Cost of living -

11 Things to Know Before Moving from US to Ireland

Known around the world for Saint-Patrick, Guinness and rugby, Ireland has a lot to offer Americans who are looking to move out of the country. Before you get to enjoy the benefits of living in Ireland, there are several things you need to know! Here are some of the most important things to know before moving from US to Ireland. 

1. First Steps Upon Planning a Move to Ireland

How can I move from US to Ireland?

As an American Citizen, there are many ways you can move to Ireland. Ireland has all sorts of visas that will permit you to live in the country. Ireland’s visa application process is almost entirely done online which saves you a lot of time. The following visas are some of the most popular long stay visas. To find out more about the visa you need in your specific situation and to apply for an Irish visa, visit Ireland’s Visa Application Website. 

Moving to Ireland on an Employment Visa

Before applying for your employment visa, you must obtain an employment permit from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation (DJEI). After receiving your employment permit from the DJEI, you can apply for your employment visa up to 3 months before moving to Ireland. Go to Ireland’s Visa Application Website to apply for your employment visa.

Moving to Ireland on a Study Visa

You can apply for an Irish study visa if you’re planning to study in Ireland for over 3 months. Before applying for an Irish study visa, it is recommended by the Irish government to read the Policy for Non-EEA National Students. You can apply for your study visa up to 3 months before moving to Ireland. Go to Ireland’s Visa Application Website to apply for your study visa. 

Moving to Ireland on a Long Stay (Join Family) Visa

If you are planning to move to Ireland for over three months to join a family member who is an Irish citizen or lawfully resident, you must apply for a long stay (join family) visa. Before applying for a long stay (join family) visa, you must carefully read all the requirements. A long stay (join family) visa is one of the longest visas to process, so make sure you apply at least a year before you plan to move to Ireland. To apply for your long stay (join family) visa, go to Ireland’s Visa Application Website

2. What should I look for in an International Moving Company?

Shipping your things to Ireland takes about 1-3 days by plane and 8-11 days by boat. You can easily move your things from US to Ireland by plane or boat, but make sure the moving company you decide on is reliable. So when opting for an international moving company, here’s what you should look for:

  • Insurance is included (ask what’s included)
  • Rates are not extravagant (compare with other companies)
  • They have many Google reviews that are over 4 stars.
  • Customer service and transparency is their priority.

3. Car shipping to Ireland

Unless they have significant emotional attachment to their car, most Americans choose to leave their cars behind when moving to Ireland due to the elevated shipping and import fees and the long vehicle inspection process. If you must absolutely ship your car to Ireland, here are the steps to follow:

  • Get various quotes from the best car shipping companies. A trusted car shipping company will have insurance, good reviews, and will make customer service their priority.
  • Choose the port of departure.
  • Choose the port destination.
  • Prepare the car by cleaning it and emptying the tank to ⅛ full or you may have to pay a fee upon arrival.

*Ask your chosen car shipping company for additional requirements.

4. Currency in Ireland

Ireland has two currencies: the euro (€) and the British pound sterling (£).  The Republic of Ireland uses the euro. The euro comes in bills of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500. The euro coins are split into cents that come in €2, €1, 50¢, 20¢, 10¢, 5¢, 2¢, and 1¢. The British pound sterling is only used in Northern Ireland where the euro is not accepted. So if you’re traveling to Northern Ireland, make sure you bring enough pound sterling with you.

5. Language in Ireland

The two main languages in Ireland are Irish and English. The Irish language or also known as the Gaelic language is a Celtic language that is one of the oldest written languages. The English language is the most spoken language in Ireland, so you won’t have to worry about learning Irish.   

6. Healthcare in Ireland

Ireland has a fully government funded public healthcare system. To access Ireland’s healthcare system you must be living in Ireland as a resident for one year. After living in Ireland for one year, you may become fully eligible or partially eligible for access to Ireland’s healthcare system. For more information on how to access Ireland’s healthcare system as an American, visit Ireland’s Our Health Service website

7. First Steps on Arrival in Ireland

Get your Residence Permit (GNIB Card)

Once you have arrived in Ireland you should immediately book an appointment with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) to get your residence permit. This residence permit comes in the form of a card and costs around $365 USD. Lines are often long so make sure you book an appointment as soon as possible. To know the location of your local GNIB office, click here. 

