A couple of a scooter living in Europe

Do you want EU residency? Here are 27 different ways to become a resident of Europe – some are surprisingly simple! We’ll also look at Europe’s easiest country for permanent residency (PR) without investment. Remember, a European residence permit is often a pathway to EU citizenship and an EU passport.

EU Residency – Income Visas

Does your business allow you to work from anywhere? Do you have a steady income from existing investments or a pension? You may qualify for an EU Income Visa.


  • Visa Name: Non-Lucrative Visa
  • Required Income (2022): €27,792.96
  • Income Types Allowed: Passive income e.g. pension, annuity, investment income, rental income.
  • Working Allowed: No
  • Health Insurance Requirement:Spanish Private Health Insurance

– For more details: Spanish Non-lucrative Visa Guide.


  • Visa Name: D7 Passive Income Visa
  • Required Income (2022): €8,460
  • Income Types Allowed: Passive income e.g. pension, annuity, investment income, rental income.
  • Working Allowed: Yes, local employment, freelancing, and remote work are all allowed while living in Portugal.
  • Health Insurance Requirement: Insurance certificate until registered with the Portugal Health Service.

– For more details: Portugal D7 Passive Income Visa Guide.


  • Visa Name: Stamp 0 – Person of Independent Means
  • Required Income (2022): €50,000 (Plus up to €100,000 savings.)
  • Income Types Allowed: Passive income e.g. pension, annuity, investment income, rental income.
  • Working Allowed: No
  • Health Insurance Requirement: Private Irish Or Expat Health Insurance.

– For more details: Ireland Stamp 0 – Person of Independent Means Visa Guide.


  • Visa Name: Pink Slip – Temporary Residence Permit
  • Required Income (2022): €10,000 (Plus a rental agreement or home purchase.)
  • Income Types Allowed: Any stable income.
  • Working Allowed: No
  • Health Insurance Requirement: Private Cypriot Or Expat Health Insurance.

– For more details: Cyprus Pink Slip Guide.


  • Visa Name: Independent Means
  • Required Income (2022): €12,365
  • Income Types Allowed: Austrian or foreign pensions, profits from enterprises abroad, or income from assets, savings, or company shares.
  • Working Allowed: No
  • Health Insurance Requirement: Private Austrian Or Expat Health Insurance.

– For more details: Austria Independent Means Guide.


  • Visa Name: Type-D visa (Carte de Sejour) or VLS-TS
  • Required Income (2022): €15,600 (€43,800 if you have no accommodation organized).
  • Income Types Allowed: All
  • Working Allowed: No
  • Health Insurance Requirement: Private French or Expat Health Insurance.

– For more details: France Type-D visa (Carte de Sejour) or VLS-TS Guide.


  • Visa Name: Financially Independent Persons Visa, Greece (FIP)
  • Required Income (2022): €24,000
  • Income Types Allowed: Passive Income only.
  • Working Allowed: Only for foreign employers or clients.
  • Health Insurance Requirement: Private Greek or Expat Health Insurance.

– For more details: Greece Financially Independent Persons Visa (FIP) Guide.


  • Visa Name: Elective Residence Visa
  • Required Income (2022): €31,000 + rental agreement or proof pr accommodation.
  • Income Types Allowed: Passive Income only.
  • Working Allowed: No (although the restriction on remote work is unclear.)
  • Health Insurance Requirement: Private Italian or Expat Health Insurance.

– For more details: Italy Elective Residence Visa

EU Start-up Visas

Are you on fire with an entrepreneurial spirit? Do you have a fantastic idea for a business? EU countries are looking for you to make a difference in their economies. They’ll offer you a residence permit (and lots of support) to bring your ideas to life in their country. Here are some examples.


Sweden welcomes those planning to run or invest in a business. You must show you have the required skills and experience to run the company. Additionally, you must show sufficient funds to support yourself and your family.

