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Obtaining a residence permit: where and how?

Obtaining a residence permit can be a direct route to a residence permit, allowing us to enjoy the living conditions and (often very favorable) tax rules of a given country almost indefinitely. However, it is usually much more difficult to obtain a residence permit, so it may take some time to get it.

In contrast, residence permits are much more flexible, can be obtained in several ways, and can be valid for decades. In our article, we have gathered the rules for the most sought after countries.

Malta

The island of Malta is not only a beautiful place but also very popular with business circles. The country of the European Union is very politically stable, well located and provides many travel routes to any part of the world. In addition to the country’s natural beauties and Mediterranean atmosphere, it also offers many economic benefits.

Anyone can apply for a residence permit, regardless of the country from which they apply. However, obtaining a residence permit already depends on the country from which you are applying. To apply, you must visit the city of Valletta, but even a proxy can do so. And after completing the necessary administration, we can get a residence permit, which we already have to pick up in person.

As a citizen of the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, applying is completely free, all you have to do is pay attention to renewing your residence permit every five years.

monaco

The second smallest country in the world, the city-state of Monaco has long been home to some of the world’s most famous and wealthy individuals. The official language is French, but most also speak English and Italian.

Obtaining a residence permit is not easy, but fortunately it is far from as complicated as we might first think. The first criterion is to have accommodation in the country, that is, we must either buy real estate or rent one out with at least a one-year contract. If we are successful, we will have to open a bank account in the country, which can typically be done by depositing between € 500,000 and € 1,000,000.

We can then try to obtain a residence permit, which, if successful, will be valid for one year and then renewable annually for up to 3 years.

There is no explicit requirement for a minimum length of stay, but they can sometimes check to see if we are actually spending time there – we can even prove this with a paid overhead bill. After the first 3 years, we can obtain the “Carte de Resident Ordinaire”, which is already a residence permit valid for three years and only needs to be renewed every three years.

United States

Although it is common knowledge that it is very difficult to settle in the United States, fortunately there have been several lesser known options for obtaining our residence permit. Let’s look at these in a row:

L-1 employee visa

The L-1 visa requires you to continue to hold a director or executive position in an international company for at least 1 year in the 3 years prior to applying, and also to establish a new company in the United States. The visa obtained in this way can even be extended to family members

E-2 investor visa

Unlike some other visas, the E-2 visa is not subject to a number limit, meaning we don’t have to worry about being rejected after a successful application because the quota is full. We can apply for such a visa from most countries in the world with a few exceptions (e.g. India and China). To apply, we must be prepared to invest a significant amount of money in the U.S. (the specific amount depends on the industry, but is at least $ 200,000). As long as the company we have invested in is working well, this visa can be extended indefinitely.

Greece

Not only has the country played a decisive role in world history, but it is still an important center today thanks to its excellent location. It is easily accessible from almost every continent and last but not least it is a beautiful place for a breathtaking vacation. The country is justifiably world famous for its Mediterranean climate and sophisticated gastronomy.

If we live in a country belonging to the European Economic Area, we can live and work in Greece for 90 days without further ado. In addition, we will need a so-called Residence Certificate, which fortunately can be obtained at any nearby police station.

If we live in another country, the situation is more difficult. In such a case, we must first obtain a long-stay visa, and since a law introduced in 2013, if we buy property worth at least € 250,000, we can also get a residence permit for ourselves and our family members.

United Kingdom

Shakespeare and the birthplace of the Beatles have a reputation for international fame in the world economy. Despite the changes brought about by Brexit, obtaining a residence permit is still possible for wealthy investors in the country under a so-called Tier 1 visa.

This visa allows us to stay and work freely in the country so that even our family members can stay with us. We have the opportunity to do this as an active or even passive resident.

To obtain a visa, we must have an investment of at least £ 200,000, which in turn can be used to set up a company in the country. In addition, we need to prove that we have an adequate level of English

Portugal

It is one of the largest historical countries in Europe, not only famously safe, but also one of the countries with the best living conditions. In addition to the official Portuguese language, English is also understood and spoken by many.

From an economic point of view, although production is still very important, the service sector is playing an increasingly important role in the life of the country. It is also at the forefront of the use of renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind or hydropower.

If we want to spend more than 3 months in the country, we have to apply for a residence permit. As a citizen of the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, we can obtain a Certificado de Registo for 5 years, which is a simpler process. If we come from outside the EU, the Autorização de Residência will help us, which entitles us to stay in the country for a year. In this case, we need to prove that we have adequate financial resources and accommodation.

