How to setup a company in Ireland if you are a non EEA resident

Introduction

If you are a non EEA resident, under Irish law you can be a director and setup a company in Ireland. There is an additional step of purchasing a non-EEA resident director bond (S137). The other way is by having at least one EEA director your new company.

In this article we will discuss everything you should be aware of when setting up a company in Ireland as a non EEA resident. It will also tell you how you can purchase the director bond.

How to setup a company in Ireland if you are a non EEA resident
Source: https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/eea33-coverage-2

Definition of EEA

The map on the left shows all of the countries which are considered member states of the EEA. They include:                               

If you are a resident of any of these countries you can setup a company in Ireland and also be a director. If however you are not a resident of these countries then you will need to take additional steps.

You can be a Non EEA citizen but be an EEA resident

This can happen because of how a residency status is defined in Irish law. If you have spent 183 days or more in Ireland in the previous 12 months you are defined as an Irish resident. Also, if you have spent 280 days or more in the previous 2 years you are defined a resident. If you meet this criteria there is no need for you to take additional steps.


You can be a EEA citzen but not an EEA resident

Because of the definition of a resident under Irish law this can also have another affect. You could have been born in Ireland, lived abroad for a number of years and then return to Ireland. If you live abroad long enough you can be defined as a non EEA resident. As a result, you will not be able to start your own company in Ireland and you will need a non resident bond.

Non EEA citizen, EEA Resident & Visa Status

If you are a non EEA citizen living in Ireland then you are mostly likely here on a visa. Even if you are a EEA resident any restrictions implied by your visa will take precedence. Unfortunately, a lot of student visas do restrict you from engaging in business in Ireland. Source.

Stamp 0

You must not work or engage in any business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS.

 

Stamp 1

Stamp 1 indicates you have permission to work or to run a business in Ireland, subject to conditions.

 

Stamp 1A

Relates to accounting students training in Ireland. You can not operate a business in Ireland or be self-employed.

Stamp 1G

Indicates you have completed your studies and have permission to engage in full time employment. You can not operate a business in Ireland or be self-employed.

Stamp 2

Indicates permission to study a full time course on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP). You are allowed to engage in casual employment if up to 20 hours per week and 40 hours during holidays. You can not operate a business in Ireland or be self-employed.

Stamp 2A

Indicates permission to study a full time course which is NOT on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP). You are not allowed to work in any capacity on this visa. You can not operate a business in Ireland or be self-employed.

Stamp 3

Indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a period of time. You are not allowed to work in any capacity on this visa. You can not operate a business in Ireland or be self-employed.

Stamp 4

Indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a period of time. You can take up any time of employment you wish. You can establish and operate a business in Ireland. You maybe given Stamp 4 if you have a critical skill, employment permit or as a researcher.

Stamp 5

Stamp 5 indicates permission to stay in Ireland without limits on the time you can remain here. You can establish and operate a business in Ireland.

Stamp 6

Stamp 6 indicates you are an Irish citizen with dual-citizenship. You can establish and operate a business here.

What you need to start a company in Ireland as a non EEA resident

Non Resident Director Bond (S137)

If you are setting up a company in Ireland and you don’t have a director who is an EEA resident then you need to have a director bond in place. The cost of this bond is roughly €1,999 + VAT. The cost can vary and you can buy this bond from most company formation offices or your accountant can help you with it. 

The bond lasts for two years. The bond acts as collateral for the government if the company should incur any penalties or taxes. It insures the company for €25,000. However, the bond does not cover all fines & penalties. 

Irish Director Services

Some company formation offices offer Irish director services. They can provide Irish directors who can sit on the board depending on your business needs. The cost of this service can vary greatly. It’s more likely the bond will be the cheaper option.

Implications of Brexit

With the UK leaving the EU this could result in UK residents being classified as non EEA residents if the UK leaves without a deal in place. If there are companies established in Ireland with only UK residents they will need to have a bond in place as they are no longer deemed to be EEA residents. There is also the option of adding an EEA director to the company.

If a company is in breach of these rules it can be stuck off the register by the CRO. 

What to do next

Make sure you read our two previous articles, Sole trader v a limited company and How to qualify for Ireland 12.5% corporation tax. If you need additional help setting up a company as a non EEA resident you can contact us by email: hello@accountantpages.ie. You can also contact a number of the accountants we recommend operating in Ireland.

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