be the founders own money, or from family and friends, or from Irish investors or foreign investors, or any mixture of these.

Please contact the Start in Ireland team in Enterprise Ireland at startinireland@enterprise-ireland.com if you need more information. Ideally please complete and submit an enquiry form http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/Start-a-Business-in-Ireland/Startups-from-Outside-Ireland/Enquiry-Form-for-Start-Ups-locating-in-Ireland.doc with your request for information.



Visas to attend Start up bootcamps or accelerators in Ireland.
Visas are available to attend start up accelerators and bootcamps in Ireland. The procedure is to first secure a place on your chosen accelerator and then ask your accelerator to help you with your visa application.
The Start in Ireland team in Enterprise Ireland at startinireland@enterprise-ireland.com can provide information on accelerators in Ireland.
If there is only a short lead time between final selection and the start of the programme, it may be an idea to start discussing visas as soon as you are shortlisted. If the accelerator is unclear about how to help you with your visa, encourage them to seek advice from the Start in Ireland team in Enterprise Ireland at startinireland@enterprise-ireland.com
There has not been a formal system for providing visas up till now. However, the visa authorities have been supportive of Enterprise Ireland’s efforts to attract selected entrepreneurs and their start-ups to Ireland and have consistently granted such visas even in the absence of a formal system. This is typical of the flexible and supportive approach Irish officialdom takes towards desirable businesses. In light of the growing numbers of overseas entrepreneurs attending start up accelerators in Ireland, the Irish Government have recently announced that a structured system will be put in place to facilitate visas for them.
The new visa arrangements will allow those who obtain a place on a suitable acceleration programme to come and stay for up to a year, even if the programme is only of 3 months duration. If you want to stay longer than a year, you would subsequently apply for the Start Up Entrepreneur visa. For example, you could come to Ireland, attend an accelerator, stay on in Ireland to grow the business and raise funds, and once you had raised enough funds could apply for the Start up Entrepreneur visa.
Once the details of the accelerator visas are worked out we will update the information on this website. In the meantime visas wills till be available under the old informal system.
Other visa points.

If you come from certain countries including EU and US, Canada etc you can visit Ireland for short periods (max 3 months) without requiring a visa. Details as to which nationalities can visit without a visa or set out at http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/Do%20I%20need%20an%20Irish%20Visa


Unless you are Citizens of a European Union (EU) member state or Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein

  • You must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) if you intend to reside in Ireland for more than three months. Registration is subject to a €300 fee.

  • You may not take up employment in Ireland without first getting permission

There is an alternative, less attractive scheme, called business permission for entrepreneurs setting up companies, such as restaurants, shops, one person consultancy business etc which would not meet the above requirements. It is called the Business permission scheme. See www.inis.gov.ie


The Start up entrepreneur, business permission and accelerator visas are intended for the entrepreneurs who establish, own and manage the business. If seeking residency permission for salaried employees, who are not part of a founding or ownership team, please consult the work permits section on the website of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation http://www.djei.ie/labour/workpermits/guidelines.htm


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