Gibraltar In the ancient
times, right through the age of empires and in the global conflicts of
our own century,
Gibraltar has stood guard over the western Mediterranean, its unique
position making it the focus of a continuous struggle for power. This
spectacular rock monolith, covering a land area of about six square
kilometres, is situated at the
southern tip of Spain overlooking the strait to Africa. It is known as
the Meeting Place of Continents.
Here, the sub-tropical climate is warm and
welcoming throughout the year. The local people smile their welcome with
friendly charm born from a blend of many cultures united in a unique
Gibraltar's history and environment are
captivating. From its formation millions of years before and the myths
surrounding its dominant presence, to the territory's status today as a
prominent tourism and business destination.
Gibraltar is a Self-Governing British Crown Colony, located on the
tip of the Iberian Peninsula.
Nationals of EU member states have the right to enter, live and work in
Gibraltar. Initially a six-month visa is given, and then a 5-year
renewable residence permits, provided that they have found suitable
employment or have started a business. Work permits cannot be denied to
Other nationals have to apply for residency under the Immigration
Control Ordinance and permission is issued by the Governor. Government
guidelines indicate that an applicant for residency must be ready and
able to purchase a property of sufficient size to accommodate him/her
and his/her family, must be in good health, and must have adequate
financial resources. The Government will look more
on those applicants who purchase luxury property in
Property bought by a non-resident may be owned by an individual
applicant or joint applicants, or alternatively, in the name of a
company of which the applicant is the 100 per cent beneficial owner and
over which he/she has full and effective control. In fact there are tax
advantages if the property is purchased through a Gibraltar company. It
is not essential that the property be purchased prior to approval of an
application. However, the property to be purchased must be nominated and
a refundable deposit paid to reserve the property 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. A permit is renewable
after a specified term providing the requirements are met and the
property is owned by the applicant.
The holder of a residence permit need not live in
Gibraltar and is not
automatically entitled to social security or citizenship. However, the
resident's children may attend local schools and are entitled to the
same benefits as other local residents.
If a non-EU national wishes to stay in
Gibraltar other than through the
property 'doorway', he must usually try to find employment, for which he
will receive a work permit only if there are no Gibraltarians able and
willing to perform it. Such individuals will be given residence permits
for shorter or longer periods depending on the nature of the work for
which they have a permit. The government can deny a non-EU national the
possibility of buying residential property.
Non-Gibraltarians need work permits, issued under the Control of
Employment Ordinance. A work permit cannot be refused to an EU national.
The first step to
buying a property in Gibraltar will involve negotiating a price and
drawing up a pre-contract. This contract merely reserves the property
and does not legally bind the seller to follow through on the sale, nor
does it bind the buyer to go through with the purchase. A reservation
fee of around 2 percent of the property price is usually put in escrow
as part of this contract.
lawyer will ensure that your interests are protected at every stage of
your property purchase. As
Gibraltar claims to have more lawyers per
capita than anywhere else in the world,
finding a lawyer to represent
you with your property purchase should not be a problem. However
the right solicitor for your
Gibraltar property is not necessarily an
easy matter. Although cost is an important factor, above all else you
will want someone who will do a good job for you. Speed is vital because
a delay at any stage could result in you losing the
While the buyer
the finance the seller's lawyer is
responsible for drawing up the first draft of the contract, to be
revised as necessary until both parties agree.
purchaser signs the contract, approximately 8 percent of the property
price will be added to the 2 percent already in escrow in order to make
a 10 percent down payment. At this point, both buyer and seller are
legally bound to the sale.
When you buy a property, the legal
principle of "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware) applies. To protect
yourself, you need professional advice from an independent surveyor.
The following fees should
be kept in mind:
- Stamp Duty - This
is levied at 1.26 percent on the property itself and an additional
.13 percent on any mortgage involved.
- Deed Registration
- These fees, which involve registering the deed with Gibraltar's
Supreme Court and again with the Land Titles Registry usually don't
amount to more than 100 pounds sterling, if that.
- Legal Fees - These
depend on the lawyer.
There are numerous banks and building societies from which you can
borrow money from to finance the purchase. Generally speaking, the
maximum amount any lender will lend is 95% of the purchase price for
owner-occupiers and 70% on buy-to-lets.
The amount you can borrow to buy properties for sale in
depend on such factors as your age, earnings, and the amount you wish to
borrow, taking into consideration the value of the property you intend
Gibraltar currency is the pound
sterling there will be no exchange rate considerations to take into
account for UK buyers.