Once upon a time, my wife and I took a chance on a 4 week trip to Andorra. It was time to rationalise our whole living/working while travelling situation.
We’d planned to get residency in Panama but after a visit and time to think it over, we both agreed that it wasn’t what we were looking for.
A tiny little principality had long been on our shortlist as a possibility that we had to check out, so we thought we’d take a trial run to live in Andorra.
Over 4 weeks, we lived an average every day life and fell in love with the country during potentially the quietest time of year.
By the end of our visit to Andorra, we had organised a bank account, signed a lease, our residency application was in progress and for the first in a long time, we were ready to put down roots.
It was a massive decision, but it felt so right for so many reasons.
As I update this post many years later I can confidently say that Andorra is home to us.
We visited many countries in search of a place that could take that status, but this little country has stood the test of time for myself, my wife, and now our son, who was born here.
Where Is Andorra?
Having spent a lot of time in mountain biking and skiing circles, we’d known about Andorra for a long time—both the UCI MTB World Cup and Freeride World Tour happen here.
Some random facts about Andorra:
- It’s a land locked country between Spain and France
- It is not part of the EU, but it does use the Euro
- It is around 3 hours by bus to Barcelona (€15) and a little longer to Toulouse. Though there (sort of) is an Andorran airport, BCN and TLS are the closest major airports
- Andorra is the world’s only co-principality—it’s ‘ruled’ by two princes
- It is claimed that Andorra is the world’s 14th oldest country
- It is the only country in the world where Catalan is the official language
- Andorra’s total land mass is 468km²
Why Would I Want to Live in Andorra?
I played down the safety risk when considering the move to Panama, and I feel comfortable in most situations.
It’s really nice to live in a country where you can leave your cellphone on a table at a café, let alone giving your child the independence to explore the playground without having to watch them at every moment.
Previously living in Whistler, (Canada), bike theft even while well locked was a huge problem. Here, you can leave your $7,500 bike out of sight without a lock and it’s fine.
The locals claim this is the safest country in the world. There are 2 roads out of the country, both with patrolled borders and no airport.
Given it’s so hard to warm up your car here, it’s not uncommon for people to leave their car running while they visit the pharmacy/bank/bakery.
Andorra’s Cost of Living Is Pretty Great…
- 2 bed/2 bath apartment with car park/storage room: €1250/mo
- Utilities: €85/mo (based on a 2 bed apartment)
- ~285Mbps internet connection: €41/mo
- Standard lunch meal: €15
- Coffee: €1.25
- Beer: €1.25
- Gym membership with classes, pool, sauna, etc included: €35/mo
- Bike park/ski pass for residents: €380/year
Taxation in Andorra
A lot of people wrongfully assume Andorra is a tax haven. It is not.
However in comparison to many larger countries, the tax system in Andorra is relatively simple. You’re better off thinking of Andorra as a giant duty free shop in the mountains.
There’s some nuance to the numbers, but in general the rates are:
- Company tax: 10%
- Personal income tax: 0-10%
- Individuals can earn:
- €24,000 at a tax rate of 0%.
- €24,001-€40,000 at 5%.
- €40,001+ is taxed at 10%.
- Married couples can earn:
- A combined €40,000 at 0% tax.
- €40,001+ is taxed at 10%.
- Individuals can earn:
- Value added tax: ~4.5%
- Capital gains tax: 0-15%
- No wealth tax
- No gift tax
- No inheritance tax
The Internet Is Fast!
As I understand it, every home and office in the country has fiber that terminates inside it.
Not to the building. Not to the street. Not to your suburb. Right next to your modem! This is a big deal for an Australian.
2018 UPDATE: According to Andorra Telecom some 30,000 homes and 5,000 offices across the country now have upgraded modems, bringing the country’s average speed to 285 Mbps.
And a Bunch of Other Reasons, Such As…
- Hiking trails are everywhere—we regularly go on a ‘lunch loop’ and see views that some people pay thousands to see once in their life
- All of Andorra’s ski resorts have just consolidated, which probably makes it one of the largest, if not the largest in Europe
- There’s a mountain bike park, too
- If you enjoy road cycling, it’s a perfect place to train. Many pro cyclists live here outside of race season
- Festa majors bring multi-day parties to every village in the country, even when there are only a handful of houses
- Booze is at duty free prices
- For a small country, there is always some sort of event on
- If you’re into cars or motorbikes, your people are here
- Almost every house or apartment in the country has amazing views
- It’s the top 5 healthiest country in the world according to The Lancet
- It’s one of few places in the world where you can get residency for not a huge financial outlay while paying very reasonable tax and in sum, enjoy a reasonable cost of living.
