Moving to Ireland from US: The Ultimate Guide

Moving to Ireland from US: The Ultimate Guide

In this article, learn what you need to know before moving to Ireland, and as an American, learn everything you need to know.

Changing even a tiny detail about your life might be hard for you. It may be challenging when you think about changing the whole setting in your life, like changing the country with people around you, your job, how people use language, education style, or communication challenges. However, researching beforehand may lighten the process for you.

So, let’s discover the new lifestyle you’ll embrace in Ireland. Find out: is it going to be like you imagined?

How to Get Irish Citizenship

Are you thinking about emigrating to Ireland from the United States? The laid-back way of life and famously friendly Irish folk charm expats like you worldwide.

You must know that there are historical links between the US and Ireland. So many American citizens have relatives from Ireland and have distant family members living there.

For an American, it’s not that difficult to visit Ireland. You can stay for up to 90 days without any visa application. Nevertheless, you’ll need to apply for preclearance before you travel to Ireland if you aim to emigrate.

Here are some of the options that let you live in Ireland as an American expat:

  • Working in Ireland with an employment permit
  • Joining an immediate family member in Ireland
  • Applying for Irish citizenship

There are also various options to get Irish citizenship, which can be through marriage, naturalization, or family. For an Irish naturalization, you need to reside in Ireland for at least five years. If your family members, parents, or grandparents were born in Ireland, you don’t need to apply for a visa. In this case, you can submit an Irish citizenship application directly.

The Benefits of Becoming an Irish Citizen

Ireland doesn’t promise sunny and sandy beaches, but it’s beautiful, and many choose to settle in this small country. You’ll be able to enjoy a lot of activities in Ireland with Irish citizenship. And as an American, you may be used to these, especially outdoor activities like camping or mountain hiking. You can also visit national parks and enjoy the serene countryside. Hospital Irish people will show you the way ahead.

The Weather: What Ireland Promises

Ireland has a mild and temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters. You may experience a little of everything. Rain clouds, freezing mornings, and glorious afternoons or sunrises that’ll have a place in your mind. However, when it comes to plans, it’s better to be flexible as the weather may force you to do so. And be ready for all seasons in Ireland, as you’ll face any of them during the year.

Did you know that Ireland is also known for its rainbows? Imagine the view! When there’s plenty of rain and low pressure, you have rainbows many times of the year, visible mostly in spring and autumn.

In Ireland, the warmest month is typically July, averaging around 18.2 °C, while the chilliest month is January, averaging just 8.4 °C. In contrast, the United States experiences its highest temperatures in July, averaging 30.9 °C, and its coldest in January, with an average of 6.1 °C. In general, Ireland isn’t warmer than the United States.

Transformation in Ireland Compared to the US

Regarding Uber, it’s not like in the US in Ireland. You can only book licensed taxis, but use the Uber app while doing that. The taxi can be expensive, and you may need a car for a more convenient transportation experience in Ireland. You can also use trains, trams, and busses as public transport options.

You can try booking tickets in advance for some public transportation in Ireland. That’ll be easier. So it’s better to plan your journey properly to get ahead of the crowd.

All of the island’s public transport is overground. So you can enjoy watching the city go by.

Expat Community: Where You Will Find Yourself

From making new friends to discovering new hobbies, engaging with your new surroundings is a great way to settle in. Consider joining industry-specific associations and organizations to expand your network. Networking with peers at events, workshops, and seminars can open up a variety of new opportunities.

Participating in volunteer work and engaging with local charity groups can be also fulfilling. Moreover, language classes are an excellent way to enhance your communication skills. In addition to English and Irish language (Gaelic language) classes, there are a range of exciting language courses.

Ireland promises easy transportation connections, perfectly positioned between North America and mainland Europe. It’s also a leading destination for technology, tourism, history, and culture. It’s not just a great place to work – it’s also a great place to live.

Cultural Differences 

Americans consider it polite to arrive early; however, in Irish culture, arriving early can be considered rude. Instead, it’s considered polite to arrive exactly on or very close to the time decided.

