Digital Nomad / Entrepreneur Category – A new category but ready for testing....
Another first for J W Serveis as the first ever application for residency at Immigration with bond exemption in the "digital economy" process is approved. It is to e stressed that this is a company exemption where the applicant director (s) remain as active Category D compte propi. To date and to my knowledge there has not yet been application lodged for freelance digital and that is to be classed as a passive category, with which I advise caution as outlined in the coming paragraphs. NOTE that I have avoided the term "NOMAD" as the requirements for residency clearly are not aimed at being a nomad......
This very first application was not without high level approval for this new process and some head scratching !!
The new law designed to attract digital "nomads" whom I will refer to as entrepreneurs in the digital sector is now open for applications as far as immigration is concerned. In order to apply for the relevant residency permit as outlined below, approval must first be sought by the Ministry of the economy by formal application before any residency application to immigration. The Ministry of the Economy has now issued the application forms and those will be discussed below. Approval by the Ministry of the Economy means that you or your company are exempt from paying the 50,000 EUR bond/deposit to Immigration, but it isn´t going to be easy in the freelance route.
In summary the new law provides for the following: –
For the digital entrepreneur the two routes are either via forming a company and then applying for exemption from the EUR 50,000 bond/deposit, or by applying as an individual either to work as an individual or to work for an existing company based outside Andorra with the same exemption from the bond/deposit.
- Company formation. (Quota of 50 places allocated). (Correction there is NO specific quota required nor allocated) It allows an Andorran company to apply to the Ministry of the economy to apply for exemption from the existing EUR 50,000 bond for active residency. Formal approval is required in advance of an application to immigration that the activities of the company satisfy the requirements of the Ministry of the exterior in the realms of the digital sector. What this means is that at the time of the current procedure for company formation, an application can be made to the Ministry of the economy to persuade them that the activities of the company meet their requirements within the digital sector so that they can issue a certificate which will then be presented to the immigration Department to exempt them from paying the bond. BUT, all of the company formation and local trading license must be applied for and approved before the step of going to the Ministry of the economy and before any application is made to immigration for residency in the active residency Category D route (Compte Propi).
- Liberal (Digital) professional. (Quota of 50 places allocated) It allows an individual to apply to the Ministry of the economy for approval to reside and work in Andorra as a self-employed entrepreneur., or as an employee of an existing company who can work from anywhere digitally. In effect what this is doing is extending the existing type of category of "liberal professional"which has been in existence since 2012 and has related to areas such as the medical sector where reciprocal arrangements required to be proven to allow that person to operate in his profession in Andorra. This simply extends the liberal professional category to the digital sector. For an individual to apply, he or she will first need to complete the application forms as laid out below together with (very) persuasive supporting documents as to how or she is qualified in the digital sector and importantly how his or her approval would benefit the sector in Andorra. This approval will then be part of the application papers to immigration for an application under the passive residency that I refer to as category B – digital nomad, please note that this is a passive resident category and there have been inherent problems with the existing category B (company formation) and for which I can only advise caution especially when it comes to times of renewal.
Under current immigration procedures the category of company formation (Compte Propi) is classified as an active category. It is now resolved that with company exemption you will be processed as usual but exempt from paying the 50,000 bond if you have the correct approval from the Ministry of the Economy. This active classification has many advantages especially when it comes to renewals. Please now refer to the requirements for Category D.
For those "freelance" entrepreneur applicants who succeed in applying to the Ministry of the Economy for approval in the digital category of liberal professional (freelance/digital entrepreneur/nomad), they will then be processed as passive residents as in Category B, see below for requirements.
What are the requirements and what will be required from me?
For those individuals intending to take advantage of the new category of digital entrepreneur the application forms will need to be submitted to the Ministry of the Economy before any of the requirements for immigration category B application can be made.
As said above this is a passive residency category and you must familiarise yourself with the requirements of category B as listed below.
