Residency for Digital Nomads
Becoming a resident of Armenia is a great opportunity for digital nomads, freelancers, remote workers, and online business owners, and it is easier than you might think. Armenia offers temporary and permanent residence permits to such individuals and their families. Plus, if you hold a residence permit, you may be eligible for an Armenian passport (citizenship) after just three years of residency. The application process for a residence permit is also quite straightforward. You can apply remotely, and typically, all you need is a valid passport (more details on the process and requirements below). Unlike other countries, Armenia does not require you to stay in the country, provide police clearance certificates, insurance policies, bank account statements, or travel tickets.
What Makes Armenia a Good Choice for Residency
No Stay or Visit
Maintaining residency in Armenia does not require physical presence; remote application is possible.
Fast and Easy
The residency application usually takes about 80 days and only a valid passport is required.
Residents can sponsor extended family for residency (parents, siblings, grandchildren, etc.)
After living in Armenia for three years, citizenship can be obtained. Dual citizenship is allowed.
The Ultimate Guide to Establishing Residency in Armenia as a Digital Nomad or Online Business Owner
Armenia is a fast-growing country with modern infrastructure, rich history and traditions, beautiful nature, and excellent cuisine. It boasts a very low crime rate - Yerevan, the capital, is even considered one of the safest cities in the world. The cost of living in Armenia is also quite low compared to other European countries, as you can see from this list of indicative prices.
If you are looking to become a resident of Armenia, there are many benefits to doing so. For one, you will get a five-year residence visa and a path to citizenship after just three years of residency. Plus, remote applications are possible and there are no work permit requirements. In fact, you can engage in any lawful activities you wish while residing in Armenia, whether it is doing business, working, studying, or simply retiring. If you are a resident of Armenia, you can sponsor your family members to become residents as well.
Armenian residents enjoy all the constitutional rights and freedoms available to citizens, except political rights. This includes rights to healthcare, social security, education, property and privacy, as well as freedom of speech, conscience, religion, and belief. And unlike citizens, residents are not required to serve in the military.
There are no minimum stay requirements and it is possible to obtain and maintain a residence permit without actually living in the country. The application process is fast and easy, and you only need to provide minimal documents. Armenia is an open and democratic society that values individual freedom, and government interference is typically minimal.
Having a residence permit in Armenia can give you more freedom and options, and it can serve as a valuable "insurance policy" as well. Plus, it may make it easier for you to access banking services and other investment opportunities in the country, including the right to invest in property and land with permanent ownership. And if you do decide to become an Armenian citizen, dual citizenship is expressly allowed.
If you are a digital nomad, freelancer, remote worker, or online business owner looking to become a resident of Armenia, you will need to meet certain requirements. Specifically, you must be engaged in business activities in Armenia, which means registering with the Armenian tax office as a sole proprietor (or register an LLC). However, your work does not have to be connected to Armenia, and there are no requirements to have Armenian clients or suppliers.
It is important to note that you will need to report at least some income and pay taxes in Armenia. The tax rates will depend on your income or sales, with independent service providers typically opting for the "turnover tax" regime, which levies a 5% tax on reported income. Under the "microbusiness" regime, it may be possible to pay 0% tax if your annual income does not exceed around $60,000, though not all types of activities qualify for this treatment. You may also be subject to social (pension) contributions and military stamp duties after your residence permit is issued.
For example, let us say you offer online classes. Since educational services can be treated as a "microbusiness," you will be exempt from taxes on income of up to around $60,000 per year, and you will not have to make social (pension) contributions. However, you will need to pay monthly military stamp duties of $4 to $25 after your residence permit is issued.
On the other hand, if you are a business consultant, consulting services cannot be treated as a "microbusiness," so you will have to pay a 5% turnover tax on your income of up to $280,000. If you report income from consulting services of $1,000 per month, you will pay $50 in turnover tax (5% of $1,000) and a flat fee of $13 in income tax. After your residence permit is issued, you will also need to pay a flat social (pension) contribution of $13 and a monthly military stamp duty of $5. Your total monthly tax bill will be $81 ($50 + $13 + $13 + $5).
