Guide to Andorra Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Help?
I dedicate this page to filling in the information gaps.
I add to these as and when questions arise.
DIY Customs clearance.. and also
In fact as is the norm in Andorra there is little or no publicity but actually IKEA agreed on a collection point at naGRUP last February (!). Farga de Moles ( see below) is now one of 40 official IKEA collection points. This means you can shop online and collect from naGRUP!! But and this is a big BUT, IKEA do not have a license to export goods from the EU, so although they can deliver to the border naGRUP you cannot get a transport company or naGRUP to deliver to Andorra, you have to do it yourself. This is because their system cannot produce a post code or name Andorra as the country so the paperwork for the border is incorrect for commercial carriers. You therefore need to do it yourself as the person named which may present problems with the volume of goods to shift.
As for other online orders whether on Amazon, AliBaba, or globally now you can order it and include the address below at the border. Go and collect, pay a small handling fee starting at 4.96 euros up to 10kg, and bring it in yourself. No more lost in customs, lost in transit, cannot deliver, could not find the address etc etc...(You need to collect yourself in most cases as above).
Just order online and put the following delivery address:-
(IN THE ADDRESS LINES PUT....)
Ctra Andorra-Nac 145 Km 9,
LLeida 25799, Farga de Moles,
(YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER IN ANDORRA)
naGRUP will call you to confirm delivery and you collect.
Any problems call their office on +34 973 352 682
Is it true that I can only employ one person for my company under Category B?
A good question: It clearly states in the Immigration law that "the authorised person" can only employ one person in Andorra. However the company formed is a separate legal entity and it is the company that employs not the "authorised person". It has been re-stated by Immigration that the one person rule does apply for the purposes of the viable business plan. In other words the business plan must not appear that more than one person is going to be required to run the operation otherwise you will be directed to the other Category D. The question then arises what happens after approval since there is no law in Andorra that limits the amount of employees that an Andorran company can employ. This has not yet been put to the test however I feel sure that in the CASS social security system a red light may well come on in their records and that is where they may police the employee rule. I have also been asked recently if the one person limit applies to potential employees outside Andorra. The answer to this is clear in that the company could employ any number of persons outside Andorra as CASS would not be involved, but again that is best left out of the business plan !
Can I change my extra investment requirement in Category A?
From bank to property or vice versa for example?
Yes, BUT as has happened in early 2017 a bank deposit was withdrawn to pay for a property. The bank deposits were changed to bankers checks and were paid to the Notary at the time of purchase. The escriptura ( title deeds ) were produced and handed to Immigration as part of the "notice " of transfer of investment. The passive residency was duly cancelled* on the grounds that there was a 2 week gap between the uplift of the deposit and the date of the property title and that they have declared is against the law. The lawyer had no luck this time with pointing out common sense and the spirit of the law, so we are stuck with this so beware. This means in effect that if you do change investments there must not be a gap and in reality that will mean you having to bring the equivalent amount extra to Andorra if needs be to cover the Notary period for the registration. The same will happen for selling a property and receipt of the money from the sale. 2019 Note: This has since been relaxed somewhat but still must be adhered to. Please contact me if you are looking to change your permissable investments in Category A .
* Cancelled here means that you will lose all of the years of passive residency built up and in effect you are starting from fresh. You will not need police certificates etc and the bond stays in place so it is a question of resetting the clock. I am as always only the messenger!
What is the minimum salary in Andorra?
Please check here for the latest inflation updates
How can I get a fiscal residency certificate?
I can apply for you, no problem. It appears that countries and financial institutions are now requesting a fiscal residency certificate. I have heard that some institutions in Luxembourg and Switzerland in particular are keen to close accounts for Andorran residents in the absence of fiscal proof. I have recently had the six million dollar question professionally answered in that you can be a fiscal resident but NOT be liable to pay tax. Fiscal residency is in effect a liability to pay tax not a requirement to pay. If that is puzzling, Andorra has included generous exemptions and allowances, so you can be fiscal but exempt. I can arrange professional advice for you, please contact me.
