Temporary, Permanent, Special Residence in Armenia

Armenia is an open and democratic country valuing individual freedom. The residence permit application process in Armenia is simple and can be done remotely with just a valid passport. Unlike other countries, Armenia does not require you to stay in the country. Armenian residency offers a five-year visa and a path to citizenship in three years. It can also facilitate access to banking services and investment opportunities, including permanent property and land ownership rights. If you choose to become an Armenian citizen, dual citizenship is expressly permitted.

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Overview of Residence Permits in Armenia

1

Residence Permit Categories

Examine the various categories of residence permits available in Armenia and ascertain the eligibility criteria for each.


2

Step-By-Step Process for Residency Application

Investigate the procedural aspects of applying for residency, encompassing considerations such as associated costs, timelines, and the requisites for residency extension.


3

Armenian Citizenship Based on Residency

Explore the stipulated criteria for obtaining Armenian citizenship predicated on residency.



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  • Invitation letter
  • Residence permit
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legal & Compliance

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  • Social security number
  • Tax ID number
  • Tax residency certificate
  • Tax compliance services
  • Health insurance

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  • Personal bank account
  • Corporate bank account
  • Company registration
  • Real estate
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  • Bank deposits

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Residence Permit Categories

Obtaining an Armenian residence permit presents a wealth of advantages for individuals seeking residency in a country with a rich cultural heritage and robust economic opportunities. Here are the key benefits and procedural aspects of securing residency in Armenia:

Remote Application Process: Applicants can secure their Armenian residency remotely, requiring only a passport and a health certificate. This streamlined process enables individuals from around the globe to apply without needing to be physically present in Armenia initially.

Minimal Documentation Required: Applicants need only provide their passport and a medical certificate alongside documents supporting their legal basis for application.

Path to Citizenship: After three years of residency, individuals may qualify for Armenian citizenship, contingent upon government approval.

Dual Citizenship: If an individual opts to become an Armenian citizen, the country expressly permits dual citizenship, allowing one to retain their original nationality.

Family Inclusion: The residence permit extends eligibility to family members, including spouses, children (minor and adult), siblings, and grandparents, making it a family-friendly option.

Economic and Cultural Benefits: Armenia boasts a rapidly growing economy, with a 8.7% GDP growth in 2023. The country offers investment opportunities in high-interest banking and a thriving real estate market where foreign land ownership is permitted. The capital, Yerevan, is noted for its safety, low cost of living, high-speed internet, affordable healthcare, and exceptional cuisine. From its UNESCO World Heritage Sites to the stunning views of Mount Ararat, Armenia's natural and cultural offerings enrich the lives of its residents.

Legal and Social Advantages: Residents of Armenia enjoy all constitutional rights and freedoms afforded to citizens, except for political rights. These include rights to healthcare, social security, education, property, and privacy, along with freedoms of speech, conscience, religion, and belief. Importantly, residents are exempt from mandatory military service.

Global Connectivity: Armenia maintains strong international relationships, especially with Western nations such as those in the European Union and the USA. It also has a visa-free regime with countries like Russia, Iran, and China, enhancing the travel freedom of its residents.

Investment and Banking Opportunities: As a resident, individuals can access diverse banking services and investment opportunities. Permanent property and land ownership rights are significant incentives for those looking to invest in real estate.

Categories for getting a residence permits

Armenia offers various types of residence permits for different groups of people. Business owners, investors, digital nomads, and ethnic Armenians can apply for temporary (one-year) or permanent (five-year) residence permits. Both can be renewed indefinitely in their respective increments.

Family members typically receive temporary residence cards, valid for up to one year, but not exceeding the main applicant's residency. Students obtain temporary residence cards for a maximum of one year, aligning with their study duration.

Workers, employees and volunteers usually acquire one-year temporary residence cards, which also function as work permits. Applications are typically done online, with permits issued as plastic cards. Workers from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan (Eurasian Economic Union) and their families do not require work permits. Instead, they receive "certificates of legality of stay" for up to one year, issued as plastic cards. In addition, Russian citizens can legalize their stay in Armenia simply by registering their address with the local police office.

