I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that you can always come to for many of your needs related to moving internationally. My goal is to develop a resource (both on this page and throughout the entire website) that will prove very useful to you in the immediate-term while moving, but also too in the long term, during your time in Ireland. Much of the content I plan to put on this page, will benefit you long after the moving stage. I expect this resource page to continue to grow, so check back periodically for new content. Also, you can download this page in PDF/printable format here.
Disclosure: Below, I have recommended a number of products and services that may help you plan your international move, or adjust to your new life abroad. Some of the links are affiliate links. What this means is, that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. I have only included products & services that I have personally used, or that I know can make your move to Ireland a little easier. Regardless of the commission, I will never put anything on this page that I don't think can have a positive impact on your move. Please do not spend any money on these products/services unless you feel you need them or that they will help you with your move to, or life in, Ireland. And if you do, then please accept my sincere appreciation. You will be contributing to the continued growth of the Ireland Move Club. Thanks, Liam.
- Jobs: There are many great places to begin your job search. My first recommendation is that you read my "finding a job" post on this website, where I break down in detail many of the online and offline places where you can begin your job search.
If you need to research how much the average salary in your area of expertise is in Ireland you can take a few minutes reviewing the options at this link.
- Visas/Permits: If you're unsure of your eligibility to work in Ireland, then you should take some time to review the official information on this topic on citizensinformation.ie. If you want to explore the various kinds of work permits that are available under Irish law you'll find those at that link also.
- PPS: Holding a valid PPS number, in your name, is a requirement of gaining legal employment in Ireland. The number is used to identify you for tax purposes and for social entitlements. To receive a PPS number you must meet a number of criteria and you must apply in person. You will need to go to (or contact) your local PPS office to receive an application form.
- Searching for a home in Ireland: Like many functions in life these days, the best place to begin your search for a home in Ireland is online. There are a number of key websites that you should visit to get started. Daft.ie, MyHome.ie and Property.ie are the three main players in this sector. Each list sales and rentals for houses and apartments all over Ireland. Tip: in Ireland we sometimes refer to something that is available for rent as "to let". You might see that term on some of those sites. Also, if you're interested in moving to Ireland for business or commercial reasons, you will find commercial properties listed on those sites too.
- Buy vs rent costs: You can use the websites named above to do price comparison on buying vs renting, or renting in one area vs another. What you can expect is that rents in the main cities (Dublin, Cork, Galway) will be higher than most other places in the country. I'm sure this will be no surprise. If you are prepared to move 10-20 miles away from the city areas, you will notice that prices for both buying and renting generally start to decrease significantly.
- Short term housing: For people looking to explore different towns and cities in Ireland when they first arrive, or to find somewhere to live in the short-term that this article on short term housing in Ireland should prove very useful.
- Mortgages: All of the main banks in Ireland offer mortgage options. Choosing the right option and the right bank is a very personal decision, so I will leave that to you for own research. However there are quite a few nuances attached to completing a successful mortgage application, and that is something I personally experienced. I recommend that you read my article on this topic to help you understand what you can come to expect.
DRIVING IN IRELAND
- Drivers licence: Whether you're a returning emigrant or this is your first time living in Ireland, you'll most likely want to get an Irish driver's license. If you're lucky enough to be able to exchange your foreign license for an Irish one, then it'll save you a lot of time and money, by not needing to go through the Irish licensing process. The National Driver Licence Service breaks down exchange eligibility and requirements on this page.
They are also the resource to go to for learner permits, fees, appointments and everything else related to getting an Irish driver's licence.
- Road Safety: The mission of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) of Ireland is essentially to "make roads safer for everyone".
Check them out at RSA.ie for info on learner permits, training, road safety, penalty points info, car standards, statistics and more.
- Auto Testing: Visit the National Car Testing Service website for information on the NCT process.
- Car Insurance: There are literally dozens of companies offering car insurance, either directly or through brokers. Top tip! Shop around for a good deal. Quotes can vary significantly.
