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Virtual Residence Services

Above is a typical Spanish Virtual Residence Location in Spain

Virtual Residency is very different to a virtual office situation because the arrangements need to be done in a particular way with the goal of achieving a very different result. In the case of a virtual office the requirements are often quite similar, for example a person is often needed to answer calls and maybe emails but it is fairly easy to predict how things should be handled because the variations are not generally all that significant. A virtual residency needs to be individually tailored to meet very specific needs with the goal of creating the illusion that you actually live in the location where you claim to be. We have outlined below the twelve main reasons why people tend to set up a virtual residency, the list is not in any particular order and we don't seek to analyze or pass judgement on the morality or otherwise of a persons motives.

The locations where we can arrange virtual residence addresses (with additional facilities such as phone lines if needed) are:

Please note ORCA can also arrange mobile SIM cards with roaming from 70+ countries worldwide and even arrange someone locally to top it up when needed.

The primary advantages of virtual residences are outlined below

The way a virtual residency situation is put together varies in every case but we have set our six examples with places and initials changed to protect our clients privacy but the circumstances themselves are accurate.

A. Mr N lived in Dorking, UK and split up with his wife of six years who was jealous and controlling in the extreme. He moved to West Wittering which is another part of the UK but his wife discovered where he was and sent people to damage his car, glue up his locks and pour weedkiller over his plants and trees. In addition she spread malicious rumours which were very damaging. This nightmare went on for 18 months before Mr N realised the only option was to move again and this time ensure she did not know where he was. Fortunately his business made actually moving a simple step it was avoiding the problem of his ex wife which was the main concern. He came to us for advice and informed us that he was moving to Torquay, UK which is around 170 miles away from West Wittering. We agreed this should be sufficient distance and put him in touch with an expert who specialises in advising people how NOT to be found. After he was provided with a list of things to avoid that could give the game away we set up a virtual residence on the Costa Del Sol in Spain complete with a local phone number and address as well as two people who would pose as friends in Spain. The final touch was a Spanish email address and instructions to the Spanish virtual residence address to mail Christmas cards back to the UK from Spain. His wife was not told he had moved to Spain she was drip fed the information by people who believed it to be true themselves. This structure was set up in 2007 and at the time of writing (Summer 2012) it is still running smoothly and he has had no further issues.

B. Mrs S lived in Castries, France and was involved in a very messy legal dispute with a business associate. We set up an address in London, England to be utilised as soon as she moved to her new home in Nimes, France. The address in London was a normal residential address in the house below. At the address we arranged a phone-line and also a person to pose as her housekeeper who would deliberately create the impression Mrs S was there but not taking the calls. We also set up another number in London which she used to deal with a few clients knowing the information would filter back one way or another. The final ingredient was we advised Mrs S how to legally obtain a UK drivers licence to complete the illusion. This structure was set up in May 2009 and the litigation has not progressed because it would require serving documents outside of France; not impossible but it takes things to a whole new level when it comes to costs!

C. Mr L a Travel Agent from Manchester, UK had severe debt issues and needed an alternative to Bankruptcy so we arranged an address in Florida with a phone number and Virtual employment situation. The nature of his business made a move to Florida sound plausible to creditors although in reality he had simply moved to Stockport. The end result was that he manged to settle all of his debts for 15% of the amount outstanding.

D. Mr D and Miss M are an Asian couple. Mr D is a Sikh and Miss M is a Moslem. The fireworks from Miss M's family regarding the relationship were beyond belief. Mr D's parents were surprisingly tolerant and had no issues with the relationship. Mr D's father called us because it was clear that the relationship was doomed unless something was done to stop the intense pressure. The solution was to create a situation where it appeared they had disappeared completely and make it impossible to determine if they were together or note. This situation was simple because Mr D has the full support of his parents and Miss M was happy not to see her family but it was potentially dangerous because Miss M's family had shown by past actions that they would stop at nothing to break up the relationship.

E. Mr and Mrs J planned to move to Cyprus but were unsure how Mr J's consultancy business would be affected by the move. They already spend several weeks a year there so we suggested we create a virtual residence and that Mr J tells his clients he is going to his home in Cyprus for a month. We set up a Cypriot address and phone number and a phone number in his home country of Ireland that could be routed free to Cyprus. The theory being that if he gradually increased the amount of time they believed he was in Cyprus he could test everything before the move. This was in 2008 and in February 2010 they moved to Limassol. We have now created a virtual residence in reverse with a Dublin address so clients think he still spends a lot of time in Ireland.


