Andorra is a thriving society that participates in the global economy but maintains a degree of separation from the rest of Europe. It also happens to have a very attractive tax system.
As a place to live, it offers both easy access to a fantastic outdoor environment and the familiar comforts of modern life.
All of these characteristics mean that many people will consider Andorra as a potential destination for long-term relocation. This post will be your guide to the technicalities of applying for an Andorra residence permit.
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How Hard Is It to Get a Residence Permit in Andorra?
Not very; the process is fairly standard and straightforward.
As the applicant, you will no doubt be eager for it to be finished as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Sometimes bureaucratic undertakings can have multiple steps that depend on each other. In this case, the most important strategy is to have all of your documentation and other prerequisites prepared, but also note that for many there is a recency requirement (for instance, your birth certificate must be apostilled within the past three months) so it is possible to be prepared too far in advance.
Types of Residence Permits in Andorra
While active residence permits are for people who want to work and live in Andorra and participate in the Andorran social security and health care systems, passive residence permits are more suited for those who make a living outside of Andorra but want to live here for part of the year.
Other passive residents may want to retire to Andorra or may be entrepreneurs and want to form their company in Andorra, which will be registered locally but transact most of its business abroad.
What Do You Need to Apply for Passive Residence in Andorra?
There are a few categories of passive residency in Andorra and the application requirements are slightly different for each one. But the elements they have in common are that all applicants will need:
- A criminal background check from their current country of residence.
- Proof that a minimum €50,000 bond has been purchased from the Institut Andorra de Finances as an investment in Andorra’s economy.
- An annual income that is three times the annual Andorran minimum salary (€13,457.64 x 3 = €40,372.92) plus another €13,457.64 for each dependent family member.
- Private health insurance coverage, plus old-age and disability coverage if you’re between 18 and 60.
Passive Residence Without Lucrative Activity
This type of Andorran passive residency is probably best suited for retirees and others on an extended break from working.
Passive residents on this visa must spend more than 90 days per year in Andorra. Between 90 and 182 days, per year, you will not be considered a resident of Andorra for tax purposes, but at 183 or more you will liable for income tax in Andorra.
In particular, for this visa, you must:
- Prove a total €400,000 investment in the Andorran economy (or €350,000 in addition to the €50,000 bond). New residents have 7 months after arriving to prove this.
- Demonstrate that you have old-age and disability insurance if you are between 18 and 60 years old.
Passive Residence for International Business Professionals
This visa is for passive residents who are based in Andorra even though most of their economic activity is global. To apply they must:
- Present a well-supported business plan covering the first three years of their business.
- Within seven months after the plan is approved, form a company registered in Andorra that transacts 85% of its business internationally.
Passive Residence for International Athletes, Scientists and Artists
This is the third, and probably least common option for applying for passive residency in Andorra. This classification is similar to Passive Residence for International Business Professionals, but is instead geared towards people who top-level participants in sports, academic research or culture.
As well as the common requirements for passive residency, those applying for this visa, must:
- Demonstrate their international credentials and awards that show they are widely recognized for being at the top of their field. (This is subjective, to some extent, and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.)
- Present financial documents that show they meet the minimum income requirements.
What Do You Need to Apply for Active Residence in Andorra?
There are basically two categories of active residents in Andorra:
- Employees with a work contract.
- Those who own their own business.
In most cases, applying for active residence in Andorra with a work contract is easier and more straightforward. Usually, your Andorran employer will help navigate (to varying degrees between different jobs) the bureaucratic steps for applying.
Most foreigners working in Andorra do so on seasonal work permits (usually related to winter tourism in Andorra) or to teach (often specializing in English). Getting a permanent job with an Andorran company is possible, if rare, but the employer will have to demonstrate that they couldn’t fill the role with local applicants.
There is a longer list of requirements (fully detailed in our post on Andorra active residency) for active residence applicants who want to run their own company, but the common requirements for employees and entrepreneurs are:
- Birth certificate or a copy of passport.
- Police background check from your current country of residence, the country you were born in and (possibly) any other countries you’ve lived in.
- Marriage certificate if you’re married.
Applying for an Andorra Residence Permit
Depending on the type of residency you choose, the actual logistics of applying can have several dependent steps. Especially if you’re applying for passive residency or making your application without the help of an Andorran employer it might make sense to hire a professional consultant.
Some applicants might be able to complete some of the steps from their home country but you’ll have to actually be in Andorra to do things like open a bank account that is required for some types of residency.
It isn’t always possible to complete the residency application process while in Andorra on a tourist visa — especially if the process takes longer than 90 days, so you may have to return to your current country and come back.
From the favourable tax rate to the abundant real estate, Andorra has plenty to convince those who want a change of scenery. Luckily, there is a fairly straightforward and reasonable process for obtaining an Andorra residence permit.