I did have a little difficulty initially finding a company that would offer insurance to foreign licence drivers, but if you get turned down at first, keep searching. Here's a link to a previous post I wrote with some time and money saving tips on this topic.
- Online Software: For years (probably a decade actually) I always prepared and filed my own US taxes. With a pretty straightforward financial situation, doing the work myself always made sense. It didn't take me very long at all, and it saved me quite a bit in professional preparation fees. For many years I purchased a 'hard copy' of Intuit's TurboTax software online on Amazon.com, but more recently I switched to their online version at TurboTax.com. If you are a US citizen, or hold a US green card, you need to continue to file US taxes regardless of where you live in the world.
- Taxes for Expats: As life becomes more complicated (e.g. multi-country income, foreign income exclusion credit, etc) you may want to consider a professional tax service, in particular one that specializes in taxes for expatriates. I have personally used the services of TaxesForExpats.com to file my US taxes for years 2014 and 2015. My experience with Ms. Zemelman and her team was very positive, and I would certainly recommend their services. Above everything else, it was a huge relief to not have the headache of figuring out the complexities of international tax treaties. These guys help people file US taxes from abroad every year, and really know their stuff. By following the referral link above and by entering code IMC50 when signing up you can avail of an exclusive $50 tax preparation credit!
- Irish medical system: The mainstream Irish medical system is run by the HSE (Health Service Executive). Everybody moving to Ireland should take some time familiarizing themselves with the Irish medical system, and know what to expect when they get here.
The HSE Services list breaks down the various types of care and facilities available, and for most services provide a map and/or A-Z listing.
- Expat Medical Insurance: The conditions of certain residency visas dictate that you must have medical insurance to cover your stay in Ireland. There are a number of major medical insurance providers in Ireland, namely: VHI, BUPA, LAYA, Aviva and Glo Health. It seems as though the government of Ireland appreciates that health insurance is a complicated beast, and to help you decide what level of cover is best for you, they have set up an impartial authority (smartly named The Health Insurance Authority) to guide you. You will find it at www.hia.ie. Alternatively you may be able to take out a specific emigrant or expat medical insurance policy. I found a number of options online including Global Expatriate HealthCare, International Student Insurance and Cigna Global Health.
- Medications and Vitamins: I have an article here regarding what you might need to do if you have concerns related to prescription and/or over the counter medicines after you move.
Vitamins are widely available in Ireland. Pharmacies, supermarkets and speciality stores all stock a wide variety.
IRISH GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
- The list of government bodies you might deal with when moving to Ireland is long. Everything from residency visas, employment permits, animal relocation and more goes through them. In this article I break down the main government agencies you might need to interact with. Please let me know if I missed any.
- Bank Accounts: You'll need a bank account soon after you arrive in Ireland. Most of the main banks in Ireland are still part-owned by the government. In fact some of them are almost entirely owned by the Irish government. You will need to be in Ireland to open an account. For day-to-day banking, I opted for PTSB. I chose them based on information I found on www.consumerhelp.ie. I will not recommend a bank to you, but I strongly urge you to bookmark ConsumerHelp.ie and use it when making many of your Irish-based financial decisions. It is a wonderful tool with no agenda, other than to act in the best interests of consumers.
To open an account you'll be expected to satisfy an identity check. At a minimum you must produce suitable identification (passport works best), and suitable proof of address (e.g. a utility bill).
Tip for USA expats - in Ireland a Checking account is called a Current account.
- Cost of living: An interesting website which helps you get a rough estimate about what you should expect your minimum cost of living to be in Ireland was shared on one of our forum topics. The Minimum Income Standard Calculator can be found at http://www.misc.ie/
- Foreign Exchange Rates: For reference purposes my exchange rate website of choice is xe.com. However, if you are transferring money via wire transfer, or depositing foreign currency into an account in Ireland, my experience has been that you will get a worse rate than you'll see online. If you're transferring money to Ireland, I recommend using CurrencyFair.com. From them you will receive a far more favourable rate than a bank will give you, which can make a big difference when transferring sizable chunks of cash. I have used this service numerous times, sending money both to and from Ireland/USA. The service is safe, fast, intuitive, and I got a great exchange rate every time. Also, you will be pleased to know, that by signing up for the service by clicking through via the link above, you will receive a free transfer.
