Andorra’s active residency programs are set up for those willing to live and work in the country. Unlike passive residency, active residents are expected to spend the majority of their time in Andorra, work here, and participate in the local community.
While passive residency allows visa holders to spend as little as 90 days in the country, this is not possible for active residents. Active residents for all intents and purposes must use Andorra as their home base, or “primary place of residence” if you will.
As active residents spend more than 183 days per year in the country, they are automatically fiscal residents and must pay tax in Andorra. But let’s be honest, with a maximum rate of 10%, this is more a positive than a negative.
Active residents are mainly split into two categories:
- those with a local work contract
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Residence and Self-Employment
For those with their own company, Andorra’s active residency program is known locally as “residència i treball per compte propi” or “compte propi” for short. That is, residence and self-employment. This type of residency has been coined “Category D” by some local agents, though that is not its official name.
At time of writing, there are 900 available positions per year for this type of residency.
Active residence via compte propi requires:
- either renting or purchasing a property in Andorra of at least 20m²; you will need to provide a rental contract or property title upon application
- apostilled documents, dated within 3 months; depending on the current requirements (seems to change often) and your personal circumstances, however expect to provide the following:
- police certificate from your country of birth
- police certificate from your current country of residence
- birth certificate or copy of passport
- marriage certificate
- apostilled birth certficiate or passport
- foreign investment approval from the government
- a meeting in person at a notary
- company incorporation
- deposit of €3000 share capital in an Andorran bank, this amount then belongs to your company
- a local trading license
- a work permit for the shareholder/s
- medical examination and interview
- registration with CASS, Andorra’s healthcare system
- a €15,000 deposit with AFA
Those seeking residence under compte propi must own at least 11% of a local company and be a working director of that company. The good news here is it is now possible for a foreigner to own 100% of an Andorran company.
Dependents of Self-Employed Active Residents
Applicants should know that dependent family members cannot become residents until the company shareholder has been a resident for 12 months.
Tourists are allowed 90 days to stay in Andorra. To stay longer than this, they require residency in Andorra. Theoretically many spouses need to do this to wait out the 12 month period, or they need to leave their partner in the mean time.
It is unlikely your spouse will be caught out overstaying their tourist visa in Andorra while not working, but it is worth knowing the law isn’t on your side. If it became an issue, theoretically your spouse would need to leave the country.
For a husband and wife, this may mean it makes sense for both to become shareholders in the company (owning at least 11% of the company), otherwise your spouse will need to wait.
Payments to CASS
Active residency through self-employment in Andorra requires you to pay into the social security program, CASS, as a self-employed worker or “autònom”. This is not optional.
While for typical workers in the country the amount paid to CASS is a percentage of salary (22% at time of writing), self-employed residents must pay a fixed rate, however there are concessions.
The full fixed-rate payment to CASS is : €453.68/month
New companies may apply for a 50% concession within the first 12 months: €226.84/month
Companies with less than €12,000 in profit and €150,000 in turnover in the last financial year may apply for a 50% concession: €226.84/month
While this amount may seem high to some, consider it in conjunction with your overall tax bill. Also keep in mind the healthcare system in Andorra covers up to 90% of your hospital bill, and 75% of your other medical expenses for you and any of your dependants. Any work-related injuries or child-birth is 100% covered.
Active Residency Through a Work Contract
For those looking to acquire active residency in Andorra through a work contract there are a few things to know.
As with any other type of residency in Andorra, you will need an apostilled police certificate from your country of birth and current country of residence to apply for your permit. Depending on where you are from, these certificates can take time to get, so it’s best to come prepared with them, knowing they are only valid for 3 months. Essentially you want them issued and apostilled as late as possible before arriving in Andorra.
Your employer should take care of organising your seasonal work permit. Part of this process will require you to sign some forms in Catalan (ideally with the help of your employer) and take a brief medical examination.
In almost all cases of gaining work in Andorra, the onus is on you to “hit the pavement”. While it is possible to contact business owners prior to arriving (and it is probably a good idea), don’t expect to check a local only jobs board to find out who is hiring. At best it will be out of date.
Seasonal Work Permits
Work permits for English speakers are most commonly tied to seasonal work. Often this is linked to the increased demand in staff during ski season. These permits are typically offered during a set time period (November through May) and are limited to 3 months. After this period expires, you have 7 days to leave the country.
Fluent English speakers willing to teach English in Andorra often don’t find it too hard to get work. While local schools may not advertise their desire to hire staff, most seem to be constantly open to hiring fluent English speakers.
Other Work Permits
For those lucky enough to find an ongoing position with an Andorran employer the process is much the same. Before offering you the position your employer will have advertised locally in the “job offers” board to ensure that local workers cannot fill the position first.
If your employer can prove they are unable to fill the position with the local employment pool (citizens and residents who already have work permits), then they can apply to sponsor a foreign worker.
Active Residency in Andorra: A Great Opportunity
It may not be for everyone, but if you want to properly relocate, put down roots, and experience the seasons of Andorra, this could be a great option.
Active residence will require you to spend the majority of your time in the principality, and pay into the social security program but this is more a blessing than a curse. Andorra wants to attract high-value individuals through this program who will contribute to the local economy and community. In return for your commitment, you get to live in a country with a great quality of life, excellent safety, reasonable cost of living and enjoy the very favourable Andorran tax system.