How Andorra attracts investors
The Principality of Andorra is a microstate in South-Western Europe. It is located in the eastern Pyrenees, bordering Spain and France with no access to the sea. The arearnof the country is only 468 km² and the number of inhabitants is about 82,000 people. Andorra's official language is Catalan, although Spanish, Portuguese and French are also widely spoken.
Despite its size, Andorra is a thriving country. It is among the top 30 countries with the highest GDP per capita. Andorra's main source of wealth is tourism, carrying over 80% of the country's GDP. More than 10 million people visit the country annually.
Andorra is not a member of the European Union or the Schengen area. But it is part of the EU Customs Union, and the country's official currency is the euro. Citizens of the country can freely visit France and Spain and get a Schengen visa in one day.
Andorra is an ideal country for wealthy people. The country has a favorable tax regime: there is no tax on wealth, capital gains, inheritance, property or dividends in addition to low corporate and income tax rates.
Andorra provides an investor with a residence permit and permanent residency with other advantages:
- visa-free visits to France and Spain, Schengen countries can be visited without visas for 90 days out of 180. Accelerated and simplified scheme for obtaining a visa to the Schengen countries, USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand;
- to maintain status in the country, you only need to live there for 90 days a year;
- there is no automatic exchange of banking information about tax residents;
- high level of education: children study and communicate at school in Catalan, French, Spanish and English;
- Andorra's healthcare system is in the top five in the world ranking. The insurance covers 75 to 90% of all medical expenses. The average life expectancy in the country is up to 83 years;
Andorra has an almost zero crime rate, one of the lowest on the planet.
Investment requirements for a residence permit in Andorra
It is not possible to receive a country's passport directly in exchange for investment. An investor can only apply for a residence permit for the financially independent people, then after about 20 years of living in the country, they can undergo naturalization and obtain citizenship.
Andorra does not recognize dual and second citizenship. If you get the Andorra passport, you will have to give up the first one.
Investment amount. It is relatively easy for an investor to obtain a residence permit in Andorra: it is enough to invest from €400,000 and go through the program requirements. This is a residence permit without the right to work: you cannot work and open a business in the country using it, all income must come from abroad.
€350,000 can be invested in real estate, national securities, investment funds, business or left on an interest-free deposit.
Some banks, by prior arrangement, can transfer all investments under the management of the broker of the largest investment bank — the Goldman Sachs. Then the investments will not just be on the account, but will be profitable.
The remaining €50,000 is a security deposit that must be deposited with the Andorran National Institute of Finances (INAF) on an interest-free deposit as a guarantee of the investor's solvency. The money will be returned after the expiration of the residence permit. If the investor or his family has debts or monetary obligations, the money will be deducted from this deposit.
Participation of family members. For each family member moving with the main applicant, a deposit of €10,000 will need to be added. At the same time, the amount of the main investment will be reduced by the same amount. For example, if an investor applies alone, he must invest €350,000 and deposit €50,000. If he is married and has two children, then he needs to invest €320,000, and put €80,000 in the bank — €10,000 for each family member.
Maintaining the status. Investments must be maintained for the entire duration of the residence permit. To maintain the status, the investor must live in the country for 90 days a year. If you stay in Andorra for less time, the residence permit will be canceled.
Other requirements for the investor. In addition to investments, the investor must meet other requirements of the program:
- Buying or renting real estate in Andorra. There are no space or cost requirements.
- Medical report on health.
- Proof of savings and income. Your income must be three times higher than the minimum wage in Andorra — €1,083 per month per person, that is, from €3,250 per month or from €39,000 per year per family member. Before submitting an application, you must deposit the one year minimum sum into an Andorran bank account. It is important that in the future your income goes here.
- Prove the legality of the origin of funds.
- Police clearance certificate. If you have lived in different countries for a long time or you have different countries of birth and residence, you may need certificates from each of these countries.
- Full coverage health insurance — about €2,000 per person per year.
Documents for applying for a residence permit in Andorra
A residence permit in Andorra for investment can be obtained within 90 days.
First you need to prepare all the documents:
- Signed forms for opening a bank account.
- Original and copy of national and foreign passports.
- Bank statement.
- A letter of recommendation from the bank.
- Disclosure of origin and proof of the legality of funds transferred to the bank.
- Proof of residence for the last five years.
- Proof of employment for the last five years.
- If an investor owns more than 25% of any business, corporate documents are required.
