Establishing A Business

Doing business in Ireland couldn't be simpler and getting started is both quick and straightforward.

There is a strong collaboration between government, universities, business and state agencies to provide support to companies looking to establish a European base. Once established here companies continue to benefit from commitment from government and other stakeholders to help ensure that Ireland is the best possible place for your business.

Step by Step Guide

There are lots of things to consider when establishing a business in a new country. We at the IMDO are here to help. Here are a few points to consider when when establishing a business in Ireland:

  • Consider what Type of Organisation suits your needs - the most common option for international investors is often a Private Limited Company (LTD or DAC). Other options include Public Limited Companies, Unlimited Companies or a Partnership.
  • Every company must have at least two Company Directors and a secretary; the secretary may be one of the two directors. Usually at least one of the Directors must be a resident in the EEA.
  • A company needs to have a registered office; the Company Address must be a physical location in Ireland.
  • In order to commence operations in Ireland it is necessary to register your Business Name, and then register your company. Business names can be registered here.
  • Depending on the type of organisation it is necessary to file the Articles of Association or the Memorandum and Articles of Association with the Companies Registration Office.
  • There are a range Support Programmes available including those to assist investors setting up in Ireland and extensive assistance for Irish SMEs and start-ups.
  • You should familiarise yourself with the Irish Tax System for personal tax and corporate tax.
  • Ireland has a highly educated and motivated workforce to meet your Employment needs. Entry visas and employment permits are necessary for some nationalities.

You should seek appropriate professional advice on your own individual situation before proceeding. The information contained relates to the Republic of Ireland, is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it has been viewed.

Further information on these and other aspects of setting up a business in Ireland is available from the Companies Registrations Office.

Types of Organisational Structure

The Companies Act 2014 came into force on 1 June 2015 and regulates companies under Irish law. The two main types of company in Ireland are private and public. The most popular form of business entities for inward investment projects tends to be private companies limited by shares. The 2014 Act provides for two types of private limited company, a LTD which has simplified constitutional and governance structures and a DAC which is a designated activity company. All limited companies are required to file annual accounts with the Companies Registration Office. In order to incorporate in Ireland the company must be going to carry on an activity in Ireland.

Branch operations – a branch is a division of a foreign company trading in Ireland that has the appearance of permanency, has a separate management structure, has the ability to negotiate contracts with third parties and has a reasonable degree of financial independence. To set up a branch in Ireland it is required to file a range of basic information with the Registrar of Companies in Ireland within one month of the establishment of the branch in the state and the parent company has a degree of ongoing reporting requirements to the Registrar of Companies. In some instances establishing a foreign branch may be preferable for tax purposes.

Living & Working in Ireland

If you are from an EU member state, one of the countries of the European Economic Area or from Switzerland, you are entitled to come to work in Ireland. You do not need an employment permit. For non-EEA nationals, and depending on personal circumstances, entry visas and employment permits may be required.

There are a number of different types of employment permit with general rules applying. Examples of permit types include: the Critical Skills Employment Permit for highly skilled workers, the Intra-Company Transfer Permit for existing staff members transferring and the General Employment Permit. Employees who have employment permits are obliged to abide by the immigration rules and may need a visa in order to come to Ireland as well as registering with the immigration authorities.

There are initiatives including the Start-Up Entrepreneur Programme and Immigrant Investor Programme whereby non EEA nationals and their families involved in companies or investments which meet certain approved criteria may be granted rights of residence in Ireland.

How to apply:
Applications for employment permits can be made by you or your prospective employer to the Employment Permits Section of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation using the relevant employment permit application form.

Ireland as a European Headquarters

Ireland is a dynamic, knowledge based economy and it has attracted over 1,000 companies to base their European operations here.

Ireland attracts some of the highest levels of inward investment of any country in the world and those who invest here consistently achieve some of the best returns available.

Ireland has become a key global centre for international business. As a tried and tested onshore location, Ireland is a longstanding member of the EU, OECD, Eurozone and NATO. The country has a proven track record for multinational companies and is a free and open economy. Ireland is also the only Eurozone country where English is the principle language.


We are here to help you find the right location for your business. Once we understand what your needs are be they connectivity, access to talent, cost or port access we can help you.

Dublin, on the east coast, is the capital city and has a population of over one million people. Ireland is well serviced by regular flights to the maritime hubs around Europe and internationally. London is less than one hour flying time with well over 100 flights a day between Ireland and the UK. Ireland’s largest cities and surrounding county populations can be seen below.

Map of Ireland

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