More Details: Sweden Permit for Highly Quali­fied Persons


Austria welcomes qualifying start-up founders. The program has a sliding points scale with several factors assessed. Funding, capital, innovation, and membership of accelerators or incubators are all considered in the assessment.

More Details: Austria Red-White-Red Program


The “Passeport Talent” (“Talent Passport”) is targeted at start-up founders, investors, and employees. You’ll also need to show sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependents. France also has Business Investor and Selected Companies programs that offer accelerated residency.

More Details: France Talent Passport / Skilled France Visa

For more information, see our article on Startup Visas around the world.

EU Remote Work Visas and EU Digital Nomad Visas


Estonia has a residence permit targeted at Digital Nomads. You’ll need to show that you have a location-independent income of at least €3,504 per month before tax. Your clients also need to be from outside of Estonia.

This visa is perfect for:

  • Digital nomads.
  • Freelancers.
  • Remote workers employed by non-Estonian companies.

The visa is valid for a year and costs €80 for a short stay (Type C), or €100 for a long stay (Type D). Estonia’s Digital Nation program means you can apply online for many Estonia residence permits and visas.


Remote workers, digital nomads, and freelancers can all apply to live in Croatia. Just show an income of at least €2,370 per month, and you can stay for up to two years. See details from the Croatian Ministry of the Interior here.

Czech Republic

The famous Zivno visa is a little complex but is a great option for many. You can find out more about Moving to the Czech Republic using this visa in our guide.


The Greece Digital Nomad Visa gives you a year in Greece, which you can extend. You’ll need an income of €3,500 per month from non-Greek companies or clients. The visa covers freelancers and remote workers.

For more information, see our EU Freelancer and Digital Nomad Visa Guide and our Best Remote Work Visa Countries.

European Student Visas

Many countries in Europe offer excellent student visa programs. Some of the world’s finest educational institutions welcome international students. And many EU countries provide a post-study work visa that allows you to stay on after your studies to find work. These visas are an excellent pathway to EU permanent residency and European citizenship.

Top EU and EEA Student Visa programs

  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Please see our article on Student Visas for more details on study options for EU residency.

EU Residency by Investment (RBI)

Are you looking for a way to invest some of your hard-earned money in the strong economies of Europe? You could get an impressive return on your investment, as well as a pathway to citizenship. European residency by Investment (RBI) programs are some of the best-run and most transparent globally.

Here are some of the most attractive European Investment Visa programs.

Portugal Golden Visa

Five years to qualify for a Portuguese Passport.

  • Investment Option 1: Real Estate €280,000 to €500,000 (Depending on type and location)
  • Investment Option 2: Capital Transfer €1.5 million
  • Investment Option 3: Business Investment €400,000 to €500,000 (Depending on location)
  • Investment Option 4: Portuguese arts or national heritage€250,000

More Details: Portugal Golden Visa Guide

Spain Golden Visa

Ten years to qualify for a Spanish Passport.

  • Investment Option: Real Estate €500,000

More Details: Spain Golden Visa Guide

Ireland Investor Program (IIP) – PROGRAM SUSPENDED

Note: This program was suspended in 2023.

  • Investment Option 1: Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) €2,000,000
  • Investment Option 2: Approved Investment Fund €1,000,000
  • Investment Option 3: Business Investment €1,000,000
  • Donation Option: €500,000

More Details: Ireland Immigrant Investor Program (IIP).

Bulgaria Investor Program

  • Investment amount 1: €512,000 (Five-year qualification for citizenship.)
  • Investment amount 2: €1,024,000 (Two-year qualification for citizenship.)

Investment Options: Bulgarian stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), private equity, venture capital, or REITs or a combination.

More Details: Bulgaria Investor Program

Latvia RBI

Ten years to qualify for a Latvian passport.

  • Investment Option 1: Five-Year Fixed Deposit €280,000 + €25,000 fee.
  • Investment Option 2: Latvian Company Shares €50,000 + €15,000 fee.
  • Investment Option 3: Interest-Free Bonds €250,000 + €38,000 fee.

