EU Residency – Which is Best for Me, Ireland or Portugal?

There are over 447 million residents of the European Union.

Among many other things, this region is notable for its amazing food, art, and culture. There are also many business opportunities unique to the region that are simply unavailable in other parts of the world.

With a “residency by investment” program, individuals can get EU residency even if they do not have familial ties to draw on for obtaining residency by descent.

By making an investment or contribution in countries like Ireland or Portugal, a win-win situation arises. On one hand, new residents may obtain lucrative property overseas. Plus, one can take advantage of the benefits of an EU residence permit as well.

Each of these countries has its own set of unique social norms, laws, and regulations to consider when seeking residency. But both provide workable paths to the easiest way to get permanent residency in Europe.

Keep reading to determine whether residency by investment in Ireland or Portugal is the best option for EU residency.

The Appeal of EU Residency

There are many financial, legal, and social benefits to obtaining a second residence. It provides ease of access to other parts of the world. EU residency allows for visa-free travel, living, and working opportunities to many destinations.

It also provides a back-up plan if one needs to leave their home country. Residents gain the legal protections of their new country and its governmental services, as well.

A second residency also opens up a multitude of business opportunities across the world.

In social terms, holding a second passport has become something of a status symbol. Europe is a popular option for dual residency.

Benefits of EU Residency

Europe boasts diverse and vibrant cities, varied languages and cultures, and amazing food. This is not to mention the endless business opportunities available.

  • The economic and political collection of 28 individual countries, known as the European Union, covers 4 million km².
  • EU passports are some of the most desired in the world.

Once citizenship is granted, residents can enjoy visa-free access to some 185 countries across the globe. This includes the right to live, work, and study in any EU member-countries, without the complicated paperwork. This can be very beneficial for business and education purposes.

There are many doors opened by investing in an EU member-country. This may be for investment opportunities, a new vacation spot, or for those wondering how to move to Europe permanently.

  • The EU is remarked for guaranteeing the four fundamental freedoms: the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital. The single economic zone secures an open marketplace across any of the EU’s 28 member-countries. This is one enormous perk to obtaining EU residency, as there is access to massive resources.

It is easy to start a business in any of the member-states, as well as Iceland, Norway, or Liechtenstein. There is only one administrative body to go through to set up shop. Plus, registration with the European Investment Portal can help increase a company’s visibility and funding.

Residency by Investment in the EU

Especially during the COVID crisis, many people are looking for a second residency for a variety of reasons. Some want to connect with family and friends abroad. Others want recourse under tightening travel regulations.

Residency by investment also provides an excellent opportunity for financial growth. Investors can diversify their portfolio, and open up another stream of income. Plus, in the event of another major stock market crash, there is a solid non-correlated investment in place.

Ireland and Portugal are two great examples of countries with straightforward immigration requirements. Consider these options for residency by investment to gain EU residency.


A dual residency in Ireland is a great option for securing an EU residence permit.

Ireland is a beautiful country with rich culture, known for its rugged landscape and incredible history. Rolling green hills are an iconic symbol of this island nation.

Ireland is a great option to establish EU residency.

Irish Residency by Investment Program

A qualified applicant for the Irish Immigrant Investor Program (IIIP) must be willing to invest at least €500,000. They also must be able to prove a net worth of at least €2 million.

This money must be completely funded by the applicant’s resources alone, rather than through third-party funds.

There are three options for the contribution to the Irish economy: a donation, a business investment, or a real estate fund investment.

  • For the donation option, the minimum contribution requirement is €500,000. This award must be to a project of public benefit in the arts, sports, health, culture, or education.
  • For the business investment option, a minimum sum of €1 million is required. These funds must be invested in either a single Irish enterprise or spread over many enterprises. This option requires a commitment of at least three years for this investment. The fund(s) chosen by the investor must be selected from a pre-approved list. The Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service maintains this list. The Irish Central Bank monitors the funds and their managers.
  • The final option is an investment in a real estate fund. Applicants must invest a minimum of €2 million in any Irish real estate investment trust (REIT). The REIT must be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. This option also requires a minimum three-year commitment. Although at times, the Irish government can limit the number of REIT applications accepted.

To apply for this program, the principal applicant must be at least 18 years old and in good character. Any serious criminal convictions can disqualify an applicant from this path, even if they have the necessary capital.

The application process takes roughly three to four months. Upon applicant approval, the Irish government will grant an EU residence permit within six months. A pathway to full citizenship is available after five years.

