EU residency is in high demand from members of non-EU countries. This is because of benefits such as visa-free travel to all EU Schengen countries where you can live and work as a resident, without having to apply for a separate resident permit. The EU also offers a high quality of life and is an attractive place for many seeking its residency.
Getting an EU residency permit is not as difficult as you may think. There are several methods that you can use to get your residency permit. Depending on the country you are applying to or through, you can get your residency permit in a few weeks, while in other countries, it takes several months.
With an EU residency, you can enjoy EU education in the country you are living in, social protection, employment opportunities, and ease of access to products and services.
Here are the top 10 ways you can get the EU residency and enjoy all the benefits stated above!
1. Golden Visa
This is a residency by investment program that is offered by several EU countries. It involves investing a particular amount of money in real estate, government bonds, or other investment categories as stipulated by the program. This investment offers eligibility to participate in the golden visa program.
Different countries have different amounts set for eligibility into their Golden Visa program. For Portugal, you have to invest € 350,000 or € 500,000 in property or other investment avenues as the program requires. In Malta, to participate in their golden visa, you will have to invest € 250,000 while Cyprus requires you to invest € 300,000 for permanent residency through their golden visa program.
The golden visa program in different countries often runs for five years. During this time, you will need to hold on to the property you invested in for it to remain valid. There are also other requirements that you need to meet, to retain your residency permit. For example, although the residency does not require you to remain in the EU permanently, different countries have different minimum stay requirements for the validity of the permit.
Once you have made your investment, you can seek out a legal representative to help you get and make your application for residency successfully. Under the golden visa program, the residency application is quite straightforward.
After you have made and submitted your application, you will be invited for a face-to-face interview, where your biometric details will be collected. After this stage of the application process, you will now have to wait for your application to be processed. Depending on the number of people who have also applied for the program, it takes between two weeks and six months to get a response to the success of your application.
It is best if you have a legal representative to assist you to complete the application process and get back to you once the process is complete.
2. Starting a business
Another way to gain EU residency is by starting a business in any of the EU countries. As a non-EU resident, you can gain legal entry into any EU country and set up a business by following all the mandated procedures. Starting a business in the EU is quite fast and simple – you can have all the documents you require in up to a week and you are ready to go.
Different EU countries have different requirements for those seeking residency through starting a business. Belgium, you need to form a company and provide employment to qualify for the investor residency permit. When you meet these conditions, you will have your temporary residency permit which is renewed within the first year and then again in the third year.
In Sweden, to qualify for the investor visa, you need to set up the business and show that you have the necessary skills and capital to successfully run the business. You also need to show that you are capable to support yourself and your family while in the country.
Estonia offers freelancer residency visas to invite freelancers to work from their country. In France, you can get an investor residency if you own or work in a startup. To qualify, you have to show sufficient funds to support yourself and your family.
3. Getting a job in the country
Another common way to get residency in the EU is by getting a job in the EU country. To qualify, you need to get the job before you come into the country. Your employer has to sponsor a work permit for you to join the company in the EU country.
Different countries in the EU have different regulations around work permits. It is much easier when your employer helps you secure it. Once you have your work permit, you will also be required to apply for a residency permit which allows you to live there as you work.
When applying for a work visa, you will have to do this from your country at any EU consulate. You should apply for your work visa for at least two months before your travel date. With your work visa, you can start working as you now apply and wait for your residency permit to be processed.
4. Residency by marriage
You can get residency in most countries around the world if you get married to a citizen or another resident.
When you get married to an EU citizen and join them either in their home country or host country, you are eligible to apply and receive a residency permit. In different countries in the EU, it is required that once you arrive in the country, you will need to notify the authorities of your arrival. Failure to notify authorities of your presence may attract some harsh financial penalties.
If you will be staying for up to three months, all you need is a valid passport and entry visa if you are from a country that needs one in the EU. However, if you plan to stay longer, you can apply for residency after three months of having lived in the EU.
As a spouse of an EU citizen, once you receive your residency card, you are eligible for citizenship after a continuous 5-year stay in the EU country. However, during this time, you can use your residency permit to seek work or go to school.
