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Start-up Entrepreneur Programme Ireland

Ireland is an exemplar of economic freedom for countries worldwide, especially Europe.

If you have an innovative business idea and wish to establish an international enterprise, Ireland may be the suitable country for you.

For further information on Ireland immigration,  call us on (+353) 061 518 025 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

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    What Is a Start-up Entrepreneur Programme?

    The Start-up entrepreneur programme is an immigration scheme to attract innovative persons with business ideas into Ireland. The programme was created in 2012 for non-EEA nationals to establish a high-potential start-up business and live with their families in Ireland.

    It enables entrepreneurs to launch and operate businesses and live in Ireland on long-term residency. Applying for this programme means that you are ready to start an active business that will contribute to the economy of Ireland.

    Your business plan or idea does not necessarily have to be new. It could be an existing one that you wish to extend.

    The step programme provides two years of residence permission and three years upon renewal. Once your stay is five years, you can apply for long-term residency.

    What Is a High-Potential Start-Up?

    A High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) is an early-stage business capable of creating 10 job opportunities and generating a minimum of €1million in sales in three to four years. Other characteristics are:

    • It is not more than five years old.
    • It can develop a new or innovative product or service that can thrive in international markets.
    • It is under the administration of an experienced management team.
    • It is headquartered and controlled in Ireland.

    Note that the only eligible business type for the start up entrepreneur programme is a high-potential start-up. Projects based on the purchase of an active business are not allowed.

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    Who Is Eligible for STEP Programme?

    The target audience of STEP programmes is non-EEA nationals. EU/ EEA/Swiss nationals do not require an immigration permission programme to live, work, and establish a business in Ireland. Aside from being a non-EEA national, you must:

    • Be of good character.
    • Be clear of criminal offences in any jurisdiction.
    • Have an innovative and viable business proposal.
    • Have €50,000 funding.


    Conditions For Step Programme Permission

    Aside from being eligible to apply for the step programme, you must meet the following conditions to get permission:

    • You must establish your business under the specifications in your proposed start-up plan.
    • You must operate the business full-time.
    • You must not be employed in another profession.
    • You must avoid becoming a financial burden on the Irish government.
    • You must not have any criminal convictions in any jurisdiction.
    Files of documents, representing submission of a comprehensive application.

    What Documents Do I Need to Apply?

    For your application, you will need to provide the following:

    • A start-up proposal.
    • A comprehensive business plan for your proposal.
    • Your most recent audited accounts (for existing businesses relocating to Ireland).
    • Evidence of €50,000 investment or business funding.
    • Evidence of source of funding.
    • Evidence that the funds are transferrable.
    • Proof of character.

    Our team are well versed in the application of the STEP Programme. Contact us

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      How to Apply for the STEP Programme

      Follow the following guidelines to apply:

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      Develop Your Business Proposal and Business Plan

      Prepare a business proposal that details the type of enterprise you want to establish in Ireland and its benefit to the Irish economy. Demonstrate that you have an innovative product or service idea and the capability to fund it without being a liability to the State.

      Your business plan should cover your business goals and objectives. It should outline an implementation strategy to fund, run, and achieve your goals. Use the Irish business plan template to develop your plan.

      If you want to migrate your existing enterprise to Ireland, you must provide an audit report of your business account. You must also indicate the location of your business in your proposal.

      Get All Supporting Documents

      Gather all documents that prove your funding capability, character, and criminal record. The guideline for preparing them are:

      For investment funds

      Provide a €50,000 investment fund from one or more of these sources:

      • Personal resources.
      • Business loan.
      • Business Angel.
      • Venture Capital.
      • Enterprise Ireland.

      For Funds Evidence

      If your fund is from your resources, you will need to provide one of the following:

      1. Confirmation letter from a Central Bank-regulated financial institution. It must indicate your account ownership and the amount you have in your bank account.
      2. Original copies of account statements from a bank under the financial regulatory body of your country. This is applicable if your bank is not under central bank regulation. The account statements must:
      • Entail transactions of the preceding three months.
      • Amount of fund in full.
      1. Confirmation letter from a domestic regulated bank verifying:
      • Your name and ownership of the bank account.
      • Amount of funds in your name.
      • Date of the letter and three months before.
      • Total account balance, which must tally with the credit balance on the date of the letter and three months before.

      If you do not have enough credit balance for the required business fund, you must provide proof of other means below.


      Business Angel/capital venture/enterprise Ireland

      A letter affirming:

      • Amount of money invested in the business initiative.
      • Approval to use the funds for the proposed business.

      For proof of transferable funds

      Your funds must be transferable from your home bank to Ireland and exchangeable for Euros upon successful application. The proof should be in the form of a letter from an authorised official in the financial institution. It should confirm that you can transfer your funds and the transferable amount.

      For proof of good character

      Obtain a police statement from each country you have lived in for over six months. You can also provide an evaluation report from a credible international risk management company.

      If your proposal is approved, you must provide an affidavit certifying your good character and lack of criminal convictions. It must be from a licensed lawyer in Ireland.

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      Download and Complete the Application Form

      Download and complete the STEP programme application form. Read the instructions and provide accurate answers.

      Submit Your Application and Supporting Documents

      Submit your application form, proposal, and other documents to the Evaluation Committee by mail. The Evaluation Committee will assess your proposal for significant innovation and export potential and recommend your application approval or disapproval to the Minister for Justice and Equality.

      Pay Your Application fee

      The application fee is €350. It covers you and your family members. You can pay through a banker’s draft from a financial institution in Ireland or by postal order. Address the payment to the Department of Justice & Equality Secretary General. You are to pay your fee while submitting your application package.

      Note that the fee is non-refundable regardless of unsuccessful applications.

      Get Your Residence Permission

      If your application is successful, the relevant immigration authority will issue you your residence permit. First, you must fulfil the following conditions:

      1. You must have transferred the requisite funding to any financial institution regulated by the Irish Central Bank.
      2. You must have submitted the requisite affidavit affirming that you exhibit good character and have no criminal records. You must submit affidavits for each of your family members if you will be moving with them.

      Contact us for assistance with moving to Ireland to start a business. Contact us

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        How Can IAS Help?

        You need to learn Ireland’s immigration and business laws and how they influence your enterprise. IAS has the legal knowledge you need.

        We are a body of reliable immigration experts with in-depth knowledge of the laws backing immigration and business in Ireland. With our Application Package and Advice package, you will get help applying for a start-up entrepreneur program and meeting the Evaluation Committee’s requirements.

        Call us on (+353) 061 518 025 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

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