A Guide to Spain’s Golden Visa

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In September 2013, the Spanish government introduced a new type of visa and residence permit for overseas investors. It was undoubtedly the government’s aim to encourage growth in the property market by relaxing the visa rules for citizens of non-EU countries, who might otherwise have difficulty residing in Spain for longer than a few week’s holiday.

It quickly became known as ‘the Golden Visa’ and essentially it allows anyone who invests at least €500,000 in real estate to fast-track their way to a Spanish residence permit. In truth the Spanish government had its eye on Russians, Americans, Chinese and Middle Eastern investors.

Given the price of Costa del Sol property, even after the recession, plus the healthy finances of the HNWIs who were the target audience for Spain’s Golden Visa, the entrance level of €500,000 was realistic and it remains so as prices recover slowly. So, if you’re a non-EU property buyer, spending over €500,000, what do you need to know?

Spain’s Golden Visa process does provide permanent residency, although it is a step-by-step process. The first step you should take is to obtain a residence visa that is valid for one year. When you have this, then you apply for a two-year visa. This is renewed every two years, provided you still own your property.

If you spend at least six months of every year in Spain, after five years you can apply for a five-year permit, then a 10-year permit. Eventually, you may even be offered Spanish nationality. As you can see, it isn’t quite as straightforward as it sounds, but it does work. A reliable lawyer, or gestor, will save you the trouble of facing Spanish bureaucracy and organise the permits for you.

There are four additional ways you can obtain a golden visa:

  • A €1 million deposit in a Spanish bank
  • Hold €1 million in shares of a Spanish company
  • Invest €2 million in Spanish public debt
  • Start a business project in Spain that creates employment or demonstrates scientific/technological innovation, or has socio-economic impact.

Advantages of having a golden visa

  1. It allows you to travel with more ease in the 26 EU countries of the Schengen zone without having to spend a specified number of days in residence in Spain.
  2. You only have to visit Spain once per year to maintain the permit.
  3. Once you’ve received the two-year permit you can work for an employer in Spain or set up as self-employed.
  4. Your spouse and children over 18 can apply for residency as well.

Tax awareness

If you spend more than six months of the year in Spain you become liable for Spanish tax on your global assets and income. If you stay for a shorter time then you only have to pay Spanish property taxes.

The right documents for Spain’s Golden Visa

Having the correct documents is vital before you apply to the Spanish consulate in your home country. Have the following ready:

  • Proof of your investment
  • Passport valid for 1 year minimum
  • Two photographs of yourself
  • Proof of your finances
  • Marriage and birth certificates for spouse and children if applicable
  • Proof of valid medical insurance for Spain
  • Proof that you have no criminal record

You should receive your first residence visa with about 10 days. If you don’t qualify for the golden visa, you can apply for multiple-entry tourist visa, or even an entrepreneurs’ residence visa.

If you’d like to know more, or think you qualify for this visa, please just Ask Marcia – that’s me, and I’m always here to support you through your property buying process.

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