The right to obtain a residence permit by purchasing real estate is enshrined in Article 84 of the amendments to the Foreigners Act No. 79/2021.
Conditions for obtaining a residence permit in Albania by purchasing a property
Type of property. The law does not specify whether the property must be residential or commercial, new only or purchased on the secondary market. But if an investor were to obtain a residence permit for any other reason, such as starting a business, he would necessarily need to have housing in Albania.
Conditions for owning real estate. A residence permit for the purchase of real estate will be granted to investors who prove ownership of the property. The contract of sale is suitable for this. He is not required to be the sole owner of the property: a residence permit will be issued if the investor owns a minimum of 50% of the property.
The value of the property. The minimum amount of investment in real estate in order to obtain a residence permit is not specified in law. But such a requirement may arise in the future: the criteria and procedure for granting a residence permit by investment is set by the Council of Ministers of Albania.
Property prices in the resort areas of Albania increased by 200% between 2004 and 2014. But so far, Albanian properties remain among the most inexpensive in the Mediterranean region.
The cost of city apartments in Albania ranges from €570 to €2,500 per square metre. In the centre of the capital, Tirana, a square metre apartment costs on average €1,865 and in the resort town of Saranda €1,032.
Duration and renewal of the residence permit. For the purchase of the property, the investor will receive a residence permit card valid for one year.
If the investor wishes to remain a resident of Albania, he or she can renew the residence card annually. In doing so, it is important that the investor continues to meet the conditions under which he or she received the residence card - that is, to remain a property owner in Albania. Whether the investor needs to live permanently in the country in order to maintain the residence permit is not specified.
The procedure for obtaining a residence permit for investors will be established by the Council of Ministers of Albania. It is not yet known whether it will be different from the process that other residence permit applicants go through, such as employment.
Standard procedure for obtaining a residence permit in Albania
A type D visa is needed to enter Albania and stay in the country while the migration office processes the residence permit application.
If the applicant is not applying for a residence permit through employment, he/she opens an account in a local bank. The amount in the account should be sufficient for living in the country for the duration of the residence permit. A bank statement or pay slip must be attached to the application for a residence permit.
Having a registered address in Albania is a prerequisite for obtaining a residence permit. The address is indicated on the residence permit card.
The amount of the state fee depends on the reason for the residence permit and is about €80.
Apply to the Albanian Migration Service within 30 days from the date of entry into the country. Applications are accepted online. The application form must be accompanied by scans of:
- Passport including the visa page;
- contract of sale or lease of real estate;
- bank statement or pay slip;
- certificate of no criminal record;
- proof of the reason for a long-term stay, e.g. an employment or academic contract;
- receipts for payment of state fees.
If the documents are submitted in full, the Migration Board arranges a date for a personal visit to the office where the applicant is registered. During the personal visit, the applicant confirms his/her identity and submits the original documents. A decision on the application is made within one month of the date of online submission.
Why would an investor need a residence permit in Albania
Prospect of citizenship. If the investor has lived in the country for five years on a residence permit card, he or she can apply for Albanian citizenship. Living in the country counts if the applicant has spent more than 180 days a year in Albania. Proof of proficiency in the Albanian language at the elementary level will also be required.
Albania is a candidate for accession to the European Union. Albanian nationals were granted visa-free entry to the states of the region in 2010. Albanian passport holders can also travel visa-free to Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.
Income from rental properties. 3.3 million tourists visited Albania in 2019. If an investor owns residential property in resort towns such as Vlora or Saranda, they can rent out properties to holidaymakers. Rental yields are around 5% per annum.
Relocation and holidays in Albania. The residence permit card entitles you to enter and reside in Albania without restrictions. Residents can also work, conduct business and study at local schools and universities.
Albania lies on the coast of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The country has a warm climate, with average temperatures of +13°C in winter and up to +31°C in summer. At the same time the sun shines up to 300 days a year. For comparison, Moscow has an average of 88 sunny days a year. The sun shines 300 days a year in Albania.
But despite its popularity among tourists and the beautiful nature, Albania remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. In 2020, Albania was ranked among the ten European countries with the lowest GDP per capita.
How to get a residence permit by buying a property in the EU
Albania is not the only country where residence permits can be obtained by purchasing real estate. Temporary residence permits by investments in real estate are available in Portugal, Greece and Spain, while permanent residence permits are available in Malta and Cyprus. All of these countries are members of the European Union.
A residence permit in the European Union gives you the right to live, work, conduct business and study in the country of residence on the rights of local residents. The residence permit card also replaces a Schengen visa when travelling within the region. The card is issued for one or two years, depending on the country.
The EU residence card is issued for life, but the card must be renewed every five years. Malta Permanent Residence Card allows you to travel visa-free in the Schengen countries. But the Cyprus residence card does not - the country is not part of the Schengen area. However, Cypriot residents obtain Schengen visas through an accelerated procedure.
Conditions for obtaining residence permits and permanent residence permits by investment in real estate in the EU
|Status and country||Status and country||Timeline for obtaining status||Does one have to live in the country to maintain status||After how many years you can apply for citizenship|
|Residence permit in Portugal||From €280,000||From 2 to 6 months||7 days a year||5 years|
|Residence permit in Greece||From €250,000||From 6 months||No||7 years|
|Residence permit in Spain||From €500,000||From 2 to 3 months||No||10 years|
|Permanent residence in Malta||From €10,000 when renting housing|
From €300,000 when buying
|From 6 to 8 months||No||5 years|
|Permanent Residence in Cyprus||From €300,000||From 2 months||No, but must visit the country at least once every two years||5 years|
Property prices in the EU have been rising steadily since 2014, and over the past 10 years house prices have risen by an average of 30.9%.
If an investor buys a property to obtain a residence permit or a permanent residence permit in the country, he will be able to sell the property in five years and earn on the difference in value. For example, if an investor bought a property in Portugal in 2016, in 2021 they will sell the property at one and a half times the value.
Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for residence permit and permanent residence programmes in the European Union. If you want to buy a property and become a resident of one of the EU states, seek advice from experts in investment programmes.