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Guide to immigrating to Ireland from South Africa

By June 22, 2020January 17th, 2023FinGlobal

Guide to immigrating to Ireland from South Africa

June 22, 2020


Are you getting excited about the prospect of a change of scenery in Ireland? If moving to Ireland from South Africa is something that you plan to do in the near future, having a deeper understanding of the country and the dos and don’ts is quite important.  Immigrating to Ireland from South Africa will prove somewhat of a shock to the system, but not in a bad way. Ireland is far colder than South Africa, but is just as beautiful. The Irish people are similarly friendly and approachable – just like South Africans. Ireland is the third largest island in Europe and isn’t just a magical tourist destination – it’s also a fantastic place for South Africans to consider living and working…and of course, they do.

Getting into Ireland is not excessively hard, but it’s going to take some forethought. You are going to need to do a lot of planning and ensure that you have your ducks in a row. You can’t grab your passport, pack a bag and head out the door. As a South African passport holder, you can stay in the country without a visa for up to 90 days, but then you have to bid the country a fond farewell and head home. After 90 days, it’s one of those “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here” situations.

Let’s take a closer look at how to immigrate to Ireland from South Africa, what the Ireland immigration requirements are, and what sort of things you can expect to encounter during the process.

How to Immigrate to Ireland from South Africa

People who wish to live and work in Ireland and are from EEA countries or Switzerland have all the luck. They don’t need a long term visa to live in the country and they don’t need a work permit either. Unfortunately, South Africans aren’t as lucky. South African passport holders must apply for a visa if they wish to be in the country for longer than 90 days. In addition to that, they need to get an employment or work permit. This means that you will need to secure a job before you arrive in the country.

When applying for a visa and work permit, remember that these processes are handled by two different government departments, so they must be applied for separately.

If you have a spouse who is an EU/EEA citizen, then you might be able to skip the process of applying for a work permit and visa. In this case you will apply for a residency card based on the fact that your spouse will be living and working in the country.

Ireland Immigration Requirements

When moving to Ireland, the government immigration officers will want to know more about you, as a person and of course your current situation in life.  This is what you can expect them to request:

  • Proof of accommodation.

The government will want to know that you have accommodation sorted out before you arrive in the country. Where will you live and can you afford it? All expats must have confirmed accommodation before arrival in Ireland.

  • Employment offer.

If you wish to live and work in the country, you must be gainfully employed or at least have an employment offer when you apply to stay long-term. It is best to include an employment contract or the particulars of a potential job offer that requires you to have permanent residency in the country.

  • Bank statement.

While the Irish are very fond of the South African expats that land up on their shores, a great deal of their welcoming relies on whether you can support yourself or not once you arrive. The government will require you to prove that you have sufficient funds saved up to support yourself until any and all immigration paperwork is complete.

  • Visa application.

South Africans wishing to live and work in Ireland must apply for a “Long Stay D” visa. You can make the application online here.

  • Employment permit application.

You must apply for an employment permit with the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation. You can do this here. Employment permits can be denied if you process the application and the government picks up on some discrepancies. These include entering the country as a visitor and then looking for work, entering the country illegally, you have been deported, and if you are seeking employment with a company that is unauthorised to operate in Ireland.

Ireland Permanent Residency

You can’t really call yourself Irish until you have permanent residency, can you? Once you have been living and working in Ireland for 5 years legally, you can apply for permanent residency. However, if you work in the field of technology or hold a critical skills employment permit, you can apply for permanent residency after 2 years.

There’s one catch though. You cannot just arrive in Ireland and count your visa dates as your “time spent living legally in the country”. When you arrive, you have to register your immigration. It is the registration date that starts the counter on your 5 years in the country. Don’t forget to do this as soon as you arrive in Ireland.

FinGlobal: Your Tax and Financial Emigration Experts

As a South African expat, you might be excited to start your new life in Ireland. So excited, that you forget all about the financial and tax implications of leaving South Africa, for another country. Don’t worry – we have helped thousands of other South African expats in the same boat. The team at FinGlobal can assist you with processing your tax emigration and financial emigration when moving to Ireland or any other country for that matter. We have 10 years of experience in the industry and will ensure that the entire process is simplified and streamlined for you. Need more information? We’ll call you!


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