- Given this reasonable cost of living, you can enjoy the safety and comfort of a 1st world country
- If you need to spend some time in a big city Barcelona is only a bus ride away
- Andorra has a beautiful mix of old villages, technology and countryside. In a 1km walk I can pass tobacco fields, horses grazing, historic buildings, modern apartments, tractors carrying bales of hay, daily driven supercars…and Fiat Pandas!
What Sort of People Live in Andorra?
People come from all walks of life in Andorra (as you’d expect anywhere). Obviously there are the Andorran born locals; some families have been here for centuries, others for one or two generations.
Historically people have emigrated from France, Spain and Portugal, but many also came from Great Britain. Nowadays, there are more and more from Eastern Europe, America, the Philippines.
Some are workers coming for a higher salary than elsewhere in Europe, some are perpetual travelers simply looking to plant a residency flag. Others are looking for a lifestyle change where they can spend their time skiing, hiking, cycling or maybe learn a new language and settle into the simple life.
Some have enormous amount of wealth. Others are happy to own what is in their backpack and spend their Summers hiking around the country from camí to camí.
The good news, is almost everyone has an interesting story to tell. Extremely interesting conversations are a daily occurrence.
So How Do I Get Residency in Andorra?
For a lot of people, residency has nothing to do with tax, while for others that’s the #1 motivator.
Outside of getting a job for a local business, you have 4 options, split into 2 categories. I’ll mention them briefly below, but for more detail, read my post on how to become a resident in Andorra.
This is ultimately “Andorran tax residency”. It’s for those that don’t necessarily want to be tied to this beautiful country for the whole year but still want the taxation benefits.
Passive residency requires you to:
- be in the country for 90 days each year
- show proof of private insurance,
- show a 100% clean criminal record,
- have means to support yourself and your family, specifically, 300% of the minimum salary for yourself, and 100% per dependant, deposited into an Andorran bank account each year,
- place €47,500 in a government bond for yourself, and €9,500 for dependents,
- pay a €2,500 fee to collect your residency card, and }500 for dependents.
In addition, the category you choose will also require:
- Residence Without Lucrative Activity (D.1.1.): Investing €600,000 within the country, typically by buying real estate in Andorra.
- Professionals in International Business (D.1.2.): Starting a company in Andorra, where at least 85% of business comes from other countries.
- Accredited Athletes, Scientists & Artists (D.1.3.): Be a world class athlete, scientist, personality (yeah, me neither 😂)
- to spend 183 days each year in Andorra (6 months),
- to pay into the local social security scheme, there are discounts but long term the cost is ~€474.85/mo per applicant, which gives you excellent medical coverage in Andorra, France and Spain and a (theoretical) pension if you stay for 20 years,
- to make make a €50,000 deposit in a government bond.
Essentially the government is looking for residents to become part of the community and contribute to the positive development of the country.
2017 UPDATE: The door may be closing on affordable active residency, with the government floating the idea of a €30,000 bond to come in through this route. To my knowledge at time of writing this hasn’t actually been enacted, but if you are thinking of moving here it may be good motivation to do so earlier. 2018 UPDATE: A €15,000 bond is now required for all active residents applying for “Compte Propi”. This is only for the shareholders of the company you are setting up who seek residency in Andorra. Dependents, whether they be spouses or children do not need to pay this bond.
2022 UPDATE: It appears that this bond will be increasing to €50,000. This has not yet been passed as law, but most likely will be implemented within 6 months. If you want to get in without committing this amount, now is the time.
- Start a company in Andorra, requiring €3,000 for share capital, or
- Invest in an Andorran company, owning 34% of this company or more.
- Be a company administrator or secretary.
I chose the active residency route, as we had every intention of calling Andorra home, spending the majority our time within the borders, and moving here for good.
After travelling a lot and being on wondering “where is home?”, we’d decided on spending a minimum of 9 months in one place each year, only leaving briefly for some sun during Winter or to visit friends/family.