F. Mr S had a potential problem because his banks were starting to ask him where he was tax resident, I have experienced this myself in recent months and when you open a new account it's being asked routinely in anticipation of new legislation which is in the pipeline to be introduced over the next two or three years. Details of this legislation can be found here. This didn't really pose a significant problem as such for our client but because he spends six months every year in New Zealand as a non-resident at a property which he owns in Napier there was the potential for problems. His main concern was that if he continued with the current situation where he was not tax resident anywhere because he did not live in one location for more than six months of the year maybe he could have a crisis if New Zealand deemed him to be resident for tax purposes but not an actual resident. It has to be said that this situation was comparatively unlikely but not out of the question but because he owns property and had money in the bank there he figured that he should be cautious and take steps to safeguard his position in order that he could relax and not be stressed with the potential worry of problems occurring as a future date. As a result we concluded that the best solution was to obtain residency with a tax ID and residents card in a country which was not worried about how much money anyone earns outside of its borders provided that it's not remitted there. There are quite a lot of countries worldwide that work on this basis (its termed "the remittance basis") in essence what it means is that if you earn as an example $95,000 and send in the course of the year $15,000 to the country where you have tax residency you would simply pay a small amount of tax on the $15,000 but because most of them have tax thresholds allowing you to earn for example up to $10,000 tax-free the tax would be minimal in relation to the benefits and the safeguards that having a tax ID would bring. Of course there are lots of different arrangements and the benefits in different countries vary significantly but in many cases the ideal solution is to be deemed tax resident in a location that is not perceived as a tax haven because it will not raise lots of questions and be believable to most tax departments.

The Official residency together with a tax ID is fairly straightforward to arrange and becoming increasingly important with the problems relating to tax information exchange agreements between countries. Of course it started with the savings tax directive in the EU and of course FATCA in the United States but from around 2017 things are going to get much worse with the Common Reporting Standard so for some people being able to say that they are legally tax resident somewhere even if they are not required to pay hardly any tax makes a great deal of sense. We have a number of solutions currently available to obtain legal tax IDs in a variety of countries and some of these work well as virtual residence solutions as well such as Spain where a virtual residence, phone number and official tax ID can be arranged at a cost of €1100 and the annual fee for the address and phone number is €650. Spain can be a good choice but its not the most tax friendly although it can be tax efficient with the right planning because Spain has regulations for the creation of holding companies which are extremely beneficial in international tax planning. Spain is potentially more advantageous now that there is considerable pressure on many of the traditional tax havens. The two best options for tax planning are the Entidad de tenencia de valores extranjeros and Sociedades no residentes, sin establecimiento permanente. If you think that Spain may work well for you feel free to contact us and we can certainly advise on the details.

Exactly what your requirements would be will depend on where you live, your general plans, long-term goals, sources of income and also your age and whether you are working or retired. Clearly it makes sense to go down this route if you wish to safeguard your bank accounts and not be put in a position where you have to either state your country of residence, lie or alternatively say that you do not reside anywhere. In my opinion if you say you do not reside anywhere there is a risk the bank would simply close the account or worse feel that they should exchange information with the country where you hold a passport. It's for this reason that depending on your circumstances it may well be worth looking that obtaining legal residence with a tax ID somewhere even if you do not actually reside there full time or for a substantial part of the year. It's my opinion that with these tax changes which are coming along we are going to see a lot of countries realising that by offering tax residency under favourable terms they will actually be able to earn significant amounts of money. As the old saying goes one door closes another opens.

These are just six examples but we have dozens each year. Creating a virtual residence requires several ingredients which are an address, a phone-line and maybe a local email address that looks right such as john.smith@cytanet.com.cy in the case of Cyprus, john.smith@btinternet.co.uk in the UK or john.smith@terra.es in the case of Spain fortunately we have contacts in most phone and broadband companies who can arrange things to create the right appearance. As far as cost is concerned the average cost of a virtual residency per year is $750 / £500 / €650. This would cover 12 months rental of a postal address and a dedicated number that can be forwarded to you anywhere worldwide which will ring with the correct ringing tone - something people often overlook! It also includes a local email address either with a local Internet company or a local firm depending on your needs.


One of our London Virtual Residence Locations

If you feel virtual residency is a service that would benefit you contact one of our office to weigh up the various options.


London virtual residence address with a free UK phone number (if required) forwarded anywhere worldwide to your local phone number with no forwarding charges only £295 per annum!

UK / Ireland020 7175 0041
(International +44 20 7175 0041)
US / Canada1 954 866 5986
(INTERNATIONAL +1 954 866 5986)
Australia and New Zealand+61 2 9191 7472
(INTERNATIONAL +61 2 9191 7472)
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