- Tax returns for the last five years.
- Police clearance certificates not older than three months from the country of residence and from the country of birth.
- Marriage certificate.
- Proof of permanent address in Andorra.
- Medical insurance.
We have provided an approximate list — the specific list of documents depends on the migration officer and the bank manager.
All documents are translated into Catalan, Spanish or French and certified by a notary. Police clearance and marriage certificates must be certified with an apostille.
How to get a residence permit in Andorra by investment
Obtaining a residence permit by investment in Andorra will take about two months. The most difficult thing is to collect documents and choose an investment object. The rest of the difficulties should not arise. You cannot apply remotely: you have to go to Andorra for two days.
The procedure for obtaining a residence permit is as follows:
- Collection of documents.
- Opening an account in an Andorran bank, transferring money to it, sufficient to live on for a year. To open an account, you must go through Due Diligence and prove the legality of the origin of the funds. There are only four banks in the country, they have slightly different requirements for investors and opening an account. But it is important that the origin of the money is easy to trace. The bank will also help prepare the remaining documents, decide on investments or confirm the lease.
- Contacting the migration service in Andorra: one day is for filing an application, another is for an interview. You cannot submit documents remotely. The application can include a husband or wife, children under 18 years old and children who are in full time education under 25 years old. The application will be reviewed within three to eight weeks.
- Medical examination. Transferring money to INAF.
- Migration Service Approval. You can get a residence permit remotely through a trusted representative.
- Within six months after obtaining a residence permit, it is necessary to make investments in the required amount.
Initially, the residence permit for the investor and his family is issued for a year. Then it can be extended for two years, then for another two years and then immediately for 10 years. When renewing, the investor must prove that he has been living in the country for at least 90 days, confirm that he pays all bills and income is regularly credited to his account.
You can apply for citizenship only after 20 years of living in the country. Children from 6 to 16 years old can obtain Andorran citizenship after 10 years of living and studying in the country. Before applying for citizenship, you must pass an exam in Catalan language, geography and the history of Andorra.
Non-investment ways to get a residence permit in Andorra
A residence permit in Andorra can be obtained not only for investment, but also as a self-employed, hired employee or entrepreneur.
You can choose one of two types of residency:
- Passive without the right to work — for those who will carry out most of their activities and earn money outside Andorra.
- Active with the right to work — for those who are going to earn money in the country.
A residence permit without the right to work can be obtained by entrepreneurs, professionals who work in the international market, as well as people who have achieved outstanding results in their activities, for example, scientists, athletes, musicians or artists.
Most of the requirements for an applicant are the same as for an investor: to deposit €50,000 into a deposit account for one applicant and €10,000 for each dependent, have the necessary income level, buy or rent a house, live in the country for at least 90 days a year.
But there are also specific requirements. If the applicant opens a company, then it will have to work mainly with clients abroad — 85% of the company's income must be earned outside the principality. People who have achieved outstanding results must document their achievements.
A residence permit with the right to work is suitable for those who want to permanently live in Andorra, work full-time or open a business in the territory of the principality.
The requirements are the same as for holders of a residence permit without the right to work.
A hired employee needs to receive an invitation to work, and then pay income tax (from 0 to 10%), social contributions (about €500 per month, in the first year — about €250), and also make a deposit of €15,000 to the AFA , which is returned after the loss of status.
When starting a business in Andorra, the applicant must own at least 10% of the new or existing Andorran company and hold a management position in it. To maintain the status, one must live in the country for at least 180 days a year.
Tax incentives for residents of Andorra
Andorra is considered a tax haven for wealthy people. The tax regime of the principality is one of the most profitable in Europe. Therefore, the investment program of Andorra is popular among the Spaniards and the French, who become residents of the country and enjoy the local preferential tax regime.
Many types of income for residents are exempt from taxation:
- Income from Andorran government bonds.
- Dividends and other income from investments in companies registered in Andorra.
- Dividends and other income from investments in companies which are residents of Andorra.
- Capital gains and losses (if the investor owns less than 25% of the share capital of the enterprise, otherwise the rate is 10%). Capital Gains Tax in Andorra applies to investments around the world. Any asset held for more than ten years is exempt from capital gains tax. There is no double taxation: if the investor has paid tax of more than 10% on capital gains in his country, there is nothing to pay in Andorra.
- Government grants and scholarships.
- Literary, artistic or scientific awards.