Why is my service different from other websites that seem to offer the same services on residency?
I am here to act for you, you are taking a serious step in life relocating yourself and possibly your family too to a foreign country. You need to get the right advice, just please be aware that many internet sites that you read through are not based in Andorra and are anonymous. My message is beware which website is genuinely based here and who can offer you full up to date and complete advice. this is a small country, my country, and I will not risk my integrity whatsoever. I look forward to meeting you soon.
I am totally confused by the Schengen visa requirements, does time in Andorra count as part of the 90 days in the Schengen area or not?
We get different answers from different officials at Immigration. For a detailed overview of Andorra and Schengen please read the webpage for Schengen here. Technically Andorra is not part of the Schengen area, so time spent in Andorra should not be counted as part of the 90 day visa. It has been suggested that you should stamp the passport when entering Andorra and stamp when leaving to prove this (This actually was an Andorran Immigration reply). In practice this may not work, not least because Andorran Immigration may not have the stamp handy, but that Spain on departure may also not accept a stamp in and out as proof of stay here since the border is mostly open. If this was acceptable a person could come to Andorra on his first day of landing in Spain, come to Andorra and "stamp out of the EU". He could then go back to Spain/EU with no stamp in and spend 89 days there before coming back to Andorra to "stamp out from Andorra" and spend another 90 days in Spain / EU, all in all the visa is then for 180 days in the Schengen. You can try it as Immigration suggested here but be aware of major setbacks!
I am a US Citizen. Can I still open a bank account with the FATCA regulations?
The short answer is yes, but you will need to sign a full disclosure agreement with the bank. If compliance departments however consider any risk or anything untoward does flag up on their credit checks they may well refuse the account. Different banks look at different things, I have not had a US citizen leave Andorra without an account!
If I buy some goods such as furniture in another country can I import them into Andorra?
As you are buying in the EU and then exporting from the EU for any purchase over 90 euros in any shop you can apply for your tax back when bringing back to Andorra as a resident. The new system is called DIVA (Digital IVA). It is a bar code system so now (2019) at the Spanish border you can go to the meachine and register the export digitally without any involvement from a Customs officer. For other countries you need the older VAT tax back or tax free documents stamped to recover the duty.You also may be required to pay 4.5% import duty, but not normally. If stopped in addition to Andorra tax you need to show it is for personal use and not a commercial sample for example, so it is best to have to hand a copy of your residency card and even your rental contract. If you are using a lorry to import, either arranged by the shop or yourself be very careful that the lorry is registered in the country of the origin of the goods, the shop cannot for example sub contract to a Polish Transport Company as that lorry will not be allowed to enter Andorra. If this happens you need an Andorran registered lorry to meet the other lorry at the border to transport the goods across.
How long is my residency valid for?
Renewals for applicants are now every 2,2,3 and 10 years for passive residencies and every 1,2,2,2 and 10 years for Active residents under Category D. French, Spanish and Portuguese nationals are different combinations
When can I get Andorran Citizenship or a Passport?
By applying for passive or active residency you receive a green residency card. Other than proving residency perhaps at Immigration at Barcelona when returning to Andorra ( to gain exemption from Schengen visa requirements) this green card is not a travel document. If your intention is to gain a "second" passport by applying for residency here then you will be disappointed. In most cases the requirement is for 20 years unbroken residency before you can apply and that also involves renouncing your current citizenship as dual nationality is strictly prohibited in Andorra.
Will my Application for Residency be successful?
It is extremely rare for an application in Category A to fail being a paper exercise: If all papers are correct then your application will be approved. In summary an application may fail in the following circumstances:
- ANY criminal convictions, (Amended with effect from February 2022)
- Serious contagious disease,
- Unable to produce the required documents
- Falsification of documents
Please note that also with Category B applications the approval depends on the acceptance of a viable business plan. Category C relies on approval that the applicant is indeed famous (enough), and Category D requires foreign investment approval. These categories therefore have a subjective element
Can I get Sky TV in Andorra ?
