Home » Move to Ireland from the US: It’s Possible, Here’s How!

Move to Ireland from the US: It’s Possible, Here’s How!

Move to Ireland from the US

Imagine a life with fairy surroundings of historic castles, captivating landscapes, and vistas that stretch to meet the boundless ocean. Welcome to Ireland. While fairy tales don’t actually exist, the beauty of Ireland might make you feel as if your living in a storybook setting. 

cork, ireland

While many people who move to Ireland from the US might be lured in by the country’s fascinating history and lively culture, the reasons why Americans choose to move there go beyond that. From ancestral ties to work opportunities, and proximity to the rest of Europe, to name a few. 

Plus, who wouldn’t want to live in a country where everyone speaks English—with one of the best accents? Throw in affordable private health insurance and a high standard of living, and you’ve got yourself an irresistible package. If the Emerald Island is calling your name from across the pond, we’ve got everything you need to know about moving to Ireland–from snagging a long-term visa to uncovering the best places to live, diving into the cost of living, and so much more!

Can US citizens move to Ireland?

If you’re wondering if you can move to Ireland from the US, the answer is Yes! But hold on, this big move comes with a bit of paperwork–and by that we mean, a visa. We’ll dive into this in more details in the next section.

Now, if you’ve got Irish roots, luck is on your side! Many American’s have Irish ancestry which gives you an in to Irish citizenship by descent, i.e. an Irish passport! Obtaining Irish citizenship not only means no visa hurdles or 90-day countdowns, it means you have access to the entire EU–a total of 27 member states where you can live and work. It’s the golden ticket.

Next up is the financial nitty-gritty of your move. Jobs, jobs, jobs–you probably can’t take your remote job abroad with you, but don’t fear because we’ve got a complete guide to help you find your spot in the Irish job market.

Once you’ve got the visa and work game sorted, our list of 12 must-dos before you relocate is your next best friend. Feeling extra clueless? Join the Move Abroad After 30 Masterclass; it’s your compass for a smooth sailing start!

Visas for Ireland

Time to tackle that visa! If your looking to stay in Ireland beyond your allotted 90 days as a tourist this is what you need to know about immigrating to Ireland: student visa, working holiday visa, work visa or retirement visa will the main options for Americans moving to Ireland. 

Student visa
: If you’re enrolled in a full-time program at a nationally recognized school or university—and have paid for your tuition—you can live in Ireland for the duration of your studies.

Working holiday visa: A working holiday visa is unique in that it usually allows “young people” up to the age of 30 or 35 to live and work abroad for one year. But Ireland’s work holiday visa has no age limit!

Work visa
: As with most countries in Europe, getting a work visa is a challenge for a U.S. citizen, but if you are a skilled worker you may be able to tap into the Irish labor market. Be sure to check out our guide on finding a job in Ireland as an American

Retirement visa:
This visa option allows non-jobseekers the opportunity to live in Ireland as long as they can provide proof of financial means.

For more information on all your viable visa options, their requirements and how to apply, get your copy of I’m Outta Here! An American’s Ultimate Visa Guide to Living in Europe. This digital book is the #1 go-to for European visas. Get a deep dive on the aforementioned visas as well as 50+ other visa options for the 18 easiest countries to move to in Europe!

Digital nomad visa for Ireland

Ireland currently does not offer a digital nomad visa. However, Ireland is not part of the Schengen Zone which means that the country has become a popular destination for digital nomads who want to stay in Europe but need to leave the Schengen Zone because they’ve used up their 90-day allotment within the 180-day period indicated on a tourist visa. 

Cost of living in Ireland

If you’re after a budget-friendly country, Ireland is not that place. The truth is—living costs here are pretty much in line with the US. So brace yourself for painful rental prices and a housing shortage. How bad is it? According to the 2022 census in a country of 5 million people, over half a million adults live with their parents.

front doors in dublin

In Dublin, a one-bedroom apartment can easily set you back €2,000 a month on average. Smaller cities are less expensive, but everyday items, groceries, and transportation can be pricier than many parts of the United States. You’re looking at about $4.50 for a cup of coffee and roughly $25 for a decent lunch.

While it might not sound that bad, keep in mind that salaries in Ireland are lower than in the US. Certain sectors, like tech and financial services, do pay well for Europe, however, you’ll need to crunch the cost of living numbers to see if you can afford your lifestyle here. 

Jobs in Ireland for Americans

Are you wondering how to move to Ireland and get a job? For starts, your first step is to find a company that is willing to hire you and secure your work visa. The good news is that Ireland’s alluring corporate tax benefits have attracted  corporate giants and tech companies like Accenture, DocuSign, and Google to name a few.