Ethnic Armenians can also receive special residence permits in the form of passports. In exceptional cases, other foreigners who have contributed significantly to the Armenian economy or culture may also receive these permits.

HOW BUSINESS OWNERS CAN OBTAIN A RESIDENCE PERMIT IN ARMENIA

Residence permits come in different types, including temporary (1-year), permanent (5-year), and special (10-year) status. The latter is usually granted to owners of larger businesses that have created a substantial number of local jobs.

As for the corporate form and ownership size, a business owner can either be a "private entrepreneur" or a shareholder of a for-profit company, such as Limited Liability Company (LLC), Joint-Stock Company (JSC), or cooperative. The law does not specify a minimum share size to qualify for residence, so even small shares like 5% or 1% can suffice, as long as the ownership is real.

An immigration interview is typically held (in person or via a phone call) with the business owner or his attorney 2-5 weeks after the residence permit application is filed. The security officer will establish if the information submitted is accurate and if the business is a real operational business, among other things. They may check supporting documents, but they tend to rely more on verbal communication and take a common sense approach to assess the case.

The nature of the business is also important, as it determines the type of evidence and supporting documents required for the application. For instance, if you open a retail store, you need to have the necessary commercial premises, equipment, and inventory. If you are an IT specialist working from home, you need to show your workplace and explain the services you provide, who your customers are, how they pay you, and the results of your work.

Office space is not required, but having separate business premises may look better. However, it is not recommended to rent such a place just to make a good impression on the immigration officer.

As a business owner, you do not need a work permit or other permits to apply for residence.

To get a residence permit in Armenia, your business must be set up and operational. A foreigner is allowed and expected to start their business while on a regular visitor visa.

Minimum investment and income requirements do not exist, but the business income should be sufficient to cover the applicant's living expenses.

Having local employees will certainly make a good impression, but job creation is not a requirement to qualify for residency.

A business plan is not required, but a strong package of supporting documents (for example, business registration documents, lease agreement, contracts, invoices, payroll documents, licenses and permits (if any), website and marketing materials, tax returns, bank account statements, etc.) is important to convince the security officer of your eligibility for residency. Moreover, if your application ends up being rejected, these documents will serve the basis for appealing the rejection in court. It is not recommended to apply for a residence permit if the business is only in the planning stage as such application will be, almost certainly, rejected.

Paying taxes is an important factor in demonstrating that the business is real and operational. If the business does not generate income or does not pay taxes on its income, the application is likely to be rejected.

HOW DIGITAL NOMADS AND FREeLANCERS CAN OBTAIN A RESIDENCE PERMIT IN ARMENIA

Digital nomads, freelancers and owners of online businesses are also eligible to apply for a residence permit in Armenia. The law does not require applicants to have local clients or show that their income comes from Armenian sources. The same rules that apply to regular business owners (see section #3) also apply to freelancers and online business owners. To qualify for a residence permit, freelancers and online business owners need to be registered as taxpayers in Armenia, such as a sole proprietor or LLC owner.

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).


Microbusiness

Turnover Tax

Income Tax

Annual Sales

< $60,000

< $280,000

> $280,000

Tax Rate

0%

$13 per month + 5% on sales

18% on profit

Social (Pension) Contribution

0

$13 per month

$188 per month

Military Stamp Duty

$4-$25 per month

$4-$25 per month

$25 per month

HOW INVESTORS AND DONORS CAN OBTAIN A RESIDENCE PERMIT IN ARMENIA

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.
Investors can qualify for a residence permit in Armenia under the same terms as business owners. The law does not require the applicant to be actively engaged in the day-to-day management of the business. Therefore, the same rules that apply to regular business owners (see section #3) also apply to investors.