Any of these options allow you to apply to live in Latvia. And the visa is a pathway to Latvia PR and citizenship.

Please visit the Latvia investment visa site for more information.

Malta RBI

Maltese citizenship qualification after three years.

Malta’s residency by investment program is one of the oldest in Europe.

  • Real Estate Purchase: €300,000 to €350,000 (depending on location) plus €70,000 fees.
  • Rental Property: €10,000 to €12,000 (depending on location) per annum plus €100,000 fees.

More Details: Malta PR Program

Greece Golden Visa

Seven years to qualify for Greek citizenship.

  • Investment Option 1: Real Estate €250,000
  • Investment Option 2: Greek Company Shares €400,000
  • Investment Option 3: Greek Bank Fixed Deposit €400,000
  • Investment Option 4: Greek Government Bonds €400,000
  • Property Lease Option: Sign a ten-year lease for at least €250,000

More Details: Greece Residency by Investment guide.

Cyprus RBI

Seven years to qualify for Cyprus citizenship.

  • Investment Option 1: Real Estate €300,000
  • Investment Option 2: Cypriot Company Shares €300,000
  • Investment Option 3: Approved Cypriot Investment Fund €300,000

More Details: List of certified Cyprus RBI Service Providers to assist with your application.

Italy Investor Visa

Tens years to qualify for Italian citizenship.

  • Investment Option 1: €2 million in Italian government bonds.
  • Investment Option 2: €500,000 in an Italian limited company.
  • Investment Option 3: €250,000 in an innovative Italian start-up.
  • Investment Option 4: €1 million in a philanthropic initiative.

More details: Italian Investor Visa

For information on other investment visas, please visit our Investment Visa Page. The article also has information on the best Citizenship by Investment programs in Europe and worldwide.

EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is an EU-wide work permit. It is available to highly skilled professionals.

You’ll need a qualifying job offer from a European firm in your profession. The salary must be 1.2 to 1.5 times the average national salary of the country where the company is located. In 2022 some examples are:

  • Austria: €67,000
  • Bulgaria: €11,000
  • Germany: €56,000
  • Italy: €26,000
  • Spain: €34,000

EU Residency for Skilled Migrants (Work Permits)

Many EU countries offer work permits to skilled migrants, and these programs exist alongside the EU Blue Card. Remember, each country has different requirements for its skilled migration work visa program. In general, you’ll need an offer of employment for a qualifying job.

Some EU countries that have EU Work permits for skilled migrants include:

  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • The Netherlands

Find out more with our detailed guide to Skilled Migration Visas and Work Permits.

The easiest way to get Permanent Residency (PR) in Europe

The simplest way to move to the EU is through your family. And the easiest country to get PR in Europe will be one you have a family link to.

Many EU countries offer a direct and simple ancestry path to EU residency and citizenship, stretching back to your grandparents and beyond. Check out the Easiest country to get European citizenship to see if you qualify.

You may also be eligible for PR in the EU if your spouse or partner is an EU resident. Children and other relatives (including parents and parents-in-law) can also use family ties to EU citizens to get permanent residence in many EU countries.

Don’t despair if your family doesn’t open the door for you. Here are 18 other ways that you might use to move to the EU. And most of them can lead to EU PR.

Interested in countries outside the EU? See our article The Easiest Countries in the World to Move To.


Twenty-five countries are full signatories of the SCHENGEN treaty. These countries have special immigration agreements with each other.

The SCHENGEN visa is for short-term visits to the region of less than 90-days. Any member country can issue the visa, and you can then travel freely around any of the member states.

You have restricted rights if you have a residence permit or permanent residence status from a SCHENGEN member state. You can generally travel (without working) within the region for up to 90 days without needing a visa or permit.

However, your rights to live and work only apply to the country that issued your residency/work permit. So, if you have a Spanish autonomo work permit, you cannot move to Germany and work there. Similarly, a Portugal D7 visa does not allow you to live in Spain.