I later stumbled on this post. It seems we aren’t alone!
Since settling into Andorra we’ve found ourselves less keen to travel. After a week away on business there’s nothing I look forward to more than a hike across the road from my place. Home feels like a holiday, even when we’re working!
How Much Does It Cost To Move Here?
This varies greatly depending on what you’re willing to pay for and how much you can do yourself.
Are you only paying government fees? Or you want an English speaker to register a company, apply for your residency, social security, transfer your driver’s license, negotiate your rental contract, introduce you to a bank, etc?
If you’re an English speaker going for active residency, I’m willing to wager you’ll need around €7,500 by the time you pay for company formation, certificates (with apostille) and assistance.
This is on top of the government bond and €3,000 in share capital which your company can use later.
If you’re getting lots of help or you are a couple with dependants, that can ramp up to €15,000. Costs can add up, especially depending on where you are from.
We needed plenty of original, apostilled certificates from Australia, and these were couriered to us so we didn’t lose time as they always needed to be within 3 months of issue—for my wife and I, these certificates set us back over €500.
Keep in mind though, that in comparison to other first world countries, this is still very affordable.
How Long Does It Take?
This will depend on the visa you are going for as you need to wait for company registration first, but we’ve heard as little as six weeks and as long as nine months.
We applied over Christmas and had some delays as a result. In the end, it took around 6 months.
What Are the Downsides of Living in Andorra?
As with anywhere, life in Andorra has it’s pros and cons. I am pretty well enamored with life here, but I can 100% respect it’s not for everyone.
Let’s look at some realities:
- It’s not always clearly documented, and getting a clear answer on government policy can be hard.
- If it is documented, that document is in Catalan which is difficult to get literal translations of.
- You can’t read a guide and easily relocate here, you really need to hit the ground and explore or find someone trustworthy who can guide you.
- You can’t rock up to an global tech startup meeting to meet contacts, more effort is required than most major cities.
- For those running a business, it can be hard to find software that works with local systems.
- Stripe (the payment processor) still isn’t available here!
- Get used to explaining where it is (“No, it’s not in Africa!“).
- It can be tricky to get products shipped here. When you can arrange it, you’ll pay a ridiculous customs declaration fee, even if no tax is applied.
- They still have 6 digit phone numbers—this can cause trouble with phone verification with many websites.
- It’s a tricky place to learn the language. Despite Catalan being the official language, much of the country spends their day speaking Spanish or French. Or Portuguese. Or, to a lesser extent, English or Russian.
- If you travel a lot, the 3 hour bus ride (or ~2.5 hour drive) at the end of your flight into BCN or TLS could be a deal breaker.
So that’s the major points I can think of for now. If you have questions about living in Andorra or if you want to visit and check it out, leave a comment.
TL;DR. Andorra is a beautiful, affordable, safe place to live that is perfect for the location independent, with many, many opportunities to spend outdoors being active.
2019 UPDATE: I’ve had a lot of people ask lately “do you still like it there?” Of course! Andorra is not perfect. There are pros and cons to every country! But, for our family (and what we value), it’s as near to perfect as we’re likely to find anywhere.
2020 UPDATE: Andorra’s still great, despite what you may have heard. Statistically, Covid-19 has “ravaged” the country, but in actual fact most people I know feel very safe. The government has treated us like adults, been transparent, and done the best they can given the situation.
2021 UPDATE: Many of you have asked me if I’m still in Andorra. The answer is a resounding “yes”. My son attends ‘Escola Andorrana’, an Andorran school and we still feel very much at home among the local community.
2022 UPDATE: My gym has just been refurbished and I continue to make great new friends (many of which are through this blog post). The country has changed a lot. Heating, electricity and fuel costs are increasing, but this isn’t limited to Andorra of course. Similarly, renting in Andorra has become much more difficult for newcomers, though a ton of new construction work may resolve some of the lack of supply. I’m still very happy this is home.
Still Have Questions?
I genuinely believe Andorra is one of the best countries for entrepreneurs, website investors, share traders and remote consultants to plant their resident flag in a country that gives them a very livable home base.
If you are thinking of moving to Andorra and have questions about what it’s like:
- How difficult it is to get residency?
- Where are the best places to live in Andorra?
- What are the schools in Andorra like, and which system is best?
- …or anything else!
Leave a comment below!
