The Golden Visa: a small price to pay for a life in the sun

Schegen Golden Visa

For non-EU nationals and those who do not qualify in other ways, moving to Spain has a price tag. It’s called a Golden Visa, and will set you back at least half a million euros. But leaving entrepreneurial investment aside, this can be spent on a second home for you and your family, which is a small price to pay for permanent residency in one of the most attractive countries in the world to live in.

Article by Vivion O’Kelly

There are two sure-fire ways to gain a residency visa for many countries in the world. One is to pay for it and the other is to marry somebody from that country. Those of us who have been married a long time would certainly advise the former option, which is a lot cheaper and better for one’s mental health in the long term.

Wikipedia tells us that there are few statistics on the number of people pursuing Immigrant Investor Programmes in aggregate, which is one way of putting it. Another way is to say that almost every country in the world offers some form of permanent residency through investment, even if they will not admit it. It’s commonly known as a Golden Visa, and whatever the philosophical implications of such a scheme, it’s a simple fact of life: few nations will reject your permanent residence on their soil if you are willing to pay what they ask, usually but not exclusively through property purchase.

Sea at sunset
A golden Visa is not the same as a Golden Passport

This should not be confused with a Golden Passport, by which some countries, mostly in the Caribbean, offer citizenship in return for investment. With the UK’s exit from the European Union, the Golden Visa has taken on increased relevance for Brits who wish to live permanently in Spain and have visa-free access to the Schengen Zone.

They are the fourth largest ex-patriot (immigrants is hardly an apt description in their case) group in the country, after Venezuela, Morocco and Columbia, the next biggest English-language group being from the US, although well down in the rankings at fewer than one sixth of the number of British foreign nationals.

Couple walking on beach at sunset
British nationals are the fourth largest expat group in Spain

So down to brass tacks: how do you get yourself a Spanish Golden Visa, how much does it cost and what exactly does it give you in return?

To begin with, you must have no criminal record, must not have been refused a Schengen Visa in the past and you must have health insurance in Spain. You apply, if innocent on all counts, to your nearest Spanish embassy or consulate, and your proposed investment need not be finalised at the time of application. The services of a lawyer is advised. You will need to present the following documents, officially translated into Spanish:

  • A Spanish Visa Application Form
  • Two passport-size Spanish visa approved photographs.
  • A passport valid for the initial time you intend to spend in Spain with at least two blank pages, and possibly a photocopy of the personal information page of your passport.
  • Your residence permit, if not a citizen of the country of your current residence.
  • Documents proving sufficient income to support yourself and your family while living in Spain.
  • Police records proving no criminal background, issued within the three-month period prior to application.
  • Proof of health insurance (private or public) with an insurance company operating in Spain.
  • Proof of payment of the visa fee.
  • Any additional documents relating to your specific case, whether investment or house purchase.
Vista Lago Residences, 18 luxury sustainable villas overlooking Marbella
Vista Lago Residences, 18 luxury sustainable villas overlooking Marbella

In the event that you have already purchased your property, you must present a certificate issued by the Land Registry within three months prior to application, showing the purchase amount of no less than 500,000 euros. If the purchase has not yet been registered, you can submit the preliminary contract, including a down payment, along with a letter from a Spanish financial institution proving the availability of required funds. You must actually have the full amount to be invested, rather than borrow it or part of it, although any amount in excess of 500,000 euros can be obtained through financing.

Palm trees at sunset
The Spanish Golden Visa benefits dependent family members

The visa can be applied for outside Spain and, your application being successful, you will be obliged to travel to Spain to get your residence permit. Family members must show proof of family relationship, such as birth of marriage certificates, and are required to apply for their own residence visas as dependents. Such family members can be a spouse, children under the age of 18 or older if medically dependent on you, and elderly parents dependent on you, who will all qualify for permanent residence visas and their benefits.

Your first Golden Visa is valid for one year, requiring you to enter the country and exchange your visa for a residence permit, which will be valid for two years. It can be renewed indefinitely, even if not living permanently in Spain, as long as you maintain your investment. If you intend to live permanently in the country, you must live there continuously at least six months of each year over a period of five years before your application for permanent residency will be considered.   

Champagne toast
The Spanish Golden Visa application process can be as quick as 14 days

Benefits of a Golden Visa include visa-free travel for you and your family members to all Schengen Zone countries for up to three months in a six-month period, permission to live and work legally in Spain, and access to social services such as public health and education.

If you are interested in purchasing a property in Marbella, visit our information page on Vista Lago Residences, 18 individually designed villas in the hills overlooking Marbella. Or call the Sales Team directly to organise a visit to the plot and a presentation in our showroom: (+34) 682 105 002 or email:

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