The SCHENGEN states are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • The Czech Republic (Czechia)
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Are you excited about EU Residency?

The European Union is home to 450 million people and had a GDP of around €14.5 trillion in 2021. Happily, EU ancestry or a lucky birth are not the only ways participate in this unique project. We hope this article gives you what you need to come and join us.

If you want to become a European citizen with an EU passport, check out the Easiest EU Citizenship – EU residency is often a great place to start.


    1. Hi great article my wife is a Dutch citizen I am Australian I have a 5 year visa from the Netherlands with 31/2 yrs remaining we have just spent a year living and work in Rotterdam but we had to return to Australia due to financial reasons with corona hitting hard I am now worried that I will loose my visa is there a way of obtaining permanent residency or dual citizenship in an Eu country that would then allow me to live back in the Netherlands with my wife of 28yrs

      1. Hi Shane. You likely can live and work in the EU as long as you are with your wife. As a spouse, you have that right. Once you’re in the EU, there are numerous pathways to PR, citizenship and a passport. Checkout or article on Living in Europe for more details.

        1. Hi. Please guide me. I just t an offer of employment in Rotterdam. They have assisted my daughter and I with a residence permit and work permit. However, I really need to get my parents there. What are the chances that they will grant a long stay visa for them? My family is dependent on me. Should they not grant them a visa I will have to reject the offer and return to South Africa. Your advice please.

    2. Good morning, I am based in Nigeria with the aspiration of moving abroad with my family, I am a freelancer and I need to commend that these are great eye opener to is at the back of the world, my question is, the countries embassies in Nigeria, will they actually grant Africans these privileges or it is limited within the EU continent

      1. HI Emmanuel. Most countries have no official restricted lists of nations who can apply for visas and residency. Having said that, some consulates and embassies are notorious for slow service and limited support. If possible using a quality immigration lawyer based in the country you choose will give you the best opportunity to be approved. They’ll know the best pathway and how to handle any blocks in the application process. All the best, Alastair

    1. Hi Peter. These are some great options. Have a look at our individual European Union country pages for even more options for EU visas, permits, residency, and citizenships.

      1. Hi Alastair,
        I am indian resident and did my M.S. in UK.Now I am looking for job in UK or Europe.However I am facing issue as I do not have Visa.
        Please could you help me regarding this?

  1. very interesting. Does Ireland residency permit require to reside in the country for a certain period of time every year? Please contact me.

    1. Hi Mike. Generally to get Ireland permanent residency you will need to legally live in Ireland for 5 years. Time outside of Ireland will not count towards your residence requirement. There are different visa classes that have shortened or waived residence requirements. Please contact us here if you have additional questions.

  2. Its been long time i m living in france and last 2 years i m working ,i have 1 year work permit wich is renewable.i m married and i fulfill all the requirements to bring my wife but still they r making problems for nothing. Is there anyway i can bring my wife another European country or can i move another European country and get the visa for my wife same time?

  3. Other than investment do PhD holders have a pathway?
    I have a PhD in forest sciences from the University of Melbourne.

    1. I want to move so badly to Europe but applying daily and not getting any positive feedback breaks my heart.
      I’m even considering the start up business as I have started something in my country

  4. All the steps are just amazing. I am much impressed by it. Thanks for sharing such a nice content. Impressive ….

  5. as a non EU citizenship, which best way to get permanent residency in Europe county and which country easiest specially for IRAQI nationality, is it possible open company in Belgium and have brother working Doctor in Belgium can help to get residency permit for me and my family?

    1. HI Faridon – check out our Europe Visa options page and our Belgium immigration country page. THere will be some ideas there that you can explore. These include the option of opening a business in Belgium, although there is a minimum investment required.

