With over 300 kilometers of beautiful ski slopes to utilize, Andorra is so much more than a lovely winter vacation destination. Explore the countless museums that will allow you to fully immerse yourself and learn about the vibrant Andorran culture. Sample the unique cuisine with the fresh locally sourced produce and live like a local by exploring all the enthralling shops across the countryside. Andorra is a wonderful place to call home, so start preparations today and make your move soon!
Country Facts and Interesting Information
- Capital: Andorra
- Currency: Euro
- Languages: Catalan (official), Spanish, Portugese, French
- Major Religion: Roman Catholic
- Largest Cities: Andorra la Vella, Escaldes-Engordany, Encamp
- Officially the Principality of Andorra
- Sovereign landlocked microstate in Southwestern Europe
- Sixth smallest nation in Europe
- Population of approximately 85,450
- Although bordered by France and Spain, Andorra itself is not a member of the European Union
Process of Moving Overseas to Andorra
In order to have the best possible relocation experience, you will need to find a trusted international moving company. Because they will be in charge of all your possessions and valuables, as well as providing you with important information and help every step of the way, make sure you thoroughly vet any potential companies before signing a contract and committing. Your best bet will be to enlist the help of a full-service mover, because they can handle every aspect of your move from start to finish, shifting the burden and the stress away from you. The best companies in the industry will customize relocation packages based specifically on your personal needs, and adhering to your budget. International Moving Companies, Inc. has years of experience relocating individuals, businesses, and families to the beautiful country of Andorra. Not only do they excel in all aspects of the moving industry, but they also have agents with expert knowledge of all residency and import requirements for Andorra, plus access to any resource an expat would need. Make the call today, or complete the simple contact form in the upper right of the page, and request a free, no-obligation quote now.
In order to become a citizen of Andorra, you will need to hold a residency permit (either passive or active) for a minimum of 20 years. The two main types of residency permits are outlined below.
Passive (non-working) Residency
If you are moving to Andorra and you are either retired or do not need employment, you can apply for a passive residency. Once you have been approved for passive residency, it must be renewed within 12 months, and then again twice within the next three years. After that, the residency remains active for ten years.
There are more strict requirements for obtaining an active residency permit, but it is necessary if you intend to work in Andorra. One main difference is that you are required to go to an interview in the official language of Catalon. If you already have a job offer on the table, certain companies will actually provide you with a translator to help with the interview process. The biggest benefit of a obtaining residency is that you will be exempt from the steep 15% tax levied on deposits in Andorran banks.
Navigating the capital of Andorra is actually fairly easy to do on foot, but due to the mountainous terrain of the rest of the country, there are no railways. For this reason, tourists tend to utilize taxis or rental car services to get around. However, as a resident of Andorra, you will definitely want a personal vehicle for your own benefit and convenience
Although Andorra does recognize the International Driver’s Permit, after obtaining a residence permit, you have just six months to acquire an Andorran driver’s license. Certain countries allow you to immediately exchange your driver’s license for an Andorran one, but if your country is not on the list, the process is much more involved. Before relocating to Andorra, you must have your origin country issue a certificate of authenticity for your driver’s license, in addition to explaining the categories of motor vehicles your license permits you to operate. Upon arrival, the document must be officially translated into Catalan and legalized with a international apostle stamp. If these conditions are all met correctly, you will be required to take a basic driving test.
If you decide to import your current vehicle or vehicles into Andorra, there is quite a complicated process involved, so make sure to seek help from your transport or moving company before attempting to complete any paperwork alone.