Real Estate Investment: Simply owning real estate does not qualify you for a residence permit. However, you can 1) develop real estate or 2) purchase and operate rental property. You will qualify for residency if you turn the property into an income-generating business asset. You still need to register as a taxpayer in Armenia (e.g. as a sole proprietor, LLC owner, etc.) and pay taxes on your income (rental income is typically taxed at 10%).

Investment in an Existing Business: You can also qualify for residency by purchasing an existing business or a share in an existing business. Such transactions are usually more complicated due to the due diligence checks and appraisal matters.

For those who prefer not to establish their own business in Armenia, we offer two alternative paths to secure residency in the country: by making a $6,000 donation to a rural development project (the donation route) or by investing a total of $10,000 (the investment route). In the case of the investment route, $7,000 will be dedicated to government bonds that yield an estimated annual return of 7%, and the remaining $3,000 will be invested in a rural development project. If you are interested in learning more about these options, please contact us, and we will provide you with more information.

WORK PERMITS AND RESIDENCY FOR FOREIGN EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTORS

As a general rule, foreign workers, including both employees and contractors, who are hired by an Armenian employer to work within the country, need to have a work permit and a temporary residence permit before they can start working. The Immigration Office first conducts a labor market test to ensure that there are no suitable local citizens for the position in question. Once the work is authorized, a temporary residence card will be issued to the employee in the form of a plastic card, which is valid for up to one year and also serves as a work permit.

There are some exemptions from work permit requirements, such as highly skilled foreign specialists, business owners, executives, citizens of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan (members of the Eurasian Economic Union), and certain other categories of workers.

Working without a work permit or a residence permit may result in penalties for the employer and visa revocation for the employee. The work permit and the residence permit may also be revoked if the employment agreement is terminated. For more information on work permits, please see here.

HOW STUDENTS CAN OBTAIN A RESIDENCE PERMIT IN ARMENIA

Students of educational institutions at the primary, secondary, and higher levels can qualify for temporary residence permits that are issued for the duration of their study program. To support their residence application, the educational institution typically provides an admission letter and a contract. These documents should specify the dates of the study program, which typically correspond to the academic year for which the admission has been granted.

HOW ETHNIC ARMENIANS CAN QUALIFY FOR RESIDENCy

Individuals of Armenian descent/origin can qualify for all types of residence permits, including temporary, permanent, and special, as well as Armenian citizenship. However, certain formal requirements must be met to establish Armenian origin. Simply having an Armenian name or speaking Armenian fluently is not sufficient. To prove Armenian ethnicity, you will need to produce a document, such as a baptism certificate issued by a church organization, that confirms your or your parent/grandparent's Armenian ethnicity. In certain cases, government-issued documents, such as birth certificates or family records, may also mention Armenian ethnicity. A list of churches whose certificates are generally accepted by the government is published on this website (see Annex 4).

It is important that the document be attested (legalized) by the Armenian embassy/consulate in the country where the document was issued. For example, the Armenian embassy must certify the baptism certificate before it can be used to apply for citizenship.

Some ethnic Armenians may prefer a residence permit over citizenship, particularly if it is difficult to produce a legalized birth certificate. Additionally, obtaining a residence permit rather than citizenship can help individuals avoid registering with the military office or avoid having to renounce their current citizenship, particularly if their country of origin does not allow dual citizenship.

For more information on obtaining Armenian citizenship by ethnicity, please refer to this page.

ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO QUALIFY FOR RESIDENCY

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.

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.

You can find more information about business opportunities in Armenia herehere.

FAMILY RESIDENCY IN ARMENIA: RESIDENCY SPONSORSHIP FOR FAMILY MEMBER

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.

To establish a family relationship, a legalized (Apostille or consular legalization) birth or marriage certificate (or an equivalent document) must be presented.

Normally, family members are granted only temporary (one-year) residence permits, even if the main applicant has a permanent (five-year) or special (ten-year) residence permit or is an Armenian citizen. However, in the last two cases (i.e., where the main applicant is an Armenian citizen or has a special residence permit), family members can qualify for a five-year permit if they have been residents of Armenia for three years.

