How to move to Ireland: Step-by-step guide

TransferWise content team
13.10.17
6 minute read

Are you ready for a new adventure? Maybe now is the right time for your relocation abroad! With a beautiful green landscape, rich history, and an economy and population on the rise, you might be ready to call the Emerald Isle your new home.

This step-by-step article explains the legal requirements to move to Ireland, plus the details you'll need to get setup. This guide will cover the cost of living, how to find a job, accommodation and how to open a bank account.

Living in Ireland - quick stats:

Before moving to Ireland, it’s helpful to understand some basic statistics:

  • Total population: 4.75 million
  • Capital: Dublin
  • Total number of expats: According to the Central Statistics Office, there were almost 80,000 immigrants living in Ireland in 2016
  • Expats from the US: 5,500
  • Expats from Australia: 10,000
  • Expats from the UK: 13,800
  • Official languages: English and Irish
  • Weather: Ireland’s climate tends to be mild year round. The warmest months tend to be June, July, and August, with average temperatures around 16°C (60°F). January is the coldest month with average temperatures around 5°C (41°F). Known for its green landscape, Ireland tends to get its fair share of rain. You should expect cloudy and overcast days, but when the sun comes out, that’s when the really country shines.
  • Biggest cities: Dublin is the country’s capital and biggest city. The greater Dublin area has a population of over 1 million. In the south west, Cork is the second largest city with 125,000 people, followed by Limerick with a population just under 100,000.
  • Average salary: €43,200 per year

Step 1: Figure out the legal requirements to move to Ireland

The Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) provides information regarding entry requirements to Ireland, visas, and all other immigration matters for Ireland. You may not need a visa to enter Ireland, but if you want to stay more than 3 months, you'll likely need to apply for a long stay visa.

Requirements for Australian citizens

Australians don’t need a visa to come to Ireland. However, they'll need permission to stay here for work. They may be asked to provide proof of their finances to show that they can comfortably stay in Ireland, especially when their stay will exceed one or two months.

Requirements for EU citizens

Ireland is a part of the EU. All EU citizens are entitled to come to Ireland to take up employment or self-employment; they don’t need a visa.

Requirements for American citizens

Americans don’t need a visa just to visit Ireland. However, Americans do need to apply for a visa for long-term stays and work. Americans hoping to stay in Ireland long-term will need to apply for permission to remain. This is granted by the Department of Justice and Equality, and approved applicants will receive a stamp of endorsement on their passport.

Requirements for UK citizens

Ireland and the United Kingdom share a Common Travel Area. This means British citizens can travel to Ireland for any reason and stay for any length of time.

Requirements for students

If you're a student you may not need a visa. However, you'll need permission from your course to stay in Ireland to study.

If you're a citizen of any country on this list, you can find detailed information about making an application to obtain your entry visa.

Step 2: Make sure you can afford the cost of living in Ireland

Here are some prices of everyday items in Ireland:

Good or service in Ireland Approximate Cost
1 bed apartment, central Dublin €1,400
1 bed apartment, Cork Co. (outside of city) €550
3 bed house, central Dublin €2,100
3 bed house, Cork Co. (outside of city) €1,200
City centre bus fare €2.75
Petrol/gasoline (per litre) €1.36
Cinema ticket €8.00
Coffee from a shop €3.00
Fast food burger €6.00
Pint of beer €5.00
Litre of milk €1.05

Step 3: Set up your finances in Ireland

In order to open up a bank account in Ireland you must be at least 18 years old. You’ll need to provide a valid form of photo ID and a proof of address. You can open a bank account in Ireland whether you’re a resident or a non-resident. If you’re a non-resident, you may not have a proof of address in Ireland but some banks will allow you to use information from your home country. Check with the specific bank for more details.

Ireland’s currency is the Euro (€). If you need to send money back home in your home currency, the fees and surcharges will add up over time. Consider TransferWise’s Borderless account, which allows you to send, receive and organise your money internationally without the high fees and exchange rates that big banks charge. TransferWise sends money with transparent fees and at the real exchange rate - the same as you’ll find on Google.

Step 4: Find a job and get to work in Ireland

Non-EU/EEA nationals who wish to work in Ireland must have a permit issued by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Visit their website for more information on which visa is right for you and how to apply.

Certain people may not require a work permit, such as refugees or some postgraduate students. Students on a student visa may take up casual work for up to a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time without applying for an employment permit.

Foreign nationals working in Ireland may be required to have their salary paid into a local Irish bank account. You should also contact the Department of Social Protection to apply for your Personal Public Service number before you begin work.

It’s becoming easier for foreigners to find work in Ireland now that the country’s economy has been steadily improving over the past few years. Many of the biggest tech and pharma companies in the world have now have their European HQs in Ireland. Here are a few sites to start looking for English-speaking jobs in Ireland:

Step 5: Get a place to live in Ireland

Accommodation is plentiful both in and near the main cities. Rental properties can be found furnished or unfurnished. Dublin is Ireland’s capital and largest city with good public transport links, making it a popular destination for people new to the country. Dublin’s rental market can be pricey and competitive so families might prefer areas outside of Dublin, such as Blackrock, Donnybrook, Drumcondra, and Dundrum, or smaller cities like Cork, Limerick, Waterford, or Galway.

Here are some accommodation sites to help you get started:

Step 6: Make sure your healthcare is covered in Ireland

All residents in Ireland are entitled to free public health cover, however, the two categories (full eligibility for medical card and limited eligibility) are based on your access to means. You can apply directly with the Health Services Executive. Private medical care is available too. If you're a short-term visitor, you may be entitled to some health services. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals can use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to cover most medical care as well.

To have a regular doctor's appointment you’ll go to your general practitioner, or GP. Patients have the right to choose their own GP. Most Irish GPs have both medical card (GMS) and private patients. Private patients are charged a fee, of approximately €25-35 per visit.

Further information on health services and local GPs is available from the HSE Local Health Office website. You should also visit the Irish Citizens Information website for more information on entitlement to public services.

Step 7: If you haven’t already, learn the language

Irish may be the first official language but English is the main spoken language in Ireland. While a quarter of the population understands the Irish language to some extent, less than 2% of the population speaks Irish on a daily basis. These people are mostly on the west coast in remote parts of the country, known as the Gaelthachts. If you want to brush up on some Irish before you relocate, you can use Duolingo for free for just a few minutes a day.

Step 8: Don’t be lonely - make friends and get in touch with other expats in Ireland

Before you arrive in Ireland, there are plenty of forums, like this ExpatExchange to help you with last minute queries. And with 80,000 immigrants in the country there are plenty of expats to connect with when you finally relocate. Check out this full list of Expat Meetups in Dublin or this Expats World Dublin Facebook group.

If you’re looking for more cultural immersion opportunities, EIL Intercultural Learning offers a host of learning opportunities, exciting activities, and inspiring workshops.

Step 9: Make sure you’re prepared with important contacts in Ireland in case of an emergency

Travel smart and be prepared. For the fire, ambulance and police services in Ireland dial 112 (only from a mobile) or 999 (from landline or mobile). You can find the details of your local Garda (Police) Station in this Station Directory.

For more information or a little taste of home, here are details of your local Embassy in Dublin:

Ireland provides plenty of opportunities for you to make that relocation you have been dreaming about. Follow this step-by-step guide to help you call this country your new home.

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