Jordi C. says
Don’t quote me on this, but I think passive residence starts at €500,000 that you can bring to the country in any mix of property, cash and managed investments.
I’d also mention some other facts and factoids:
– for most foreign nationals you can go category D, get your residency as GM and bring espouse and children under the same Social Security umbrella without having to pay per head.
– cycling is great, but road cycling involves heavy climbing
– you MUST avoid crossing the Spanish border during peak times, specially going out on Sunday afternoons and in on Saturday mornings.
– you can shop in Spain and most times get the 21% VAT back (even from the supermarket in La Seu d’Urgell, just south across the border)
– lowest petrol and diesel prices in Europe
– highest ratio of police officers per capita in the world (0,7%, including national police, traffic and local police)
– highest number of Porsche Cayenne per capita in the world
– free water in uphill towns
– stablished by Charlemagne to stop the moors moving north from the Iberian peninsula
– speed camera fine = €40. Don’t ask.
– food must be imported and is relatively expensive comparing with France and Spain
– free 1h parking in the city center for residents. Everyone else, 30mins free or €0.50-1.00/hour
– subsidised Cirque du Soleil show every summer, free standing, €15 seating.
Steve Rodley (Retired... almost) says
Sounds great. You paint a nice picture.
Firstly Jase, thank you for taking to share your story. One question I have re the company route D, which I understand is the option you took. Did you also have to put down a 50,000 Euro bond?
Hi Dennis, if you take this route there is no bond, just EUR3000 share capital that must be paid into your company’s account. Once you have residency this can be used in the company.
Hi Jase, I’m in a project to relocate to Andorra. Did you got yourself some helps to have all the paperwork for residency and compagny setup done ? (Lawyer/accountants)
I’d love to know how much it would cost you to maintain a compagny per year in lawyer and accountants fees so I could compare vs the what the agencies told me.
You can contact me on email if you feel like sharing about it.
I did indeed get help as my Català is molt malament. You’re going to get wild swings in quotations here depending on how much hand-holding you need, how many expenses/invoices you have and so on.
I’d suggest if you’re running a serious business with plenty of paperwork, VAT claims and so on, you’re going to spend around a ~€900 per year.
I hope that helps!
TBC Anon (best to stay anon) says
This is about right. I pay an accountant 80 euros per month on a retainer and everything gets done. Year end I pay an additional 300 euros.
Philip Coke says
Great resource, thanks.
We’re coming over in November for a couple of days to get a feel on the ground, we’re speaking to an accountant and like the sound of it all. If you only had 48 hours to dip your toe, what would you recommend to doing to get the flavour, but also establish if it’s for you…
BTW – assume there’s single track as well as cross country mtb??
The first time we visited was also in November. For many people, their biggest concern about being in Andorra is that it will be too quiet. If you have these concerns, November is a perfect time of year to see the country as much is closed as it’s the quiet time before ski season.
I don’t know how much living overseas you have done, but we found it helpful to rent a furnished apartment, learn where the good supermarkets were and – really we did a lot of walking. The boring stuff gives you more of an insight into what normal life will be like, and hopefully doesn’t sugar coat what life will be like.
The best place to look for a rental is http://www.buscocasa.ad, though an even better bet is to find an agent that will do the searching for you. It doesn’t cost you any extra and there is more available offline than online.
MTB in Andorra is a tricky one – due to the steepness of the country, there’s not a lot of “warm up trails”. There are plenty of wider, unsealed farm roads, but most descending is fairly technical. Both Vallnord and Granvalira are worth checking out.
One more quick question…
Where’s the best place find the best rented accommodation – you suggested 600Euros pcm for two beds…
Robin D Thompson says
I noticed a general statement about getting systems to work with you when you live in Andorra. I’m thinking about coming there and am a fellow internet marketer. Are you saying it’s hard to get credit card processing systems that’ll connect infusionsoft or clickfunnels into a processor that’ll credit an Andorran bank?
Hi Robin, as far as well-integrated credit card processors go it’s not so bad. Unfortunately Stripe isn’t available here, however Braintree is, which will probably be your best option. If you have an Andorran company and local bank account, chances are your bank will give you the option to set up an account with RedSys which gets great processing rates. The downside being it’s harder to set up/may not work with your SaaS products.
