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Buying options

Real estate buying options for foreigners

It is important to understand the luxury property market in Mauritius and to clearly set out your priorities in order to make the right choices.

Luxury Real Estate in Mauritius

Residence permit

Foreign buyers are eligible for a residence permit on acquisition of a real estate property with a minimum buying price of USD 375,000. The property must also be part of an IRS, RES or PDS-type development.

The spouse and children of the holder of a residence permit aged under 24 are also eligible for residence permits. An unmarried partner will not obtain a residence permit but will be entitled to a residence permit renewable on a yearly basis.

However, the residence permit does not give access to citizenship. Although it gives the holder the right to live in Mauritius, it does not automatically allow him to work or own other real estate properties in the country. To be able to work in Mauritius, the holder of a residence permit obtained through the acquisition of an IRS-type residence must apply for a work permit, which is generally granted without much difficulty.

A residence permit granted under the IRS programme is valid as long as the buyer retains ownership of the property and is passed on from one owner to the next.

Cap Tamarin Freedom Hill elevation

The IRS, RES, PDS and SCS legal frameworks

In order to promote foreign direct investment in the real estate sector, the Mauritian government implemented in 2002 a legal framework governing property acquisition, the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS), followed a few years later by the Real Estate Scheme (RES).

After the IRS and RES, the government introduced in 2016 new real estate investment options such as the Property Development Scheme (PDS) and the Smart City Scheme (SCS). Both also allow foreigners to acquire property in the country.

The IRS legal framework allows foreigners to buy freehold property within an integrated development scheme. The minimum amount invested to buy an IRS-type residence is USD 375,000 (excluding taxes), which enables the new owners to apply for a residence permit. A residence permit issued under the IRS or PDS is valid only as long as the holder retains ownership of the property and is passed from one owner to another.

In order to carry out a professional activity on the island, the holder of a residence permit obtained must apply for a work permit, usually granted without much difficulty.

Smart City Scheme

Work, live and play is an Economic Development Board’s concept which aims at creating better working conditions in the country by encouraging its economic development.

Built around the work, live and play concept, Smart Cities incorporate mixed-use developments in cosmopolitan conurbations with smart technology and pioneering innovation at their core. The focus is to deliver a happier lifestyle through the development of self-sufficient cities offering integrated sustainable solutions and ensuring minimum wastage and maximum comfort for the long-term benefit of all citizens and future generations irrespective of social and economic class.

Moka Smart City, developed by the ENL Group, is among the first Smart Cities on the island.

As with the other legal frameworks (IRS, RES and PDS), foreign investors can apply for a Mauritian residence permit upon acquisition of a residence worth at least USD 375,000.

In addition to residing in an attractive destination with a high standard of living, the acquisition of a property within an SCS development gives foreigners access to the country’s favourable tax environment. The property owner is entitled to become tax domiciled in Mauritius under certain conditions, such as a minimum stay of 183 days on the territory in the relevant financial year.

Mauritius, Grand Baie, Cap Malheureux, Villas, Evaco, Marina Signature Villas water village, entrance

Vente en l’Etat Futur d’Achèvement (VEFA)

Residential developments that are sold off-plan by way of a VEFA. This type of real estate sale governed by the French Civil Code provides for payment in instalments and must be validated by a contract.

According to Article 1601-3 of the French Civil Code, which applied to Mauritius, the VEFA is a contract by which the seller transfers immediately to the buyer his rights to the land as well as ownership of existing structures. Future constructions become the property of the buyer as they are built. The buyer is legally bound to pay the amounts that become due as work progresses. The seller retains the powers of project manager until the work is completed.

Garantie Financière d’Achèvement (GFA)

In accordance with the requirements of the VEFA, the developers must provide a Garantie Financière d’Achèvement (GFA) from a reputable local bank. The GFA is a financial guarantee providing assurance to the buyer that the property will be delivered according to the terms of the contract. In case the developer fails to fulfil his obligations, the bank will ensure delivery of the property.

