The Complete Guide to Living in Andorra: Everything to Know
Guide to Living in Andorra
Have you ever thought about packing all of your belongings, leaving familiarity behind, and moving to an entirely different country? Can free healthcare and education benefit you or your family members?
If the expat lifestyle intrigues you, you may want to consider moving to the adorable and forward-thinking country of Andorra. Readers, beware: You may just want to relocate to Andorra after learning more about this European treasure!
Andorra is one of the best countries to work remotely, but plenty of in-person employment opportunities are also available. This guide explains everything about living in Andorra, including obtaining an Andorra residency.
Where Is Andorra?
This small country is the 6th smallest in Europe, and it is landlocked in-between Spain and France. It is nestled in the picturesque Pyrenees mountains, providing crisp mountain air, excellent fishing opportunities, and plenty of winter sports activities.
The history of this tiny nation is traced back to the 13th century. Its history and beautiful landscape draw in about 8 million tourists per year.
Getting to Andorra
Due to its landlocked location and small stature, Andorra has no airport. However, this isn't as big of a problem as it sounds.
The closest airport to Andorra is La Seu d'Urgell in Spain, only a 20-minute cab ride away.
The largest nearby airports are Barcelona, Spain, and Toulouse, France. Both are about 2.5 hours away, so plan accordingly if you fly into one of these larger airports.
You can take either a local bus or a private car directly to Andorra from these international airports.
So who lives in Andorra? As of 2022, the population of Andorra is 77,006, which makes it one of the smallest countries in the world.
The inhabitants are people from many different ethnic backgrounds, including other European country residents, Americans, and individuals from the Philippines. Most historic immigrants into the region were French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English, and these demographics still comprise much of the population today.
Andorra has attracted skiers worldwide, and many have chosen to expatriate to this country to ski year-round. Some expatriate individuals once visited the country as tourists but have since moved to Andorra full-time. Others have immigrated to this country from other European countries for a higher-paying jobs or are chasing seasonal ski resort work.
There is also a large demographic of other retired people from all over the world who have chosen to relocate to Andorra for retirement. Given that the country is small and quiet, many individuals around the age of 60 have chosen to live in this country permanently to enjoy their leisure, non-working time.
Although Andorra is tiny, there is always something to do. The local schools host regular events and celebrations such as community breakfasts or Christmas school plays. There are also outdoor adventure club groups that meet routinely to explore Andorra's exquisite outdoors.
The Benefits of Living in Andorra
Below are multiple benefits of relocating to Andorra. Read here to learn more about the top appeals of the country.
Andorra prides itself on having an exceptionally low crime rate. It's not a rare occurrence for residents to leave their purses or phones unattended in this country, and the locals even claim that it is one of the safest countries in the world.
Only two roads lead out of the country, and the borders use highly surveillance, which further reinforces a high sense of security.
Andorrans are generally welcoming and friendly to tourists, and robberies are rare. Safety is one of the most important deciding factors when choosing a country to relocate to. Because of Andorra's guaranteed security, it is no doubt a hot spot for expatriates.
High Standard of Living
For its size, Andorra is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe. The unemployment rate is also among the lowest globally at only 1.7%. It is easy for seasonal workers from nearby European countries to work in Andorra.
Even though Andorra is not in the European Union, it still uses the Euro. The minimum wage is 1,157.87 euros per month, which may not seem like a lot compared to other countries, but it is a good wage relative to the cost of living. You end up saving more money than spending while living in Andorra.
However, those with highly competitive jobs will earn much more than the national standard. For example, doctors earn 11,500 euros per month, lawyers earn 7,860 per month, and professors earn 5,580 euros per month.
Another benefit of relocating to Andorra for the high standard of living is a free education and free healthcare.
Cost of living
To put the national minimum wage into perspective, we will provide examples of how much it is to live in Andorra. In comparison to other European countries, you will find lower costs of living in Andorra and lower taxation.
You can find a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a parking garage in Andorra for 950 euros a month.
A standard meal will cost 9-15 euros, a gym membership with plenty of amenities will cost around 35 euros a month, and an annual ski pass is 180 euros a month.
So although the national minimum wage for entry-level jobs may not seem like much, the low cost of living provides plenty of wiggle room to afford fun activities, splurge purchases, and plenty of paycheck money saved.
Shopping in Andorra is also very inexpensive. Many products in Andorra are duty-free, and therefore shopping in this country is cheaper than in other neighbouring European countries.
The country offers over 2,000 stores to shop for just about any product, ranging from economical to luxurious.
Andorra may be one of the wealthiest European countries, but the taxes in Andorra are not as high as you think. Income tax for Andorran residents and immigrants is lower than in the United States and the United Kingdom. Those who make less than 24,000 euros a year are not required to pay taxes.
Those who make between 24,001 and 40,000 euros annually pay 5% income tax, and those who make higher than 40,000 euros a year pay 10% income tax.