$13 per month + 5% on sales
18% on profit
Social (Pension) Contribution
$13 per month
$188 per month
Military Stamp Duty
$4-$25 per month
$4-$25 per month
$25 per month
If you are interested in obtaining an Armenian residence permit, you will need to follow these steps:
Step 1: Travel to Armenia or mail the necessary documents to Armenia (including a power of attorney and a legalized passport copy or the original passport) if you are applying remotely.
Step 2: Register with the tax office as a sole proprietor and obtain a taxpayer identification number (2-3 days).
Step 3: Report income from business or employment to the tax office and pay taxes (approximately 3-6 weeks).
Step 4: File your residence permit application. If you are applying remotely, you will need to mail your original passport. The passport will be returned to you after a few days (1-2 days or approximately 2-3 weeks for remote applications).
Step 5: Wait for your residence permit application to be examined and approved (30-50 days).
Step 6: We will collect your residence permit and have it delivered or mailed to you (1 day).
The whole process typically takes between two to four months, depending on the type of application (remote or in-person) and your individual circumstances.
To apply, you will need a valid passport, and a medical check certificate and photographs may also be required. You will not need to provide proof of address or employment, police clearance certificates, bank account statements, reference letters, health/travel insurance, or tickets.
Keep in mind that you will need to budget for legal fees, as well as other expenses like government fees, mailing, translation, and notarization. For more information, feel free to contact us.
If you are applying for an Armenian residence permit, your lawyer or representative can file the application remotely. However, on the day of the application, we will need to present your original passport to the immigration officer. This means that if you are applying remotely, you will need to mail your passport to Armenia via a courier service like FedEx, DHL, or UPS for a few days. Your passport will be mailed back to you immediately after the application is filed.
Applications for temporary (1-year) or permanent (5-year) residence permits must be filed at the Immigration Office. Please note that Armenian embassies typically do not process residence permit applications, except in the case of a special 10-year residence permit.
It is important to note that obtaining a residence permit (temporary, permanent, or special) does not automatically make you a "tax resident." Tax residency is regulated by tax laws, not immigration laws. However, if you are a hired worker or a "private entrepreneur" in Armenia, you may be required to make social (pension) and military contributions once you obtain a residence permit.
In general, you become a tax resident of Armenia by spending more than 183 days in the country in a year. This means that it is possible to hold a residence permit without becoming a tax resident, and vice versa.
Armenia does not typically tax individuals' capital gains on the sale of securities or real estate, or other assets, regardless of whether those gains are generated in Armenia or elsewhere. Certain forms of income, such as insurance and pension payments, are also exempt from taxes. Additionally, there are no taxes on gifts, inheritance, or net worth.
However, there is no general rule that exempts a tax resident from paying taxes on income generated outside of Armenia.
You may also be able to obtain documents such as proof of registered address in Armenia, a social security number, a taxpayer identification number, or a tax residency certificate.
If you hold an Armenian residence permit, your immediate family members may also be eligible for residency. Specifically, you can sponsor your spouse, your children (whether they are minors or adults, with no age restrictions), and your parents (also with no age restrictions). You do not need to demonstrate that your family members are financially dependent on you.
Furthermore, if you have a permanent (long-term) or special residence permit, you can also sponsor your siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren.
If you have been living in Armenia permanently for the past three years, you are eligible to apply for Armenian citizenship. However, the term "permanent resident" is not clearly defined by the Citizenship Law. In practice, the police will accept and process a citizenship application if the applicant has maintained an Armenian residence permit (temporary, permanent, or special) during the three-year period.
In addition to the residency requirement, you will need to pass a test on your knowledge of the Armenian Constitution. This is a multiple-choice test with 33 questions, and you only need to answer 17 of them correctly to pass. The test is administered in Armenian, and you will be asked to fill out a biographic form in Armenian as well. This means that you may need to spend some time (perhaps a couple of months) learning basic Armenian.
