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.
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.
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
Best places to live in Ireland
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?!
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.
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:
- Sign up for the next Move Abroad After 30 Masterclass to see if a move abroad is a possibility for you!
- Join our Facebook group for women age 30 and up who want to move abroad
- Grab your copy of our Ultimate Visa Guide to Living in Europe as an American