Residence permit in Europe when purchasing real estate


A number of European countries, many of which are members of the EU and the Schengen area, have adopted various programs over the course of the current decade that provide residence permits in Europe through the purchase of real estate.

Each of these programs has its own characteristics, which are expressed primarily in the pricing policy and requirements that are presented to potential candidates for obtaining a residence permit for real estate in Europe.

In addition to financial solvency, the necessary conditions are the absence of a criminal record and illnesses that may pose a danger to others. In general, the procedure for obtaining a residence permit in Europe when purchasing real estate is approximately identical, however, in some countries where such programs are not yet widespread, you have to collect more documents and, accordingly, perform more actions, although sometimes this is simply impossible.

Real estate in Austria – only for residence permit holders

It is quite difficult to become the owner of real estate in Austria, since each of the nine federal states has its own rules regarding the acquisition of apartments or houses by foreigners from non-EU countries.

In the regions most visited by tourists, this can only be done with permanent residence or rental housing to an Austrian citizen. Obtaining a residence permit in the EU through the purchase of real estate in Austria is impossible, since, unlike most countries, the buyer must first become a resident, which is also very difficult.

First, you need to buy an existing business, present a plan for its development and prove your ability to act as a competent leader in your chosen field.

You can learn more about how to obtain a residence permit in Austria here.

Residence permit in the UK – as before Brexit

It would seem that until the UK finally decides to leave the EU or backs down, the same laws regarding obtaining a residence permit in the EU through the purchase of real estate will apply on its territory.

However, the program for issuing residence permits for investors was discontinued in December last year. Until that moment, the investment program for obtaining a residence permit in Europe through the purchase of real estate in the UK was not considered in principle, and everything was decided by investments in equity capital in the amount of 2.5 million euros, which their owner could freely dispose of in Foggy Albion. The “residence permit in exchange for the purchase of real estate” program was ended here back in 2014.

Germany is not for residence permit through real estate in Europe

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As in neighboring Austria and the Czech Republic, purchasing real estate in Germany does not serve as a basis for acquiring a residence permit in Europe.

The Germans, who provide many options for moving to permanent residence for various categories of the population from other countries (mainly of German or Jewish origin), as well as for refugees from Africa and the Middle East, do not want to share their real estate with law-abiding citizens of a number of European countries. states

Owning real estate in Germany will be just one of the additional advantages when applying for a residence permit on other grounds.

Residence permit in Europe through the purchase of real estate in Spain

At the beginning of 2019, the largest number of “golden visas” intended for large investors was issued by Spain, where the program for obtaining a residence permit in Spain began operating almost six years ago.

Its successes were modest at first, especially compared to neighboring Portugal, which opened up the route to wealthy foreigners even earlier, but changes in July 2015 have seen its popularity skyrocket. And although the minimum required amount remained the same – 500 thousand euros, a residence permit in Europe through the purchase of real estate has become the most attractive in Spain.

The fact is that now resident status (and not for one, but for two years at once) is received not only by members of the applicant’s family, but also by his parents and single adult dependent children, common-law spouses and even proxies who are necessary for business management.

By the way, the “183-day rule” of staying in the country has now also been abolished, but a residence permit obtained under a Spanish “golden” visa grants all its holders the right to work.

Italy – purchasing real estate is not a reason to obtain a residence permit

The Italian authorities have long ruled out the possibility of obtaining a residence permit in Europe through the purchase of real estate, regardless of its value. Purchasing any property in Italy in no way guarantees residence permit status for a foreigner from a non-EU state.

Unlike Spain and Portugal, “golden visas” are issued here to investors in bonds, equity capital and socially significant projects, and the amounts start from 500 thousand euros in the case of so-called “innovative startups”, which is fraught with quite high risks.

In order to obtain a residence permit in Italy, there are other ways: a work, medical or student visa, and property owners on the peninsula are given a standard period of stay in the country: 90 days in six months.

Residence permit in Cyprus for Russians buying real estate

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Cyprus opened its “golden visa” program back in 2009, although it would be more accurate to call it “silver” due to a number of restrictions imposed.

First of all, only new buildings costing over 300 thousand euros, which are sold not by the owner, but by an officially authorized realtor, are counted.

Secondly, to obtain a residence permit in the EU through the purchase of real estate in Cyprus, you must show your financial solvency – that is, the presence of a permanent income outside the country (the numbers vary depending on the number of family members applying for a residence permit in Cyprus).

There is also an “accelerated” option for obtaining Cypriot citizenship – purchasing real estate in the amount of 2.5 million euros, after which, after 3-4 months, the whole family receives a passport, provided that the adult children are under 28 years old and they are full-time university students .