It is not possible to apply simultaneously for the residency of both the main applicant and their family members. Instead, family members must file their applications after the main applicant's residence permit is issued. Therefore, it is crucial to plan the application process properly in advance, especially when it comes to extending the permits. For example, if the primary applicant wishes to extend their residence permit, it is advisable to submit the application approximately three months prior to the expiry date. This timing ensures the possibility of applying for the extension of any dependent's residence permit without any gaps in validity between the residence cards.

SPECIAL RESIDENCY: ELIGIBILITY, BENEFITS, AND APPLICATION PROCESS

The special residence permit, also known as the special passport, is valid for ten years and can be extended indefinitely in ten-year increments. Unlike the temporary or permanent residence permits, it is issued in the form of a passport rather than a card. It grants its holder the freedom to travel to and from Armenia without a visa, live, work, study, conduct business, and engage in any lawful activity in Armenia without needing work permits or any other paperwork. A significant benefit of the special passport is that its holder can own agricultural and other land directly in his or her name, without having to establish a legal entity.

In practice, special passports are usually issued to foreigners of Armenian origin, that is, ethnic Armenians. However, in exceptional cases, non-Armenians engaged in economic or cultural activities in Armenia can also obtain a special passport. Children under 16 are also eligible for special passports. The time required to obtain a special passport is typically around 60-90 days.

Benefits of Special Residency
Holders of a special passport are entitled to enlist the services of a family physician upon registering as per the protocol at a primary care medical institution, which offers complimentary healthcare services.

Special and permanent passport holders are eligible to obtain a certificate of permanent residence in Armenia, entitling them to import personal belongings without incurring customs fees. The Migration and Citizenship Service typically issues the certificate within a brief period of 5 business days. Remote application submission through a designated representative is also possible for those with prior visits to Armenia.

Special residency holders stand as the sole exception, endowed with the privilege of owning agricultural land in their name under the law.

Special passport holders enjoy the legal provision granting extended family members (comprising parents, siblings, spouses, children, grandparents, and grandchildren) eligibility for a 1-year temporary residence permit. Furthermore, after sustaining uninterrupted residence as dependents for a continuous period of 3 years, family members can qualify for a 5-year permanent residence permit, contingent upon demonstrating adequate housing and financial means.

Step-by-step Process

The steps, timeline, and required documents for obtaining an Armenian residence permit will vary depending on the nature and legal basis of your application. For instance, if you are interested in obtaining an Armenian residence permit as an investor, you will need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Either travel to Armenia or send the necessary documents (including a power of attorney and the original passport) to Armenia for remote application.
Step 2: Transfer the investment amount (takes 2-5 days).
Step 3: Register the investor's share with the government (takes 2-3 days).
Step 4: Submit your residence permit application. For remote applications, mail your original passport. Your passport will be returned after a few days (1-2 days for in-person applications or approximately 2-3 weeks for remote applications).
Step 5: Await the examination and approval of your residence permit application (takes 40-50 days).
Step 6: We will collect your residence permit and deliver or mail it to you (takes 1 day).

The entire process typically spans 2-3 months, depending on whether you apply in person or remotely and your specific circumstances.

To apply, you will need a valid passport; a medical check certificate and photographs may also be necessary. You will not need to provide proof of address or employment, police clearance certificates, bank account statements, reference letters, health/travel insurance, or tickets.

Remember to account for legal fees and other expenses, such as government fees, mailing, translation, and notarization. For additional information, do not hesitate to contact us.

Please note that currently, the Immigration Office mandates that all appointments be scheduled in advance using an online booking system (https://migration.e-gov.am/en/). The waiting periods for these appointments may range from a few weeks to even longer. This is a crucial aspect to keep in mind while planning for extensions.

REMOTE APPLICATIONS: PROCEDURE AND REQUIREMENTS

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.

To apply for temporary (1-year) or permanent (5-year) residence permits, you must submit your application to the Immigration Office. Please note that Armenian embassies usually do not process residence permit applications unless it is for a special 10-year residence permit.

