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Moving to Ireland From the UK

Martha Lott

Written by

5th Jun 2023 (Last updated on 16th Feb 2024) 10 minute read

There are many reasons why moving to Ireland is great and accessible option for expats. The healthcare is some of the best in Europe, the quality of life is high and the scenery is stellar. Over 100,000 Brits have already made Ireland their home, with 4,500 UK expats moving to Ireland between April 2021 and April 2022.

Although the UK is no longer part of the EU, moving to Ireland is still easy for British expats. In this guide, we’ll outline why Ireland is so appealing, aspects of its society and the steps you can take to make it your home.

  1. Why Are People Moving From the UK to Ireland?
  2. Types of Irish Visas and Permits
  3. Irish Citizenship
  4. Cost of Removals to Ireland From the UK
  5. Property Prices
  6. Work and Salary
  7. Cost of Living
  8. Education
  9. Healthcare
  10. Importing and Registering Vehicles
  11. Culture/Art
  12. Is it Worth Moving to Ireland From the UK?
Some handy facts about moving to Ireland:
  • Average shipping Costs from the UK: £1,588
  • Population: 5.033 million (2021 census)
  • Currency: Euro (€)
  • Main Language: English
  • Number of British Expats: 103,113 (2016 Census)
  • Number of British Expats Compare My Move Have Helped to Relocate: 185
  • Most Popular Cities for Expats: Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick

Why Are People Moving From the UK to Ireland?

There are a lot of appealing aspects of Irish life for UK citizens looking to move.

Salaries come higher in almost all areas of employment, meaning greater disposable incomes. There are also many job prospects for a country with a relatively small population.

With rolling glades and roaring seas, much of Ireland remains natural and unspoiled. Counties like Cork, Limerick and Dublin have distinct identities, made through years of rich history.

To top it off, Ireland has one of the largest concentrations of UK expats. Along with English being the main language, Ireland is an accessible option for expats seeking community abroad.

Types of Irish Visas and Permits

UK and Ireland share a Common Travel Area (CTA), meaning UK citizens don't need visas or residence permits to live or work in Ireland. This ease of access is a big reason why there is such a strong concentration of Brits living in Ireland.

If you’re thinking of moving to Ireland, you’ll need to state your intention to leave to the UK government. You’ll also need to notify the pension, tax and benefits offices to finalise these services.

Thanks to a double taxation agreement, UK expats are guaranteed not to pay tax in both countries. You’ll also only pay social security (national insurance) contributions to the Irish government.

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Irish Citizenship

Irish citizenship via naturalisation can be secured through one of several methods:

  • By marrying an Irish citizen.
  • Through having Irish descendants.
  • Living in the country for at least 5 years during a 9-year period.

Due to Ireland's proximity to the UK, expats often gain citizenship through either marriage or long-term residence. If you’re looking to get citizenship by living in Ireland, you’ll need to continuously reside for a full year directly before you apply.

Applying for Irish citizenship via residency works off a points-based system. Applicants must score at least 150 points for each of the 5 years they’ve lived in Ireland to succeed. Points are accrued by submitting documents to prove both your identity and residence.

Examples of documents that provide proof of identity include:

  • Copy of your passport.
  • Copy of National Identity document.
  • Copy of Red Cross/UNHCR identity documents.
  • Copy of Irish Residence Permit (IRP) Card.
  • Correspondence from your Employer confirming your PPS (Personal Public Service) number.

Examples of documents that serve as proof of residence include:

  • Copy of your P60.
  • Details of employment in Ireland.
  • Bank/credit card statement.
  • Rent agreement.
  • Mortgage statement.
  • Phone/utility bill.

The Irish government allows exceptions for not reaching 150 points in certain years. In such cases, you must submit an affidavit detailing your reasons for not reaching the target. Such cases are reviewed on an individual basis.

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Cost of Removals to Ireland From the UK

Moving to Ireland from the UK is quick, simple and above all affordable. According to our international removal costs data, shipping a 40ft container will only cost £1,588. This does not take into account services like packing, which will cost an extra £250.

What’s more, due to Ireland’s proximity, you could book a road freight company - who’ll only charge you £101 per pallet. They can then deliver your goods via ferry whilst covering a fairly short distance. We recommend road freight for Irish removals, as you won’t wait long or spend much to get items delivered.

If you need help planning your relocation, make the most of our moving abroad checklist. When you're ready to book, fill out our international removal form and be matched with up to 6 accredited partners.

Property Prices

Irish property prices are slightly lower compared to UK homes:

Building TypeCost per m2 (£)
Ireland City Centre Apartment£3,950
UK City Centre Apartment£4,400
Ireland Non-Central Apartment£2,915
UK Non-Central Apartment£3,320

Dublin is often where most expats like to move, as over 25% of Ireland’s population reside there. In comparison to the UK capital, the property prices are substantially lower:

Property LocationCost per m2 (£)

This makes Dublin properties 45% cheaper than London ones. Rental rates are also lower, with 1-bed rentals in Dublin’s city centre costing 19% less per month. If you’re a Londoner looking to relocate, the price gap between the two capitals will be a welcome surprise.

Data taken from Numbeo.

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Work and Salary

Ireland’s job market has seen rapid growth in recent years. Many top tech firms have bases or HQs in Ireland, including Apple, Google and Twitter. The financial sector has particularly boomed, with many firms relocating after Brexit.

According to Bartra Wealth Advisors, Ireland’s main sectors of employment include:

  • Technology
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Finance
  • E-commerce

As for the UK, a 2021 census confirmed the following as leading sectors for work:

  • Wholesale, retail and motor trade
  • Health and social work
  • Education
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing

Data from Morgan McKinley estimated the average Irish salary at €44,202 (£37,994.43) in 2023. This is 68%higher than the UK average salary of £25,971 (30,221.93). This will be a noticeable improvement for UK expats.

