You may enter this country from two directions: from France and from Spain. In the first case, a spiralling highway awaits you that will make your heart miss a beat. Then you will suddenly stumble upon a border crossing point and bump into a drowsy French border guard who will most likely not even look you in the eye. If you travel from Spain, you will weave your way across mountain valleys, passing through small Spanish towns and villages until you reach the tail end of a small line of cars that are crossing the border. Here, you may also pass unnoticed, but you could equally invoke curiosity; however, it is almost certain that nobody will stop you. Now, you have crossed the border and entered a country whose population is less than 100,000 people and whose borders have not changed since the 13th century. Welcome! This is Andorra, a holiday of a country. It is sunny, clean and tiny. When in 20 minutes you reach the capital of Andorra, Andorra-la-Vella, you will feel as though you have entered a large duty-free store. This is how firmly you will be struck by the abundance of perfume shops and shops that sell tobacco and alcohol, jewellery and watches. Indeed, many people go to Andorra for shopping. The country has exceptionally low import duties and VAT.
Andorra is notable for its mild climate. This place does not have a scorching summer as Spain does. In winter, you may enjoy a view over snow-capped peaks while strolling in your sneakers along the clean streets of the capital city. Andorra is a paradise for lovers of outdoor activities and sports, including tracking, hiking, cross-country and downhill skiing, and plenty more. Gourmets will be pleasantly surprised by the number of restaurants per square kilometre of this tiny country. Yet, what is most important is safety. In Andorra, you may leave your handbag in an unlocked car while to do so in Barcelona is a nightmare.
The following facts about Andorra will be of interest to those who are looking for a place to make investments and to work remotely:
- Andorra is not a member of the EU, and nor is it a part of the Schengen Area, though it admits, for the purposes of tourism, all people who are eligible to stay in the states of the Schengen Area.
- As its currency, Andorra uses the Euro, though it is not a part of the monetary union of the countries that have adopted it.
- Andorran banks provide services to foreigners and, in general, are continuing to work with Russian nationals as before.
- Andorra offers a permanent residence permit by investment. Generally, this implies a purchase of real estate; however, placing a deposit or purchasing other banking products is also possible. Currently, such investment should amount to EUR 600,000 plus overheads.
- A permanent residence permit is issued in 3 to 4 months and entitles its holder to enter France, Spain and Portugal without a visa as well as to obtain fast-track visas for other member states of the Schengen Area.
- Generally, a permanent residence permit is issued in Andorra before the investment is made. A person makes a prepayment and assumes an obligation to pay the investment by the established deadline after obtaining a permanent residence card.
- Real estate in Andorra is rising in price. The number of land plots for development and construction is pitifully small. The most expensive real estate is located in the centre of the capital Andorra-la-Vella.
- An Andorran permanent residence permit does not oblige a person to permanently reside in Andorra: it is required to stay in the country for a minimum of 90 days in a calendar year.
- An Andorran permanent residence permit allows you to exchange your driving licence for an Andorran driving licence. Russian nationals are required to pass a fairly basic practical test.
- Those holders of an Andorran permanent residence permit who plan to stay in Andorra for a longer period and who will become tax residents of it will be favourably impressed by the low income tax rate of only 10%.
- Holders of an Andorran permanent residence permit may found an Andorran company through which they will conduct business. The rate of corporate profit tax for such company will be only 10%, while the tax on dividends will equal 0%.