Robin D Thompson says
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I can work with Braintree… I’m reading information about having to have a lot of cash upfront for government bonds and such. But it sounds like by setting up a company (totally do-able) I can avoid it. Can you recommend someone I can contact to work through the options for my specific situation?
I’ve married into a family where I now have 3 step kids very close together in age. Moving to EU or Andorra now very attractive.. else I’m looking at a $75k/year bill for a few years when each kid is in college simultaneously!!!
Joris V. D. says
Hi Jase, I’m thinking to move out to Andorra in one or two years.
When becoming a ‘passive residence’ category A, do you automatically loose your first nationality (for me : Belgium)?
Hi Joris, no your residence is independent of your citizenship.
Steve B says
What are the requirements when retiring from Australia for a couple..one brit and one nz..both with aus citizenship…also buying a property against renting and living permanently in Andorra
The requirements don’t change a much based on where you are a citizen (though it’s possible some countries will “pass” immigration checks more easily than others). However requirements will change based on the type of residency you’re choosing. If what I have in this post isn’t detailed enough there are more in-depht pages on the topic for both active and passive residency.
David B. says
After some research, it seems that passive residency and tax residency are quite different. In any case, if you want your tax residency to be in Andorra you have to stay at least 183 days in a year and not 90 days as you mention on your passive residency tax review.
Actually tax residency is even more complicated than that. It depends not only on Andorra but the country that you are from. For many people, they could spend 183 days in Andorra, but still be considered a tax resident in their home country.
I am not a tax lawyer so I can’t specify what requirement each reader needs to follow to be compliant.
Russo Gouws says
Thank you for this very informative site!
Do you know any South Africans who have emigrated to Andorra? I have some questions re Schengen visas etc that I can’t find answers to browsing the web.
If you do, I’d really appreciate a connection!
Hi Russo, I don’t know of a lot of them, but do know a handful of them.
I’d suggest either asking in one of these groups, contacting immigration (if you have some Spanish/French to lean on), or an agent who can give you a clear answer.
Hope that helps!
LaReine REILLY says
How does health insurance work if you are an ‘active resident’. Do you buy into their heath system?
If you are an active resident you must pay into CASS. This is a social security system that covers healthcare.
Tony Hergert says
Really interesting article, thank you. My wife and I are considering expatriating in 3 years from the US and Andorra is on our list. Do you know anything about moving into the country with cats and dogs? Is there a quarantine or do they just require the pet passport with vaccination records, etc.? Many thanks in advance. Looks beautiful and ticks all the cycling, skiing, mtb’ing and Porsche boxes! Best, Tony
To the best of my knowledge you’ll need the pet passports and records, but there’s no quarantine. Who knows with this virus situation at the moment though, it could change. When you’re getting serious about the move, let me know and I’ll connect you with someone who can give you a concrete answer.
My first question is: What is the arts scene like in Andorra? I am a classical musician and and writer of 72 thinking of retiring to such a place on Social Security. Second question: is a residence permit a hassle as it is in Germany? Please understand,Germany is trying to discourage older people from retiring in Germany UNLESS they have LOTS of money and want to start a business.
I don’t know much of the arts scene but there are quite a few museums, including the Carmen Thyssen museum. There are music events of all sorts in each of the parishes, you can find some more information here: https://www.agenda.ad/.
As to the hassles of a residence permit, if feels quite straightforward to me but perception is everything. I don’t have any experience with Germany so can’t really comment there.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the article, really helpful. Actually I find your website quite interesting, I have read a few of your posts.
I am an EU citizen with my partner and kid. Planning to come to Andorra and be self-employed. I have a couple of questions.
1. Did I get it right, I can come and live in Andorra (I guess as a tourist and w/o any special Visa), and while there initiate the process for residency?
2. To get residency, I need to be renting (by the way how does a first time rental as someone coming from outside looks like) a place and 15k Euro? Will my partner and kid also need the 15k?
3. Need to open a company as part of the residency procedure? Do they have the concept of sole trader (i.e. you are the company) and will that suffice instead of opening a company?
4. How is it in terms of integration, social life (are people friendly and willing to help), and the difficulty of dealing with bureaucracy in Catalan? Are official documents also in French (I speak French)?
Thanks a lot.
Thanks for commenting. To answer your questions (as best I can!):
1. Yes, everyone gets 3 months entry into Andorra on a tourist visa, so you can come to explore the country and start the process.
