Andorra is a place that’s quite likely to tick all the right boxes when it comes to finding a permanent residence in the mountains. It’s secluded but still accessible and well equipped with modern tech. Expect to find everything from farms, horses, and countryside, to modern apartments, luxury cars, and hotels — it’s the perfect rural-urban blend.
If you’re convinced that laying down your roots in the principality is the right choice for you, then the next step is to figure out how you’re going to apply for residency.
That’s where we can help. Here’s everything you need to know before applying for an active residency permit and making the move to Andorra.
Active vs Passive: Which Residence Permit 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 the borders of Andorra.
If you’re someone who wants to live and work in Andorra long-term, active residency is the right option for you. Unlike passive residents, those who seek active residency are expected to live and work full-time in Andorra — they’ll be seen as active members of the community. By applying for active residency, 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 as an active resident, you’ll be happy to know that that’s not the case. Unlike the 90 day permit allotted to passive residents, active residents are required 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
Active residency may not be everyone’s cup of tea, however, if you want to relocate long term and make Andorra your home, active residency is a great option. Just remember, this will require you to spend most of your time within the country. You’ll also be required to pay into the social security program and the healthcare system — benefits that you can enjoy as an active resident.
Documents Needed for Your Residency Application:
- Apostille Certificate
- Passport Copy
- Rental Agreement Copy
- Resume or Biography
- Marriage Certificate
Once you start looking into active residency, you’ll come across two main paths of entry. Each has its own set of requirements, benefits, and conditions. We encourage you to choose your course of action depending on what suits your unique needs.
Below, we’ll break down the two main categories of active residency in Andorra.
If you’re self-employed or own a company, 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 proprietors who want to take up full-time residence in the country. The minimal investment requirements and a low tax rate of 10% for annual incomes 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. To qualify, you will need to meet a few requirements which include:
- Renting or purchasing a property in Andorra that is at least 20 square metres
- Apostilled documents dated within three months
- Police certificate of birth country, birth certificate or passport, or marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Foreign investment approval
- An in-person meeting with a notary
- Incorporation of your company
- An initial deposit of €3,000 in share capital to an Andorran bank
- A local trading license
- A comprehensive medical exam and interview
- Registration with the Andorran healthcare system
- A €15,000 deposit (per person) in Andorran government bonds
If you are seeking active residency under this category, you are required to own at least a 20% share of a local company. You must also be a working director and you have the option of owning a 100% stake in an Andorran company.
The main advantage of active residency through self-employment is that you only have to pay a €15,000 bond as opposed to the €50,000 required 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 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: €468.48/month
Many new residents aren’t used to paying this amount of money. However, it is important to understand that this money goes into the government healthcare system and social security funds. This healthcare system covers 95% of your total hospital bill and 75% of all other medical expenses. Any injuries accrued at work are covered 100%, as is childbirth.
With that in mind, this amount can be considered a good investment.
Residency for Dependents
One important thing worth mentioning is that dependent family members are not permitted to become residents until the company shareholder holds residency for at least one year, unless you are French, Spanish, or Portuguese.
Via a Work Contract
Acquiring active residency in Andorra through a work contract requires you to have a job offer from an Andorran company. Note that the government prioritises its own citizens, and those of Spain, France, and Portugal when issuing work permits.
You’ll also require basic documents such as proof of accommodation in Andorra and an apostille police certificate 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’re only valid for 3 months.
The administrative fees for seasonal work permits are paid for by the employer. You’ll also need to undergo a basic medical exam and sign a few forms. If you arrive in Andorra without employment, it is paramount to look at local job boards and contact local business owners as quickly as possible. Ideally, we don’t recommend arriving in Andorra for this type of active residency 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 available during peak tourist season (November through May).
Each work permit is limited to three months — once it expires, you’ll be given one week to leave the country.
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 fluent in English, and are good at teaching; being good at 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.
Active residency seekers can find additional work permits if they are looking to stay in Andorra long term. One of the best means to do this is through sponsorship. A local Andorran employer can choose to sponsor foreign workers if they are unable to fill a position via the local employment pool.
Benefits of Active Residency
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 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 it can get.
An Opportunity Like No Other
The goal of the active residency program is to draw in successful and high-value people who want to make the local economy a better place. The government wants individuals who can become pillars of the community. In return for your commitment to Andorra, you get to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle that is low-stress, safe, and uniquely Andorran.
Need more information on becoming an active resident? Reach out and give us a call today! We’re here to help you navigate through your relocation process. Our goal is to help you to settle in our wonderful nation for good.