The Spanish residence permit programme or ‘Golden Visa’ aims to stimulate foreign investment in the country. For many non-European investors it’s the quickest way to getting residency in Spain – just make a substantial investment, like buying a property worth half a million euros, or more, and the visa is yours.
THE SPANISH GOLDEN VISA
A SPANISH VISA FOR INVESTORS
The Golden Visa, described by some as a free pass for the rich, by others as an Immigrant Investor Programme, but known to most of us as simply as a Permanent Residency Visa issued to individuals (and their families, in most cases) who invest, usually but not exclusively through the purchase of property, an established minimum sum of money into Spain. It is relevant, of course, only to non EU nationals who do not already benefit from open borders across Europe.
Application for a Golden Visa can be made through a qualified lawyer at a total cost of approximately 1,500 euros (plus 21 percent VAT.)
ACCESS TO THE WHOLE OF EUROPE
The additional value of a Golden Visa in Spain is automatic access to other EU countries, and Spain has topped the list of western European countries issuing this visa over recent years. Its official objective is to attract entrepreneurs to the country, stimulate foreign investment in Spain and create jobs. But for ordinary non EU nationals with more than half a million euros to spend on a second home in Spain, it is a fairly easy means of obtaining official residency for the entire family, with options for citizenship.
AN ATTRACTIVE STREAMLINED PROCESS
The Spanish Golden Visa is an attractive proposition: family residency in a European country where the sun shines a lot, free travel in the Schengen area for 90 of every 180 days, renewable every two years with a permanent residency offer after five years and citizenship after ten, no obligation to live in Spain to retain and renew the Golden Visa, and for now, property prices that make a 500,000 euro house (or houses) a very nice place to live in. It’s also simple and has fast processing times – Visa decisions in Spain are made and notified within 10 working days.
WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES?
There are some negatives, but not many. You cannot take out dual nationality in Spain, you must not have a criminal record, you must prove that you have travelled to Spain at least once in the first two years and once in the three subsequent years, and you must deposit enough money in a Spanish bank account to support you and your family in Spain. Many other countries have far stricter regulations.
SPANISH GOLDEN VISA REQUIREMENTS
Applicants for a Spanish Golden Visa must meet the requirements below:
- To be 18 years old, or older.
- To have entered Spanish territory legally.
- To have not been refused entry to any Schengen area country.
- To have no criminal record, both in Spain and in any other country, over the last 5 years.
- To have public or private health insurance authorized to operate in Spain.
- To have funds necessary to cover personal and family living expenses.
- To have proof of the minimum 500,000 euros investment made through a Registry of Property certificate or, if title has not been registered, through a copy of the acquisition public deed of filing in the Deed of Registry.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT THE SPANISH GOLDEN VISA
There are basically four ways to obtain the visa:
1) Purchase a property worth more than 500,000 euros. It’s no good sharing the purchase with someone else, unless your individual investment equals 500,000 euros
2) Buy shares in a Spanish company to the value of 1 million euros – or deposit this amount in a Spanish bank
3) Possession of Spanish public debt worth 2 or more million euros.
4) Invest in a business project that will be developed on Spanish territory. The project must create employment, give a boost to the scientific/technological advances of the country, or offer a minimum socio-economic impact.
Spain, compared to other EU countries, offers a streamlined fast track process on applications. Most Golden Visa decisions are made and notified within 10 working days. Residence permit decisions are made within 20 working days. Denial is unusual, only for criminal records and money laundering cases.
You need to invest 500,000 euros, without financing. However, if the property you purchase costs more than this amount, you can obtain a mortgage for the rest. To be clear: if the property you are buying costs 2 million euros, you will need to directly invest 500,000 euros, but for the remaining amount you can get a mortgage. You can also make the purchase through a company, as long as it is not registered in a tax haven – and as long as you own 100% of said company.
Yes, you can bring your spouse and children with you (as long as they are under 21 years), providing you are applying as the main investor and providing you have enough funds to support them and health insurance which covers the whole family.
Once you have the visa you can legally stay in Spain for up to 2 years – you can then renew the visa for an additional 5 years. You must have visited Spain at least once per year and demonstrate that you still have ownership of the asset. After 10 years of residing in Spain you can apply for citizenship.
Yes – as long as you purchased the property after 2014, which is the year this law came into force.
No, there is no obligation – you can remain a tax resident outside of Spain.
Yes, it allows all holders to work anywhere in Spanish territory.
Properties can be bought and sold as long as the minimum investment threshold is maintained.