Yes, I can arrange that for you quite easily. Now in the days of fibre optics, there are other cheaper options available, but you will have to email me for that for obvious reasons.
Are there restrictions on bringing pets into Andorra ?
Generally not, Andorra assumes that if you bring in a pet then it will have already conformed to the EU norm of chips, passports and innoculations. I have kept animals and travelled freely back and forth across the border. In order to bring your pet with you from outside the EU you will need to seek advice in your country about EU entry regulations. It is not too difficult, but according to clients, some have spent the best part of the day at Barcelona to get pets released. It can be bureaucratic but not overly troublesome.
Do I have to or can I contribute to and join the Andorran Social Security System ?
This is known locally as CASS. As a passive resident you are not entitled to join the system as you can in other countries. Only if you are an active resident with a work permit are you obliged to contribute.
Are there expat groups in Andorra that organise meetings and activities?
There are many groups that organise activities here the most well-known being the International Club of Andorra (CIA) www.international-club-andorra.com and also there is a local hash that runs / walks every Saturday. Other than those socialising is easy here, Andorra is a very small place and most people know most others!
Can I get an Andorran driving license?
Yes as a passive resident you can exchange a driving license easily provided it is on this list of friendly countries. This has to be applied for within 12 months of your initial arrival here. Other nationalities are more difficult. I have a friendly English speaking driving instructor also who can take you through the local test procedure. Tests can be taken in English for 2 years after your residency, after that is is Catalan only. If you do take the local test of course you can keep your original license, if you exchange it they keep it! Please see my page on driving licenses for full information.
I am confused about this bank certificate and the bond, are they the same document?
No, as explained funds are required to be paid to a bank account in Andorra to represent a xxx% of the minimum wage (amount depends on how many persons in the family unit as explained here). Once the funds are deposited the bank will issue a certificate to Immigration which forms part of your application documents. Once the application is accepted the bond/deposit requirement can then be transferred to AFA (The Finance Department of the Government). The same bank certificate for xxx% of the minimum wage is required for renewal of residency and you must be careful that the required minimum passes through your account each year.
Can I open a bank account in Andorra as a non-resident ?
Yes, besides you will need to do so to deposit the money for the bond prior to application. You may also open a company account as a non resident, subject to correct legalised company documents and due diligence by the bank. The bank has more faith for obvious reasons in company accounts belonging to passive residents or at least passive resident applicants. Non residents will also be charged € 180 per quarter to keep an account in Andorra.
I prefer organic food, are there any suppliers there and is organic food available ?
Yes, most supermarkets stock organic food, probably not as wide a choice than in the big hypermarkets of the neighbouring countries, nevertheless it is available in Andorra.
Can my mother or mother in law be regarded as the same family unit for residency?
It depends entirely on the circumstances of your mother or mother in law. Immigration require you to show that she is dependent on you for support. Therefore if she is married then the answer is no she cannot be within your family unit as Immigration regard her husband as the primary means of support. If she can prove she is a widower or divorced then you can most likely show that she is dependent on you to the satisfaction of Immigration. You will still be required to pay the bond of €9,500 if you can prove dependency under a passive residency application.
What happens when my renewal is due?
The renewal procedure is more straightforward but nevertheless local documentation is required such as proof of insurance, registration with the Comú, and most importantly a bank certificate similar as the one required during your initial application. This means that you will be required to have funds in the bank at the time the certificate is issued for renewal however to clarify absolutely there is no further requirement to pay a bond to the Government other than at the time of your initial application. The money required for the bank certificate can then after be used as you wish.
Are applicants for passive residency from all countries around the world treated as equal?
The law itself in Andorra affords "priority" to the neighbouring countries in view of their close co-operation and in view of the status of a Co-Principality. So applicants from France, Spain, and now Portugal are offered priority. Just how this works in practice is not clear. Next, member states of the EU are similarly offered a degree of priority, although Apostille stamps are required. If you are a national of other countries which are not of the former eastern European States, then you are accorded the same terms as nationals of the EU, regardless of your geographical location.
