The 12 easiest and cheapest countries for gaining European Union residency

Ben Moshinsky
Wednesday 14 December 2016 16:12
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Most countries in the world offer a deal offering fast-tracked residency permits and, ultimately, citizenship in return for investments in local businesses and property.

With the UK voting to leave the European Union, it is becoming more attractive for wealthy Brits to look elsewhere for access to the European single market and the freedom of movement to travel and work across the 28-nation trading bloc.

A study by citizenship consultancy firm Henley and Partners analysed the programmes offered by different governments across the world, ranking them by value, quality and reputation among other metrics.

Here are the EU countries that performed the best for cheap and easy access to residency.

12. Bulgaria — A deposit of around €500,000 in a Bulgarian government bond portfolio for five years is enough to qualify for Bulgaria's residency programme.

Winter in Sofia, Bulgaria

11. Greece — After being granted a so-called "D" visa, investors can apply for Greek residency after purchasing properties with a total value of €250,000.

10. Cyprus — The Mediterranean island offers a low corporation tax of 12.5% for residents' businesses but to apply you need to buy a property worth more than €300,000.

9. Monaco — Residents of Monaco are not subject to income tax, capital gains tax or wealth tax and are able to travel visa-free to all Schengen area countries.

8. Jersey — The island of Jersey is attractive for its low tax regime and mild climate. The minimum investment for residency costs £125,000 a year and is only open to those earning more than £625,000.

7. United Kingdom — The UK might not be cheap but it is an attractive destination for rich families looking for good private schooling. The residency programme is tiered, asking for £2 million, £5 million and £10 million from investors.

6. Latvia — To obtain a Latvian temporary residence permit, one has to buy real estate worth €250,000 and pay a 5% government fee.

(Shutterstock)

5. Spain — The country has a similar programme to Portugal, and a resident permit can be obtained by buying a €500,000 house or investing €2 million in Spanish government debt.

4. Malta — Malta applies a low 15% tax rate for permanent residents, and the programme can be accessed for relatively little money — the purchase of a €275,000 property should do it.

A general view from St. Peter's Bastion across Grand Harbour

3. Portugal — To obtain Portuguese residency one can create 10 jobs with a business, transfer €1 million into a Portuguese bank or buy a house for €500,000.

2. Belgium — A Belgian residency application takes as little as two months to process and employment in the country may be a qualifier on its own, negating the need for investment.

1. Austria — Austria offers 10 different types of residency permit that do not require an investment and which can be used for visa-free travel across the Schengen area.

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