Ireland is an island country in the North Atlantic separated from the Great Britain to its east by the Irish Sea, the North Channel and St. George Channel. Ireland is the third largest island of the Europe and the 20thlargest in the world. Ireland’s capital is Dublin known to be one of the most developed city of the country and also of the world.

The country uses two currencies namely the Euro and pound sterling. The economy of the country is euro 241 billion as of 2014 and it continues to grow. Being part of EU, the country enjoys lots of trade benefits and is known to be a leading economy is the EU.

Coming to the economy of the country, Ireland’s economy is knowledge driven economy as the country mostly focuses on education, science, financial services, and high-tech industries. The economy of the country is open in nature and is in the top when it comes to FDI flow.

The country ranks at 6thspot on index of economic freedom. In GDP per capital tables, as per World Bank, Ireland is ranked at 5thspot out of 175 countries. The country also has done many rectifications in their taxation policy in order to boost businesses and to attract investment.

In the ease of doing business, Ireland is ranked at 17thspot. The steps taken by the country in boosting the economy and business growth is commendable and thus the country is known as business destination. There are many sectors in the country which are thriving. Here are some of them:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Alcoholic and Beverage Industry
  • Financial Services
  • Aircraft Leasing
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Medical Technologies
  • Software
  • Engineering

An Outlook of Business in Ireland:

Exports play a huge role when it comes to boosting economic growth. Ireland is also such country that does good export especially in metals to other countries. It has giant deposits of metals at Tara Mines and thus Ireland ranks 7thin producing zinc concentrates in the world. Ireland is also the largest producer of medical devices, software and IT technology. The country also attracts large number of students for higher studies in the universities.

Moving ahead, as you now know the country Ireland and its economy, let us move forward to explore the business probabilities in the country as a foreigner. Do want to start your own business in Ireland as a foreigner? You have come to right place. In this article I have crafted some of the basics of doing business in Ireland as a foreigner. You will learn about many things like types of business that you can start, business visa, investment, etc.

Reason to Start your Business in Ireland:

There are more than 1000 global companies who have located themselves in Ireland gives a glimpse of how Ireland is one of the top destinations for business. The flowing Foreign Direct Investment or FDI is another reason that adds feathers to the business opportunities in Ireland. The global companies made Ireland as hub for their business for many combining factors.

Companies from US make Ireland as a connecting hub to EU countries. The economy of Ireland is open which means that it benefits from the global market and thus it continues to amend its policy in the favor.

Ireland was ranked first in 2009 survey for Global Innovation because of its pro-business policy and it continues to do so on various factors. For FDI and doing business 2010, Ireland is ranked at 7thspot. The few of many reasons include its easy tax policy that boosts the businesses along with financial helping policy and investment in research and innovation. This is what makes Ireland an economy that attracts businesses all over the world.

Some Good Reasons of Doing Business in Ireland

  • Quality life with all basic facilities and necessities
  • Vibrant culture and environment that is people friendly
  • Extremely attractive cost base
  • Promotes innovation and research and even funds it
  • Do not believe in hounding businesses for taxation
  • Quality infrastructure, connectivity and locality to do business
  • Almost know bureaucratic glitches while starting a business and taking permissions

Taxation in Ireland

Ireland levies only 12.5% of corporate tax which is one of the lowest in world. It also gives tax credit of 25% for over three years for Research and Defense. There is also an Intellectual Property regime which provides a tax write off for broadly defined IP acquisitions. There are very general domestic laws for tax exemption on various grounds.

An effective zero tax rate for foreign dividends that is 12.5% tax rate on qualifying foreign dividends, with flexible onshore pooling of foreign tax credits. A smart holding company system, including participation immunity from capital gains tax on disposals of shares in subsidiaries. An EU-approved steady tax regime, which has access to extensive treaty network and EU Directives.

How to Start your Business in Ireland?

The Startup Entrepreneur Program started by the government is made especially for foreign nationals interested in starting a business in the Ireland. This program is for non-EEA nationals and their families who commit to contribute to Ireland’s economy through their businesses. One can apply under this scheme for resident visa not only for themselves but also for their families that include their spouse and children under 18 years of age. The approval is subject to criteria that should be fulfilled by the applicant.

Permissions Granted for Residents under the Visa program

The applicants who are successful in the application will be given two years of residential stay which can be extended for another 3 years for them and their family members. After 5 years, subject to conditions, the residents will be granted long term stay. This doesn’t mean that they will get an Irish citizenship but they can apply for the same and they will be scrutinized based on the act of citizenship. The visa for residence granted would allow the successful applicants to move freely and indulge in business activities for the time granted.

How to Get the Resident Visa for Business?

