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Well Before the Move

Well Before the Move

Check Ireland out.
Contact the Irish embassy.
Count your money.
Have a job plan.
Apply for Irish citizenship.
Update your passport.

Check Ireland out.

Come over on vacation. Read the papers. Rent a self catering cottage for a couple of weeks. Check out the work prospects. Live with the weather. How does a non-Irish spouse feel about the place?

To book a place to stay for your vacation, you can check out the official Bord Failte Irish tourist agency site. The Irish Hotels Federation site also gives you an excellent overview of hotels and guest houses throughout Ireland.

If you're moving because your business has transferred you here, ask the company to send you and your spouse over for a week to get things sorted out. Check out houses and rentals in the area where you'll be moving. Meet some of your colleagues, get their advice.

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Contact the Irish embassy.

Imagine the poor Department of Justice official who recently opened a letter bearing a U.S. airmail stamp to find a letter from a retired American woman. My husband and I will be moving to Ireland in a month, the letter advised the official. As soon as our house sells, the letter continued, we'll be over. Aghast, the official called the couple at home and tried gently to tell them that they had better hold onto their property. The couple simply did not qualify as immigrants under the law. They might be able to stay in Ireland - but then again, they might not.

Moving to a foreign nation is not simply a matter of buying a house and settling in. There are always government immigration laws which lay down stringent rules concerning settlement. Ireland is no different. It doesn't matter that you have every Chieftain record and claim kinship with the ancient kings of Tara.

Hence, the golden rule of any Irish plans has got to be make sure you can move to Ireland!

How can you find out if you qualify? Check with the relevant authorities whose addresses are given below. Your nearest Irish embassy is a good starting place.

There are some few overall rules that apply. One is that European Union citizens and the citizens of Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein are free to travel to Ireland and settle here. Non-EU spouses and dependents will still have to register with the authorities, though. For more information, click here.

Non-EU nationals should begin by examining the visa requirements for their country of origin. U.S. citizens, for example, may enter the country without a visa for up to three months. Other nationals might need a visa just to visit, let alone settle in Ireland. Do all this checking early. It may take months to process your file.

Non-EU citizens still have some options. One is to find work here. Check out the work permit pages for this information. Also, check out the page on Residency Registration to see the rules for staying in Ireland even without a job. You can also come to Ireland as a student, but after your student days are over, out ye go again. Student years do not count toward residency.

Department of Justice
Phone: (01) 616 9100
Fax: (01) 616 7740
Email:immigrationinfo@justice.ie or citizenshipinfo@justice.ie
Web:http://www.justice.ie/

Garda National Immigration Bureau
Address:
13-14 Burgh Quay,
Dublin 2
Phone: (01) 666 9100.

Department of Foreign Affairs
Phone: (01) 478 0822
Email:library1@iveagh.gov.ie
Web:http://www.foreignaffairs.gov.ie/

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Count Your Money

Look at your finances. Then check them again.

You will be amazed how fast your hard earned dosh flitters away. There are the moving costs, insurance, plane tickets, new car, hotel bills while you get set up... and things you probably haven't figured into your resettlement budget like brooms and dust cloths, flashlight batteries and new toothbrushes. A little bit here, more there. It adds up. And up.

Don't forget the immortal words of U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen. "A billion here. A billion there. Pretty soon we're talking real money."

Here's a sampler of some typical prices . And check out the Cost of Living page for estimates of initial setup expenses, annual living costs, etc.

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Have a Job Plan

The Irish economy roared during the 1990's with the fastest growth rate in Europe. During these boom years, Ireland was "Celtic Tiger." There was a dip following the dotcom crash and 9/11 but by 2004, Ireland's economy was again purring along nicely. Tiger Two they call it.

Then bam! The bubble burst and much of the country's wealth evaporated. The economy has contracted - and contracted again. In early 2010, the economy officially came out of recession, but try telling that to the hundreds of thousands of people on the dole.

It's tough and a whole new generation of youngsters is learning the meaning of the word 'emigration'.

Even in the depths, however, well paid positions continue to open. There are jobs available for experienced computer programmers, for example, but not a lot of demand for folks who only know their way around Microsoft Works. Experience counts for an awful lot.

Be prepared to make it happen for yourself. For more on finding an Irish job, salary levels, and the like check out the Jobs page.

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Apply for Irish citizenship. You may qualify.

You may be surprised to find out you qualify for Irish citizenship. In some instances, even the great-grandchild of an Irish born citizen qualifies. There are important benefits available to Irish citizens such as being able to live and work in any European Union country without work permits or visas. Check out this overview of citizenship.

Irish law permits dual citizenship. This means that you might not have to resign your native citizenship to become an Irish citizen. You may be able to be both a citizen of Ireland and a citizen of Israel or the United States. You'll have to contact the passport office in your own home country to find out if your nation allows dual citizenship with Ireland. I was surprised myself to find out that the United States allows its citizens to be dual citizens of some nations (Ireland, Israel, and several others) without having to resign their American citizenship.

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Update your passport.

That much is obvious. But, if your passport will expire within a year of moving to Ireland, consider renewing before you leave. Renewing a foreign passport in Ireland will necessitate, possibly, a trip to your embassy in Dublin. Renewing an American passport has become a lengthy process after the introduction of machine readable passport in late 2004. Other nations may require dealings with their foreign office, and the whole matter might end up taking weeks.

Those of you coming over on a work permit have to be particularly careful. The new Green Card system requires passports of foreign nationals to be in date and valid for at least 3 months after the proposed expiry date of the Work Permit/Green Card. And when applying for permanent residency or unlimited work permit, the applicant's passport must be in date and valid for at least 12 months. For more, check here.

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