Moving to Ireland from the UK checklist
Many UK citizens are making the decision to move to Ireland.
As a highly popular destination for tourists and immigrants, Ireland was recently ranked joint second in the world for quality of life, ahead of Sweden, Germany, the USA, Australia, and the UK and its Human Development score has increased almost 24% since 1990.
Below is the checklist of what you should consider before moving to Ireland:
- Learn about the requirements for living in Ireland
- Do your research on the way of life in Ireland, housing, schools, the Irish government system, healthcare systems, etc.
- Find out how much money is required for your move
- Understand the tax system in Ireland
- Find a job and make plans to leave your current job
- Look into the educational system for your children (where relevant)
- Gather all the official documents you need to bring with you
- Make plans to disconnect your existing contracts, memberships, plans, services, etc. in the UK
- Open a bank account in Ireland
- Find a place to live in Ireland and make arrangements for your home in the UK
- Plan how you will move your belongings
- Make transportation arrangements for yourself, family, and any pets
- Pack all your items and get them ready to be transported
With the shortest distance between Ireland and the UK reaching just 13 miles across the Irish Sea, it is an attractive place to emigrate for UK citizens.
Another advantage is that UK nationals do not need a visa to live in Ireland and they may live and work without restriction.
This guide outlines everything you need to know about moving to Ireland if you are from the UK.
For expert immigration advice and support, contact IAS to work with an experienced and qualified lawyer.
Our advisers work closely with you to understand your situation and your goals, advise on potential immigration options and assess your eligibility for your chosen route.
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What to know about moving to Ireland after Brexit
There is a special arrangement in place that allows UK and Irish nationals to travel, live, and work in either country without restriction or the need to apply for a visa.
The UK and Irish governments’ commitment to the Common Travel Area was reaffirmed during Brexit negotiations, meaning that there has been no change to this arrangement since Brexit.
The CTA allows for free movement between the UK, the Crown Dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man), and Ireland.
The main issues to note in terms of how Brexit affects UK citizens moving to Ireland primarily relate to Northern Ireland and the family members of British citizens
Northern Ireland (NI) after Brexit
The position of the north of Ireland is still a topic of some contention even after Brexit.
The reason for this is because Ireland is in the European Union while NI is a part of the UK. There are checks on goods moving from NI to another part of the UK, but there are no restrictions on goods moving from Ireland to NI.
People who live in one country but work in another are known as frontier workers.
A UK or Irish citizen does not need to apply for this permit, however if you are a non-EU citizen, Irish citizen, or UK citizen, you may need to apply for a frontier worker permit if you live in Ireland and work in NI (for example).
UK driving licences in Ireland after Brexit
A British national living in Ireland cannot use a British driving licence since 1st January 2021 and it must instead be exchanged for an Irish driving licence.
Visa or residency permit
As you are not required to apply for a visa to live in Ireland, this makes it significantly easier to relocate.
However, you are required to inform the UK government if you intend to leave the UK permanently. You should inform the offices in charge of your benefits, UK state pension, and taxes.
Non-EU spouse of UK citizen in Ireland
There are rules for non-EU spouses or family members of a UK national moving to Ireland. Individuals under this category may need to apply for a visa, employment permit (where relevant) and preclearance before they enter Ireland.
The preclearance scheme does not apply to individuals whose British family member or spouse was living in Ireland before 31 December 2020.
To apply for preclearance, complete the online application form and provide the following information:
- Reason for travel to Ireland
- Type of preclearance (Short Stay (C) Visa or Long Stay (D) Visa)
- Journey type (single or multiple entry)
- Purpose of travel
- Passport type
- Passport number
- Proposed dates of entry and exit
- Details of previous Irish visa or preclearance permissions
- Details of any previous criminal convictions
- Contact details for your Irish sponsor/ host
- Your proposed itinerary in Ireland
You do not need to apply for Irish citizenship in order to enjoy most of the same rights as Irish citizens.
However, you may be entitled to apply for citizenship if you have Irish heritage. This would enable you to apply for an Irish passport, which would allow you to travel freely throughout Europe.