2. You will find that an address/rental contract is one of the first things on the list. As I understand it, it’s tough to find a quality rental right now for reasonable prices, but there’s a lot of construction going on so I expect this to change next year. The bond applies to the shareholders/directors of your company. If your wife and child are dependents, to the best of my knowledge they don’t need to pay the bond.
3. There is a concept of a sole trader, but there are some more hoops to jump through. I don’t have direct experience with this but if you want I can connect you with someone who knows it well.
4. I find it’s great. It takes some time, but most people in all walks of life are helpful. Catalan is indeed the default for government tasks but most people speak French very well so I think you’ll be fine with it.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for the insightful comments about Andorra. I am thinking of moving to Andorra in the future (in 3 to 5 years). I am German Brazilian and I am looking for a place where people are sociable and kind. How difficult is for a woman in her 40s to connect with new people? And at the day by day life how isolated can someone feel living in a small country? Thank you again for your wonderful work with showing us the Andorrian’s lifestyle.
When we first arrived in Andorra it did take some time to make friends (as we are younger), but things have really changed in this area. Lots of social groups have been opening up and this has changed in a positive way.
As long as you put in some effort and attend some events I think you’ll find everyone to be quite warm and accepting.
John Brown says
Just about to begin the process of moving over from the UK.
Debating which residency status to opt for and whether to buy a place to live in straight away or to rent. I will need to set up a company that will invoice my current employer for services moving forward, and perhaps another company to look after our Spanish holiday lets.
Current thought process is to get myself out there sooner rather than later.
Will being based out in Andorra speed up the residency application and company formation?
Also, any ex-pat social media pages/groups that you’d recommend me joining?
Finally, if I am travelling between UK, Andorra and Spain by car fairly regularly, is it better to be in a Spanish/UK/Andorran registered vehicle, or doesn’t it matter?
Any advice welcome.
Thanks! Tough call on the type of residency, for myself the decision really comes down to how much time you’ll spend in the country. If you’re going to be here (or in Spain/France/Portugal) for a core part of the year, I think Active is the way to go as you get healthcare coverage in those countries. If not, probably Passive as you’ll want private insurance anyway, so no point paying that twice.
Truthfully I’m not up to date on the current application process, but in general your presence is usually only needed for a few days. If you have the right agent they can get all your paperwork in order so you can drop in, sign everything, go for a meeting with the bank/s, immigration department and real estate agent/s, and then you’re on your way.
I find the expat groups have a lot of “noise” and biases, but you may find these helpful: https://andorraguides.com/living/forum-social-groups/
For the driving, I’d just an Andorran registered car. Registration costs are negligible, insurance is very reasonable and EU/UK don’t have records of ownership (yet) so you retain some privacy.
Hoping this helps you!
Thanks for the great article, Jase.
What has your experience been of late with respect to trends, if any, toward congestion whether traffic, tourism, or the general population? In other words, are there timeframes and/or locations you try to avoid due to crowds or lack of parking? If so, how does that actually compare to larger cities you’ve been to? Maybe it’s all relative!
Tourism is almost non-existent at the moment due to restrictions in France/Spain. As a result, congestion, traffic and tourism are all down.
Lack of parking is certainly relative as, coming from Australia even on a quiet day it originally felt like parking is cramped here. As I’ve adapted I only really notice it’s “busy” when it’s a Spanish or French holiday week/weekend. It’s just something that takes some time to learn – there’s parking damn near everywhere, it’s just so hidden sometimes you’d never know!
I can’t really compare it to other cities, the list is endless. If there’s a specific city you have in mind, it’s possible I’ve been there and can comment directly on that.
simon lowe says
Thanks for your concise informative article Jase. Your particular advice re an extended visit , to weigh up pros and cons before upping sticks to another country; and once this decision is made, probably renting accomodation in a built up area to absorb culture/learn a new language makes Andorra an attractive proposition.
Thank you for such a lovely a great article ,
I have started to think about relocating to Andorra for a while now . As life in London with all pandemic and NHS horrible service just made our life even more hectic.
My questions are the following :
1. Is it easy to find a job in Andorra if yes if you can recommend me some sites or maybe head hunters
2. Which is the most important, i have heard that Andorra has one of the best medical care in the world. As an expat how much is the health insurance for a family of 3 per month / year?