Malta is an island where you can get an EU residence permit through the purchase of real estate

Malta has an investment program that allows almost everyone who wants to obtain a residence permit through real estate in Europe (and also in the Schengen area).

However, its price seems quite high compared to other similar programs, since, starting from 2019, the minimum investment amount – even if we are talking about housing – must be at least 650,000 euros (taking into account all fees and taxes under 900 thousand).

At the same time, not only the head of the family, but also each of his members must make a contribution to the development of the local economy – 25,000 euros for minors and twice as much for those who have crossed this age threshold.

For this amount, you can no longer obtain a residence permit, but full citizenship of Malta with the condition that you retain ownership of the purchased property for at least five years.

Residence permit in Europe through the purchase of real estate in Portugal

Portugal adopted its program for obtaining a residence permit in the EU through the purchase of real estate called Visto dourado (Golden Visa) back in 2012, which aroused great interest among citizens of non-EU countries – primarily Brazil and China. Three years later, significant changes were made to the main provisions of this program, which are still in effect:

  • The minimum cost of housing has been reduced from 500 thousand to 300 thousand euros if the property is located in a region with low population density. In addition, significant discounts were established for apartments in dilapidated buildings.
  • For large investors planning to obtain a residence permit in Europe through the purchase of real estate in Portugal, the standard residence rule for all residents in the country has been abolished. In the first year this period is now limited to one week;
  • After a year of owning investment property, you can expect to receive permanent residence, and five years later – to become a full citizen of Portugal.

Residence permit for property owners in France

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Purchasing real estate in France is not grounds for applying for a residence permit. As in a number of other European countries, owning property in the form of a villa and apartments serves only as an additional advantage when obtaining a residence permit in the EU when purchasing real estate.

A visa for property owners in France is no different from a regular tourist visa, but obtaining a residence permit requires more compelling reasons – a work or study visa, family reunification or direct investment in the local economy.

Residence permit in Croatia in case of purchasing real estate

Starting in 2014, a year after joining the EU, Croatia began issuing permits for obtaining a residence permit in Europe through the purchase of real estate not only to legal entities, but also to individuals.

However, at the same time, this procedure is overgrown with bureaucratic obstacles, which, although they represent an ordinary formality, significantly slow down the process.

Just obtaining permission from the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which requires a valid foreign passport and a written “statement of intent,” can take more than a year. And only after concluding a purchase and sale transaction will it be possible to apply for a residence permit in Croatia, since this country so far has a visa-free regime only with Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania and the former Yugoslav republics.

A residence permit when purchasing real estate in Croatia is issued for a period of one year, and only after five years can you count on permanent residence and another five on citizenship, for which you will have to pass a special exam.

Residence permit when purchasing real estate in the Czech Republic – only if there is a company

The Czech Republic is one of those countries that are conservative towards immigration and are in no hurry to provide a residence permit in Europe when purchasing real estate.

Moreover, possessing a million-dollar fortune and the possibility of purchasing an ancient castle or even an entire village does not give the right to a long stay in this country.

To obtain a residence permit in the Czech Republic, in addition to a student or work visa, as well as marriage with a local citizen, lies through the opening of a legal entity, and the company is not required to show record income for the first year of its existence. However, for citizens of countries outside the EU, having their own firm, company, or enterprise is a primary condition.

Residence permit for real estate in Europe in other countries (Switzerland, Montenegro)

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At least two European countries that are not part of the EU are extremely popular among Russian buyers of foreign real estate.

Moreover, one of them is designed for representatives of the wealthy segments of the population who spend winter holidays at world-famous ski resorts, and the other is for the so-called “middle class”, which is slowly and surely ceasing to exist in Russia.

Moreover, purchasing real estate in Montenegro is best suited for that part of the population that, without sufficient funds for housing in EU countries, can acquire apartments in a country with an excellent climate, cuisine and attitude of local residents.

Montenegro is distinguished by its great loyalty to investors who want to obtain a residence permit in Europe through the purchase of real estate.

In 2015, it adopted its own “golden visa” program, which cannot be compared with similar programs in other, more developed countries. Suffice it to say that a positive response after considering the application from the property owner may come within a month; at the same time, he can stay in Montenegro (as this country is also called) for an unlimited amount of time, but does not have the right to work for hire and organize a business.

However, in Switzerland, which is part of the Schengen zone but continues to remain outside the EU, it is not possible to obtain a residence permit for one simple reason – the same as in neighboring Austria. For citizens of non-EU countries, the acquisition of even very expensive real estate in Switzerland does not play any role when obtaining a residence permit.

You can obtain a residence permit in Switzerland by purchasing an existing business, opening a new company or working for hire, but the “residence permit in exchange for real estate” program, not to mention citizenship, does not work in this country.



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