It is important to note that meeting the above requirements does not guarantee that your citizenship application will be approved. If your application is rejected, you can reapply after one year. Additionally, if your application is rejected, you can appeal the decision in court. However, administrative court proceedings are likely to take up to one year or even longer.
Armenia's immigration laws are quite liberal, and there are multiple ways to become a resident. You can invest in an existing business or rental properties or engage in agriculture, such as vineyards or orchards. In short, being involved in any business, regardless of its size or nature, should qualify you for Armenian residency.
Becoming a resident of Armenia is also possible by making a donation to a rural development project (donation route) or by investing in government bonds that have an annual yield of approximately 7%. If you are interested in learning more about these options, please contact us, and we will provide you with more information.
Purchasing an existing business or a share in one is another way to qualify for residency, but it is typically more complicated due to due diligence checks and appraisal matters. You can find offers to invest in small and medium-sized businesses at https://investin.am/investment-projects/, and a few large companies are listed on the Armenian stock exchange at https://amx.am/en/instruments/shares.
Just owning real estate will not qualify you for a residence permit, but turning the property into an income-generating business asset can do the trick. Typically, this is done by purchasing property and renting it out, You will still have to register as a taxpayer in Armenia and pay taxes on your income.
Finally, owning a small vineyard, orchard, or other agricultural operation can also qualify you for residency. Owning vacant land by itself is not sufficient, but purchasing an operational farm will likely be enough. While the size of the operations is not very important in principle, the profitability of the business will largely depend on its scale.
The real estate market in Yerevan has experienced rapid appreciation in recent years, with the average price of one square meter in central Yerevan rising from $885 in December 2016 to $1,651 in May 2022, an increase of 87% in less than six years. This growth can be attributed to the growing economy, increased tourism, and demand for new housing among locals, as well as subsidized mortgage loans and the appreciation of the local currency in 2022.
The process of purchasing a property in Armenia is efficient and quick, with the country ranking 13th out of 190 countries on the World Bank's "Registering Property" index. It is even possible to buy properties remotely without visiting the country.
Armenia does not have gift or estate taxes, and capital gains on the sale of real property by an individual are generally not taxed. Property tax rates range from 0% to 1% of the cadastral value, which is normally significantly lower than the market value. Stamp duties are not applicable, and only small official fees are paid, which do not depend on the value of the property. Rental income up to 60 million Armenian drams (approximately $155,000) per year is taxed at 10%, and rental income exceeding that amount is taxed at 20%.
Foreigners can own 100% of real estate in Armenia, and they have the same rights as locals to acquire, hold, lease, sell, bequeath, and otherwise dispose of their property. There is no need for foreigners to have a residence permit or any other links to Armenia. Overall, the real estate market in Armenia offers great opportunities for foreign investors seeking to diversify their portfolio and take advantage of a growing economy.
You might want to consider buying off-plan property from real estate developers and see non-taxable capital gains of 20-30% after the construction is completed. There are many construction projects to choose from, and you can find more information on websites such as Armeconombank, ACBA Bank, Inecobank, Ameriabank, Red Invest Group, and Construction.am.
Land, Vineyards, and Orchards
Lands in Armenia are classified according to their designated usage (zoning), including agricultural, residential, industrial, energy, forest, and more. Foreigners can directly own household and gardening plots, lands designated for construction and maintenance of a homestead, and residential and commercial development lands. Other types of land, such as agricultural land, can be owned through a legal entity. Special residence permit holders can own all types of land. There are some restrictions on building on agricultural land, although small buildings up to 30 sq. m. are allowed. In most rural communities, structures of up to 300 sq. m. can be built on land exceeding 10,000 sq. m. It may also be possible to change the zoning of land with the help of the local municipality.