What documents do you need?
If you are moving to another country on a permanent basis, then you will likely bring all your documents with you, along with the rest of your possessions.
Below is a list of the most important documents you should bring with you when relocating to Ireland:
- Passport or valid travel document
- Any current or previous visa or immigration status documents (e.g., if you naturalised as a British citizen) for your and/ or your partner and family members
- Birth certificate
- Identification cards
- Medical record history
- Driving licence
- Transcripts from university
- Academic certifications
- School records for your child (where relevant)
- Passport-style photographs
- Marriage or civil partnership certificates (where relevant)
- Divorce certificates (where relevant)
- Dental records
- Adoption papers (if applicable)
- Bank statements
- Bank account details
- National insurance details
- Council tax letters
- Letters from utilities or other services
- Pay slips
- Vaccination records
- Tax certificates/ records
- Pet passport and health records
It is important to consider whether you may be required to request some documents from your bank, university, or workplace while you are still based in the UK.
When moving, it is recommended to bring the most important documents with you instead of packing them in boxes in case of loss or damage.
How much money do you need to immigrate to Ireland?
Naturally, it can be expensive to move internationally. This is also the case when moving from the UK to Ireland, even if it is a relatively short distance (depending on where you are moving from).
As a general rule, the cost of hiring a removals van to transport your belongings to Ireland will cost at least £1,000, and likely more, depending on how much you want to transport.
There will likely be fees involved in closing down your contracts/ services in the UK and applying to set up new ones in Ireland.
If you are selling your property in the UK, you may have the expense of legal fees involved with this process.
There will be costs involved in transporting yourself, your family, and any pets to Ireland.
Your biggest cost will likely be finding a place to live or a property to buy (see buying a house in Ireland).
By some estimates, the cost of living is between 5% and 20% more expensive in Ireland than in the UK. In general, you can expect the following differences in living costs:
- Consumer prices are almost 12% higher in Ireland
- Rent prices are almost 37% higher in Ireland
- Restaurant prices are almost 7% higher than in the UK
- Groceries cost almost 14% more in Ireland
- Transportation costs are almost 14% higher than in the UK
- Clothing costs are almost 7% higher in Ireland
The cost of moving to Ireland depends on your personal circumstances and can vary widely from person to person.
However, it is important to be aware that it is unlikely to be inexpensive.
Working in Ireland
Fortunately for British citizens, they do not need to apply for a special work visa in order to work in Ireland.
The job market in Ireland attracts highly skilled and educated individuals and there are a number of opportunities available for British expats.
Many roles exist within the services sector and Ireland benefits from having the headquarters of a number of multinational organisations located there, including Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft.
Like the UK, Ireland has skills shortages across key areas including:
- Business and finance
- IT and computer data scientists
- Healthcare professions
- Transport and logistics
Since the pandemic, many companies are offering remote working opportunities, giving workers greater flexibility over where they can live.
This could be helpful in allowing you to choose a cheaper location to live while still being able to work remotely.
Healthcare system in Ireland
Although the healthcare system in Ireland seems to be similar to the UK, the two are quite different.
Ireland has two tiers, public and private health systems. The public system is overseen by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Some services are free, while many others incur a charge. As well as this, there can be long waiting lists for many publicly funded healthcare services.
To access this system, you must demonstrate that you are ordinarily resident in Ireland and that you will continue to live in Ireland for at least one year.
You may be requested to provide proof of residence by one of the following documents:
- Lease/ contract on an apartment or house
- Proof of ownership of a home that is the owner’s primary residence
- Letter from an employer
- Other evidence
Some people will be entitled to medical cards under the public health system. This allows individuals to access social security benefits for free including GP visits, prescriptions, some hospital services, dental services, community care, and counselling services.
You can also take out private health insurance if you wish, but this can be very expensive.
Primary care is delivered by General Practitioners (as in the UK) and they may refer you to specialists (known as consultants).
If you are moving from the UK, it is recommended that you request a copy of your personal health record from your healthcare providers in order to give your new doctor a full background of your situation.