- Vehicle Requirements:
- Must meet European standards for emissions- Class 5 or higher
- If over 25 years old, must be imported as classic car
- Left hand side steering wheel only
- New Andorran residents may import one vehicle in duty-free provided the vehicle has been in his/her name for a minimum of 6 months and the transport takes place within 6 months of receiving his/her resident permit
- Otherwise, vehicle added value tax of 4.5% of the car’s value will be charged (only 1% if vehicle is a hybrid)
- Documentation Required:
- Car Owner’s Passport
- Residence Permit
- Invoice or Purchase Contract of Vehicle
- Insurance Policy (must be with Andorran-based insurance company)
- Technical Certificate/Technical Inspection Proof
- Completed Export/Import Declaration
- Register vehicle by paying registration fees
- Purchase plates from the Automobile Club of Andorra
Perhaps best known by tourists for its duty-free shopping and beautiful ski resorts, Andorra has so much more to offer anyone who cares to give it a chance. The culture is in essence Catalonian, with roots in the Romance ethnic group. The Romanic art found in its many churches is a great display of this beautiful tradition. Also, important, as well as a point of pride, to the people of Andorra are their folk dances, which are performed frequently throughout the year at festivals and fairs. Although Andorra has no “official” religion, the majority of the population are practicing Roman Catholics, so it is not unusual to find that most people will not eat meat on Fridays as per tradition.
One of the main sources of income generated for Andorra is tourism, specifically the revenue from the many picturesque ski resorts across the country. Andorra hosts over 10 million tourists annually, and the country’s duty-free status definitely does not hurt its cause. Although the country’s unemployment rate is generally low, it is not exactly easy to get your foot in the door. Your best bet is to find something seasonal at a ski resort, then grow your network and make connections so you can find something more steady and permanent. The following websites are good resources for beginning your search. Despite the fact that the response rate is typically low, you never know what you may get lucky enough to stumble upon.
Of course, if the reason for your move is because of a job opportunity or transfer, then you don’t need to worry about finding something upon arrival.
Phone and Internet
The telecommunication system in Andorra, including mobile, data, and internet, are operated exclusively by Andorra Telecom. If you have an emergency while in Andorra, dial “112.” For medical emergencies, you will use “116” and in the event of fire, use “118.”
Andorra does not operate its own postal service, instead, the neighboring countries of France and Spain are in charge. Interesting enough, postal service within Andorra is completely free of charge, but international correspondence does require a special postage stamp in order to be routed correctly through the neighboring countries.
It is important to note that there are no Visa requirements for foreign nationals visiting Andorra. However, because you must pass through either France or Spain of the Schengen region, you must adhere to their more strict EU Visa requirements. If you have any questions, you can always explore the FAQs on the Andorra Embassy website.
Cost of Living
All things considered, Andorra has a much lower cost of living than neighboring countries, especially considering the amenities, beautiful scenery, and opportunity it has to offer expats. One can live comfortably on relatively meager means. Andorra is also known to have very solvent banks, plus those with established residencies can enjoy tax-free returns. It is also worth noting that all things considered, Andorra tends to have low taxes with a relatively high profit threshold.
Only citizens of a legal age (18 years old), not imprisoned or declared mentally incompetent, have the right to vote in Andorra. This means, that until you are granted citizenship (after maintaining residency for a minimum of 20 years), you will not be able to cast your ballot in elections. Of the total population of Andorra (over 80 thousand people), only about half are citizens, so there have been talks of granting long-term non-citizen residents certain voting privileges, but nothing has been decided as of yet.
Children in Andorra are required to attend full time school between the ages of 6 and 16, and it is provided free by the government. There are three different systems of school- Andorra, French, and Spanish, each taught it its respective language (Andorran is taught is Catalan). Approximately 50% of locals send their kids to the French schools, and the rest are divided fairly equally between the other two other options. As an expat, you are more than welcome to select the school system you would like your child(ren) to attend, but if they are not familiar with any of the language options, it may be in your best interest to explore the option of homeschooling.
Andorra is home to one institute of higher education, the University of Andorra, aka the Universitat d’Andorra (UdA). It is the first and only public university in Andorra. UdA was created in 1997 and offers degrees in computer science, nursing, and business administration.
There is a good network of medical hospitals and facilities in Andorra, although there may be certain differences in regulations compared to those in the US. Healthcare for all employed residents and their families is provided by a government-run social security (Caixa Andorrana Seguretat Social), that is funded by a combination of employer and employee contributions. Any costs not covered by the primary insurance can be supplemented through private insurance, which is also something non-employed individuals or tourists should consider purchasing.
Pro-tip: Since all mail is routed through France and Spain postal services, and both countries prohibit international shipment of medicine, do not attempt to mail any prescription drugs into Andorra.