If you have a background in technology, science, health, education, or related fields, you might stand a chance for work visa sponsorship, primarily through a critical skills employment permit. Learn more in our guide on finding a job in Ireland as an American. If you’re a recent graduate, regardless of your age, Ireland’s work holiday visa offers a short-term path, allowing you to live and work in the country for a up to a year. 

Retire in Ireland and information on Ireland rejecting American retirees

If you’re retired and looking to relocate to Ireland from the US, there’s good news for you! While the process isn’t a walk in the park, you’ll need to meet strict annual revenue and emergency savings criteria as a main requirement. Also, retirees need to maintain the required income levels and apply for visa renewals each year.

Keep in mind that if you no longer meet the current visa criteria, there’s a chance you might be asked leave the country. Yikes! Learn more in our visa guide to living in Europe. Find detailed information about Ireland’s retirement visa, its requirements, and a step-by-step on how to apply PLUS information on 50+ visas in Europe. 

Best places to live in Ireland

Looking for the perfect spot to call home in Ireland? With its stunning landscapes and inviting cities, the choices are plentiful. However, navigating housing shortages and the high cost of living can add a layer of stress. But where there’s a will there’s a way. We’ve narrowed down some of the best places to live in Ireland that draw people from all over the world. 

cliff of moher


Dublin, a bustling tech hub in Europe that offers not only lots of job opportunities but also a chance to connect with both locals and people from all over the world. Despite being Ireland’s largest city, Dublin is very walkable and it a city that is both vibrant and laid-back at the same time.  


Like Dublin, Cork is a lively city that attracts techies—it’s home to Apple’s European headquarters—and students, but with a smaller-city vibe. Fun fact, did you know that this seaport city located in  the south, is known as the food capital of Ireland?! 


Head west and you’ll find Galway, a bohemian city that boasts a a vibrant music scene—both traditional and contemporary—and a thriving arts community. Situated along the Atlantic, Galway and its surroundings offer some of the most breathtaking scenic beauty and natural wonders in Ireland. 

Living in Ireland as an American

There are over 13,000 Americans living in Ireland—a number that just keeps growing. The shared heritage between both nations has created special bond, that dates back to 1840s when Irish immigrants sought refuge in the United States during the potato famine. Today, almost ten percent of the U.S. population, around 30 million people, proudly acknowledge their Irish heritage.

Transitioning to life in Ireland as an American is surprisingly smooth. There’s no language barrier, apart from a few regional accents that might add some charm—and take time getting used to. While sunny skies and warm weather aren’t the norm, Americans look past that for the rolling green hills, quintessential Irish pubs, and the warmth of the Irish. The Irish gift of gab and their genuine fondness for Americans make it an inviting and welcoming place to call home.

Buying a house in Ireland

Interested in buying a home when you move to Ireland?While there are no restrictions on Americans buying property in Ireland, snagging your dream home doesn’t automatically grant your residency or citizenship. Visas and work permits are separate matters handled by government agencies, not your real estate transaction.

To navigate the home buying process smoothly, teaming up with an experienced local agent is key. If you’re wondering where to find an agent…some of the best resources will be Facebook groups in Ireland. You’ll find agent recommendations and insights that’ll set you on the right path. 

Is healthcare free in Ireland?

While Ireland does have a highly subsidized public healthcare program specifically for Irish Medical Card holders, it’s rare for Americans to qualify for this program. Most likely you’ll need to purchase a private health insurance plan. However, private health insurance is the norm for Irish citizens and residents.  Although health insurance isn’t free, it’s a lot more affordable than the rates for health care in the United States. Prices will vary based on your personal needs and insurance plan, but expect to pay anywhere from €35 to €160 a month.

giants-causeway - ireland

For more information about healthcare options available to American expats living in Ireland, grab your copy of I’m Outta Here! An American’s Ultimate Visa Guide to Living in Europe.

How to get citizenship in Ireland

As mentioned, Americans with Irish ancestry might qualify to get an Irish passport through citizenship by descent. Foreigners may also apply for citizenship in Ireland through naturalization if they meet specific requirements. 

Along with being a meaningful way to honor your family’s history, an Irish passport will give you freedom to live, travel, and work in any of the 27 EU member states! 

Meet an American living in Ireland

Currently, there are over 10,000 members in She Hit Refresh’s global community. While some Refreshers have moved to Ireland for work opportunities, others made the leap to be with their family, spouse, and retire.

Refreshers from the US living in Ireland have shared that it can be difficult to make deep connections with locals because communities are very tight knit. So, while the Irish are known for their genuine friendliness, it may be challenging to break into their circles.


For an insider’s look at what life is like for an American living in Ireland, read below to learn about one Refresher’s experience. 

For the past four years, Ali, 34, has called Dublin her home. 


Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Ali hit refresh in Ireland with a two-year critical skills work permit. When it expired, she received a visa that has allowed her to live and work in Ireland. This trajectory has also set Ali on the path to get Irish citizenship


Ali’s always had a love affair with Europe. Prior to Ireland, she lived in France and Spain. Aside from pursuing work as a data analyst, Ali landed on living in Dublin because of the city’s international scene and proximity to the rest of Europe.


Aside from the high cost of living, Ali’s struggled with the lack of diversity in Dublin. This has been especially challenging since many foreign tech workers have left Dublin during the current pandemic to work remotely in other parts of Europe.


Since Covid, Ali’s experienced xenophobia and witnessed racism. She’s been harassed a few times for being American. She’s also shared that there’s a rise of disruptive behavior from young Irish people against foreigners in the country.


Ali echoed sentiments expressed by other Refreshers about the weather in Ireland. However, Ali encourages those thinking about relocating to Ireland from the US to try it on. After all, you can always leave and go somewhere else if you’re not happy.


Per Ali’s experience, Facebook groups like Expats in Dublin are great outlets for making friends. And since Dublin is a very transient city, there’s always opportunities to meet new people.

How to move to Ireland: next steps!

Now that you know more about how to move to Ireland from the US, are you ready to go? Let us know in the comments section!

If you want more information on how to move abroad, check out our resources:

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7 thoughts on “Move to Ireland from the US: It’s Possible, Here’s How!”

    1. She Hit Refresh

      Hi Barbara! Feel free to join our Facebook community to connect with women who live in Ireland. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  1. Hi, looking for a help as I rely on power of internet.
    I was attending festival (bike rally) in Faro on July 15 2022 and met a nice woman from States (Arizona) who moved to Ireland 3 years ago and now lives in County Cork, Buttevant (if I’m correct) Her birthday is on 21st of June and she works as accountant, knows German. As I did not have my phone with me I forgot to exchange contact details. Unfortunately never seen her again.
    If there’s anyone who may know person I was describing, please forward my number 0866092617
    i’ll hope for the best.