- Quick Tips:
- Check out my article on cost of living in Ireland to get an idea of what daily expenses cost here.
- Bookmark Switcher.ie and Bonkers.ie to use when you're ready to sign up for utilities, loans, services etc. They'll help you compare options and potentially save you a lot of money.
- Consider keeping some money in an account in your home country for occasional internet purchases etc. I've found this useful when I have needed to send a birthday present, or flowers to someone in the US. Also, I keep a PayPal account active, with some US dollars in it, to help pay for some US based purchases.
- I will point you to my article on international shipping for some tips and pitfalls when choosing a relocation company. You should also download my International Moving Checklist which you'll find on this page.
MOVING WITH CHILDREN
- Things to do: Ireland has plenty to do for young kids, and it really is a great place to raise them. Check local listings when you get here for activities, funfairs, sports events etc, but in the meantime, get an idea what your new home has to offer by browsing fundays.ie and familyfun.ie
- Schools: Finding the right school for your child is a concern for most. Please read my article, and visit the relevant links from it, about researching school options in Ireland.
- Irish School Books and Study Aids: It can be a good idea to give your kids a head start on their new life in Ireland, by researching Irish school books and programs. Easons School Books is an online store where you can explore what lies ahead for your young children. They stock books, sample exams, and study aids for primary and secondary level. tip! Keep in mind that school book-lists change year-to-year, so if you buy any books ahead of time, your school may end up using something else. You might be out of pocket a few Euro, but your child will benefit from the material in any case.
- Moving: There are lots of lessons to learn from people who have moved with young children. I wrote down a lot about what we did before, during and after our move to make the move as seamless and easy as possible for the kids. You can read about it here.
MOVING BACK TO IRELAND
- Ireland has traditionally been a country with a high level of emigration. The tide has turned slightly in recent years, with the arrival of tens of thousands of immigrants from many parts of the world. Many Irish-born people are also returning home, and there are resources available to help them adjust to life back in Ireland. Please visit the following links:
- You will also want to make sure you satisfy the Habitual Residency Condition. Your social benefit entitlements, including children's allowance, depend on it. Here's how I did it.
- Those of you familiar with the Amazon online store will be happy to know that the UK division of the company does ship to Ireland, and even offers it's free shipping service on many products. You can buy pretty much anything online these days, and your life in Ireland will most likely be no different in that respect.
You will also find popular online discount outlets, such as Groupon, in Ireland.
- An alternative to the Amazon site for book buying is a long-standing Irish store Easons.com. Although not quite the retailer giant that Amazon is, Easons does offer more than just books (games, magazine, stationary, e-readers, school supplies etc). And, if you're looking for free shipping on your orders, then they have that too, which at the time of writing is available on all orders over €10.
- You may be wondering what kind of mobile apps or computer software might help you with your move. Below are a number of tech products I just could not have done without while planning my international move.
- Evernote - used for keeping notes of everything and anything to do with my move. The app and desktop version sync, so use it on the go, and at home, to help you organize your journey.
- Dropbox - My favorite (and most trusted) online storage space for files and photos. Install the mobile app on your device and use it for taking pictures while travelling. They have free and paid options. If you sign up by clicking this link I'll get a small bump in free storage space. Thanks!
- Google docs - again, another very useful service, tied to your Google account, for uploading files, notes, photos and more.
- Trip Rider - ideally for travel, but also handy for use when moving, Trip Rider is a smart travel notebook for organizing, managing, sharing and keeping trip details in one place. For Apple devices you can get it from the App Store.
- B&B Ireland - for short term accommodation when you arrive. Alternatively check out these other accommodation options.