Please note at this stage that if any of the police certificates which will be required for immigration are not clean there is absolutely no point to apply for approval from the Ministry of the economy since immigration are the ones that will decide whether or not you have residency.
As this is a passive category you will be required to have a full time address, rental or purchase for the duration of the residency, private medical insurance without interruption for the duration of the residency, sufficient deposits annually into the account for the duration of the residency, and this is why I am not referring to this category as "nomad" as it clearly is not.
Step one - application to the Ministry of the economy
Being a new process the actual requirements and how high the bar is still being tested. The actual application form appears quite straightforward but it is the supporting documentation for which yet we have no guidelines. For example we do not yet know whether qualification certificates or other official and unofficial documents will be required to be Apostillised.
Everything needs to be translated into Catalan and original documents are required, you cannot do an email application.
The application form specifies documents that must accompany the application and these are :-
- Documents relative to the economic or professional activity in which the applicant works.
- If employed in this sector by another company then a letter of confirmation.
- If relevant, a certificate from existing clients in other countries in which it declares that the applicant does not require to have a fixed location and can use IT from anywhere
- any other documentation that is considered relevant.
In a nutshell this is going to be a carefully compiled project proving who you are, what you are doing, and above all how it can benefit the digital sector of Andorra.
The application forms are here for information:-
The regulations state that after the application and if there is any further information that could be added, the application will be returned and you will have five working days in which to submit again the application.
The regulations also state that there will be a resolution of approval or rejection within 15 working days from final submission.
There will be an appeals process if rejection and that process presumably will be laid down in the resolution if rejection.
If approval is given then that will form part of the papers for the application for residency which is outlined in step two below.
Step two - immigration application
For applicants under Category B (Digital Entrepreneur)- the applicant must provide:
From outside Andorra:
- Apostillised/Legalised Police certificates from your country of birth, country of current passport and in some cases the country of your last residency before Andorra. Some personal circumstances can be complicated but I can guide you through all of the obtaining and verification of correct stamps both with my database of records and client s documented experiences and with those at Immigration. This will be one of the first areas we will need to discuss. Please note the new and current regulation that requires all police certificates to be clean and that they will not accept any certificate that is not regardless of the severity or the date of the conviction. If you have a conviction do not bother to start the process!
- Apostillised/Legalised proof of civil status. This will be a marriage certificate, divorce certificate or a single declaration form as appropriate, again we can secure these documents often very easily.
From inside Andorra:
- A certificate of exemption from the Ministry of the economy with approval that you are able to become a resident in this category based on their criteria as outlined above.
- Show proof of sufficient means to support yourself (and family). This is currently proven by bank certificate of 300% of the minimum salary and 100% additional for each dependent required at application. This then is an annual income requirement for each year of residency and can be difficult to understand, the bank needs to see deposits into the account each year, it is not now sufficient to just keep a balance on account over the years. renewals will be denied if the bank cannot issue the certificate.
- Proof of private medical insurance valid for Andorra. You will require private medical insurance to satisfy the Immigration requirements for medical coverage in Andorra. The wording of the specific declaration that they require though contains THREE separate insurances namely medical, incapacity and old age.These insurances must remain uninterrupted for the duration of the residency.
- Sign an undertaking that they will reside for a minimum of 90 days per year in Andorra. (Currently no checks are carried out as to the number of days you spend or do not spend here)
- Produce a rental contract or title to a property that complies with Immigration requirements. Please note that a rental contract must now be in the name of the principal applicant only. As husband and wife this has created problems but it must be in the principal applicant's sole name. You must have a fixed address for the duration of the residency. *many people interpret the 90 day rule as applying to the requirement for having an address, that is incorrect it is a permanent address and you cannot sublet when .not here.
- Pay to the Government (Immigration) € 2,500 plus € 500 for each initial issue of the residency card on approval
The residency is granted initially for a period of 2 years, then for 2, 3 and then every 10 years.