Get your PPS Number

Another important task to get done upon your arrival in Ireland is to get your PPS Number (Personal Public Services registration). The PPS Number is mandatory to pay your taxes, get a driver’s licence, and to access the healthcare system. You can get your PPS Number at your local Social Welfare Office or online on Ireland’s MyWelfare website

Get an Irish driver's licence

You can use your American driver’s licence for up to 12 months when moving to Ireland. After 12 months, you must undergo a theory and practical driving test to get your Irish driver’s licence. To apply for your Irish driver’s licence go to Ireland’s National Driver Licence Service Online

Open a bank account in Ireland

Opening a bank account in Ireland is essential, but is not considered to be easy due to the country’s history with money laundering and fraud. To open a bank account in Ireland you will need your passport and a proof of address. The most popular banks in Ireland are Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Banks, Permanent TSB, and Ulster Banks Ireland

8. Housing and Renting in Ireland

How to find a house or apartment in Ireland

Renting in Ireland is expensive so many people opt to rent a room or live with a roommate. You can easily find rentals online on websites like, and 

Buying a house in Ireland is a good investment as it saves you from throwing away all that money on expensive rent. You can find houses for sale by using real estate agents, auctioneers, and on online websites. You can find houses for rent in Ireland on,, and

Utilities in Ireland

ESB (Electrical Supply Board) maintains and distributes electrical services in Ireland but you will have to contact your local supplier to have your electricity set up. Electricity is quite expensive in Ireland and payment needs to be made on a monthly basis. The case is somewhat similar for gas supply as electricity and gas are both supplied by a single service provider. The top electricity and gas providers in Ireland are Energia, SSE Airtricity, Flogas, Iberdrola, Bord Gáis Energy, Electric Ireland and Panda Power.

For water in Ireland, create an account with Irish water which is Ireland’s only water service provider. Tap water is drinkable and monitored by the local authorities to maintain its standard. There are no charges for water until a certain threshold, after which, charges start to apply. This is decided based upon the number of residents as per the Water Services Act 2017.

Cell phone and internet Ireland

To make sure you can use your American cell phone in Ireland, make sure it is unlocked prior to your arrival. Having an unlocked cell phone will allow you to use an Irish SIM card. SIM cards in Ireland cost around $20 USD and can be purchased at any local phone shop. After purchasing your SIM card in Ireland, you can expect to have 25Gb of data with unlimited calling and texting for around $48 USD per month. The top cell phone / mobile phone service providers in Ireland are Vodafone, Eir and Three.

Ireland has some of the fastest internet speeds in the world. You can expect to pay around $70 USD for unlimited internet at 100 Mbps in Ireland. The top internet providers in Ireland are Siro, Vodafone, Eir, Pure Telecom, Sky, and Virgin. Virgin is known to have the highest internet speeds in Ireland. 

9. The Essential Insurance Coverage in Ireland

Healthcare in Ireland

While the public healthcare system is free in Ireland, some still choose to opt for private health insurance. Having private health insurance in Ireland is beneficial as it may help you avoid the long wait times to see a doctor. The top private health insurance companies in Ireland are Irish Life Health, Laya Healthcare, VHI Healthcare, and HSF Health Plan

Home insurance in Ireland

Unlike many of its neighboring countries, home insurance is not mandatory in Ireland. Home insurance is still very beneficial as it will cover the cost of your home in case of a natural disaster or fire. The top home insurer’s in Ireland are ChillAllianz, FDB, and AXA Ireland.

Car insurance in Ireland

Car insurance is mandatory in Ireland. Third-party liability insurance is the minimum level of insurance that you must purchase in Ireland. Driving without insurance in Ireland can get you fined up to 5000 euros and will cost you 5 penalty points. The top car insurance providers in Ireland are Chill, Allianz Ireland, Liberty Insurance, and AA Car Insurance. 

Best places to live in Ireland

10. Cost of Living In Ireland

The average cost of living in Ireland per month in the city is  just under $3970 USD. The cost of each individual expense is listed below.  

Cost of living for a couple in the city in Ireland.



Rent for furnished one- or two-bedroom apartment 


Utilities (gas, water, electricity, phone, internet)




Entertainment (eating out & other)


Insurance and Healthcare


Other (transportation, material goods)


*While it is very expensive to live in Ireland the salaries are much higher than in the US.

11. Tips for Buying Groceries in Ireland

In Ireland, you can find all types of grocery stores that hold local and international food. Make sure you bring your reusable bags with you as they charge a fee for plastic bags in Ireland. Be prepared to pack your own groceries and don’t expect to shop early on Sundays! There are a number of convenience stores and supermarkets in Ireland where you can shop from. 

Convenience stores include:

  • Centra
  • Spar
  • Londis
  • Mace
  • Gala
  • Costcutter
  • Applegreen

Superstores include:

  • Aldi
  • Dunnes
  • Eurospar
  • Lidl
  • M&S
  • Supervalu

What to Expect from your New Life in Ireland?

While Ireland is a bit expensive, it’s rich beauty and culture will sure make up for those high costs. Ireland is a beautiful country, but it does rain a lot, so remember to bring your raincoat and umbrella with you. A lot of stores are closed on Sundays so plan your shopping schedule ahead! 

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