  2. We just moved to the West of Ireland and over all it’s ok but there are settling issues here that many of the articles I read before coming never told/tell you about. 1st buying a home. Hurry up and Wait is the game here. We were looking for 2 years for real estate and finally just rented an Air BnB came over had a plan and started looking. #1 Agents here don’t take you seriously if you are not in the country and being here doesn’t really help that much either. Agents do not quickly to show you a home. It took us 1 week before we saw a house and then it was gone. #2 unlike the states there are NO Time restrictions on the contracts, NONE. So you could put a contract on a house and not hear anything for months. Then find out you either didn’t get the house or you just bought it. Calling the agent doesn’t seem to work either and there are no buyers agents to help you. They only have sellers agents. So the buyers are on there own. The agents here only show you the houses the Lawyers are the one’s that write up the contract and take care of the house buying process. #3 The other thing you need to buy a house in Ireland is a PPS number. It’s a tax number much like the American Social Security Number and it can take months to get. With out it you can not buy a house or get a job or get your kids into school here. #4 The banks are another issue. You must have a job here and a bank account that shows you have steady income/money going into it or you will not get a loan. Also, in the states cash is king for getting a house within 30 days. Not here, no one cares if you have cash , it’s on there time line…..slow. #5 Then once you have the house you have another problem. Signing up for heating, electric, and basic utilities. You need a Credit Card! and you can’t get one without a PPS Number and a Bank Account, and a Job. AND they won’t take an American Credit Cards. It needs to be an/a European Credit Card. In which you need the following above.
    # 6 Lets see the next item kids and schools. You will Groan at this one! If you plan to move to Ireland with kids make sure you are here by the end of May or before September and find a house first and reach out to the schools in the area immediately, ( get a PPS Number for them too)(you need to register them every year to get a space for the following school year.) Then start them at the beginning of the school year. Otherwise, home school your kids until the next school year. If you can’t and come mid term you will have problems (especially right now 2022/23. Because of the Ukrainian refugees. The schools are overwhelmed with kids and there are no spaces left. We tried 10 schools before we found a space ). The Irish schools do not like it when you come mid term. You are bothering them and you will not get any help from them to get your child up to speed. You are on your own. You’ll need uniforms, books, etc.. and it’s expensive and this is for public school. If you bother them too much they just ignore you, think you are rude, and will not speak with you. They act like spoiled babies, it’s frustrating. #7 The teachers and principals here are placed on pedestals and they think they are equal to God. You
    They act like spoiled babies, it’s frustrating. #7 The teachers and principals here are placed on pedestals and they think they are equal to God. You will be ignored, talked down to and expected to know your place and do not question them. I’m Irish and Italian and not being pushy doesn’t work for me. I explained this to a teacher one day and I told her that Americans see teachers in this way. We pay taxes, we pay your salary, therefore I pay you to teach my child so do your job. The Irish teacher could not get her head around that concept. #8 The grade system here and the Certs. OK in the USA we have 1st grade through 12 th grade. In Ireland this is how the levels compare. Here’s an over view – 1st through 6 is primary school, 7th 10th is secondary school, 11th and 12th finishing years. Here’s more detailed view. Primary school is the same. American 7th grade = to 1st year secondary school, American 8th grade = 2 nd year secondary school and so on until American 11th grade = 5th year high lever with a practice leaving Cert in May. American 12th grade = 6th year high level with the finial leaving Cert in May. This leaving cert is the major test of the century and everyone freaks out about it. This one is testing everything you have learned and depending on your scores you will either go to college or you don’t. PERIOD. Now. let’s roll back a bit from 1st year to 4th year, you have what is called Junior Certs which is a test that determines your education level for years 5 and 6. You must past these. Also, Irish High school is 6 years. Nothing to get upset about. All they do is lump our middle school with high school. So Irish high school is 7th grade ( 1year) to 12th grade ( 6 year). To make matters worse they have a break between 10th and 11th grade ( or 4th year and 5th year – Irish)The Irish call it the Transition Year. Basically if you are failing this is the year you take to reconsider your options as an adult and figure out if you will become a White Collar worker or a Blue Collar worker. Or it’s wear they put you if you are coming from another country and don’t want to deal with you.
    Or it’s wear they put you if you are coming from another country and don’t want to deal with you. Another thing you will encounter are Grind Schools. It seems everyone here hates them. I have figured out that if you were or are a failing student you hate these schools. These schools prep you for the Leaving Cert which in turn gets you into college. Otherwise, you become a Blue Collar worker. Also, the opinion here is that if you fail and are lazy in school it’s your fault not there’s and you reap what you sow. You will not get help either. So if your kids are determined and straight A students you’ll do fine. If not stay in the States, they will fail. The Irish don’t believe in self improvement or bettering yourself to change positions in your job or get another job. There’s no self help here.
    You will not get help either. So if your kids are determined and straight A students you’ll do fine. If not stay in the States, they will fail. The Irish don’t believe in self improvement or bettering yourself to change positions in your job or get another job. There’s no self help here.
    #8 Ok, What is a Leaving Cert. Think of it this way. It’s a cross between the SAT’s, and College exams. That’s the Leaving Cert. Also, Your kids will need to learn a language here. The younger they are, they will have to learn Irish. It’s taught in all schools starting in 1st grade. Then the choices are French, and German. That’s it. And your kids will need to know Irish to get into most of the Irish Colleges and then 1 other, preferred 2 languages to get into college here. My child already knows Italian ( unfortunately, they don’t teach it here, but you can do a Leaving Cert on it if your are good enough).

    I haven’t experience an Heath Issue yet but it’s a Social Medicine. If you private pay you get better service. If you don’t you will wait months for service. I have a friend and her husband is Irish and she lived here for many years. Her son needed surgery and they scheduled him 4 years out for an issue that needed immediate removal. She gave up fighting with the Irish Doctors and called the her mom who made an appointment with her American doctor. They flew over had the procedure and then went back. Another person I met at a clothing store in Galway was taking medication and she was experiencing a side effect from the medication and loosing muscle tissue in her hand. The doctors told her to wait and see how it progresses. She now has lost all her function in her hand. I saw it before and after. If she was in the States the doctors would be sued.
    Buying a car here is easy but you need insurance and the taxes paid before you drive it off the lot. Normally the car dealership will handle the tax part but not always. Again you need a/an European Credit Card to pay the taxes and everything is done online here. Car insurance is very expensive. Our one car is 1500 a year. In the States we has 4 cars for $800 a year. And you will pay more because you are an American. Also, you will need to get an Irish Drivers License. Which you will need to re-take the driving school lessons and re-test and get a new Irish License. It takes about 6 to 12 months to do.
    I can go on but There’s so much that is not told to you until you get here and then it’s like pulling teeth from a tiger. People here are very nice but they can be very rude, have poor manners, and totally in your business. Ireland is a love hate relationship. It’s not efficient, it’s too laid back and it takes too long to get things done here. But it is safer than the States (especially right now) and the weather is raw, damp, and cold. (So are most places in the States, so I’m use to it but…) The winters are also wild and wet and cold. The sun rises at 9 am and sets at 4 pm in the winter. The summers are warmer – think Maine in the summer. The days are much longer as well.
    Like I said It’s a love hate relationship when living in Ireland. Good Luck!

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