Thank you in advance,
I am not sure Andorra is a lucrative place to work, especially if you are coming from London. Andorra doesn’t need workers, it really needs remote workers, high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs who will earn from elsewhere and spend their money and create jobs here. If you’re in London at the moment, I’d focus on finding employment that will allow you to live in Andorra instead.
Cost of health care is based on the type of residency you have. If you are an active resident this is through CASS, while passive residents require private coverage. Both vary in their cost based on a number of factors.
All the best
Quick question about passive residency and the 50k + 10k (dependents) bond.
If child is born in Andorra, do you have to top up the bond as extra dependent?
Hi Wai, I don’t know this with absolute certainty, but I expect it is necessary. If you are serious about moving to Andorra and having a child here, let me know and I can connect you with a mother who has done exactly that who will likely be able to help.
Watching leTour there and wondering about the hill villages which in Spain and Italy have been running down for the last fifty years. It sounds utopian except the need for an income from your own resources. After living in Spain and France I believe the old days are over when you could live ten percent cheaper than the UK, not a lot but property was a fifth of UK average prices and little bureaucracy. There is a huge difference between the extended holiday vision to the residency as you can’t live on a view.
Absolutely, the cost of living in Andorra is likely more than other areas of Europe and UK, with the exception of major cities like London, Paris, etc.
Good info. I’m thinking of moving to Andorra and setting up a company. I’m an EU national, IT consultant. I have been running my company for 10+ years in a high tax EU country and Andorra looks very attractive to me, not only for taxes but for general quality of life. I read that as a company owner you need to pay into the CASS (something like 450 euro / month). That is through the company as a deductible expense or this is private contribution? Do you need to pay yourself a salary from the company or can you just live from dividends? I need to travel quite a lot for business because the nature of my work as a network and security engineer does not make it possible to do it 100% remotely from Andorra. How well is the 183 day rule enforced? Are business trips excluded from the rule?
The company pays this.
To the best of my knowledge I believe you can live from dividends. To the best of my knowledge, there’s no tax benefit either way as the company has already paid 10% at this point.
I’ve never needed to test this myself. I’d imagine if you aren’t flaunting the rules it’s not a problem, but if you’re consistently spending limited time in the country the onus will be on you to prove you’ve been there for 183 days and residency may not be renewed. An example of this are the pro athletes who need to be in the country for 90 days. These guys travel a lot for work and are often at the limit of their 90 days. It’s not uncommon for them to drive into the country simply to spend a night or two to get their quota up.
Remember, it’s a small country, with 2 road entrances and real borders. If someone in the government wanted to surveil you, it’s not difficult.
Hoping this helps!
I’m not sure I understand category d. Do you actually need to start a real profitable business or do you just set up an entity and drop cash into it?
You do need to submit a business plan, but it seems a common business model for many residents is “consulting”. As long as you’re dropping cash in and the government is getting their fees, tax income and CASS payments, everybody is getting paid (and is therefore happy).
Hello, sorry for bothering you.
Love your website and thank you for this article.
We are family of three and we are from Baltic states. So from Schengen area. Maybe you can answer my question or point me to the right direction. I wonder what kind of paperwork, visas do we need if we want to rent a house and live in Andorra for a year?
Me and my wife both are working remotely and currently for couple months staying in Crete. Just using Airbnb… But now we are looking for a place to stay for a longer period of time. And Andorra looks perfect to us.
Thanks for commenting and your kinds words. Staying for a year is difficult. It’s really too long for Airbnb as the local market is heavily touristed for skiing in Winter, and during peak Summer holidays. This means you’ll pay very high rates to stay in an Airbnb for an entire year.
However residential leases are 5 years by default. I don’t know the specifics myself but understand that it’s almost impossible to sign a shorter term lease. To get the lease, you don’t need residency or a visa, but you will need a local bank account. Ironically this is difficult to acquire without residency, and without a signed lease contract, you can’t get apply for residency!
To make matters more challenging, the property market is very inflated at this time, making it very difficult to find a rental, let alone at a competitive price.
I love Andorra, but don’t know if it’s the best fit for your needs. If you’re visiting to live, and getting the tax benefits that come with it, sure, but if not I’d probably explore alternate areas of the Pyrenees, both in France and Spain.
