Moving abroad from Ireland

Introduction

If you are planning to move abroad, prepare yourself by getting as much information as possible about the country to which you are travelling. This page will give you information on what to do before you go, working abroad, social security, and settling abroad.

Before you leave

Whether you are planning to spend time travelling abroad or are moving to another country to work, start by reading up to date travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). This includes information on things you should know before you go such as:

You can also read our general tips for travelling abroad for more on what you need to do before you leave. For example, you should apply for an Irish passport if you don’t have one already.

If possible speak to people you may know who are living in or have previously lived in the country you are moving to and find out about what life is like there. Crosscare Migrant Project has more useful tips on what to consider before you leave Ireland.

Looking after your health

If you are going to the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland to travel or look for work you should get the European Health Insurance Card.

If you are travelling outside the EEA, make sure to get specific holiday or health insurance before you travel. Also check if you need to get vaccinations.

Read more about health issues when travelling abroad.

Driving abroad

Make sure that your driving licence is in date before you leave Ireland.

You can drive on your Irish driving licence in any EU country, as long as your licence is current and valid. You must also be over 18, apart from in Austria, Hungary and the UK where you can be age 17.

To drive in other countries, you may need to apply for an international driving permit (IDP) before you move abroad.

In some countries, you may be able to exchange your Irish driving licence for a driving licence issued in that country.

You cannot drive on your Irish learner permit outside of the Republic of Ireland.

Important documents and consular support

As well as your passport, bring other useful documents with you, including:

  • Your birth certificate
  • Your driving licence and/or international driving permit
  • Your student card
  • Any visas or work permits you may need
  • European Health Insurance Card and/or other documents relating to health insurance
  • Your curriculum vitae
  • Any relevant certificates from education or training courses you have completed
  • References for work
  • Emergency contact information
  • Contact names and numbers of your family/friends/next-of-kin in Ireland

You can also register your details with the DFA. This will allow the DFA to contact you in the event of an unforeseen crisis (such as a natural disaster or civil unrest), or a family emergency. The DFA also provides diplomatic supports for Irish people abroad. Look up contact details for the local Irish embassy or consulate in the country you are going to at www.dfa.ie/embassies.

Working abroad

Whether you are planning to work within the European Union (EU) or work in a country outside the EU, it can be helpful to look for work before you leave Ireland.

You can find out about work and retirement in the EU on europa.eu. It has information on a range of topics including residence formalities and travel. If you are planning to work in the EU you should also check with your local employment services office or Intreo centre. Each office has a EURES noticeboard advertising vacancies from a range of European countries.

For more tips on working abroad, including on working holidays for people who are up to age 35, read Crosscare Migrant Project’s information on working abroad.

Volunteering

If you are interested in working as a volunteer in another country, you can read more information about volunteer opportunities abroad from Comhlámh and Volunteer Ireland.

Social security

If you leave Ireland to live or work in another country or if you are returning to your own country having worked in Ireland you may be entitled to receive social security benefits in the country you are moving to.

You can find information about social security arrangements between Ireland and other countries.

If you leave your employment to work as a volunteer development worker you may be entitled to credited social security contributions.

Settling in

When you arrive at your destination, you may find that a lot of the attitudes and practices that you take for granted and consider "normal" are in fact peculiar to Irish culture. It can take time to settle into a new way of life, so give yourself time to adjust.

There are Irish organisations, sports and community groups around the world who can help you to stay connected with Ireland and help you to meet Irish people abroad. DFA’s Global Irish Directory lists over 1,000 Irish groups around the world.

Page edited: 13 November 2020