In American culture, it’s okay to speak very directly. But it may not be considered the same in Irish culture because it’s seen as demanding.

When crossing the street, it’s best to be careful as in Ireland, people drive on the left side. So, be careful about the coming cars as it might be challenging to get used to the differentiation, especially in the beginning.

Safety in Ireland

Located in north-western Europe, Ireland was politically divided in 1920 into two parts: Ireland and Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. North and south, it’s a very safe place to visit with friendly and welcoming people.

It’s a very safe country to visit. When we compare to other European countries, crime is relatively low in Ireland. And the crime may happen mostly fueled by alcohol. So, it may be advisable to avoid roaming along Ireland’s streets late at night.

However, Dublin isn’t as safe as other parts of Ireland. It’s like any capital city; there’s a dense population, so the crime rates can be higher than in other parts of the country.

Moving to Ireland from the US: Pros and Cons

Let’s discover what can be advantages and disadvantages of moving to Ireland.

Pros of Moving from the US to Ireland

  • Ireland is a beautiful country with a diverse landscape, stunning scenery, green countryside, and coastal views.
  • You can enjoy a rich culture accompanied by friendly and welcoming people, experience a lively pub scene, and have a strong sense of history and heritage.
  • The quality of life is high, there’s a good healthcare system, a low crime rate, and a stable democracy.
  • The location is strategic, close to the UK and Europe, offering good transport links and visa-free access to many countries.
  • It’s an innovative economy with a low corporate tax rate, a skilled workforce, and a strong presence of multinational companies and start-ups.

Cons of Moving from the US to Ireland

  • Especially in the cities, it’s probable to experience expensive housing, utilities, food, and transport.
  • The unpredictable weather can affect your mood, with frequent rain, wind, and clouds and a lack of sunshine and snow.
  • The visa system in Ireland is complex and restrictive. Especially non-EU citizens may face difficulties obtaining work permits, residency, and Irish citizenship.
  • You’ll need to pay high-income tax, social security, and value-added tax rates. In addition, there’s a double taxation issue for some expats.

Moving to Ireland from the US for Study

If you’re a non-EEA national and want to study in Ireland, then you need to be enrolled in an eligible full-time course. When you’re required to have a visa to enter Ireland, you must apply for a student visa. You’ll need to include proof that you’ll have access to €10,000 when you come to Ireland for your visa application.

If you’re a student from a non-EEA country and you do not need to have a visa, you need to follow these;

  • You must register with your local immigration officer to obtain permission to remain in Ireland for more than 90 days.
  • If you plan to study for up to 6 months, you’ll be required to have access to €700 per month.
  • Or €4,200 when you first register with your local immigration officer.

You’ll have a work permit for one or two years when you receive your higher education in Ireland.

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals are free to study in Ireland without any special requirements. Also, they don’t need to register with the immigration authorities when they arrive.

How to be considered as an EU/EEA applicant:

  • You must be a resident in an EU/EEA state.
  • You completed your post-primary education or worked there for three of the past five years.
  • You hold an EU/EEA passport with full-time post-primary education in an EU/EEA country.
  • You have refugee status or humanitarian leave in Ireland.
  • You lived in the EU/EEA for three out of the past five years.

Living in Ireland

Music Culture in Ireland

Music, be it folk music or rock, punk, or other genres of music, is a large part of Ireland’s culture. If you’re a consistent music listener, you may have some favorite Irish bands or musicians added to your playlists.

Irish traditional music makes us listen to many kinds of songs. You must have heard many Irish ballads or laments sung accompanied by various instruments. There is also traditional dance music, including reels, hornpipes, and jigs.

Holidays in Ireland

Irish holidays are important to the culture. It’s because they reflect the Irish people’s history, values, and traditions. As for some examples, we feel the urge to mention some of the Irish holidays, such as St. Patrick’s Day, Shrove Tuesday, and Saint Stephen’s Day.