Married couples making less than 40,000 euros a year are also not required to pay any income taxes.
Andorra is also fully compliant with international tax standards. Savings less than 3,000 euros are exempt from taxation, and anything above 3,000 euros is taxed at 10%.
Public education is free, and there are schools in nearly every town in Andorra, which international students may also attend. Most classes are taught in the national language, Catalan, but some are also available in English, Spanish, and French.
Private schools are also free for Andorran residents. International students must pay for college, but the fees are very affordable. They typically range from 1,500 to 4,000 euros per year.
There are so many Andorra outdoor activities. One of Andorra's most favoured winter sports is skiing. Skiers come from around the world to experience the fresh snow and the steep slopes of Andorra's Pyrenees mountains. As a result, ski resorts thrive during the winter and offer plenty of employment options.
Residents and tourists alike anticipate each year's winter skiing and snowboarding season in Andorra. The Grandvalira Resort is the most popular ski resort and offers 130 miles of skiable terrain.
Hiking is also another popular recreational activity in Andorra's Pyrenees mountains. You really get to experience the Andorra climate and geography while hiking. Trails wind by lakes, up steep mountain passes, and through wildflower meadows.
There are over 70 hiking trails in Andorra. The most popular include Coma Pedrosa, a strenuous 8.5-mile hike that goes through valleys and past lakes and refugees; Estanys de Tristaina, an easy 2.3-mile walk leading to a lake; and Pic de Casamanya, a challenging 4.6-mile hike that offers 360-degree panorama views of Andorra from the summit.
Mountain biking trails are accessible from late spring until late fall in Andorra. Many ski resorts turn into mountain biking trails when the snow melts, and there are also several backcountry trails.
If you need a little encouragement or have never biked off-trail before, Singletrack Safari is a mountain bike tour company in Andorra that plans the route for you, and they even provide lodging on overnight trips.
With over 20 crag locations, outdoor sport rock climbing is popular in Andorra in the summer months. This is a great way to get up close and personal with the towering Pyrenees mountains and truly experience the beauty of Andorra from an intimate climbing trip in the backcountry.
Andorra is a pristine location for Horseback riding. This is one of the best ways to experience a new country, as you will be riding past the untamed beauty surrounding you. There are multiple equestrian centres in Andorra and plenty of guided horseback riding tours.
One of our favourites is this Panorama Trail Beach to Beach tour, which is an 11-day ride throughout Andorra and the neighbouring countries of Spain and France. This ride covers nearly 220 miles and is ideal for nature and adventure lovers.
There are many lakes in Andorra which provide excellent fishing excursions. This is a fun leisure activity that the inhabitants of Andorra love during the summer months.
We admire that the fishing in Andorra is regulated because it controls and protects the marine life. There is a maximum number of fish allowed per person per day. The fishing season officially lasts from March to November.
Pathway to European Citizenship
Andorra citizens can freely live between Spain, France, Portugal, and Andorra due to a special arrangement. They can even receive free healthcare and education and gain employment in any of the three other countries.
An Andorran passport means that you have access to 167 countries and even open, visa-free entry into Russia. Andorran citizens may also move freely in between the Schengen Zone.
Moving to Andorra is perfect for many expatriates because income tax is not a deciding factor. Those wishing to move to Andorra have to apply for a residency permit for either passive or active residency.
A passive residency is the way to go for those who wish to obtain a resident status and receive the tax benefits but do not want to live in Andorra for the majority of the year. With this, you must be in the country for at least 90 days at a time, have money in a national bank, and have private health insurance.
As opposed to the 90-day active residency, an active, ongoing, and permanent residency also requires a minimum stay of 183 days (6 months) a year in Andorra.
There are four categories for obtaining permanent residence here.
1. Category A: invest 350,000 euros into Andorra. Buying a house or property is the most popular way to do so. You must also pay a 50,000 euro bond to the Andorran government.
2. Category B: start a company in Andorra and pay a 50,000 euro bond to the government.
3. Category C: be a world-class athlete, scientist, or personality.
4. Category D: start a company requiring more than 3,000 euros or invest in an Andorran company, owning 20% or more.
After living in Andorra for 20 years, residents and expatriates are eligible for naturalisation for citizenship. This period is reduced to 10 years for individuals who graduated from an Andorran university.
Work permits are also issued by the government and paid by the employer for all short and long-term residences. These permits are good for six months, and you are eligible for a full-time work permit after this period.
The Next Step
Now that you know where Andorra is, how to get there, who lives there, the available leisure activities, and how taxes and residency permits operate, you are ready to take the next step and either visit or relocate to Andorra. Andorra is a perfect retirement country, and obtaining residency is more accessible than in most other countries.
Check out the rest of our blog for more information about living in Andorra. We hope you enjoy your time in this beautiful country.