Applications for special (10-year) residence permits can be submitted at the Immigration Office or at an Armenian embassy overseas. While it is possible to apply for a special passport remotely by giving power of attorney to a representative, you must be physically present in Armenia at the time of the application.

PHYSICAL PRESENCE, NO MINIMUM STAY

There are no specific requirements regarding the number of days you need to spend in Armenia to maintain your residence status. Generally, it is possible to apply for and extend your residence permit remotely. Please refer to the previous section for further details on this matter.

TAX CONSEQUENCES OF BECOMING A RESIDENT

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. 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.

Please be aware that if you are employed as a worker or are a "private entrepreneur" in Armenia, you may be required to begin making social (pension) and military contributions once you have obtained your residence permit.

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, a tax residency certificate, or a certificate of permanent residency.

Taxpayer Identification Number
Individuals receiving profits from commercial organizations are mandated to obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). This is imperative, as the distribution of profits entails the obligation to remit income tax on dividends, necessitating the possession of a TIN for tax payment purposes. Furthermore, certain foreign banks may request the Taxpayer Identification Number as a means to authenticate their association with the Republic of Armenia.
The application process primarily involves the submission of a TIN application along with a copy of the passport.

Tax Residency Certificate
In general, an individual can become a tax resident of Armenia if their stay in the country extends to 183 days or more. Alternatively, a petition can be submitted to the tax office to procure a tax residency certificate, even if the stipulated duration of 183 days is not met. However, the application must substantiate that the center of vital interest is situated in Armenia, signifying that personal or business affiliations with Armenia outweigh those with any other country. It is crucial to note that such certificates are issued exclusively for a specific tax year and explicitly cite the pertinent double tax treaty.

To initiate the application for a tax residency certificate, the applicant is required to submit a comprehensive set of documents. These include statements detailing income from foreign sources, copies of all passport pages, a calculation table reflecting the individual's presence within the Republic of Armenia, or a written justification outlining the localization of the center of vital interests within the territory of the Republic of Armenia, supported by relevant documentation.

The issuance of the tax residency certificate is typically completed within two business days.

ADDRESS REGISTRATION aND SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER APPLICATION

Armenian residents are generally required to have a registered address, which is used for official notifications and other purposes. Foreigners typically have 15 days after receiving their residence permit to register their local address and seven days to report any changes of address to the local police office. To register a local address, you will need to provide proof that you reside in Armenia. This can be a certificate of ownership or lease of a residential property, or the owner's consent to registration. If none of these documents are available, you may request the local police to conduct a factual check, which usually takes up to two weeks, to confirm your residency at the stated address.
Completing the address registration step can also be beneficial for the bank account opening process, as it's a requirement of most banks.

Once your address is registered, you may apply for a social security number (SSN), which may be useful in your dealings with various government agencies, banks, employers, etc. The SSN is issued in the form of a separate paper and can be obtained immediately upon application at the local police office.

In practice, individuals who are lawfully present in Armenia have the opportunity to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) using their passport.

RESIDENCE PERMIT RENEWAL: APPOINTMENT BOOKING AND PROCESS

Residence permits must be renewed (extended) periodically. Temporary permits can be renewed annually, while permanent (long-term) and special residence permits can be renewed every five and ten years, respectively.

The application for renewal must be submitted no later than 30 days before the expiration of the current permit. In the case of special permits, it is recommended to apply at least 60 days before the expiration. If there are family members (dependents), the main applicant should apply even earlier to allow sufficient time for processing both their own and their dependents' applications.

Please note that currently, the Immigration Office requires all appointments to be scheduled in advance through an online booking system (https://e-request.am/en). The waiting periods for these appointments may range from a few weeks to even longer, so it is important to consider this factor when planning for an extension.

The renewal procedure is similar to that of the initial application. For instance, a business owner would still need to be interviewed by an immigration officer and show proof of active business operations, among other requirements (refer to section 3 above for further information).