If you are interested in agricultural investments, you might consider fruit farming or wine growing, which are one of the oldest economic sectors in Armenia, with over 60,000 active entities in this industry. The most popular forms of cultivation are grape, apricot, and peach. Between 1998 and 2016, the territory of orchards doubled, and the yield increased by 14.5% between 2008 and 2017 due to implementation of innovative technologies. You may choose to buy an existing farm or set up a new one, and you may be eligible for a government subsidy. Two types of subsidies are available: compensation of up to 50% of costs incurred in setting up a vineyard (orchard) or a low-interest rate loan (2%) for a maximum amount of $2.9 million for vineyards, $5 million for orchards, and $4.7 million for berry farms.
Bank Deposits, Stocks, Bonds, and Gold
You may qualify for residency in Armenia by purchasing an existing business or a share in one. However, such transactions can be more complicated due to the necessary due diligence checks and appraisal matters. If you are interested in investing in small and medium-sized businesses, you can find offers on the Invest in Armenia website: https://investin.am/investment-projects/. The Armenian stock exchange also lists a few large companies: https://amx.am/en/instruments/shares.
Although few companies are listed on the Armenian stock exchange, many issue corporate bonds with relatively high yields (in excess of 11% in local currency and 6% in USD). The Armenian government also issues both short-term and long-term bonds, typically with annual interest rates above 10%. You can find more information on the stock exchange website and at moneymarket.am.
Interest paid on bank deposits in Armenia is relatively high, with annual rates up to 10% for local currency deposits and 5% for USD deposits. Deposits can also be made in euros and Russian Rubles, and information on current deposit interest rates is available at moneymarket.am. Although the Armenian dram has appreciated against the USD by around 20% in 2022, exchange rates have been mostly stable over the last few decades. Banks typically withhold a 10% tax on interest payments. You can also find information on current prices of gold bars (ranging from 1 gram to 1,000 grams) at moneymarket.am. Most banks offer safety box services, allowing you to purchase gold bars and keep them in a secure location.
All banks in Armenia are licensed and closely regulated by the Central Bank of Armenia. A deposit insurance system is also in place, covering deposits up to AMD 16 million (around $41,000) for local currency deposits and AMD 7 million (around $18,000) for foreign currency deposits. However, the system has never been used as there have been no bank runs in recent history.
Setting up an LLC in Armenia is a quick and uncomplicated process, which can be completed entirely remotely. There are no limitations on foreign ownership or management of companies, no minimum investment requirements, and no renewal fees to worry about. Shareholders are afforded limited liability and can utilize the LLC structure for purposes of asset protection or tax optimization. Armenia also boasts favorable tax regulations for small businesses, with many being completely exempt from taxes. Furthermore, IT companies can benefit from special tax incentives.
Benefits: Registering an LLC in Armenia has several advantages, including:
Fast registration process (typically within a couple of days)
Shareholders enjoy limited liability
Minimal documentation requirements (only passports are needed)
No restrictions on foreign ownership or directorship
No minimum capital requirements
No need to engage local partners, agents, managers, secretaries, etc.
Permanent existence with no renewal fees
Bank accounts available in various currencies
No restrictions on repatriation of profits and capital
For more information, please see the page on incorporation.
Taxation: Armenia offers favorable tax rates for small businesses. Many types of businesses with annual sales below AMD 24 million (equivalent to around $62,000 as of March 2023) are exempt from income tax. Other businesses with annual sales below AMD 115 million (around $297,000) are also exempt from income tax but are subject to a sales tax (turnover tax) of 5% or less. Newly registered IT companies and firms operating in free economic zones, industrial zones, and certain border towns and villages are also eligible for tax exemptions.
An LLC registered in Armenia is considered a tax resident of Armenia and is taxed on its worldwide income. Tax rates are generally the same regardless of whether income comes from Armenia or another country.
Asset Protection: An Armenian LLC can be used as a holding company for assets. Setting up a tax-exempt "microbusiness" LLC can be advantageous for receiving passive income, such as dividends, of up to AMD 24 million (around $62,000) annually. Additionally, income from the sale of financial assets is not subject to taxation, regardless of the amount. However, it is important to avoid being classified as an "investment company," which requires licensing.
While it is possible to use an LLC to own real estate in Armenia or other countries, Armenian tax laws generally make it more beneficial to own such property as an individual to avoid capital gains tax on sales between individuals.