5. Passive income visa
You can also get EU residency if you have passive income. To qualify, you need to prove that you have income from assets such as rental income or a pension. This residency permit is known as a person of independent means visa. It is provided by different countries around Europe and each country has its own set of rules and regulations on the amount of money earned to qualify. It will also often touch on dependents and spouse if any.
In Spain, it is known as a non-lucrative visa. To qualify, you need to show that you have enough income to support your lifestyle for the period that you will live in Spain. Your income could come from passive investments, freelance, or remote work that is paid from other countries.
In Portugal, it is known as a passive income visa and you qualify if you earn passive income. In Cyprus and Austria, other countries that also offer this visa, it is known as an income-based visa. In these countries, they need you to prove that your income is sufficient to ensure that you can live in their countries without having to work.
In Ireland, you need to prove that you earn at least €50,000 and you have set aside a large amount of emergency money to qualify for the person of independent means visa and residency.
This visa is easy to get if you can prove you have passive income sources. You can reside in any of the European countries that offer it without having to look for work.
6. Citizenship by investment
Unlike the golden visa, citizenship by investment goes beyond gaining residency in the EU. If this is what you opt for, you are in line for an EU citizenship.
Several countries are offering this method of gaining EU citizenship. Citizenship by investment is just as it sounds. Invest a certain amount of money in an EU country for citizenship. Different countries have different investment thresholds to qualify for this program.
Malta has one of the leading citizenship by investment program in the EU. To qualify, you need to invest a total of €900,000. €650,000 goes to a real estate investment while the remainder goes to government bonds. On successful application, you will get a one-year residency before you get your passport. Your Malta passport is valid for 10 years. Malta, however, has a very strict program and they have a high rate of refusal to grant a passport to applicants.
Cyprus also runs a popular citizenship by investment program in the EU.
Citizenship by investment is a faster method of attaining residency and citizenship in EU countries. When seeking citizenship, you do not have to wait through your five years of residency to apply.
7. Citizenship by ancestry
If you are born in a non-EU country, and your parents or ancestors up to your grandparents and in some countries great grandparents were or are EU residents, you are eligible to receive EU residency and even citizenship.
In some EU countries, citizenship by ancestry or descent is an easy process while in others it is a complicated process. However, all that is required to gain residency or citizenship in an EU country from which your ancestors came, is to show proof of ancestry.
8. Retirement and Freelance visa
If you have retired or are a freelance worker and are seeking to move to Europe, you can apply to the different countries that offer this visa as a prelude to residency. To qualify for this visa, different countries have different standards and rules and regulations.
One of the most popular countries offering this visa is Portugal. It is easy to qualify for as all you need to show is savings or investments of about €15,000. Also, you need to show that you can support yourself without seeking work in the country. When you get to Portugal, you can then apply for residency.
There are several residency requirements you need to meet when you choose this visa. For your first year, you have a minimum stay requirement of four months. You also cannot be away for longer than six consecutive months. After the first year, you are required to renew your residency every two years until the fifth year.
After the fifth year, you can now apply for Portuguese citizenship. You will be taken through an interview to assess your basic speaking and comprehension skills of the language and collection of your biometrics. You will receive your passport in about a year after application.
Another way one can gain EU residency is through adoption. Each country has its own rules on how adoption, especially of children from non-EU countries should be carried out. After a successful adoption process, the child will require residency permits before they are then naturalized into citizenship in a particular country their adopted parents are citizens of.
If you are a refugee, there are European countries that will offer asylum. As an asylum seeker, you will be granted legal residency in the country that accepts you. You will have to be a law-abiding citizen and are allowed to look for work and travel freely around the country. You can apply for citizenship by naturalization according to the country’s rules. For many countries, you have to have lived permanently for eight to ten years before you can qualify to apply for citizenship.
The above are the top ten ways you can use to acquire residency in an EU country. You can get residency in an EU country only if you are a citizen of a non-EU country. The EU is loved for its strong economy, political stability, and ease of movement across all the other EU countries.