Income tax rate for working foreigners:
- 0% — for income up to €24,000 per year;
- 5% — up to €40,000 per year;
- 10% — in all other cases.
Self-employed must also pay social security contributions — €450 per month.
The corporate tax is 10%. In some cases, the rate can be reduced to 2%.
VAT in Andorra is only 4.5%. Thanks to this, most prices in the principality are lower than in neighboring countries.
To become a tax resident of the principality, you need to spend over 183 days a year in the country. But resident status is not automatically granted, it must be specifically requested from the tax office.
Andorran real estate market
The presence of their own or rented housing is a mandatory requirement of the program, so investors often invest in real estate.
Real estate prices in the principality are on average lower than in neighboring countries. Depending on the area and class of housing, the price per square meter will be from €1,000 to €5,000. A mortgage can be taken with a deposit of 30% at a rate of 3%. Accommodation options are varied, from perennial farmhouses in the mountains to apartments in new residential complexes in the heart of the city.
The main problem of investing in real estate in Andorra is its liquidity. The demand from wealthy foreigners is not enough for a quick sale of an object. As a result, housing can wait for a buyer for months or even years. But gradually the demand for housing is growing and transactions are being made faster.
Real estate may not be the best investment. The rate of return on capital gains or leasing will be 2-3%. For an investor with a small portfolio, this is too niche a sector. Most likely, it will be more profitable to invest in an investment fund and rent housing. Alternatively, invest in commercial real estate. It can bring an average of 3 to 10% per annum.
There are no real estate taxes. You just need to pay annual fees to the local administration — it is about a hundred euros per year. There are also no inheritance or real estate transfer taxes.
But there is a capital gains tax on properties that have been owned for less than 12 years. The longer you own a property, the lower the tax. At first, it is 15%, after 12 years it decreases to zero:
- sale within the first year — 15%;
- sale in the second year — 13%;
- sale in the third year — 10%;
- sale in the fourth year — 9%;
- starting from the fourth year, the rate is reduced by 1% annually. As a result, real estate is not subject to capital gains tax after 12 years of ownership.
Before buying a property, an investor who is not yet a resident must obtain permission from the Andorran government. Residents can buy real estate without permission.
The transaction process is as follows:
- The buyer pays a deposit — usually 10% of the agreed purchase price. If the transaction is canceled, the deposit will not be refunded.
- The seller provides a “certificate of habitability” from a local architect confirming that the house or apartment can be lived in.
- The notary guarantees that the buyer has paid the remaining value of the property and registers the title to the buyer.
The deal can take from several weeks to a couple of months.
Costs when buying a property in Andorra:
- notary fees: from €600 to €1,300 + 0.1—0.3% of the selling price;
- flat tax: 1.5% of the sales price;
- property transfer tax: 2.5% of the sale price.
When selling, you must pay an agency fee: it ranges from 5 to 10%.
To whom an Andorran residence permit by investment is suitable
A residence permit in Andorra is obtained mainly for the sake of tax benefits and a "safe haven” in Europe. This is not an option when the status is chosen only for visa-free travel.
Andorra is also a great option for those looking for a quiet and comfortable life in Europe. The country has a developed economy, European values, the incredible nature of the Pyrenees and a clean environment. Andorra is a couple of hours drive from Barcelona, the sea and the resorts of Spain and France.
If you entrust €500,000 under the management of an international broker, then the liquidity of investments in a residence permit in Andorra increases even more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Andorran citizenship is one of the most inaccessible in the world. You can get it:
- by naturalization for having lived in the country for 20 years;
- having created a family — after three years of living in the country;
- by birth, if the person was born in Andorra and one of his parents is Andorran;
- by family reunification, if the foreigner has Andorran grandparents and has lived in the principality for 15 years;
- arnchild who has attended an Andorran school for 10 years or whose parents have lived in the principality for 10 years.
To obtain a residence permit by investment in Andorra, you need to invest from €400,000:
- With €350,000 you can choose to invest in real estate, national securities, investment funds, business, or leave it in an interest-free deposit;
- The remaining €50,000 are to be deposited as a security deposit with the Andorran National Institute of Finances (INAF).
No, citizens of the principality cannot be citizens of other countries, they will have to renounce their first citizenship.
No, a child who is born in Andorra to foreign parents does not become a citizen of the country by birth. He only receives this right after his parents plan on immigration to Andorra and live in the country for 10 years.