EU citizen right to live in Ireland – clarification on restrictions

I for one am thankful for the rights afforded to me as an Irish citizen with respect to being able to freely travel, live and work in any other EU member state, with essentially zero restrictions. I haven't made use of this right as of yet, but who knows what will happen in years to come. Maybe I'll need to start brushing up on my German at some point.

There is one restriction though that many may be unaware of when moving to Ireland as a citizen of one of the other 27 EU countries. That is the requirement that you are self sufficient, and don't become a burden on the social or health systems of Ireland.

I received a question from a dual US/Swedish citizen last week on this topic. The information provided on various other websites don't offer many details on this requirement. I fired off an email to the EU Treaty Rights department to seek clarification on what is considered to be "sufficient resources". Here is their response:

Thank you for your email. There is no exact amount of income defined as being sufficient resources, and all applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Generally, we are looking for evidence that there is a steady income (e.g. from a pension) or that there is a very substantial sum which will last for at least 5 years (the amount of time for which a Residence Card may be granted).

An average income which is equivalent to that of a person in full-time employment (earning above the national minimum wage) would usually be considered to be sufficient resources for the EU citizen if evidence is shown that the income will be consistent.

The amount must be sufficient to support the EU citizen and any dependents without recourse to social assistance. The EU citizen must also have comprehensive sickness insurance for themselves and any dependents, and should provide evidence of same.

I guess this makes sense, and you'd have to imagine that the rules are probably similar in all EU countries, especially those with good social systems that may otherwise be taken advantage of. Although, there are other social service protections now in place that weren't there not so long ago. Some of these changes even affect Irish citizens who are returning home from a stint abroad, such as the Habitual Residency condition.

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6 Helpful Comments

  1. Profile photo of David

    Interesting. This is similar to restrictions that the UK wanted to put in place before Brexit and it was denied. It is also the restriction the UK has wanted as a compromise post-Brexit to stay in the single market, and that is also being argued as against the four freedoms.

  2. Profile photo of David
  3. Profile photo of terry hindson

    Does the right to live provide special provisions to people from the’UK’ as there is an existing regulation which goes hand in hand with EU regulations. If this is the case what does self sufficient mean or does it have no meaning. As far as I am aware Irish people living in Yorkshire are not obliged to have self sufficiency to access state support, might be wrong.

    • Profile photo of Liam

      the link in the comment above goes into detail about the special considerations given to people from the UK. I think the opening line answers your question: “People who are citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) are entitled to live in Ireland without any conditions or restrictions.”

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