Benefits of Irish Residency by Investment

There are many business benefits to gaining Irish residency.

  • Investing in Ireland is straightforward, and the nation boasts the fastest-growing economy in the Eurozone. For six consecutive years, the country has been named the best in the world in attracting high-value foreign investment.
  • Ireland also has a tax system that is very advantageous to entrepreneurial business owners. This country has the second-lowest corporate tax in the EU.
  • Another attractor to going through Ireland for EU residency is the ease of transition. The country is generally young, well-educated, and friendly—and they are English-speaking.
  • Plus, there are no restrictions on dual citizenship in Ireland, so investors can keep their home passport without issue.

These benefits provide an optimal social, educational, and business environment. If investors are looking to spend significant time in Ireland, there will not be much culture clash. On the other hand, if investors would rather be more passive, this is also possible. Residency only requires one day of physical presence per year. There is also no rule requiring applicants to learn English if they have not already.

Ireland provides outstanding healthcare and lifestyle benefits to its investors and their families.

This is one major benefit to using Ireland to gain EU residency. There is the option to be a silent investor, and simply take advantage of the resources available. On the other end of the spectrum, it can become a permanent destination.

Drawbacks of Irish Residency by Investment

One of the most important financial factors to consider before seeking Irish residency is Brexit. After a 2018 vote, the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU in a move that will be finalized by the end of 2020.

While this does not directly affect Ireland or its status as an EU state, The Republic of Ireland is affected indirectly. Ireland shares a border with Northern Ireland and is separated from the rest of Europe by the UK. These will soon be non-EU member-states. This may pose implications for the country’s economy and trade prospects. Since it is such an unprecedented situation, it is hard to fully predict the consequences that may unfold.

Another concern about choosing Ireland for dual residency is the lack of physical access to the Schengen Area.

One final reason some might shy away from choosing Ireland as a path to EU residency is the desire of investing in physical property. Purchasing property is not enough to fulfill the investment requirements for the IIIP.

Though REIT investment is one option, it may not be what some investors are looking for.


Another path for using residency by investment to obtain EU residency can be found in the country of Portugal.

This country is one of Europe’s most historically influential countries, with a rich past of global trade and expansion. It is a beautiful country with stunning amenities including beaches, architecture, and cuisine.

Portuguese Residency by Investment

The Portuguese program focuses on property investment as a path to residency.

Applicants must purchase property with a minimum value of €280,000. Here are the guidelines:

  • 30-year-old property refurbishment (in a low-density area) must be €280,000 or greater
  • 30-year-old property refurbishment (not in a low-density area) must be €350,000 or greater
  • A new project (in a low-density area) must be €400,000 or greater
  • A new project (not in a low-density area) must be €500,000 or greater

The application period usually takes less than six months from the date of submission. Upon approval, an EU residence permit is granted within 180 days. Full citizenship is available after five years.

Benefits of Portuguese Residency by Investment

As an EU member, Portuguese residency provides visa-free access to many countries. Portugal provides unlimited access to the Schengen Area. In total, one can freely move through 186 countries with no need for a visa.

Portugal provides unlimited access to the Schengen Area.

Portugal may be a better option for those who would like to make an investment in physical property. Unlike Ireland, this country will grant residency with the purchase of a property valued at a minimum of €280,000. This provides a sense of security and diversifies any portfolio. Plus, this property can be rented out providing yet another stream of income.

This investment is also a lower cost than the minimum of €500,000 in Ireland. Investors do not need to prove a minimum net worth to apply.

Another benefit to Portuguese residency is the country’s sense of family-friendliness. In this path, Portuguese residency is also extended to spouses, children under 18, and dependent parents.

Important Considerations to The Portuguese Residency by Investment Program

One major consideration of Portuguese residency is the greater need for a physical presence on its soil. The Portuguese government mandates seven days of residence in the country in the first year. This number rises to 28 days in subsequent years.

If investors are looking for more of a passive opportunity rather than a vacation spot, this path may not be the best choice.

Another key consideration is the native language of Portuguese spoken in this country. This can pose social and cultural barriers that may affect business opportunities.

Two of The Best Ways to Get Permanent EU Residency

There are many doors to be opened with EU residency. This is true whether investors are looking for a second home or just a passive investment opportunity.

Second Citizenship is the trusted source for guidance throughout the dual residency process. Our teams are in place both in Ireland and Portugal to provide outstanding professional support.

Contact an expert advisor for more information about how you can make this dream a reality.