Moving to another country and settling down there is time-consuming but it is possible. To obtain a permanent residence permit, you’ll need patience and attention to details. You need to study the laws of the country you are interested in, meet all the requirements and satisfy the residence conditions, and provide the documents required for the application. Sometimes the process can be sped up, since many countries make obtaining a permanent residence permit easier for certain categories of applicants.
- Temporary and Permanent Residence Permits and Citizenship: What Is the Difference?
- Which applicants have an advantage in the permanent residence process?
- Required Documents
- Time Requirements for Becoming a Permanent Resident
- How to Become a Permanent Resident by Investment
- Diversity Immigrant Visa Programme
- Frequently Asked Questions
Temporary and Permanent Residence Permits and Citizenship: What Is the Difference?
A temporary residence permit is a document that allows a foreigner to reside in another country for a certain time. It is usually issued for a period of up to three years and must be regularly renewed.
A permanent residence permit allows you to live and work in the country permanently. Permanent residents have the right to social benefits, they have almost the same rights as the citizens of that state. Usually, you get the right to apply for a permanent residence permit after five years of legal residence in the country.
Citizenship gives the foreigner all the privileges the country provides to its own nationals. Citizens of the county, unlike residents, have the right to vote, to be elected and to serve in the military.
Which applicants have an advantage in the permanent residence process?
To apply for a permanent residence permit, you first need to obtain a temporary residence permit and legally reside in the country for some years. The specifics vary depending on the laws of the state. The following categories have an advantage in obtaining a residence permit:
- Students studying in the country
- Digital nomads, that is, freelancers working remotely
- Foreign citizens who legally work in the country or have their own business there
- Investors of large sums of money in the economy of the state
- Foreigners who are married a citizen of the state
In many countries, having a job, owning a business or real estate in the country makes it easier to get a visa and accelerate the process of obtaining a permanent residence permit in the future. In addition, in order to settle down in a country, foreigners must obey its laws and often need to submit a criminal record certificate. Some countries also require applicants to learn the official language and pass a test on the knowledge of its history and culture.
The full list depends on the country, but to apply for a permanent residence permit, you will need at least:
- A national identity document
- A valid passport with a valid visa
- A criminal record certificate
- A medical certificate with vaccination records
- A bank statement to show the absence of debt
- A birth certificate
- A diploma of education
- A marriage certificate (if applicable)
All documents must be translated and apostilled.
Time Requirements for Becoming a Permanent Resident
After acquiring a temporary visa and legally residing in the country for five to seven years, a foreigner can submit an application to register permanent residence. It is issued for life, but you have to renew the card itself every five to 10 years.
Renewing a temporary residence permit in most countries requires foreign citizens to stay in the country for at least 183 days a year. Otherwise, you may lose the right to a permanent residence permit. Meanwhile, there is no such condition for permanent residents. There is no limit on the time they can spend outside the country.
How to Become a Permanent Resident by Investment
Buying real estate and investing money in the local economy facilitates the acquisition of a temporary residence permit. Sometimes, it also shortens the time you need to reside in the country before you can apply for a permanent residence permit. Moreover, in many cases, holders of a "golden visa" can enjoy a simplified procedure. They do not have to permanently reside in the country or take language proficiency and history tests.
To get visa privileges in Caribbean island states (Dominica, Vanuatu, Antigua and Barbuda), you need to invest at least $100,000. For some European Union member states (Greece, Montenegro, Portugal), the average threshold is about $200,000. Saudi Arabia offers a permanent resident visa for an investment of $213,000.
Diversity Immigrant Visa Programme
The US gives people a unique opportunity: every year the government conducts a lottery for obtaining a permanent residence permit, the Green Card. They accept applicants from almost every country, the only requirement is to have secondary education or work experience as a highly qualified professional. The applicant is not required to be proficient in the language or US history. Still, a Green Card applicant must have a clean criminal record and cannot have committed any immigration infractions.
The US offers 50,000 of these Green Cards every year. You can include your spouse and children under the age of 21 in your application. The number of attempts is not limited, so you can apply every year.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get a permanent residence permit for the whole family?
Each adult member of the family has to apply for a permanent visa separately, the only exception being people applying through some investment programmes.
Can I have multiple permanent residence permits?
Yes, one person can have an unlimited number of permanent resident cards from different states, but it is hard to achieve this because you have to meet all the requirements and go through all the procedures for obtaining a permanent residence permit in each of the countries.
Do I need to renew my permanent residence permit?
No, the permanent residence permit itself is issued for life. However, you still need to renew your card on a periodic basis.
Is it possible to buy a permanent residence permit?
Investment programmes that give visa privileges to investors in the country's economy exist almost everywhere. However, few states offer permanent residence permits without requiring prior temporary residence, although investors have fewer conditions to meet compared to other applicants.
In a Nutshell
A permanent resident card gives you a much bigger advantage than a temporary residence permit if you intend to live in the country, own a business or work there. After becoming a permanent resident, a foreigner has the right to apply for citizenship. A permanent residence permit comes with almost all of the privileges enjoyed by citizens, with the exception of the right to vote, to work in public service or serve in the military.
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