Those applying under this program need to start a business involving a startup business in innovation economy with a principal sum of euro 75000 in order to get the visa.

Secondly, in case there are more than one principal investors involved apart from family members then each of them need to invest euro 75000 in order to get residential visa. There is no compulsion on job creation as it is assumed that in initial stage the business needs time to grow.

This program is a high potential startup program that aims to target high potential investors. Some more criteria:

  • The business needs to provide at least 10 jobs in the next 3-4 years of startup
  • The business produces new and innovative product or tech in the market
  • It is able to release euro 1M in sales in the 3-4 years of business
  • Less than six years old and is headquartered in Ireland lead by experienced team.

Those who don’t fall in this criteria:

Those who don’t fall in this criteria but want to get a visa for business can apply through different means. This program is not for those who want to invest in retail, personal services, catering and businesses of this type that has lower investment. For them there is different criteria and method for application. Business Permission Scheme will be the right channel for them based on certain criteria that needs to be fulfilled.

Methods to Apply for Visa

There are two stages of making an application. They are:

  • Immigration and investment approval application’
  • Issue of permission for residence

The first method is immigration and investment approval application where the applicant needs to fill the application and attest all the needed supporting documents and submit it with the Evaluation Committee. The committee will examine the applicant’s application on the various criteria. It should be noted that only having the required fund is not enough for getting approval but there are many other conditions as well including the business to be innovative and adding new jobs. Then evaluation committee will then send the application to the minister for approval.

For the application, Euro 350 is required to be paid. Even if your application gets rejected, the application fee will not be refunded.

The second step is the issue of permission for residence. Here, after the first step is fulfilled and the application is approved, the applicant now needs to fulfil these conditions. They are:

  • Financial amount to be transferred in the financial institution regulated by the central bank of Ireland
  • The applicant in addition to family members that is spouse and children below 18 need to submit the required documents including record of no criminal case and character certificate.

Documents Required for the Application:

A: To Support Investment:

  • For applicants who are applying for existing businesses that is relocating to Ireland, they need to submit the recent audited accounts of the business with the documents.
  • The applicant if starting a new business needs to submit a comprehensive business plan to the Evaluation Committee for scrutiny in template style which is available on Investment and Entrepreneur Page of INIS website.
  • The business plan should contain all details and location of business including Ireland and beyond with number of employees working in the country.


The applicant needs to submit following evidences in support of the documents.

  • Evidence of Euro 75000 in the bank
  • The applicant must have a secured funding of Euro 75000 from one or more combination like a business loan, their own resource, venture capital funding, business angel and grant from an Irish State Agency

The applicant also needs to show the proof of transfer of funds into Ireland. This should be doing using:

  • If the fund is coming from the applicant’s resource then the amount of money should be seen on the name of applicant in any bank of Ireland regulated by Central Bank of Ireland.
  • The applicant should show his/her bank statement where the amount is stored in the bank which is not regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. The bank should be regulated by home regulator which is an official body. The bank statement should not be more than a month old and the documents provided must also be original approved by the bank.
  • The letter should be produced on behalf of the bank where the applicant’s money are deposited on his name. The letter should be original and not a month old during submission. The letter must confirm the following:
  • The name of the applicant along with the fund in his account.
  • Bank regulated by home regulator.
  • The time period covered which should be three month immediately before which the letter is produced.

Fund through Loan:

If the applicant has secured the fund through loan then:

  • The institution of finance should give a letter of the money sanctioned for the particular business.
  • All the money from different sources if combined should equal to euro 75000.

Evidence of Character:

One needs to produce the character certificate by the police department of each of the country the applicant has resided for more than 6 months during the 10 year period prior to writing the application for visa. The applicant also needs to produce an affidavit which should be drafted by a legal practitioner in Ireland. Only after the affidavit by all the applicant is submitted for good character and no criminal record, the application will be considered and approved.

Aftermath of Application and Approval:

After you have made your application, based on your documents and fulfilment of criteria, your application can be approved and thus you will be granted working and resident visa which will avail various facilities for you. You can stay in the country for up to two years. You need to have your private medical insurance and not through public funds. Spouse and minor children are allowed to accompany the applicant.

Renewal: After the two year period is complete, the applicant needs to review their visa by fulfilling some criteria which includes:

  • Successful running of business that generated good profit
  • Employing people from the country
  • Maintaining good character
  • Private medical insurance

3 more years of stay can be granted after this which can be renewed again after five years. Thus the whole process of doing business in Ireland comes to an end. Before you start a business in Ireland you need to go through all such details related to work. Also ensure that you have a comprehensive plan for your business and you get some good advice for your business.

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