The interpretation of exactly which countries are listed as former East European States remains firmly in the mind of an Immigration official and is not actually in statute. So if you are a member of these former East European States, and that includes Russia, and you are applying for residency, you will need extra documents to prove your whereabouts, finances and assets for the past FIVE years. This can prove difficult but not impossible and it needs considerable patience.
Finally some countries simply do not issue police reports. In this case we would need to approach Immigration and search for an answer (if any). For those nationals of North Korea for example, they unfortunately succumb to current Government policy!!
Is there a lot to do in Andorra ?
There are numerous summer sports and winter sports, after all Andorra is a ski resort, and an up and coming mountain-biking resort. It annually hosts the mountain biking world cup. In addition there are a host of summer activities from hiking to white water rafting, rest assured you will never be bored here if you enjoy the great outdoors.
What is the cost of living in Andorra ?
On the whole, the cost of living is probably on a par with Spain for normal day to day requirements, except of course alcohol and tobacco which are still considerably cheaper. Brand names also enjoy perhaps a 10% discount to France and Spain. Annual community taxes here are incredibly cheap and by the cleanliness of the streets etc probably the best value for money anywhere in the world. Nothing really springs to mind as being excessively expensive, but you will pay a premium for imported delicacies.
I already own an apartment worth over €400,000,
Why do I have to pay the bond of €50,000 on top?
The Government bond is the contract between you and the Government for you to reside here with the rights and privileges. This must be paid regardless of the value of any existing property you may already own, or are intending to purchase.
Can I apply with a friend for passive residency and share an apartment
Is this a cheaper option ?
No, unless you are a family member such as spouse, child, sister, or brother you are not allowed to share an address. Each passive resident must have a unique address so you will require two rentals (whether you choose to have one large apartment and a small cheap address and live together in practice is up to you but for the Immigration paperwork it is that separate addresses are required). You will also unless family members be required to each pay the € 50.000 bond and in category A the extra investment requirement.
How long does it take to obtain residency in Andorra?
That depends on how quickly you can obtain the documents required from your home country, and how long it takes for you to choose a suitable property here. I have recently completed the whole process for a client in under two days, an exception no less, but I would suggest that once the correct paperwork has been obtained, the process can be completed in a week or so, it can be that quick. NOTE: This above was compiled back in 2012. In 2019 the situation has become much delayed. I would expect an uncomplicated application category A to be processed in 1 to 2 months, other more complicated ones such as Category B can take up to 4 months or more. The fastest remails Category D, it is active and a different department within Immigration where the application takes 3 days !
If I have Andorran residency, do I still need a Schengen visa ?
If you have residency and that includes passive residency you are exempt from requiring a Schengen visa to enter Europe via France and Spain only, the neighbouring countries with whom the Schengen visa accord has been signed. If you try to enter Europe (even on the way back to Andorra ) via Frankfurt for example you will possibly and depending who stops you need a Schengen visa. Once you have landed in Europe you are allowed up to 90 days in other Schengen countries but exit from Europe via any other Schengen country other than France and Spain with an Andorran residency card is not guranteed but has been done by fellow residents, you just don`t have that guarantee. I would like to hear from residents who have had or have not had problems with entry and exit to and from Europe.
I prefer organic food, is organic food available ?
Yes, most supermarkets stock organic food, probably not as wide a choice than in the big hypermarkets of the neighbouring countries, nevertheless it is available in Andorra.
How much is a high speed internet connection?
Fibre optic high speed internet is now available throughout Andorra starting from €15 per month to €69 per month which includes canal+ digital TV. Andorra Telecom now have a good website, the packages are here:-
I am in a same sex relationship and have registered as a Civil partnership
Do immigration in Andorra regard this as being married?
Finally since 2016 Andorra does recognise same sex partnerships in some countries so we need to check first which country is involved.
What is the law on importing cars to Andorra?