Armenian law does not recognize trusts, so assets are typically held through an LLC or other corporate structures such as a joint-stock company, foundation, or consumer cooperative. Nominee and corporate shareholders and directors are allowed, but companies must file annual statements disclosing the ultimate beneficial owners (UBO).
Banking: Armenia has a well-established banking system, with 18 privately owned banks regulated by the Central Bank. Among them, HSBC is an international bank, while many local banks have foreign capital from countries such as Russia (VTB), France (ACBA), Lebanon (Byblos, ID), Argentina (Converse), Iran (Mellat), and others. Armenian banks offer modern banking services, including online and mobile banking, debit and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, AmEx), accounts in various currencies (USD, EUR, CHF, GBP, CAD, AED, RUR, JPY), gold metal accounts, wealth management, private banking, and safety deposit boxes. They also have low charges, strong privacy, and high-quality customer service.
Health Insurance: In Armenia, individuals are not required by law to have health insurance. However, all six licensed insurance companies offer health insurance, with annual rates usually ranging between $300 to $600 per person. These companies are SIL Insurance, Rosgosstrakh-Armenia, Nairi Insurance, Ingo Armenia, Reso, and Armenia Insurance.
Driving License: Obtaining an Armenian driving license is a two-step process that involves taking a computer-based driving theory test and a practical driving test. The theory test questions are available in Armenian, Russian, English, Arabic, and Farsi. There are a total of 1,116 questions, and the test consists of 20 questions with only two incorrect answers allowed. To register for the test, you can visit the website roadpolice.am and wait for notification about the time and place of the test. If you pass the theory test, you will be allowed to take the driving test immediately. In addition, it is possible to exchange your foreign driving license for an Armenian one if your license is issued by a country that is party to the 1968 Vienna Convention.
Marriage Registration: Foreigners can get married in Armenia without any requirement to live or have ties to the country. The registration process is typically quick and can be completed in as little as two business days. However, both individuals need to provide a "non-marriage" certificate from their country of permanent residence to confirm their marital status. If a non-marriage certificate cannot be obtained, an affidavit may be used instead. These documents must be legalized, either by Apostille or consular legalization, and translated into Armenian before they can be submitted to the Armenian Ministry of Justice. Remote registration with a power of attorney may also be possible.
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What Clients Say
Overall, I felt it could not have been any better. Everything was taken care of so smoothly, effortlessly, and managed very well.
It is always daunting when dealing with immigration, visas etc in a foreign country. The team at Vardanyan & Partners made the process for registering the business and applying for residency so much easier. I had no worries at all. The team overall really went out of their way to accommodate and assist us.
The team members were all professional, knowledgeable and most importantly, honest. They are hard-working and patient and were always responsive to my messages and questions. What I like most is, they are very well organised and have a modern system of work.
Armenia is a captivating nation with a rich history and a promising future. Our firm is wholeheartedly committed to supporting individuals and businesses that recognize Armenia's potential and are eager to contribute to its ongoing success.
We trust that this website will serve as a valuable resource for you in gathering the information you need. Should you have any questions or require further assistance, please feel free to get in touch with us. You can easily contact us through various channels, such as completing the form on our website, emailing us directly at [email protected], or reaching out via phone or popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, and Skype at +374.99.00.11.67. We are always available to assist you in any way possible.
LL.M. Georgetown University, licensed to practice in both Armenia (license no. 903) and New York (license no. 5148945)
Vardanyan & Partners is a reputable law firm situated in Yerevan, Armenia, which has been providing excellent legal services since its establishment in 2012. Our team of locally licensed, English-speaking attorneys specializes in immigration, incorporation, and compliance matters, ensuring that clients receive expert legal guidance. We are committed to staying up-to-date with the latest changes in legislation and regulations, ensuring that our clients receive the most relevant and accurate advice. At Vardanyan & Partners, we place a strong emphasis on honesty, transparency, and client care.
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4/3 Pirumyanner, 4th Floor, Suite 12 , Yerevan, 0054, Armenia