- Irish Radio Player - this is a very new mobile app. In fact it was just released April 2015, but I wish I had it available to me when I was living abroad. Download it to your mobile device and you'll have instant access to 40+ Irish radio stations. Available on Google Play and the App Store.
- ID Theft: Identity theft is a very serious issue, and a very prevalent one in the United States. For anyone leaving there to move to Ireland, putting in place a system to protect your good name, finances and credit can only be a good thing. There are various options to choose from including the services offered by LifeLock.com. Tip! If you sign up using that link you'll save 10%, and the first 30 days are free.
- Get an Irish Postal Address: Many of you will want to set up a postal address as soon as possible to receive mail to in Ireland. You can do this through a brand new service, Irish Post Box, who offer very competitive plans and pricing.
- Back up your files: When you move internationally, or anywhere for that matter, you'll most likely take a lot of things with you. Chances are that if you lose something along the way, it is most likely replaceable. However, your personal digital files and family photos are some of the most irreplaceable items that will make the trip. When I moved I packed up a couple of computers into my shipment, but in my travel luggage I also brought along a few Western Digital - My Passport hard drives. I backed up all my family photos and videos on to these drives, and also copied over my personal files (bank statements, tax returns, legal docs etc). I made duplicate copies of each drive just in case one became corrupt, damaged or lost. I can't stress highly enough the importance of doing this. You do not want to lose your livelong collection of memories before you begin making new ones in Ireland.
- International Mail Forwarding: MailboxForwarding.com is a useful service for United States expats. A number of features are available including: online viewing of mail, receive physical mail, shredding, receive online faxes and more. MailboxForwarding have a 3 tier pricing plan, each with a number of 'included' and 'extra' services. I like their month-to-month billing structure and that it's a no-contract service, but be sure you check their 'extra fees', because I could see how those could add up fast.
For those of you living in Ireland with a UK interest, you can avail of a similar service from UK Post Box. They too offer multiple price plans, including a very convenient pay-as-you-go option.
- Learn Irish in Ireland - Look no further than the special deal we have for you with the "Learn Irish with Eoin Program".
- Learn English in Ireland - whether you are coming to Ireland as a student for a period of time, or you are moving here permanently, if you need to learn to speak/read/write English, then mei.ie (Marketing English in Ireland) is worth checking out. They have tons of listings of English language courses, including many which have secondary activities as part of the course, which will help you adjust to Ireland culturally and socially too.
- Blog about your experience: So many people move to Ireland for a short time, either to study or to work, or to be with their spouse/partner while they are on work placement here. Blogging about the experience, and sharing updates about your life in Ireland, is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends back home. There are many free sites where you create a blog to share information about your move to Ireland. Blogger and WordPress.com are two big ones that come to mind. However if you want to grab your own unique domain name (something like yourname.com as opposed to yourname.wordpress.com), then I recommend BlueHost.com for your web hosting needs. There are numerous other places online where you can purchase a domain name and a hosting package, but Bluehost's 1-click WordPress installer makes them standout for any newbies to the world of blogging.
- Public transport in Ireland: This topic is covered in this article
- Weather: We love to talk about the weather in Ireland, but finding a reliable forecast can be difficult. Various Apps and international news websites make a go at it, but I find none more accurate than the RTE weather page. The weather changes frequently in Ireland, so if it's sunny now, don't be surprised if it's blustery and cool in half an hour.
- Crime in Ireland: Crime levels are relatively low in Ireland, but it is an unfortunate part of life everywhere in the world. This page breaks down crime rates by type of crime and by area.
- Phone Service: If you were previously USA based, and want to continue to keep your USA phone number while abroad, I can't recommend the Vonage VOIP service highly enough. Check out my review at that link.
- Look no further than the Ireland Move Club member's forum for a place to discuss your moving concerns and questions.
This page will be updated as new resources come to mind. Please send me a message if there are any useful resources that should be added to this list.