If you’re convinced that establishing your presence in the principality is the ideal decision for you, the subsequent step is to determine how you can obtain Active Residency in Andorra and become a permanent resident.
That’s where we can help. Here’s everything you need to know before applying for an active residence permit and making the move to Andorra.
Passive vs Active Residence in Andorra: Which One Is Suitable for You?
Residency programs in Andorra are geared towards two types of individuals—those who want a permanent home setup, and those who are keen on a temporary stay within Andorra’s borders.
If you’re someone who wants to live and work here long-term, active residency in Andorra is the right option for you. Unlike passive residents, active residents are expected to work and live in Andorra full-time. As such, they will be seen as active members of the community. By applying for active residency in Andorra, you are acknowledging that the country will be your primary place of residence. You’ll work here, play here and live here. Think of it as your home base.
If you’re wondering whether you need to stay here for 365 days a year in order to qualify, you’ll be happy to know that that’s not the case. Although more than the 90-day requirement for passive residents, active residents are only expected to spend 183 days per year within the country.
Doing this gives you tax resident status, allowing you to pay the very fair rates (maximum 10%) set out by Andorra’s tax system. You will also qualify for some of the benefits that passive residents are not afforded.
Pathways to Acquiring Active Residency in Andorra
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want to relocate long term and make the country your home, active residency in Andorra is a great option. Just remember, this will require you to spend most of your time in the country. You’ll also be required to pay into the social security program and the healthcare system—benefits that you can enjoy as a permanent resident.
The following apostilled or legalized and authentified documents depending of the country of issuance (dated within three months) are needed for your application:
- Birth certificate or copy of passport
- Police certificate (from birth country and country of residence)
- Rental agreement (does not have to be apostilled)
- Marriage certificate (apostilled only in case of family regroupment)
There are two ways to obtain active residency in Andorra, each with its own set of requirements, benefits and conditions. Which route you opt for will depend on your unique needs. We’ll break each of them down below.
If you’re self-employed or own a company in Andorra, you’re eligible for Andorra’s active residency program—locally known as residència i treball per compte propi or Compte Propi in short.
This form of residency is exclusively reserved for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to take up full-time residence in the country. The minimal investment requirements and a low tax rate of 10% for annual income exceeding €40,000 are what make this Andorra residency option attractive.
Generally, the country offers around 900 positions per year under this type of residency. In order to qualify you will need to meet a few requirements, including:
- Renting or purchasing a property in Andorra that is at least 20 square metres
- Foreign investment approval
- Incorporation of your company
- An initial deposit of €3,000 in share capital in an Andorran bank account
- A local trading license
- A comprehensive medical exam and interview
- Registration with the Andorran healthcare system (CASS)
- A €50,000 deposit in Andorran government bonds
If you are seeking active residency under this category, you are required to own more than a 34% share of a local company and you must also be a working director.
Note: you do have the option of owning a 100% stake in an Andorran company.
The main advantage of active residency in Andorra through self-employment is that you can employ more than 1 person and you can do business in Andorra with no limit, as opposed to the requirements for passive residency.
Paying Into the Social Security Program (CASS)
Before we proceed to the next section, we must mention that one of the most important prerequisites for active residency in Andorra through self-employment is that you’ll need to pay into the social security program.
Generally, this will require you to pay a fixed rate as opposed to the standard 22% that contractors/employees in the country are expected to pay.
Fixed-rate payment to CASS: €450-€500* per month
*The fixed rate is calculated at 22% of the average salary in Andorra. While it usually hovers around the €2,000 mark, it does fluctuate from year to year. This in turn means the fixed rate payment to CASS for self-employed people will also vary slightly from one year to the next.
Many new residents aren’t used to paying this amount of money. However, it is important to understand that this money goes towards the government-run health insurance program and social security funds. This healthcare system covers 95% of your total hospital bills and 75% of all other medical expenses. Workplace injuries are covered 100%, as is childbirth.
With that in mind, this amount can be considered a good investment (this amount includes personal and corporate social security contributions).
Residency for Dependents
2. Via a Work Contract
Acquiring active residency in the country through a work contract requires you to have a job offer from an Andorran company. Keep in mind that the government gives priority to its own citizens, and those of Spain, France and Portugal when issuing work permits.
You’ll also need basic documents, such as proof of accommodation in Andorra and an apostilled police clearance from your birth country as well as your country of residence.
You want the latter sent to you as late as possible (right before your arrival date) because they are only valid for three months.
You’ll also need to undergo a basic medical exam and sign a few forms. If you arrive in Andorra without employment, you’ll need to scour local job boards and contact local business owners as quickly as possible. That said, if you’re looking to secure active residency in Andorra we definitely do not recommend arriving without a job already lined up.
Some of the pathways towards acquiring active residency through a work contract include:
One of the most commonly used options to obtain a visa is via a seasonal work permit. These permits are ideal for English speakers, especially those who can work at ski resorts or in the tourism/hospitality industry. For the most part, you’ll find these permits are mostly available during the peak tourist season (November through May).
The administrative fees for seasonal work permits are paid for by the employer. However, since each work permit is limited to three months (once it expires, you’ll be given one week to leave the country) it’s probably not the best route to take if you’re seeking active residency in Andorra, as there’s only a very slim chance that it could lead to a permanent job.
Teaching English to Non-native Speakers
Another way to obtain a work permit is by getting hired to teach English to non-native speakers. Unsurprisingly, this only applies to those who are both fluent in English and good at teaching. (Speaking the language and being able to teach effectively are very different skillsets.) Schools often love to hire English speaking language teachers and are open to granting permits for them to do so. If you are a native English speaker, this is a well-paying path to a work permit that could lead to active residency in Andorra.
Benefits of Active Residency in Andorra
Active residency is more appealing than passive residency if you want to put down roots. Additionally, active residents get to partake in government benefits and have the same rights as citizens—except the right to vote.
As an active resident, you are granted access to the country’s healthcare system, social security and social benefits. You can also integrate yourself as a contributing member of the community and enjoy a very low tax rate.
Other benefits to living in Andorra full-time include:
- One of the highest life expectancies worldwide
- Unparalleled safety
- A high standard of living
- Access to nature and clean, smog-free air
- An abundance of options for leisure and recreation
- Low taxes
- A progressive and efficient healthcare system
- International and multilingual educational systems
- The optimum location between France and Spain
Living in Andorra can bring a myriad of great benefits to your life. While passive
residency is great for those who plan to use Andorra strategically, spending the rest of
their time abroad, active residency is your ticket to becoming a local. Until you can
become a full citizen, active residency is as close as you can get.