Hoping this helps!
First a big thanks for your website. Incredibly useful for us!
Allow me to introduce:
We are a family of 3 planning to relocate and set up a business there. Belgians, relocated to CH (got a baby there) and now in Mexico City. Target is beginning of Q2/2023 to actually relocate unless I get a (last) big headhunt which is too good to refuse and then we add 2-3 years to the timeline and hoard money to buy a better place in Andorra which seems poor value for money when it comes to real estate. Plan is active residency setting up consult business.
Allow me some questions if you don’t mind and sorry should I have overlooked and answer:
1. This government bond 30k issue bugs me. It doesn’t seem to make money on itself, it just devaluates. Am I right? Dead money
2. Heating homes seems to be old tech. No heating pumps like we saw in CH. Instead mainly oil. That true? Or burning wood (even worse)
3. Is that a fact about the standard 5 year rental contracts? We would like to buy property but not as of day 1 or only after 5 years
4. We looked at international schools but those would drain the budget + public schools seem to be great quality. Missing something?
5. Do you know if there are general (private) legal insurances? In CH that was standard and Mexico impossible to find
6. I found apartments mostly next to main roads. In CH that’s fine but not sure about Andorra as I read they struggle with traffic. Your thoughts?
Sorry to barge in like that by the way. Hoping to meet you one day
Hi Tom. You’re right that from a value perspective, Andorra’s property prices aren’t in line with what you might expect in many other countries. On the flip side however, the ongoing expenses after owning one (taxes, fees, insurance, etc) are quite low. I guess it all comes down to where you see the rental market going, and how long you plan to stay.
To answer your questions:
1. To the best of my knowledge, it’s dead money. Think of this more like securing a credit card. You lock up the cash to derisk the bank. In the case of Andorra, you’re locking up the cash to ensure any debts left with the Govern, communes, electricity companies, etc, can be repaid if/when you leave.
2. For the most part, yes, houses and apartments are heated by gasoil. Slowly alternative systems are being used, like biomass/pellet systems, but it seems the most common replacement/update is to heat pumps. Still, there are very few of these.
3. Yes, 5 years. This said, they’re fairly easy to break. Worst case scenario you’ll pay 1 month for every year remaining on the lease.
4. This is an opinion thing. Many people are used to needing to send kids to an international school, to get them to rub shoulders with the “upper class”. In Andorra, you don’t need to. From there it really is a question of language. If French or Catalan are interesting to you, there’s probably few compelling reasons to go with a private school, as I’m not convinced they provide much else outside of a different language and a uniform.
5. I’m yet to find an insurance that I can’t get. My guess is that you’ll have no trouble. Once you’re settled, let me know if you need an intro to a broker and I’ll set it up.
6. Traffic is only really an issue in the main street of La Massana, or major roads in Escaldes/Andorra la Vella. I’m far less concerned about traffic/fumes (rare) than loud cars while trying to get kids to sleep. Overall I don’t think you’ll have any trouble here.
Hoping this helps you!
Love this blog! What’s Andorra like if you don’t drive?
Hi Bonnie, it all depends on what you want to do. Say you’re skiing daily, it’s possible to take a bus but you’re going to spend more time waiting about in the cold. It’s entirely fine, but not as efficient as it could be. Similarly, getting to more remote restaurants can be more difficult (though not impossible).
Day to day, if you’re living in close proximity to the main bus routes, it’s easy to get by without a car. Buses are free for residents at the moment (and look to be staying that way), and generally run every 15-30 minutes depending on where you live. All in all, quite convenient.
Justin Long says
I am in the midst of applying for residency myself. Indeed, I have a ticket to fly over to BCN (and then bus up to Andorra) in June to submit my residency application. My sons are 9 and 10 years old and speak no Catalan (neither does my wife and I myself have only a rudimentary understanding). How difficult will the school situation be for my boys given that they only speak English?
Most families I know that have arrived with kids around that age haven’t had trouble. Sure, the first 6 months are a steep learning curve for them, but they all seem to manage. Much older than that and those entering the Andorran school system without fluent Catalan heads to the Encamp campus where there’s an intensive Catalan program to help them get up to speed faster.
This all said, it’s important to remember that there are English, French and Spanish schooling options as well. It all depends on your long term plans to stay in the country and where you see your children studying after school (if at all).