All residents can import a car with minimum EURO 5 emissions and pay 4.5% import duty and taxes. However in the case of passive residents they recognise that you are in effect changing your country of domicile and allow a special concession to import a maximum of 2 cars minimum EURO 5 emissions within the first year from the date of residency approval. IF you can prove that you owned and that the vehicle was registered in your name from the country in which you have declared your last residency for a minimum of 6 months prior to your arrival in Andorra then you can import the car tax free. If you cannot prove you have owned the car as stated then you will be required to pay the 4.5% import duty on the CURRENT value, and that is calculated by fixed percentage calculations per year.
The paperwork can be complicated, however I have imported many cars and can do this relatively easily and I can complete the process in a day and a half. There is also the requirement for a local inspection to show that the vehicle complies with local specifications. I am able to get a nod in advance from the person in charge if all the documents are sent ahead of the car. Please contact me if I can be of assistance here.
If I am visiting Andorra do I need a Schengen visa ?
The Government refused entry for 1,237 nationals from Eastern Europe in 2010, mostly those without the correct entry visas. They have stepped up checks at the border, the majority of which are done on public transport (subtle hint) . If you require a visa to enter the Schengen States then yes and legally to enter Andorra you will require a multiple entry visa. If you become a resident, passive resident or hold a work permit then you are exempt from these requirements. I have compiled a new page which explains the advantages of Andorran residency in as far as the Schengen Agreement is concerned. I have also agreed a way forward with Immigration where an applicant for passive residency may conditionally be allowed to enter Andorra (if caught!) on a single entry visa.
Are there local community taxes ?
There is a local tax here called the "foc i lloc", probably equivalent to council tax in the UK, but that is where the similarity ends ! Our bins are emptied 362 days per year, there is no litter problem, flowers are proudly hanging from each lamp post in summer, and Christmas decorations hang in winter, the roads are snow ploughed before you get up in the morning and are kept open at all times, each village has a summer festival, and generally the Comù ( town council ) responds quickly to complaints and suggestions.
The annual foc i lloc bill for all this? ...................About €80 per property !
I have children, is it a problem to relocate the family?
No, not at all, in fact the education system here is wonderful for children who will grow up at least trilingual. There are great skiing activities in winter and outdoor activity camps in summer. The downside is that there is no discount on the bond for children. Under the government policy here as soon as a baby is born he or she is counted as ONE and the bond requirement of € 10,000 will be required to be paid (for each baby or child). Also for documentation purposes you will also be required at the time of the residency application to produce the birth certificate which MUST be Apostillised/Legalised. You will also need a letter from the child's pediatrician and the vaccination history to show that everything is up to date, minor additional documentation but well worth it for the education and lifestyle for your children.
Can I work in Andorra if I have passive residency?
Passive residency does not allow you to work inside Andorra. However in practice it does not stop you from operating your business from home (although strictly legally you may be in breach of your passive residency status, but many people work from home), nor travelling in and out to work outside Andorra. Many passive residents have internet businesses or are consultants etc. It is only if you start to do business in Andorra, hire an office and staff, or work for an Andorran based company will you need to have an active (Category D) or work permit.
Will I have an Andorran passport?
The short answer is NO. You will receive a residency card which allows all the rights and privileges of residency without the travel document. A foreigner generally will have had to reside here for 20 years before being eligible for an Andorran passport, and with a requirement to renounce his previous citizenship; there are exceptions to this rule for French, Spanish and Portuguese citizens.
I have an old conviction in my country of residence, can I still apply?
No, with effect from February 2022 all police certificates must be clean and they will not accept any conviction whatsoever regardless of severity or when it occurred.
Is much English spoken here?
There are communities of expats from most countries in the world, and there are organised help groups to assist people in settling here. As far as the authorities are concerned you will find that most is in Catalan, Spanish or French, but again there is plenty of help available. I know people who have lived here for many years and speak not one word of either language, nothing to be proud of but that is a fact! Nowadays the younger generation have a good grasp of English which is now common in many classrooms. You will get by quite easily.