Retiring to Ireland
If you are planning on retiring to Ireland, this document will help you with some of the practical steps involved. You will also find links to further information available on citizensinformation.ie and other websites.
If you are an Irish citizen, you can read about returning home to Ireland to retire.
Do I have the right to move to Ireland?
Not everyone has the right to come and live in Ireland. Your right to reside here depends on your nationality and your particular situation.
Nationals who can enter and live in Ireland with no restrictions
Irish citizens and UK citizens can enter Ireland and reside here without any conditions. But if you have family from other countries who you want to join you here, you may have to show that they can support themselves or that you can support them.
Nationals who can enter Ireland freely, but must satisfy conditions to live here.
In most cases, EEA (this includes the EU and Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) and Swiss nationals and their families can enter Ireland and remain for up to 3 months without restriction. If you are retired and plan to stay more than 3 months, you must have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that you do not become a burden on the State, or you must be employed or self-employed.
EEA and Swiss nationals do not have to make a formal application to live in Ireland, but if you have family from outside the EEA and Switzerland, they will have to apply for residence.
Nationals who need permission to enter and reside in Ireland
Citizens of certain non-EEA countries must apply for an entry visa before they travel to Ireland. You can find out if you need a visa to enter Ireland. If you want to come to Ireland to live, you have to apply for a long stay visa (category D visa). You have to show that you have enough money to support yourself in Ireland.
When you have arrived in Ireland, you have to apply for a Stamp 0 immigration permission. This permission can given to people who have:
- Income of at least €50,000 per year (If you are part of a couple, then your joint income should be €100,000 per year).
- Access to a lump sum of money to cover any sudden expenses. This lump sum should cover the cost of a house or an apartment in Ireland.
If you are coming to join your child or children in Ireland and they plan to support you, you can read about how much income your child or children should have(pdf) in chapter 18 of the Irish Immigration Services Division's Family Reunification Policy Document.
What do I need to know before I retire to Ireland?
This section explains housing, health, social security, tax, pensions, work and driving in Ireland. If you are an Irish citizen, read information on returning home to Ireland to retire.
You may find that housing is expensive in Ireland. If you want to buy a home in Ireland you need to be aware of the prices, the process by which houses are bought and sold and the initial costs that are involved. There are no restrictions on the purchase or rent of residential property or land. Rented accommodation comes in many forms including houses, flats and apartments.
If you are normally resident in Ireland, you are entitled to a range of health services that are either free of charge or subsidised by the Irish Government. You can read more about entitlement to public health services. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a medical card which entitles you to certain health services at no cost. GP Visit Cards entitle you to free GP Visits.
In addition to the public health system, people in Ireland can avail of a range of private health care services. You must pay the full costs of treatment if you opt for private health care. There are a number of private health insurance companies in Ireland. If you are normally resident in Ireland, you are entitled to the same benefits from your private health insurance as any other Irish citizen. Your private health insurance premium attracts tax relief at the standard rate (20%).
Social security entitlements
If you are thinking of coming here to retire, you can read about the social security system in Ireland. You can also read about
- Moving to Ireland and your social security entitlements
- Residency requirements for social assistance payments
Most long-term contributory pensions such as old age or widowed pensions can be paid in any country so you can have your pension from another country paid in Ireland. You can read more about pensions in Ireland.
If you have worked in more than one EU/EEA country or in a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement then your periods of insurance can be combined with Irish insurance to see if you would qualify for a pension from each country. If you are getting a pension under EU Regulations or a Bilateral Agreement you may be eligible for the Household Benefits Package.
You can read about residency for tax purposes. You can find out about:
- Income tax credits and reliefs
- How pensions are taxed
- Special tax arrangements for people aged 65
- Tax relief for certain medical expenses including nursing home costs
Working in retirement
Some retired people may only have retired from one occupation. Retiring from work therefore may simply signal a career change. Not everyone has an automatic right to work in Ireland - so check in advance whether you require permission to work in Ireland.
Most legislation dealing with the protection of employees in Ireland does
not have an upper age limit. This means that if you are working
in retirement, then you have the same employment rights as everyone else.
If you decide to work part-time, you can find out about employment
rights of part-time workers.
Driving, cars and transport
Full driving licences from all other EU member states (and some other countries) are recognised for use in Ireland. You may be able to convert your driving licence to an Irish one. If you want to bring your car to Ireland you need to know about importing a car and implications for Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT).
If you are aged over 66 and living permanently in Ireland you are entitled to free travel on public bus and rail transport.
There are strict regulations about importing pets from abroad and there are customs regulations about the importation of prohibited or restricted goods.
Irish citizens living in Ireland have the right to vote in all elections and referenda. If you are living in Ireland but are not an Irish citizen you may vote in some elections. You can read about the political system at national level and the political system at local level.
A range of organisations promote education and leisure activities for retired people.