One of the first steps you’ll need to do after moving is to open an Irish bank account. This is very straightforward, as it is offered to residents and non-residents alike. You’ll need an Irish bank account to get paid, buy property and pay bills or taxes, so make this a top priority as soon as you’re settled.

Cost of Living

The average cost of living in Ireland is 21% higher than in the United Kingdom. That being said, the cheaper housing and increased average salary make the quality of living in Ireland higher.

Below you’ll find some examples of general living costs for both countries:

Cost of Living ExamplesIrelandUnited Kingdom
Public transport pass (monthly)€96.20 (£82.70)£74.02
Utility bills (monthly - one person)€123 (£105.74)£115.19
Gym membership (monthly)€42.40 (£36.45)£31.81
Taxi (5 miles)€17.80 (£15.30)£13.67
Restaurant meal for 2 people€70.60 (£60.69)£49.52
1 cinema ticket€11.70 (£10.06)£9.71
Beer (0.5L)€2.75 (£2.36)£1.75
Chicken breast (1kg)€9.37 (£8.09)£5.85
Cappuccino€3.61 (£3.12)£2.91

Data taken from LivingCost.Org

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Education in Ireland mirrors that of the UK in many ways. Education is split between primary and post-primary (secondary) schools. Compulsory education can start at age 5 (and no later than age 6), with primary school taking students up to age 12.

Besides training programmes and apprenticeships, senior students can also pursue third-level education. Typical choices for third-level education include university, college or an institute of technology. There are 7 Irish universities, 7 colleges of education and 14 technology institutes.

Ireland has a fee-free system for UK citizens, meaning there's no tuition for expats. Pre-school childcare and education are also free for children under the age of 5.


Ireland operates a dual healthcare system, offering public and private healthcare options. Due to the quality of care provided, Ireland ranked as the 11th best country for healthcare in a 2018 study.

According to an OECD report, Ireland rated particularly well for life expectancy, boasting an average lifespan of 82.2 years. The country also scored well for diabetes rates and self-reported poor health.

Though the UK isn’t part of the EU since Brexit, UK citizens are entitled to the same healthcare as Irish residents.


Residents must pay charges to access public healthcare unless they have a medical card. Most public hospital services are free for all, though a select few may incur a small surcharge. Seeing a GP without a medical card costs between €40 and €60 per visit. Be aware that public healthcare is known for long wait times in Ireland.

A medical card covers the cost of certain services, such as GP visits and prescriptions. You can normally only secure a medical card for low income earners. Certain services are cost-free for particular applicants, such as prescriptions for long-term illnesses.


Private healthcare is offered through private health insurance in Ireland. Going private bypasses the long wait times whilst providing a higher quality of care. If you’re unsure about costs, you can compare health insurance online and find a policy to match your budget.

Accessible private insurance is a big contributor to Ireland’s high healthcare ranking. According to a press release from the Health Insurance Authority (HIA), 46.4% of Irish residents had some form of private health insurance in May 2021.

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Importing and Registering Vehicles

To drive in Ireland, expats will need to exchange their UK licence once they are an official resident. This is done without cost and is doable as long as the licence hasn’t been expired for longer than a year.

Expats can import their car from the UK, though the vehicle will need to be registered and fees will have to be paid. Firstly, you must fill out and submit the ‘permanent export’ section of the V5C vehicle logbook. When this form is sent to the DVLA, you’ll need to register the car within 30 days at a National Car Test (NCT) centre.

After booking an appointment, you’ll have to register your vehicle’s certificate of conformity at Revenue and Customs. This must be done before your appointment.

You’ll need to bring the following documents to your registration appointment:

  • A completed vehicle purchase form (VRTVPD2).
  • The V5C logbook (minus the export section).
  • An invoice showing the date of purchase.
  • Proof of identity.
  • Proof of name and address.
  • Proof of PPS number.

There are also several fees incurred for importing a vehicle from the UK:

  • Customs duty equal to 10% of the vehicle’s value (if the vehicle’s country of origin is outside the UK).
  • Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT).
  • VAT on new cars or used cars imported from Great Britain (Northern Ireland exempt).

UK expats transferring residence to Ireland can claim VAT relief on their car. This is only possible if they’ve been using the vehicle for more than 6 months in the UK beforehand.


Being the home of many alcoholic drinks, it’s unsurprising that drinking has a part in Irish culture. There is a full range of mild and strong drinks to try as an expat. Guinness, Baileys Irish Cream and Magners Irish Cider are some of the signature tipples enjoyed across the country.

Irish music has a longstanding significance both in and outside the country. Traditional Irish tunes incorporate instruments like the harp, fiddle and flute. The Irish love for music is evident from its long list of musicians. Famous Irish performers include U2, The Cranberries, Sinéad O'Connor and Van Morrison.

Ireland’s fondness for the arts extends beyond music too. The country has produced some of the most recognised actors of this generation. Top examples are Cillian Murphy, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson and Michael Fassbender.

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Is it Worth Moving to Ireland From the UK?

When you’re looking to move to Ireland, it’s worth considering:


  • Higher average salaries and rising job opportunities.
  • Great quality healthcare.
  • No need to apply for visas or residence permits.
  • Cheap removal costs from the UK.
  • Lower property prices and rental rates.


  • More expensive cost of living.
  • Less higher educational options than the UK.
  • Rigorous point-scoring citizenship process.

If you’re considering moving to Northern Ireland instead, our helpful guide can assist with elements such as property prices, jobs and cost of living. When you've settled all the essentials, you can move onto choosing an international removals company.

All data stated was correct at the time of writing but is subject to change over time.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

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