Start-up Entrepreneur Programme
The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) allows a non-EEA national with an innovative business idea and minimum funding of €50,000 to come and set up a business in Ireland. The aim of the Programme is to support High Potential Start-Ups which are defined as start-up ventures that are:
- Introducing a new or innovative product or service to international markets
- Involved in manufacturing or internationally traded services
- Capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up
- Led by an experienced management team
- Headquartered and controlled in Ireland
- Less than 5 years old
12-month immigration permission: A 12-month immigration permission is available for foreign national entrepreneurs attending incubators or innovation bootcamps in Ireland to allow them to prepare a STEP application. This 12-month permission is also available to non-EEA students who graduate with advanced STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degrees in Ireland and wish to work on preparing a STEP application.
The STEP scheme does not apply to retail, catering, personal services or similar businesses. No initial job creation targets will be set as it is recognised that such businesses can take some time to get off the ground.
Note that applications are only accepted during certain periods – see ‘Where to apply’ below.
A business permission scheme that allowed you to start a retail, catering, personal services or similar business was open until 16 March 2016. It is no longer in operation. If you were granted permission before this scheme ended, you will find information about applying for a renewal on the INIS website.
Successful applicants for the Immigrant Investor Programme and the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme and their immediate families will be granted residence permission for 2 years initially. Their immediate family means their spouse, civil partner or partner and dependent children aged under 18. In certain cases, children between the ages of 18 and 24 will be considered for residence under the programme. This permission can be renewed for a further 3 years. After these first 5 years, the investor or entrepreneur can apply for long-term residence. If required they will be granted multiple entry visas for the same duration.