Mauritius, Grand Baie, Cap Malheureux, Villas, Evaco, Marina Signature Villas water village, night view

Stages of the acquisition process

The Contrat de Réservation Préliminaire (CRP)

This first contract between the future buyer and the developer serves to reserve the property. On signing, a down payment representing a guarantee deposit must be paid into an escrow account, generally opened before a notary.

Letter of approval from the Economic Development Board

The buyers must submit several documents required by the authorities to the promoters, so that the latter may make an application to the Economic Development Board in the name of the client for the acquisition of a property in an IRS or PDS property. The Economic Development Board examines the application and, if it is approved, submits an approval letter which permits the promoter and the buyer to finalize the sale.

The Deed of Sale (DOS)

As soon as the approval letter is received, the buyer and the seller meet before the notary for the final stage, the signing of the sale contract.

At this point the client becomes the official owner of the property.

BUYING REAL ESTATE IN MAURITIUS

Who can buy property in Mauritius

A natural person, whether a citizen of Mauritius, a noncitizen or a member of the Mauritian Diaspora.

A company incorporated or registered under the Companies Act

A societe, where its deed of formation is deposited with the Registrar of Companies

A limited partnership under the Limited Partnerships Act

A trust, where the trusteeship services are provided by a qualified trustee

A foundation under the Foundations Act

Rivière du Rempart, Mauritius, Azuri Ocean and Golf Village, Villas, Apartments, Beach club house aerial view

Property Development Scheme – PDS Scheme

The Property Development Scheme (PDS) enables noncitizens, Mauritians and the Mauritian diaspora to acquire a property within a prestigious residential development.

A buyer who invests more than USD375,000 (or the equivalent in another currency) in a PDS program is eligible for permanent resident status. In addition, the noncitizen and their dependents (spouse, children under 24 years of age and parents) are granted a permanent residence permit.

What’s more, the buyer and their spouse no longer need an occupation permit to invest and work in Mauritius.

The buyer becomes a tax resident in Mauritius and is not subject to any restrictions on the repatriation of funds or income from the sale or rental of the property.

The PDS harmonizes the registration tax at a single rate of 5% (instead of USD70,000 for registration of a deed under an Integrated Resort Scheme program and USD25,000 under a Real Estate Scheme).

Mauritius, Grand Baie, Pereybere, 2 Futures, Apartments and Penthouses, resort pool area aerial view

Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS) Real Estate Scheme (RES)

When buying an IRS, a residence permit is automatically granted to the purchaser. The residence permit will remain valid as long as the holder maintains ownership of the property. This permit residence allows the purchasers to opt for a tax paradise in Mauritius and thus benefit the particularly favorable fiscal policy of the country (provided that he stays in Mauritius for more than 183 days per year). This residence permit is also valid for the purchaser’s family, like his spouse and children till the age of 24 years. It’s a great difference with the RES which does not automatically entitle the purchase to a Mauritian permit residence. A residence permit is issued to a foreigner during his acquisition of RES over 500 000 USD. If is not the case, the buyer will not be eligible for a permanent residence permit and will be able to reside in Mauritius up to six months a year in Mauritius.

Regarding the IRS and the RES, the fixed cost associated to the properties require the property owners to pay either 5% registration fee of the final value of the property, or an amount equivalent to 70 000 USD for IRS or 25 000 USD for RES. The PDS scheme thus differs from RES and IRS, in order to harmonize the programs, namely the small and large lots will be subject to the same constraints with a single tax. The registration fee of the purchase price of a residential property under the PDS scheme is 5%..

Cap Tamarin apartments Opatio elevation

Ground +2 or G+2

The G+2 allows foreigners to invest in a condominium flat in a building with at least two floors. The sale price must not be less than MUR6 million (or the equivalent in another currency).

For any purchase above USD500,000 (or the equivalent amount in another currency) a noncitizen may apply for a long-stay visa from the EDB. This long-stay visa allows the buyer and their dependents (spouse and children under 24 years of age) to reside freely for a consecutive period of 10 years, renewable. The visa remains valid for as long as the buyer holds the property.

However, this purchase does not allow the buyer to work in Mauritius. They will have to apply to the EDB to obtain an occupation permit to carry out a professional activity.

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