Article by Vivion O’Kelly
The Golden Visa is 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 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 the issuing country.
It is relevant, of course, only to non EU nationals who do not already benefit from open borders across Europe, and about half of all EU countries offer a Golden Visa programme. It is relatively inexpensive in Latvia, free in Montenegro but without automatic access to other European countries, available in Portugal on payment of an arts donation and in Greece if you are prepared to learn the language, among other requisites. But in Spain, it’s a fast and easy process which has no downsides or catches, giving you and your family full residency in Spain and access to other EU countries.
Spain tops the Golden Visa list
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 and create jobs. For ordinary non EU nationals with 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 permanent residency and citizenship.
Ways to obtain the Spanish Golden Visa
There are four different ways you can qualify for the Spanish Golden Visa:
- Buy a property worth 500,000 euros, or more. You can’t share the purchase with someone else, unless your individual investment equals 500,000 euros
- Buy shares in a Spanish company to the value of 1 million euros – or deposit this amount in a Spanish bank
- Possession of Spanish public debt worth 2 or more million euros.
- Invest in a business that will be developed on Spanish territory. The project must create employment, give a boost to the scientific or technological advances of the nation, or offer a minimum socio-economic impact.
Cash is king
You can’t use finance to obtain your Golden Visa. You must invest 500,000 euros without financing. If you are buying a property that is worth more than half a million you could use finance for the remaining amount that is over and above the 500,000 euros. In other words, if the villa you want costs 2 million euros, as long as you invest a minimum of 500,000 euros you can obtain finance for the remaining amount. Your investment can also be made through a foreign company as long as you can prove that you own a majority stake in this company and as long the company is not registered in a tax haven.
An attractive investment
If 500,000 euros seems a large sum of money, it’s because it is: no cheapskates wanted here. But it is, and will likely continue to be, a very attractive proposition for a great many people. Here’s what you get for your half a million investment into Spain:
- Family residency in a major western European country where the sun shines a lot
- Free travel in the European Schengen area for 90 of every 180 days
- A visa that is renewable every two years with a permanent residency after five years and citizenship after ten years
- There is no obligation to live in Spain to retain or renew the Golden Visa
- Property prices that make a 500,000 euro house (or houses) a very nice place to live in.
Spain offers a fast track process
Compared to other European countries where applications can drag on for months, Spain offers a streamlined process that is usually completed in just 10 working days. And unless you have a criminal record, or are involved in money laundering, it is highly unlikely that your application will be turned down.
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.
Applicants for a Golden Visa in Spain 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 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 investment made through a Registry of Property certificate or, if the title has not been registered, through a copy of the acquisition public deed of filing in the Deed of Registry.
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).
If you have more questions about the process, visit our Golden Visa page in the Property Section of this website where we have a FAQ section on the Spanish Golden Visa.
Bright currently has two residential developments in the Marbella area – Vista Lago Residences: 18-design led, sustainable villas with wonderful views over the Mediterranean Sea to Gibraltar and Africa beyond, and Villa Alcuzcuz, an award-winning villa just 10 minutes from Marbella which also has stunning views over the coast.
Call our Sales Manager for more information: (+34) 682 105 002