Welcome to Offshore Living Letter, Your #1 Resource for Offshore Diversification

Establishing Irish Residency And Obtaining An Irish Passport

03 Sep
Establishing Irish Residency And Obtaining An Irish Passport

New Irish Residency Scheme Not A Sure Path To Citizenship

In researching the lead article for the August issue of the Simon Letter on Irish citizenship, I came across information about economic residency options the Irish government came up with earlier this year. Some are touting these as economic citizenship options. Unfortunately, that’s not really the case. These new residency “schemes,” as the Irish refer to them, aren’t an easier path to Irish citizenship. Neither are they the best Irish residency option for someone with some money in the bank. What they are is a way for the near-bankrupt Irish government to try to infuse some capital into its failing economy.

Many countries allow you to gain residency if you invest some amount of money within their borders. Austria requires millions, while Panama has one option that grants residency in return for an investment of only US$80,000. Further, now, thanks to the recent Executive Order, also being referred to as the “Friends of Panama” program, if you’re a citizen of one of the 24 countries on the list, you can gain Panama residency very easily…and for nothing more than the cost of the processing. Furthermore, this residency is actually a fast track to Panamanian citizenship as it grants permanent residency as soon as it’s approved. Other options require three to five years of temporary residency before granting permanent residency, and it’s permanent residency that is the official starting point along the path to citizenship in this country.

What To Look For In A Second Citizenship

When analyzing residency options with an eye to citizenship, the main things to look at are the costs, the timeline, and whether the residency permit will necessarily lead to citizenship. The last point is one many people don’t consider. Certain retirement residency permits, like the Panama pensionado visa and the Belize QRP program, don’t qualify the recipient ever to apply for naturalization. They may be great residency options for a retiree, but they are a waste of time if your objective is a second passport.

True economic citizenship options, such as the ones currently available from St. Kitts and Dominica, aren’t cheap, but they are less costly than the new Irish scheme…and they guarantee that you walk away with a passport. Further, the timeline is months, not years.

An Irish passport may be one of the best second citizenship options available (as I detail in the lead article in this month’s Simon Letter); however, I’d recommend pursuing it the old-fashioned way, by establishing residency simply by showing that you have enough money to support yourself (I explain this further in my Simon Letter report). Then wait out the required residency period and apply for your Irish passport…as both Kathie and I did years ago. (Again, I share the full story in my Simon Letter article.)

Choosing your second-citizenship route comes down to your answer to a simple question: Do you have more time or more money? If you have more money, you can arrange economic citizenship in, again, a matter of months. If you don’t have that kind of cash to outlay, you still have options, but they will take time…generally three to five years minimum. Getting involved in schemes that suggest otherwise likely will cost you both time and money.

The new Ireland options are legitimate residency options, but they aren’t the most cost-effective. And they don’t give you any advantage (that is, no time savings) on the path to citizenship. Why would you spend/invest the money, if the investment isn’t going to save you any time?

Beats me.

Lief Simon