Beautiful. Affordable. Safe. Andorran residency provides plenty of benefits. And with more and more expats looking to relocate here, it seems the secret is out.
But how does one go about gaining the legal right to live in this tiny Pyrenees principality? From making that step from ‘just visiting’ to ‘permanently residing’?
This guide will explain what it takes to get residency in Andorra. I’ll walk you through the different immigration options, rules, visa requirements and more.
Residency Options in Andorra
You have two main options if you want to move to Andorra. Each with its own set of requirements:
- Passive residency: living in Andorra part-time, without working here.
- Active residency: living and working full-time in the country.
There are some key differences between the two, such as how much time you’re required to spend in the country, whether or not you can legally work here and so on.
Each option also has its own sub-categories as well, which I’ll review below.
Please note: this article is for self-sufficient individuals. If you are seeking employment on your path to residency in Andorra, this is not for you. Finding work in Andorra is difficult, and is not something I can help you with.
Though each route has their own rules and requirements, there are some general requirements that apply across all categories.
I’ll run you through them briefly below.
Clean Criminal Record
Before we get too deep into this article, it’s worth being aware of this key criteria that is currently in place.
To apply for either active or passive residence, you will need a police certificate from your home country proving that you have a clean criminal record.
To the best of my knowledge, there’s no tolerance here—if your record isn’t clean, bad luck.
Proof of Accommodation
You’ll also need to supply proof of accommodation for your residency application to be considered. A rental in Andorra will suffice here.
The main thing is that you have an official lease, as this will become your legal address in the country.
Proof of Funds
Whether you are choosing a route that involves running a local company or not, you’ll need to be able to show where your money comes from.
Before you can apply for residency with the immigration department, you will need authorisation for foreign investment. You’ll need a local bank account as well. Both will require proof.
Andorran Passive Residency
Andorran passive residency requires you to spend only 90 days a year within the country.
If you want to make the principality your home base, while maintaining your economic endeavours elsewhere, this is the visa option for you.
If you spend more than 183 days here each year, you’ll automatically become a fiscal resident and be liable for taxes.
Passive Residence Permit Length
Passive residence permits are initially valid for two years from date of issue. From there you can renew it for another two years, then three and finally, ten years.
Once you hit the twenty year mark, you’re eligible to apply for citizenship.
Passive Residence Requirements
There are a number of hoops to jump before you can apply for a passive residence visa in Andorra.
Provided you’re of good standing, have money in the bank and a reliable source of income, it’s not too onerous.
Proof of Income
You need a steady source of income that amounts to no less than 300% of the average minimum salary in Andorra.
If you’re moving as a family, you’ll need to provide this amount for each family member.
Government Bond Deposit
You need to make a deposit of €47,500 via a yield-free government bond, as well as pay a €2,500 fee to collect your green card.
Dependents will need deposits as well, but these numbers are planned to change so I won’t specify them here.
Proof of Insurance
As a passive residency applicant your interactions with Andorra’s healthcare system won’t be through the country’s social security fund.
Instead, you’ll also need to provide proof of insurance in three areas:
- Old age
These are simple to arrange with an insurer or insurance broker.
Types of Passive Residency in Andorra
There are three types of passive residency to consider when thinking about making Andorra home.
Each one has its own advantages and requirements for eligibility.
Residence Without Lucrative Activity: D.1.1.
Known in Andorra as ‘residència sense activitat lucrativa’, this is a roundabout way of saying you’re not starting a business and therefore acquiring residency by investment.€600,000 to be precise.
This amount includes the aforementioned €47,500, as well as topping up to bring the total amount to €600,000 to make your application.
The investment typically involves buying real estate in Andorra, but if you’d rather rent to begin with, you also have the option of investing in:
- Investment accounts with Andorran banks
- Shares in Andorran companies
- Other investments in the Andorran property market
- Public company bonds
- Increasing your government bond investment with AFA
Once you’ve submitted your application you have seven months to provide proof of your investment.
Professionals in International Business: D.1.2.
‘Residència per a professionals amb projecció internacional’ is aimed at individuals who do business abroad. In addition to the €47,500 government bond, you’ll need to register a company in Andorra.
This entails submitting a detailed business plan and any other necessary documents required to prove you have the requisite experience to run the type of business you’re planning to start.
Unlike active residents, 85% of your work must happen outside of Andorra’s borders in order to qualify.
Your company will also be subject to Andorra’s tax system, where the corporate rate tops out at 10%.
Once the government gives your business plan and company the green light, you will have seven months to make it happen.
Accredited Athletes, Scientists & Artists: D.1.3.
The last type of passive residency is for high-status individuals;
- professional athletes,
Like the other routes above, you’ll need to make that €47,500 deposit into a government bond, and pay €2,500 to pick up your green card. No other investment requirements apply for this type of residency.
As with the previous category, 85% of your work must happen outside of Andorra’s borders. You’ll also need to provide proof of your status, such as documents proving success within your field.
These could include current employment, notable achievements, qualifications, accreditation in your field and so on. In addition to this you must supply a detailed income report and recommendations from fellow peers.
Andorran Active Residency
If you’ve made up your mind and want to move to Andorra on a permanent basis, active residency could be the way to go.
From the country’s perspective, the aim is to attract high-quality individuals who will actively contribute to both the local economy and the community.
Given everything you get in return—great quality of life, decent cost of living, excellent safety, favourable financial environment—it’s hardly a big ask.
Active Residence Permit Length
Active residence permits are initially valid for one year. From there you can renew it for two years, then two, two more, and finally, ten years.
Like passive residency, after twenty years, you can apply for citizenship.
Active Residence Requirements
Becoming a full time resident brings it’s own set of criteria. This used to be simple to satisfy, with limited commitment, but things have changed.
Due to an influx of new residents applying through this route, the requirements seem to be on a trend of increasing. It makes sense—with such high demand, why choose residents that aren’t going to make a positive contribution to the country?
Overall, the commitments are quite realistic considering Andorra is of the best countries for entrepreneurs to live.
As part of the application process, you’ll need a undergo an interview by a doctor. This can also involve a medical examination.
As an active resident, you do need to live in the country full-time. Residency renewal applications often involve a visit from the police to ensure your apartment has furniture, food and, is actually lived in.
By definition, you’ll need to be in the country for a minimum of 183 days per year. As a result, you become a fiscal resident and are subject to the tax system.
As a full-time resident, you’ll need to contribute to the social security fund—CASS.
In exchange, you gain access to healthcare coverage where you can generally expect a reimbursement of 75 to 100% of your medical expenses, including prescriptions.
If you own your own company, or area willing to form an Andorran company, you can apply for ‘residència i treball per compte propi, or ‘compte propi’ for short.
Using this path, you gain a green card through self-employment. A limited number of these are made available each year.
At the moment, you need to own at least 34% of a local company and be either a director or secretary of that company.
You will also need to make a deposit of €50,000 into a non-interest bearing government bond.
As mentioned above, you need to contribute to CASS. This amount will vary based on the current minimum salary, your role in the company and other variables, but in many cases is €474.85 per month.
Wide Ranging Benefits
By now I’d expect the benefits of residency to be clear. Aside from the advantageous fiscal regime in Andorra, the country rewards residents with a very unique quality of life.
If you have the means to support yourself, either by way of investing or moving your company here, it’s not so difficult to get a green card in Andorra.
If you enjoy the outdoors, or more precisely, the mountains, there are few countries left where you can enjoy nature, safety, favourable weather, the diverse school system, while also being able to leverage a tax system with low rates.