There are no restrictions on the number of times a residence permit can be extended, and there is no requirement to spend a particular number of days in Armenia to extend the residence permit. Moreover, it is possible to apply for an extension remotely.

RESIDENCE CARDS AND RE-ISSUANCE

Temporary and permanent residence cards are issued as separate paper documents, except for work-based temporary residence cards, which are issued as plastic cards. A residence card contains a photograph of its holder and serves as an identification document. You may keep it in your passport or carry it separately. It is not allowed to laminate the paper residence card, as it may become necessary to write annotations or put stamps on the card. If you are not present in Armenia, your lawyer or other authorized representative can collect the residence card and mail it to your foreign address.

The residence card also displays your passport number. If you change your passport, you may also need to update your residence card (or the immigration officer may make an annotation on the card). If your residence card is lost or damaged, you can apply for a re-issuance by paying a government fee of 12,000 drams (approximately $30). The new card should be issued within a few days.

Temporary residence permit card

Permanent residence permit card

Temporary residence card based on work

Certificate of legal residence for EAEU citizens

Special passport

COSTS OF OBTAINING A RESIDENCE PERMIT

The government fees for obtaining a residence permit vary between $270 to $390, depending on the type of permit. Immediate relatives of Armenian nationals are generally exempt from paying government fees, and reduced rates apply to US nationals. In the event that the application for a residence permit is rejected (but not if withdrawn by the applicant), the government fees are refundable.

Please be aware that in addition to government fees, you may also incur expenses related to document translation, medical checks, photographs, etc. If you plan to hire a lawyer to represent you before the immigration authorities, legal fees will also apply.

Residence Permit

Temporary (Short-Term)

Permanent (Long-Term)

Special Passport

Validity 

1 year, extendable

5 years, extendable

10 years, extendable

Government Fees (Approx.)

$270 (AMD 105,000)

$360 (AMD 140,000)

$390 (AMD 150,000)

HANDLING A RESIDENCE PERMIT REJECTION

An application for a residence permit is typically rejected if the security officer determines that the applicant has misrepresented their situation, provided false documentation, poses a risk to the security of the country, or for other reasons. The rejection letter will be mailed to the applicant's address and will provide a certain period of time (usually two months) to leave the country voluntarily.

If the applicant fails to leave the country voluntarily, the Immigration Office will initiate deportation proceedings and send the case to court. The foreigner may also be arrested and held in custody for up to 90 days. Deportation can also result in a three-year ban on entering the country.

An alternative to leaving the country is to appeal the rejection in court. Once the case has been properly filed with the court, the foreigner should be permitted to remain in the country while the case is pending. Court proceedings can be lengthy and may take many months or even years.

If an application is rejected, the applicant may re-apply for a residence permit only after a year has elapsed.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

As explained in the first section above, it is possible to apply for and obtain a residence permit remotely without traveling to Armenia. However, more often than not, an applicant will visit Armenia first and apply for a residence permit while in the country. It may be necessary to obtain a visa (e-visa or sticker visa) before being allowed to enter the country. For more information on visa requirements, please refer to this page.

Armenian Citizenship

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 specifically allows dual citizenship, and you will not be required to renounce any other citizenship.

Please be aware that only the Armenian passport is a travel document; you cannot use an Armenian residence permit to travel to other countries. As of 2024, the Armenian passport ranks 80th  according to Henley & Partners Passport Index, and allows visa-free travel to 69 countries, including places with limited access to nationals of Western countries, such as Russia, China, Iran, Uzbekistan, and others. The EU/Schengen countries still have a visa regime with Armenia, but visa-free travel may become possible in a few years. The United States offers 10-year B visas to Armenian citizens as well as E-2 business visas.

Investment Opportunities

Armenia presents a diverse range of investment opportunities characterized by advantageous conditions for both domestic and international investors. Whether the focus is on real estate or financial markets, the nation boasts a streamlined and investor-friendly process, fostering increased capital inflow. The conducive investment environment reflects Armenia's commitment to facilitating and attracting diverse investments, positioning the country as an appealing destination for global investors.