Switzerland

The country is rightly famous for its banking system, but it also provides one of the best quality of life in the world. This is due to its long-standing neutral political position, which has also resulted in exceptional economic stability. The headquarters of many international organizations can be found here, such as the Red Cross or the WHO. This extraordinary combination makes it an ideal home for international entrepreneurs and investors. 

Switzerland provides several opportunities for us to stay in the country for a longer period of time. As a citizen of an EU or EFTA country, all we need is a passport, a sublease and, if we have one, an employment contract. If you are coming from another country, you will need to obtain an L or B permit: the former allows for a maximum of 12 months and the latter allows for a stay of up to 5 years, which can even be renewed.

Spain

Spain is one of the most developed countries in the European Union, complemented by its excellent tourist facilities. The average income falls into the upper category and, although not officially a G20 member, has a permanent invitation to meetings.

As a citizen of an EU member state, we must obtain a “certificado de registro de la Unión Europea” residence permit, which provides an unlimited opportunity to live in the country. If we do not currently live in the EU, a law that came into force in 2013 will help us. This provides an opportunity to obtain a residence permit in 3 ways:

  • Purchase of real estate worth at least € 500,000
  • Purchase of shares worth EUR 1,000,000 in a Spanish company or deposit of the same amount in a bank account in Spain
  • Purchase of government bonds worth at least EUR 2,000,000

France

The country is not only famous for its sophisticated wines and diverse gastronomic opportunities, but its economic and political stability also provides a good environment for living. Unparalleled quality medical care and outstanding educational opportunities also provide a good basis for longer-term establishment.

To obtain a residence permit, we must have a French address and prove something of our self-sufficiency. The easiest way to do this is to open a bank account abroad, which can be done with a starting amount of up to a few thousand euros.

andorra

Andorra is a small independent country located on the border of France and Spain. It is well known for its ski resorts and is considered a tax haven in business circles. Despite its small area, it is a diverse country, with mountains of natural beauty as well as rich shopping opportunities, shopping malls and historic buildings.

It is possible to obtain both an active and a passive residence permit. The latter allows us to spend a minimal amount of time in the country, but take advantage of the opportunities offered by the local tax system. Obtaining a permit, of course, requires a criminal record, and we need to buy government bonds worth at least 50,000 euros as an investment in the country’s economy. We must also have health insurance and an income in excess of three times the local minimum wage (which currently earns a total of € 36,628.92 a year).

Austria

It is one of the most beautiful countries in Central Europe, with beautiful landscapes thanks to the Alps. In addition, not only is the level of medical care extremely advanced, but it is also at the forefront from an economic point of view. To obtain a residence permit, you only have to meet four requirements:

  • We need to have at least € 400,000 in a bank account
  • We cannot have a criminal record or a serious illness (this must be proven)
  • Sublease or own property in the country
  • Basic knowledge of German

United Arab Emirates

The West Asian country is one of the most stable states in the region, formed as an alliance of sheikhs of the seven emirates in the 1960s. Thanks to the country’s oil reserves, it has in a short time built world-renowned tourism and a tax system that provides extremely favorable conditions for its residents.

The country is a tax haven that uniquely provides tax exemptions to residents and legal entities – and it is not even a prerequisite for this to be in the country at all times.

The residence permit can be obtained by purchasing real estate worth at least AED 1 million (approximately $ 275,000) and will be valid for 2 years. If we decide to start a company, it is also possible: in this case we can get a residence permit valid for 3 years after the successful completion of the process.

Thailand

Thailand is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Its tropical islands are visited by thousands of visitors every year, and the capital, Bangkok, blends modern architecture with historic neighborhoods. And if we spend at least 180 days a year in the country, we have to tax according to local laws, which can be a very favorable option.

One of the easiest ways to get a residence permit is to invest at least 10 million baht (about $ 280,000) in a company operating in Thailand in the form of a stock or bond. We have to keep this investment for at least 3 years, but we can even extend the length of our stay there by years.

The license can be obtained for even less starting amount, according to the following three fees:

  • $ 15,000 one-time fee in exchange for a 5-year residence permit
  • $ 30,000 one-time fee in exchange for a 10-year residence permit
  • $ 60,000 one-time + $ 600 annual fee in exchange for up to 20 years of residence permit and other extra services