  6. Thank you for this interesting article! As a fiercely anti-Brexit UK/US citizen who previously planned to move to Italy, I now wonder how it’s possible to move to Italy (or another EU country) for residency but ultimately for citizenship? I do freelance work on development projects in lower-income countries, so I travel often. I fear that would be a problem for a ‘time spent in country’ requirement, and also that although residency might be possible, citizenship is a far different matter….

  7. He im Sameer from Iraq, i have compay for travel tourism and i thinking to open branch at UK what offer can i get it there? and can i get resident at uk when i open my branch there ?

  8. I am a Nigerian and currently living and working in UAE for 2 yrs. I am married and expecting a child. I am a medical laboratory technologist.

    I would like to move to any EU country or Australia or even America on either visit or residency.

    What are my options.

  9. Hello
    thanks for your information.
    do you know any legal and formal lawyer to do the Cyprus income-based visa?
    i am iranian.

  10. I’ve always been fascinated with passive income visa. I’m interested with Portugal , but I’ve always wondered do passive income be associated with accumulating interest from local banks back in home country.

    So for example, to prove your income, you simply show your local bank statement , the interest accrued through the fixed deposit programme.

    Let’s base on the €20000 per year requirement. Bank’s interest rate at 0.4% per year.

    Monies in bank= €53,000
    Monthly interest = €1,666

    1. HI Charibert. The passive income visa just relies on you being able to show a steady income that will continue into the future. Fixed-deposit Interest paid by a bank is indeed a form of investment income that would be acceptable. Unfortunately, you’ll need a larger principal sum or a higher interest rate. 0.4% x €53,000 is €212, so this is short of the required amount.

      Passive Income Visas are a great opportunity for many. The idea is that you can generate enough money to cover your daily cost-of-living in your new country and are unlikely to become a burden to the state.

  11. I work in a reputable company and I think my status meets some programs need like Spain Non Lucrative Visa, Portugal and Austria passive income visas. there is only one concern since i am working in my country I can’t leave the work for too long time so do i need to live there a specific amount of days/year? if the question then what is the need for the residency ? i need the residency for visa free access to Europe and it is also good for my CV and career enhancement.
    what would be the best program to suit my request which might not be one of the above mentioned programs.

    1. The residency requirement for a non-lucrative visa in Spain requires you to stay a minimum of 183 days a year.

      Portugal’s Passive Income Visa requirement is that you are not outside Portugal for more than 6 consecutive months or 8 non-consecutive months during the validity of the passive income visa.

      Some of the Residency by Investement programs in Europe have no residency requirements, please feel free to explore those from the link.

  12. can you advice me, Im from Slovenia, my fionce is from Puerto Rico. What to do, to both have EU and USA passport and to be able to work on both sides?
    I read about Spain passport for him, but what if he have a wife from EU, will that help too?

    1. Being married to an EU citizen gives you the right to live and work with your spouse in any EU country. If you want an EU citizenship for your partner, it needs to be the same citizenship as yours (so, you’d need to both live in Slovenia for at least one year, and be legally married for two years).

      Otherwise, with your EU passport, there are many pathways to EU residency and a passport. Check out some ideas in our Live in Europe article.

  13. Very informative article. Do Poland also give Temporary Residency Permit to Retirees from Non-EU countries.

    1. Hi Tasnim. Yes, Poland does have a visa that would work for retirees from non-EU countries. The D class visa lets you stay for one year, and is renewable. You’ll need to show you can support yourself without working in Poland.

  14. My daughter has a German passport but lives here in the States. Can I use her passport to gain residency in Germany even though she has no intention of living in Germany? She is a minor, and her mother and I just got divorced.

    1. HI Kobi. In general for family reunification, the applicant must be living in the country of citizenship. This means that you would not be able to access residency unless your daughter was resident in Germany. Here’s guidance from a German Government website: “reunification of families is limited to the spouse (or registered partner) and joint minor children or for minors living in Germany, their parents.”

