Living in Andorra
If you are considering living in Andorra, this guide is for you. What is it like to live in Andorra? Learn about the requirements you have to fulfill to apply for Andorra residency and the documents you have to present. What are the pros and cons of living in Andorra? Find all answers below!
Advantages of Living in Andorra
Andorra Taxation System and Tax Rates
Thanks to the economic fiscal model and low tax rates, Andorra company incorporation has been favored since Andorra’s tax advantages do not go unnoticed. The unique taxation has also increased the exodus of foreigners to the country to settle permanently.
Andorra’s Affordable Housing
Andorra offers unequaled accommodations, with a wide range of houses for rent and sale at competitive prices. Read more in our exclusive guide to buying property in Andorra.
Property prices vary according to the chosen area, Andorra la Vella, which has most of the infrastructures and services, has higher prices than surrounding parishes. When it comes to the rental price, the chosen area will be more noticeable, this is due to the tourist profile of Andorra.
Utility prices are lower than in neighboring countries. For example, electricity cost is one of the lowest in Europe; and the water supply is free in the country. Check a detailed summary of Andorra’s cost of living that outlines all the major costs you can encounter while living in this small country.
Andorra Quality of Life and Environment
The natural environment provides Andorra with excellent 90% pure air quality, thanks to a mountain location. Andorra leads the world in life expectancy. The average life expectancy in Andorra is 83.5 years. The mountain and ski areas, such as Grandvalira and Vallnord, offer inhabitants an area of relaxation and multiple options for sporting entertainment with more than 250 km of slopes.
Thanks to the unique position of the enclave with 90% of the territory being natural landscapes, sports-related to the mountains, such as hiking and skiing, are some of the best leisure options you can find if you decide to live in Andorra.
Another advantage of the environment that Andorra offers is altitude. With capital located at 1,023 meters above sea level, Andorra la Vella offers optimal conditions for high-performance athletes. This is why many cyclists, among other sportsmen, train in Andorra before their championships.
- More than 84% of surface water is excellent or good quality
- 20% of the electrical energy required by Andorra is generated by Engolasters hydroelectric power plant alone
- Air quality is excellent or good 91% of the time during the year
- Recycling results obtained 50.4% thanks to selective collection
- Over 90% of Andorra’s surface area is a forest
- Andorra is always in the top ten in the WHO ranking of lowest air pollution in Europe
Health System in Andorra
Andorra’s health system is controlled by CASS. Ranked at the top of the world ranking of healthcare systems, CASS operates with a co-payment system. 75% of the cost of medical visits are covered by the government. When it comes to admissions or surgical interventions these are covered by 90%. In the case of low income of vulnerability, medical costs are covered at 100%, thus they are totally free.
Due to the high per capita income and participation of workers paying social security contributions, CASS is a very efficient system and one of the main advantages of living in Andorra. Although there are specialties to which there is no access in the country itself, CASS has established agreements with the social security services of Spain and France for this purpose.
Andorra’s Education System
In Andorra, there are 3 different educational systems: Spanish, French, and Andorran. You are free to choose any of these three systems, which is a real novelty, as far as educational methods are concerned. Also, there are several prestigious private schools, thus education levels in the country are more than acceptable. All of them are free and compulsory from 6 to 16 years old.
Public Safety in Andorra
In terms of public safety, Andorra has a very low crime rate, almost non-existent, which makes it one of the safest countries in the world. Low crime rating places Andorra in the top 5 safest countries in the world to live in and for its visitors. To get an idea if we compare Andorra with its neighboring countries we see Spain in 32nd place and France in 60th place in the Global Peace Index.
Andorra’s Weather and Climate
One of the best things about living in Andorra is undoubtedly the climate. Out of 365 days of the year, you will be able to see the sun for about 310 days. Temperatures are moderate throughout the year and only in winter, the cold is noticeable. But it can also be seen as an advantage as it is the perfect time to visit the famous Pyrenean resorts and enjoy a bit of skiing.
Drawbacks of Living in Andorra
- Non-existent big city life. If you are a person who enjoys extensive city life, we would not recommend you to move to Andorra. You will not find skyscrapers, large-scale amusement parks, and big shopping complexes. You could say it’s more like a town than a big city.
- Lack of job opportunities. Not to mislead you, the job offers in Andorra are not the same that you can have in Paris, Barcelona or Madrid. This is not to say that there is no work in Andorra, however, if you intend to earn more money, you might be disappointed with a short and limited list of vacancies.
- You will not find much detailed information about Andorra’s life and administration in English. Most government official data is published in Catalan.
- There is no airport in Andorra. Get a 3-hour bus ride to Toulouse or Barcelona to leave the country, or use the tiny Airport at La Seu D’Urgell when renting a private jet. Andorra Airlines plans to start commercial flights in 2021 from Andorra-La Seu Airport to Spain and Portugal.