Real Estate

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.

Essential Services

Company registration

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 InsuranceLiga InsuranceNairi InsuranceIngo ArmeniaReso, and Armenia Insurance.

Medical care for foreigners 

  1. Emergency psychiatric medical care and service for foreign citizens is provided free of charge.
  2. For citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), urgent medical assistance is extended without impediments or fees in instances of acute health crises, accidents, poisoning, injuries, childbirth complications, and urgent situations during pregnancy. This service is delivered comprehensively, irrespective of the organizational-legal forms, departmental affiliation, or ownership structures of the medical and preventive institutions involved.
  3. Citizens are granted free and full medical assistance until the threat to the patient's life or the health of those around them subsides, and transfer becomes feasible. Subsequently, medical care is provided on a fee basis.
  4. For foreign citizens and stateless persons residing in Armenia, the option to select a Primary Health Care (PHC) doctor is available. By registering with a chosen PHC doctor, individuals can access primary care services on a fee basis, as outlined in the price list established by the medical institution. Exceptions may apply as stipulated by contracts with the Republic of Armenia (RA) International.
  5. Foreign citizens with special residence status in the RA, refugees, and asylum seekers receive primary care services through the state order. These individuals register with their chosen primary care physician following the established procedure.
  6. The medical assistance and service of foreign citizens with diseases included in the list of diseases posing a threat to the environment are organized regardless of the existence of relevant interstate contracts/agreements within the framework of the state order. The list includes such infectious diseases as all types of tuberculosis, HIV infection, etc.
  7. In RA, in the case of HIV infection, medical care is provided free of charge and in full, including planned treatment.
  8. From the moment of detection of the coronavirus infection, medical assistance is provided free of charge within the framework of the state order. Vaccination against coronavirus infection is organized free of charge for foreign citizens.

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.

What Clients Say

Why Choose Us

Decade of Excellence

Over 10 years of specialized experience in immigration and business setup.

Tailored Solutions

Our team of locally licensed, English-speaking attorneys specializes in immigration, incorporation, and compliance matters, providing bespoke legal strategies for each client.

Fast & Fluent Communication

We prioritize your concerns with a 24-hour response policy and communicate effectively in both English and Russian.

Client-Centered Approach

At Vardanyan & Partners, client care is paramount. Our emphasis on honesty and transparency ensures that you are always informed and confident in your legal journey.

Secure Transactions

Benefit from our secure online payment system without the worry of hidden charges.

Reputable & Reliable

Established in 2012, Vardanyan & Partners has built a reputation for excellence and reliability. With our team, you are not just hiring attorneys; you are partnering with insured legal experts committed to your success.

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.

 

Family Covered

Residents can sponsor extended family for residency (parents, siblings, grandchildren, etc.)

 

Citizenship Path

After living in Armenia for three years, citizenship can be obtained. Dual citizenship is allowed.

Nerses Isajanyan

Managing Attorney

LL.M., Georgetown University

Licensed Attorney, Armenia: License no. 903

Licensed Attorney, New York: License no. 5148945

Our firm's reputation rests on more than just legal expertise. We pride ourselves on the values of honesty, transparency, and an unwavering commitment to client care. We recognize the unique opportunities and challenges Armenia presents, and we are here to guide you through them.

For inquiries or to schedule a consultation, you may contact us at [email protected] or +374.99.00.11.67. I look forward to collaborating with you on your journey in Armenia.

Where to find us

Nestled in the heart of the Davtashen district in Yerevan, our office is a stone's throw away from the Migration Service building, ensuring seamless coordination on immigration matters. If you refer to the map above, you will pinpoint our exact location. For those journeying from the city center, anticipate a brief 20-30 minute taxi ride to reach us. We look forward to welcoming you and addressing your legal needs.

Address

4/3 Pirumyanner, 4th Floor, Suite 12 , Yerevan, 0054, Armenia

Phone

+37499001167

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