International Pension Transfers

In Ireland, people are entitled to transfer their pensions arrangements overseas depending on a number of factors.

Occupational Pension Schemes and PRSA’s* can be transferred to similar arrangements elsewhere in the EU under IORPS II legislation.

*There is a tax charged on transfer pertaining to PRSA’s and it may not be in the best interest of the client.  We recommend that each client is reviewed on a case by case basis to ascertain what the most appropriate course of action is for their personal circumstances.

It is worth noting that Buy Out Bonds, Personal Pensions and Approved Retirement Funds (ARFs) are landlocked and cannot be transferred to other EU states in most circumstances, although they can be transferred to the UK in some instances under QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes) legislation.


What is IORPS II?

This is a comprehensive EU directive that looks to harmonise the governance and management of pensions schemes across the European Union.


What are the benefits of IORP II?

  • Provide better protection through enhanced governance and risk management.
  • Provide clear, relevant and more consistent communication to members of pension schemes.
  • Remove barriers to cross border occupational pension schemes.
  • Ensure that trustees have the appropriate powers to supervise the schemes


Why would you consider an International Pension transfer?

Consideration should be given to transferring your Irish pension overseas if:

  • You are no longer living in Ireland or plan to take up residency somewhere else in the future.
  • You previously worked overseas and built up pension benefits which need to be consolidated.
  • You are an international executive and you can fund pension benefits in other jurisdictions.


What are the Revenue’s Requirements for Overseas Pension Transfers?

The Revenue require that the transfers must be to an IORP established in an EU state.

For transfers outside of the EU, the pension holder must be a resident of the state they are transferring to and the pension structure must be similar to the Irish pension structure.

All pensions must be Bona Fide and should not be done in order to circumnavigate tax. Revenue approval will no be needed if the transfer is to an IORP but may be in other circumstances.


Where can I transfer my pension?

Where individuals meet all the criteria, we have found Malta to be a suitable jurisdiction to transfer pensions to. It has a similar legal system to Ireland and has been a player in the international transfer market.


What are the key benefits of transferring an Irish pension to Malta?

There a number of key reasons why people consider transferring their pensions to Malta:

  1. Access your pension at 50 if you have lived overseas for 5 years already.
  2. Access to a wide range of investment opportunities.
  3. Tax Efficient – Malta has around 70 Double Tax Treaties (DTA’s), for residents of countries that have a DTA with Malta.
  4. 30% tax-free lump sum available – This is higher than the current Irish and UK tax-free lump sum of 25% (Irish pensions capped at a tax-free lump sum of €200K and UK pensions capped at £250K tax-free lump sum). **
  5. No Tax to pay on assets within scheme (with exception of immovable property in Malta).
  6. Option of nominating beneficiaries on your pension.
  7. No Lifetime Allowance Charge.
  8. Inheritance benefits - you can pass on your pension pot to your beneficiary upon death Capital Acquisition Tax / Inheritance Tax free.
  9. You can combine various smaller pensions into one large pot resulting in only one annual management fee as well as the opportunity to benefit from the economies of scale by combining investment.
  10. Avoid ongoing currency exchange fees in investing in the same currency as the country you reside in or in any currency of your choice.

** The HMRC impose further restrictions on how and when the tax free lump sum can be accessed, and if these are not adhered to, an additional tax charge may apply.


Want to find out more?

Please contact us if you would like to discuss your unique circumstances and to see if it an overseas transfer would be beneficial.


The Central Bank does not regulate Tax Advice, Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes or Estate Planning.

The value of investments and the income derived from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest.


OpesFidelio Ireland Ltd
12, Parklands Office Park
Southern Cross Road
Bray, County Wicklow

Tel: +353 (0)1 272 4130

We are conveniently located on the Southern Cross Road between Bray and Greystones which can be accessed via junction 7 of the N11.

This is ideal for servicing clients from the surrounding South Dublin, Wicklow and greater Leinster areas.



Our office is situated 20kms south of Dublin, just beyond Bray in Co. Wicklow. Take the M50 southbound onto the N11 then take Exit 7, the Bray/Greystones exit and follow signs to Greystones. We are on the right near the end of the Southern Cross road leading from the N11 to the Greystones Rd.


OpesFidelio Financial Planning Ltd is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

OpesFidelio Financial Planning Ltd (Company No 456044) is a wholly owned subsidiary of OpesFidelio Ireland Ltd (Company No 158916).

OpesFidelio is a trademark used under licence.