Retirement Visa and Health Care in Ireland

If you are member of the European Union or from Switzerland you and your family have the right to live in Ireland for 3 months without restrictions.  If you are retired and plan to stay more than 3 months, you must have sufficient resources (and health insurance) to ensure that you do not become a burden on the State, or you must be employed or self-employed.

If you don’t belong to the European Union or Switzerland you need a visa to enter Ireland. If you want to retire. If you are retiring to live in Ireland, you must be able to prove you have sufficient resources to support yourself and obtain permission to remain by registering with your local immigration registration officer following your arrival in Ireland, which means you have to appear personally before the Garda National Immigration Bureau in Dublin or the District Headquarters in other districts of Ireland.

After registration with the official you will receive an Immigration Certificate of Registration which shows your name, address, photograph and residence details and comes in the size of a credit card. This card is not an identity card, it only serves to show that you are a legal resident of Ireland.

Together with the Certificate of Registration you will receive a stamp in your passport  which specifies the length and condition of your permission to remain in Ireland. In case of retirees, the stamp has the number 3 and is for persons who are not permitted to work.

To receive health services in Ireland, you must satisfy the Health Service Executive (HSE) that you are an “ordinarily resident”. To establish that a person is an ordinarily resident a Health Service Executive (HSE) may require:

  • Proof of property purchase or rental, including evidence that the property in question is the person’s principal residence.
  • Evidence of transfer of funds, bank accounts, pensions etc.
  • A residence permit or visa.
  • A work permit or visa, statements from employers etc.
  • In some instances, the signing of an affidavit (a sworn written statement) by the applicant.

Residents are divided into two groups for the purposes of their eligibility for health services – medical card holders and non-medical card holders. To qualify for a medical card, your weekly income must be below a certain figure for your family size. Cash income, savings, investments and property (except for your own home) are taken into account in the means test.

If you do not have a medical card, you are entitled to free public hospital services but you may have to pay in-patient and out-patient hospital charges. You are also entitled to subsidised prescribed drugs and medicines and maternity and infant care services and you may be entitled to free or subsidised community care and personal social services.