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Immigration to Europe: most popular relocation destinations

PUBLISHED: 14 August 2020
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Citizenship guide
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Far-seeing people invest in European citizenship for different reasons. It is often for the freedom to travel the world without visas and bureaucratic hurdles. Others want to expand their business beyond existing areas of presence, optimise taxes and deal with European banks without any issues. Another common reason for applying for European residence or citizenship is to move there. In this article, we will talk about choosing the right place in Europe for relocation.

What to keep in mind when moving abroad

Apart from such advantages of European countries as tax benefits, pro-business environment and visa-free travel to many countries, there are more down-to-earth pluses that attract foreigners to Europe.

  1. Stability, security and comfort
    This includes both political and economic conditions and low crime rate in Europe.
  2. High healthcare standards
    Access to European health service and cutting-edge technologies. Certain surgeries are only done in Europe which can make a relocation a question of life and death.
  3. Access to high-quality education
    Europe is famous for its oldest universities and modern establishments that offer a world-class education and tuition.

Always remember that your choice will determine where your family will spend a big part of their lives. Therefore, start by choosing a country based on everyone’s interests and needs and then narrow it down to a certain town or city. There are many European cities that are convenient for life, business, work, education and leisure.

Иммиграция в Европу

How to get residence card, permanent residence and citizenship in Europe fast?

The following documents give rights to live, study and work in a European country:

  • Residence permit
  • Permanent residence
  • Citizenship

Western Europe is a popular destination among foreign nationals, especially from developing countries. Therefore, governments have been tightening screws and making it harder to immigrate to Europe.

Fortunately, European authorities are not as strict with foreign investors that are people of good character. If you have lawfully earned money and are prepared to invest it in a foreign economy, you will be treated differently from regular migrants. You would normally be applying under a residence or citizenship by investment program where in return of your contribution you would be given European residence or European passport.

European residence by investment

Before we give you a list of European countries that welcome foreign investors, we will disperse a common misconception. A long-term visa or a residence permit granted to you in return for your investment allow visa-free access to all EU states and Schengen zone. However, neither a residence permit nor a golden visa give right to live in another country. The maximum number of days you can spend outside the country of your residence is 90 days in each 6 months; this is not bad, but not enough to find a job or start a business.

To live and work in any European country without restrictions, you need to be an EU national and have a European passport of any EU state. From our article you can learn all about residence permits, permanent residence and citizenship, their differences and what each status has to offer.

And now here is a list of European countries where you can get residence and benefit from all the advantages they offer to foreign investors.

European country Benefits of residence Minimum required investment
Portugal

Beneficial tax regime for new tax residents for the first 10 years

Affordable real estate

Visa-free travel in EU and Schengen zone

from €250,000
Malta

Tax benefits

Visa-free travel in EU and Schengen zone

from €330,000
Latvia

One of the most affordable investment programs

Low cost of living

Visa-free travel in EU and Schengen zone

from €250,000
Spain

Favourable business environment

Renowned universities

Visa-free travel in EU and Schengen zone

from €500,000
Belgium

Developed economy and infrastructure

Government support of business

Visa-free travel in EU and Schengen zone

No minimum requirement

In average €200,000

Switzerland

High living standards

Visa-free travel to over 155 countries

No minimum requirement
United Kingdom

Right to live, work or do business in the UK

World-class education

Recoverable investment

from £2,000,000

Европейский паспорт за инвестиции

European passport through investment

Almost all investment programs in Europe lead to citizenship. First, after 5-6 years of living in a country with a residence permit, you can apply for permanent residence. Next, after 1 or more years, you will be eligible to apply for a European passport and second citizenship.

While the first investor visa is easier to get, with little requirements to foreign applicants, naturalisation requires permanent residents to speak the language fluently and prove their knowledge of local customs and history of the country. But permanent residence or EU passport give you right to live, work, do business or study full-time in a university anywhere in the European Union.

How to get a European passport quickly?

Good news is that you can get a European passport without the initial applications for a residence permit and permanent residence. This route might be very handy for those who:

  • Have not decided yet which country to move to.
  • Want to live in different countries in Europe without immigration restrictions.
  • Plan to relocate to an EU country that is not as welcoming to foreign investors as the other one.

Fortunately, there are two jurisdictions in Europe where the authorities are prepared to:

  1. Turn a blind eye on your ability to speak the language.
  2. Grant you European passport in exchange for your contribution to a local economy.

Malta citizenship by investment

You can get a Malta passport in 1 year. Minimum amount of money that you must have available is €1,150,000 where €650,000 is a non-refundable contribution to a state fund and the remaining amount goes to buy a property in Malta and government securities.

Cyprus citizenship by investment

It will take 6 months to obtain a Cyprus passport by investing at least €2,150,000 into the country by one of the four available ways. Non-refundable amounts are €150,000 donations and €500,000 purchase of a property that will have to remain your home for life.

Plan B: Montenegro citizenship by investment

If the investment in Malta or Cyprus seems too much to you, we can offer you to invest in a small Balkan country. A Montenegrin passport gives access to 117 countries including almost all European states. Though they are not yet part of the European Union, their accession is in the pipeline for the next couple of years.

Once they join the EU, the investment amount will increase significantly. At the moment, it takes six months to become citizen of Montenegro and €350,000 including non-recoverable €100,000 donation to a public fund. The remaining money can be returned in a few years and potentially with a gain due to growing housing market.

В какой город Европы переехать?

Best European cities for life

We will finish with an overview of European cities and opportunities they offer to migrants after relocation.

City/ country Aimed for Main benefits
London/ UK

Wealthy people

Talented entrepreneurs

One of the world financial hubs

Excellent environment for running a business

High living standards

World renowned higher education

Brussels/ Belgium Experienced businessmen seeking a comfortable and laid-back place to live

Political capital of the EU

Comfort and security

Convenient location and developed infrastructure

Zurich/ Switzerland

Affluent people

Specialists with rare qualifications

Banking and financial centre of Europe

High living standards

Good ecological conditions and clean air

Sliema/ Malta

International entrepreneurs

Students of tourism and medicine

Wealthy retired people

Centre of international business

All-year-round resort with mild climate

European standards of living

Barcelona/ Spain

Entrepreneurs

People looking for a comfortable place to live

Business and investment opportunities

Great city with friendly people

Accessible healthcare

Cultural and architectural heritage

Riga/ Latvia People looking for a quite and steady pace of living

Good food

Low cost of living

Mild climate and beautiful nature

Podgorica/ Montenegro

Optimists

Investors in real estate

Candidate to accession to the EU

Growing property market

European standards

Breath-taking nature

As you can see all 7 cities have their own advantages and opportunities. No matter what you want to achieve and what you are looking for, there will be a place for everyone, a place to suit your needs and budget.

Even if you dream of moving to a country with more stringent immigration laws, our experts in Imperial & Legal will offer you a customised solution. Qualified specialists will help you make a choice, prepare all required documents for obtaining a residence permit or European citizenship. If needed, they can also organise your relocation, open and support your business in Europe and offer tax solutions.

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