You may attend holiday celebrations and have the perfect opportunity to experience these special days numerous times each year. It’ll be party time around an Irish theme!

Working in Ireland

  • If you’re from the EEA (the EU plus Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein), Switzerland, or the UK, it’s possible to work without a visa or employment permit in Ireland.
  • If your family members are coming to live in Ireland and if they’re from outside the EEA, Switzerland, or the UK, they may have to apply for a visa or preclearance to enter Ireland.
  • If you’re from a country outside the EEA, Switzerland, or the UK, you’ll need to check if you need a visa to come to Ireland. You’re required to apply for an employment permit to work in Ireland.
  • If you’re a non-EEA citizen and already live in Ireland, having certain types of immigration permission, you can work without an employment permit. Also, you might not need an employment permit in case you’re joining your family in Ireland.

Healthcare in Ireland

The Irish hospital system includes both public and private hospitals, with public institutions serving both public and private patients.  When admitted to a public hospital, patients are given the option of having their consultant treat them in either a public or private setting.

Education system in Ireland

Primary school and post-primary school comprise the Irish educational system. You must guarantee that your kid receives a minimal education level from six to sixteen or until they have finished three years of post-primary school.

Primary and secondary schools must supply spaces in accordance with their admissions policy and admissions notice.

Many people move on to higher and third-level education after finishing primary school. Unless you opt to send your child to a private school, state-funded education is accessible at all levels.

Requirements for Immigration

No matter what the visa type, you’ll need a Personal Public Service (PPS) number as your unique identifier for official transactions and services in Ireland. So you’ll be included in Ireland’s social security system with this number.

It’s also better to check where you’ll live in Ireland when you first arrive. Maybe it’ll be temporary until you sign a contract for a rental apartment. It’s important to note that the rent costs are high in some of Ireland’s major cities. So, it’s generally a competitive housing market. Let’s plan carefully ahead of time.

If you’re traveling to Ireland and you’re not a citizen of the UK, Switzerland, or a country in the European Economic Area, you might need to apply for a visa.

Here, let’s discover the visa options in Ireland according to various needs.

Student Visa

  • Apply online for your visa through the AVATS system and print and sign the completed application form.
  • Arrange an appointment with the Visa Facilitation Service (VFS) and pay the visa fees.
  • Compile your supporting documentation, which includes a letter of acceptance from a recognized school or college in Ireland, evidence of your academic ability, fee payment, funds, medical insurance, and intention to return to your country.
  • Submit your documents to VFS or the Embassy of Ireland.
  • Wait for your visa outcome and check the status of your application online.

Marriage Visa

  • Complete an online questionnaire about yourself and your marriage that’ll happen soon or a civil partnership on the DFA website and print and sign the application form.
  • Apply for a marriage short-stay visa online through the AVATS system and pay the visa fee of €60.
  • Arrange an appointment with the Visa Facilitation Service (VFS) and submit your supporting documents, which include your original passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, and evidence of your relationship, finances, and intention to leave Ireland after the marriage.
  • Wait for your visa outcome and check the status of your application online.
  • Register with immigration and apply for residency after you arrive in Ireland and get married.

Retirement Visa

  • Complete an online questionnaire on the DFA website and print and sign the application form.
  • Apply for a retirement (D) long-stay visa online through the AVATS system and pay the visa fee of €60.
  • Arrange an appointment with the Visa Facilitation Service (VFS) and submit your supporting documents, which include your passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, cover letter, proof of income and funds, health insurance, police clearance, and health declaration.
  • Wait for your visa outcome and check the status of your application online.
  • Register with immigration and apply for a Stamp 0 immigration permission after you arrive in Ireland

Employment Permit

  • Find a job in Ireland and get an employer offer to sponsor you.
  • Apply online for an employment permit from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) and pay the application fee.
  • Apply for a work (D) long-stay visa online through the [AVATS system] and pay the visa fee of €60.
  • Arrange an appointment with the [Visa Facilitation Service (VFS)] and submit your supporting documents, which include your passport, work contract, employment permit, and proof of funds.
  • Wait for your visa outcome and check the status of your application online.
  • Register with immigration and apply for Stamp 1 immigration permission after you arrive in Ireland.

