An application for residency is made under the Immigration Control Ordinance which permits the Governor to issue the necessary permit to any person who in his opinion is of good character and he considers that it is in the interests of Gibraltar to issue such a permit.
Whilst the Immigration Control Ordinance provides the basic requirements which need to be satisfied for the issue of such a permit, the Government of Gibraltar have issued guidelines highlighting factors which are relevant in considering applications for residency. These can be briefly summarised as follows:-
- the purchase of a property sufficient in size to accommodate the applicant and all his family for residential purposes;
- the applicant must establish that he is in good health;
- the applicant must establish that he has adequate financial resources to maintain himself and his family without recourse to public funds.
OVERRIDING FACTOR - PURCHASE OF PROPERTY
It would seem that the overriding factor in the determination of such an applications is the purchase of a property.
The property must be situated in Gibraltar, and whilst the granting of the residence permit would not depend on the value of the property purchased, it is likely that the Government will look more favourably on applicants who purchase luxury property rather than a purchaser of low cost housing.
OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY
Ownership of the property can be either in the name of the applicant or joint applicants, or alternatively, in the name of a company of which the applicant is the 100% beneficial owner and over which he has full and effective control. The purchase of property through a Gibraltar company may have tax and other advantages.
It is not essential that the property be purchased prior to approval of an application. However, in an application, the property to be purchased must be stated and therefore an agreement will need to be entered into between the applicant and the vendor of the property so that on payment of a refundable deposit the property would be reserved for the applicant until the application is considered by the Government. Once the application is approved the applicant, on completion of the purchase of the property, will obtain a permit of residence.
VALIDITY AND RENEWAL
The permit will be valid for a specified period and will be renewable where the circumstances, as at the time of application, continue and the minimum criteria for the granting of the permit are complied with.
It must be stressed that the holding of a permit does not automatically entitle a person to claim any social benefit or social security in Gibraltar or citizenship. It does however entitle children of the family to attend local schools and to enjoy such benefits which local residents enjoy. The permit of residency does not require the person to actually live in Gibraltar and the permit will continue in effect for as long as the property is owned by the applicant and subsequent satisfaction of the criteria for renewal.
Unless High Net Worth Individual status is applied for, the applicant may be liable for taxation on his worldwide income if he resides in Gibraltar for more than 183 days a year.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.