Buying or renting a house
One of the biggest costs when moving internationally can be moving into a or buying a new home. Whether you intend to rent, buy, or build a new home, Citizens Information can provide UK expats with clear information.
Renting a home
There are a number of steps involved for people who wish to rent in Ireland. It may be useful to begin with the following steps:
- Decide on your monthly budget for rent
- Identify your ‘must-haves’ in your new home (e.g., garden, number of rooms, etc.)
- Search your preferred location for a property that meets your expectations
- Register your interest with the owner or letting agent
- Visit the potential home and travel around the local area (if possible)
- Enter into negotiations with the owner and ensure that you are happy with all the terms
- Arrange a time to move into the new property
Buying a home
The process of buying a home will initially be similar to renting a home, with some obvious differences.
To get started with purchasing a property in Ireland, begin with the following steps:
- Decide on your budget for buying a new home
- Be clear on what your ideal home would look like, your non-negotiables, and things that you are flexible about
- Search for properties that meet your criteria in your chosen location
- Buy your home either by private treaty or public auction
- Oversee the purchase of the property and ensure all taxes and charges are paid
- Ensure that you follow the advice of your solicitor before signing legal documents
- Once your home has been purchased, you must register your property with the Property Registration Authority (PRA)
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If you are a UK citizen, you can move to Ireland without applying for a visa or any form of immigration permission. Due to the Common Travel Area (CTA) agreement between Ireland and the UK, citizens or either country may live or work freely in the other country.
This agreement predates the European Union and it remains unaffected by Brexit. If you are a British citizen, you can move to Ireland whenever you wish.
It is difficult to estimate the exact cost of moving from the UK to Ireland. An approximate breakdown of costs is below:
- Average cost of living for single person in Ireland: £708 (excluding rent)
- Average cost of living for a family of four in Ireland: £2,521
- Average cost of flight from UK to Ireland: £40.60 (depends on location, excluding baggage)
- Deposit for rental accommodation/ mortgage deposit: between £1,000 and £15,000
- Maintenance costs for first two months: Between £1,416 and £5,042 (depending on family size)
- Cost of international moving service: Between £1,000 and £3,000 (dependent on number of items, distance, etc.)
By a conservative estimate, the minimum amount of money needed to move from the UK to Ireland for a single person could be £2,748. For a family of four, this could be as high as £11,202.
Depending on your circumstances, it could be cheaper or more expensive.
This is a subjective question and difficult to answer objectively! Many Irish people will tell you that living in Ireland is better than the UK, while people who have lived in both countries may say that the UK is better.
There is no single measure which can tell us which country is better to live in. It is context dependent and depends on numerous factors.
However, by some OECD measures, Ireland far outperforms the UK on a number of key metrics, including level of happiness and wellbeing.
- Household net adjusted disposable income (in USD): Ireland: $25,310 vs. UK: $28,715
- Employment rate: Ireland: 68% vs UK: 75%
- Quality of support network: Ireland: 95% vs UK: 94.1%
- Educational attainment: Ireland: 82% vs UK: 81.2%
- Life expectancy: Ireland: 81.8 years vs UK 81.2 years
- Life satisfaction: Ireland: 7/10 vs UK: 6.8/ 10
- Employees working very long hours: Ireland: 5.3% vs UK: 12.2%
These measures may be some indication of the quality of life for Irish people compared to the UK, but ultimately the decision is yours to make about which country is right for you to live in.
Even if some of these statistics don’t convince you, it can’t be argued that a better Irish pub can be found in Ireland than the UK!
IAS is a highly regarded immigration law firm that works with its clients to help them achieve their goals. We are experienced in all areas of immigration, including in emigrating.
We can assist you and your family with the following emigration routes:
- Emigrate to the USA
- Emigrate to Australia
- Emigrate to Canada
- Emigrate to Portugal
- Emigrate to Spain
- Emigrate to Russia
We understand how complex immigration systems are, and how confusing they can seem. Our immigration lawyers are on hand to work closely with you and advise you on the most appropriate course of action depending on your circumstances.
Contact us today at +1 844 290 6312 for a confidential discussion about how we can assist you.