Northern Ireland: Best Places to Live


It’s a coastal town in County Antrim, offering stunning views of the sea and Rathlin Island. It has a lively community spirit, a range of local shops and services, and a rich cultural heritage. It’s also close to the Giant’s Causeway and the Glens of Antrim.

Belfast South

Welcome to a diverse and vibrant area of Belfast that has many attractions. Some of the must-visit areas are the Botanic Gardens, the Ulster Museum, and the Queen’s University. You can see Victorian terraces or modern apartments around with a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars. Don’t feel isolated ever because it’s also well-connected to the city center and other parts of Northern Ireland.


Portstewart is a seaside resort town in County Londonderry that has a long sandy beach, a scenic promenade, and a golf course. It has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, with plenty of activities that can be interesting for all ages. It’s also close to the Causeway Coast and the Sperrin Mountains.


Rostrevor is a village in County Down that lies at the foot of the Mourne Mountains and the shore of Carlingford Lough. It has a charming and historic character, with a fairy glen, a dolmen, and a castle. It has a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, and kayaking, and a lively music scene.


In this post, we’ve outlined some of the important steps you can follow when you’re moving to Ireland. You need to choose which visa option is best for you and apply for it. You should also budget for living expenses, learn about the healthcare and education systems, and get familiar with Irish culture and lifestyle. You may also be able to claim Irish citizenship by descent, which will make your transition smoother and grant you access to the European Union.

Ireland is a beautiful country with a rich past. It boasts a good standard of living, a thriving economy, and a multicultural population. So it’s an adventure to look forward to!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I transfer money when moving from the US to Ireland?

There are different options for transferring money from the US to Ireland, such as using online platforms, banks, or money transfer services. Some of the factors to consider when choosing an option are the fees, exchange rates, speed, and convenience. You can compare the costs and benefits of different options on websites such as Wise or Revolut.

Can I transfer my driver’s license when I move to Ireland from the US?

If you have a driving license issued by the US, you can drive in Ireland for up to one year, as long as your license is valid. However, if you want to stay longer than one year, you will need to exchange your license for an Irish license or apply for a new one. To exchange your license, you must meet certain requirements, such as valid US licenses, passing a vision test, and providing proof of identity and residency.

Can I emigrate to Ireland as the spouse of an Irish resident?

Suppose you are married to or in a civil partnership with an Irish citizen or a person lawfully resident in Ireland. In that case, you may be able to emigrate to Ireland based on your relationship. To do this, you must apply for a visa and residence permission, depending on your nationality and circumstances. You must also provide evidence of your relationship, such as a marriage certificate, joint bank statements, or photos.

What do I need to know before moving to Ireland?

  • Irish citizens may need visas to enter other countries in the European Union.
  • If you are not an Irish citizen, you will need a valid employment permit to work in Ireland unless you are exempt from this requirement.
  • You’ll need to fill out an online application form to apply for an Irish visa. Then, you need to submit your supporting documents to the Irish embassy or consulate in your country.
  • A work visa is a long-stay visa that allows you to work in Ireland for a specific employer and occupation.
  • Car insurance is mandatory in Ireland, and you will need to show proof of it when you register your vehicle.
  • A critical skills employment permit is a type of employment permit that is issued to highly skilled workers in occupations that have a high demand in Ireland.
  • Immigration service is the government agency that is responsible for processing visa and residence applications, registering foreign nationals, and enforcing immigration laws in Ireland.
  • A services employment permit is a type of employment permit that is issued to workers who are transferred to Ireland by their multinational employer to provide a service to a client in Ireland.
  • A cultural employment permit is a type of employment permit that is issued to workers who are involved in cultural, artistic, or heritage activities in Ireland.

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