  15. My wife and I are US citizens and are interested in non-lucrative or passive income visas in Spain, Portugal or Ireland. I am retired and have a pension that would meet the monthly income requirements as specified in these programs. My wife is still employed, but works remotely and can do so anywhere. Will her employment be an issue in applying for these visas? Also, she has employer-provided health insurance that covers us abroad – would that suffice for the required health insurance?

    1. Hi Don. Portugal’s passive income visa (D7) is the most flexible of these three options. You wife can indeed work remotely under the visa conditions. Spain’s non-lucrative visa is a little more tricky. As long as you can clearly meet the income requirements without your wife’s salary you’d be in a more secure position. But, application results for remote workers have been mixed, and the legislation does not specify the eligibility of remote work. If you have a strong case that your income covers all expenses that would help. Ireland’s stamp 0 visa is clearer. You’re not allowed to carry out any work.

      The healthcare question is one that you’d need to speak directly to an immigration lawyer about. They’ll be able to assess the individual policy suitability for your application. All the best with your journey.

  16. Very interesting and great source of info.!

    After reading through various articles and comments here, I am still trying to understand remote working in another country. Is it possible to apply for a Long-stay visa in France, move to France, buy a home and continue to work for a US company as normal? Then basically renew your long-stay visa each year until you get on citizenship track?

    1. In theory, yes. But, you’ll need to find a viable immigration option that fits your circumstances. Check out our France country page for some ideas. France’s naturalization period is four years in most cases, after which you can apply for citizenship.

  17. I want to purchase a property for £100,000 and would live off pension of £600. I can’t see where I could live in the sun under the present visa/citizen rules! Any suggestions?

  18. Hi there,

    My girlfriend is a French citizen and I am a UK citizen. We would like to live in Italy where my parents have residency (not citizenship)

    Are you able to tell me what benefits I would gain if my girlfriend and I were married?

    All the best,


  19. I left Nigeria (native country) to Germany due to lack of employment with a 2 months Schengen visa. My visa has not expired and I do not ever want to go back to Nigeria until I obtain a residency in Europe, work and earn money. Pls what may play as my best options? I want to succeed.

    1. Hi Ken. Your #1 priority is to not overstay your SCHENGEN visa – doing that will count against future visa applications. EU residency is possible in many ways – you’ll need to explore the resources on the site to find the best visa or residence permit in Europe for your situation. All the best Alastair

  20. Hi Alastair,

    Thank you for this very informative article! I’m an Australian-American citizen who applied for the Spanish autonomo visa in February and I’m just holding my breath here in London waiting for it to be approved! Apparently it usually takes only a couple months but this is dragging on. My UK working holiday visa expires in a few months so in case the autonomo visa isn’t approved in time, I’m looking at other options in EU. Do you happen to know if there are any Schengen countries where you can apply for the temporary residence permit from WITHIN the country instead of from the country you have residence in? I’m getting nervous because I can’t go back to Australia since they’re not letting citizens back out!

    Thank you in advance,
    Chelsea Joy

  21. Hi
    How can i get a visa for Sweden. I do work online from home and can be done anywhere in the world. I am married to a Swedish resident. Just for now they deny me a spouses visa.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated

  22. Excellent source of information. Great job! My wife and I are US citizens, retired, with sufficient means to support ourselves. We are interested in EU residency for ourselves, but not necessarily to live there full time. Given the toxic nature of politics in the US we think leaving our children (20 and 28) a path to EU residency or citizenship would be a valuable legacy. It gives them options in the future. Any guidance on what programs might accomplish both goals would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1. HI Charlie. The Portugal Golden Visa program is very popular for people in your position. There is no requirement to live in Portugal. However, you can only include dependent children under 26 years on your application for citizenship. As your children are adults, it is more difficult to pass on residency or citizenship directly. You’d be best placed to look at EU residency and citizenship options where they can qualify in their own right. All the best, Alastair

  23. The location of the first picture (with a couple on motorcycle) is Katedralna square in Lviv, Ukraine. Hope that’s symbolic.

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