Perhaps you’ve grown up mesmerized by hearing stories of living in the “old country” from grandparents or other relatives, or you’ve fallen in love with Ireland’s quaint towns and unique combination of modern innovation and historic appeal. Either way, you’ve spent a good amount of your work day day dreaming about retiring, and more specifically, retiring to a life of contentment on the Emerald Isle. For those of you who have ever considered or looked into retiring to Ireland, the application process has recently become so selective and expensive, that only the wealthiest amongst us will qualify.
Living the Irish retirement dream was once a relatively easy process for retirees who were considered financially stable. Individuals who were born in, or who had parents or grandparents born in Ireland, are eligible for Irish citizenship, which makes the process much more streamlined. For others however, after three months visa applications to stay longer were often approved based on whether or not the retirees were a “burden to the state.” For those with sufficient financial resources, applications were often approved, and retirement was even encouraged in order to provide a boost in the local economies. Without the complications that foreigners face in other countries in regards to purchasing real estate, those looking to retire in Ireland were able to take their nest eggs and purchase reasonably priced homes in Ireland and even live debt free.
According to Irish Central however, Irish immigration policy underwent a quiet yet unfortunate change a few months ago for non-EU citizens looking to retire to Ireland. Rather than taking into account the amount of wealth or assets a retired couple has, the newly reported law states that each retiree must have an annual income of €50,000. That means that despite the average couple requiring no more than $30,000 to live an abundant retired life in Ireland, a non-EU pair must now demonstrate an income of €100,000 in order to receive the yearly extension of their passport. Not only does this adversely affect those seeking to retire to Ireland in the future, but it could also force current retirees to make swift and dramatic changes to their lives if not approved for the same extension they have been granted for years.
There has been quite a bit in the news recently about improvements for tourism and travel from the U.S. to Ireland, as well as ongoing support for those of Irish descent to explore their ancestry and visit Ireland. However with this new policy, it appears that while Americans and others from outside the EU are welcome for short visits, those seeking to retire will likely need to find another place to call home.
Have you thought about retiring to Ireland? How does this change affect your plans?