The Andorran economy is currently sustained by tourism, although the principality has been known for being an agricultural and livestock farming country. Millions of tourists visit Andorra annually, attracted by the region’s climate, commerce, and soon casino. Among these visitors, many eventually decide to live in Andorra.
What is the Currency in Andorra?
Andorra landlocked between France and Spain uses Euro as an official currency, however is not a member of the European Union. Nevertheless, products in Andorra are sold there with lower taxation. Andorra is considered by some countries to be a tax haven, however, levies an income tax of 10%. Several moderate taxes have recently been introduced or are planned. Andorra VAT (IGI) has been set at a level of 4.5% since January 1, 2013. In 2011, the Andorran government introduced a 10% corporate tax on profits generated by companies.
Life in Andorra
Andorra offers many advantages. Great quality of life, good health and education system; as well as low crime and tax benefits. The strengths of Andorra make it a unique and admirable country. This micro-state possesses qualities that can make it the best for its location, culture, and context. For Europeans, especially French, Spanish, and Portuguese, jurisdiction and Andorra’s lifestyle can make it the preferred choice when looking for a change of country of residence. Check more fun facts about Andorra in the dedicated article!
However, the principality has disadvantages as well. It does not stand out for its job opportunities, nor have the dazzling attractions of the big cities and you will have to deal with several requirements to settle in Andorra if you are not working there. Now you decide if living in Andorra fits your expectations, but first, enjoy a live view from Andorra webcam!
Where is the Principality of Andorra?
Andorra is a small country located in the Pyrenees mountains, geographically between Spain, with whom it borders to the south, and France to the north. The flag of Andorra is formed by three vertical stripes of blue, yellow, and red color. The coat of arms of Andorra is placed on the center of the yellow stripe.
Language, Size, and Capital of Andorra
The official language of Andorra is Catalan, although Spanish has the same presence, and French, however on a smaller scale. Andorran Principality has an area of 468 km2, with the capital Andorra la Vella. The country is divided into seven parishes with separate postal codes:
- Canillo, the largest, bordering with France through the communes of Aston, Mérens-les-Vals, L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre and the Pyrénées-Orientales through the commune of Porté-Puymorens
- Encamp, bordering with French border of Ariège and Pyrénées-Orientales, and Cerdanya (Spanish provinces of Lleida and Girona)
- Ordino, the most northern parish, bordering with Ariège through the communes of Auzat, Lercoul, Siguer and Gestiès
- La Massana, bordering with Ariège (Auzat) and the county of Pallars Sobirà (Spanish province of Lleida) through the municipality of Alins
- Andorra la Vella, the most populated parish with capital (Andorra la Vella) bordering the county of Alt Urgell (Spanish province of Lleida)
- Sant Julià de Lòria, the most southern area, bordering the county of Alt Urgell (Spanish province of Lleida)
- Escaldes-Engordany, created in 1978, the division of the Parròquia d’Andorra la Vella, bordering county of Cerdanya (Spanish provinces of Lleida and Girona)
What do you need to live in Andorra?
First of all, keep in mind that Andorra is not part of the European Union. For this reason, you are required to obtain a residence permit. To be able to reside in Andorra, you must be of legal age and live in the principality for at least 90 days per year. There are several ways to apply for a residency permit, which varies according to needs:
- Active residency and self-employment. An entrepreneur who wishes to live in Andorra and set up his own business.
- Non-profit passive residency. Entrepreneurs who want to manage foreign investments and international business from Andorra.
- Residence for professionals with a professional projection. This permit is for individuals having a project in the country but cannot stay most of the year in the region.
- Residence and work: allows you to live and work in Andorra.
- Residence for scientific, sporting, or cultural reasons.
Live in Andorra: FAQ
Is Andorra a good place to live?
Andorra has a lot of features that make it an attractive place to live. From the mountain views out almost every window to its favorable tax system, there are many things about this country worth considering when deciding whether or not you want to move here. But just because some people might love living in Andorra does not mean everyone will feel the same way - moving to countries can be difficult!
Is Andorra a rich or poor country?
Andorra is a small, wealthy country with about 80,000 people that enjoys the ninth-highest GDP per capita in the world and one of the highest life expectancies. This means there are no signs of poverty or starvation so many assume they don't exist at all!
How expensive is it to live in Andorra?
Living a comfortable life in Andorra as recommended by the World Bank, an average family of four should expect their monthly cost for necessities such as food and transportation will be around €3,000. A single person can calculate that €1000 per month.
Do they speak English in Andorra?
Unfortunately, English is not widely spoken. Most people in the country know Catalan as their primary language anyways. However, Andorra comes with a growing number of English-speaking expats from all over the world.