Once again, Spain’s property market is booming. Investors from many countries and also people looking for a better lifestyle are turning to Spain as an ideal destination to purchase property.
The Spanish Golden Visa remains a popular option for non-EU citizens to gain entry to live in this wonderful country.
We are noticing a recent trend for professionals and families moving from the United States to Malaga to allow their children to benefit from the excellent international schools on offer. Malaga’s Mediterranean climate appears to be attracting a number of Canadian families and couples.
Let us outline the Spanish Golden Visa application procedure for non-EU citizens and detailed the requirements for the person making the application…
If you are from outside the European Union, the golden visa means that you can buy residency in Spain for just over €500,000. It is aimed primarily at buyers from the Middle East, Russia, and China, but the rule is equally applicable to citizens of the United States, Canada, and South America.
The investment of €500,000 minimum has to be in Spanish property. It is, however, possible to buy a single property or a portfolio of properties. The latter option is a clever way to generate income from your investments to support your day to day living (if that is your plan).
What is more good news is that people from outside the European Union who have already bought property can count that against the full amount needed to get their Golden Visa. For example, if you have already bought a property for 300,000 euros you can now buy another for 200,000 euros in order to qualify for the Golden Visa.
We recommend using a carefully selected law firm to process your visa application. The timing and accuracy of each application are paramount to a successful outcome.
Here is a brief outline of the Spanish visa application procedure for non-EU citizens:
- A minimum investment of €500,000 in Spanish property.
- The total investment can be the purchase of several properties (the purchase of land only is not acceptable).
- The Spanish residency visa may be granted to immediate family members (spouse and children up to 18 years).
- No minimum stay requirement to renew the visa (ie. living in Spain is optional).
- No minimum stay means no necessity to be tax resident.
- The visa will be renewable for the first five years (the visa is renewable after the first year for a new period of 2 years. After the third year it is again renewable for a new period of 2 years, and after the fifth, the residents can become permanent) If you chose not to take permanent residency, you can continue to renew the visa as before.
- Permanent residency can be applied for after five years.
- The initial property investment can be sold once permanent residency has been obtained. (pending confirmation!)
- The Visa allows unrestricted travel throughout the EU Schengen visa zone (for a maximum period of 90 days to a different UE country than the one granting the residency visa.)
- The application should take a maximum 20 days (excluding time required to obtain and legalise necessary documents).
- The investment must be made before the visa application.
- All investments will result in a positive acceptance (usually only a criminal record will prevent acceptance).
- Citizenship in Spain can be applied for after five further years of permanent residency* (although the law says that the standard term to apply for the citizenship for residency is 10 years)
- Requirements to apply for long term residency: 1. You must have lived legally and effectively in Spain for 5 years, and 2. Your absence periods in Spain will have to be less than 6 consecutive months and not exceed a total of 10 months during the said 5 years.
- EU citizenship is automatic with Spanish citizenship
- At this point (ie after 10 years) a family can live, work and study anywhere in Europe.
*Please note that “permanent residency” status is only applied to individuals residing in Spain, on a permanent basis, for five years.
Requirements for the person making the Spanish visa application:
- The applicant has not entered or stayed illegally in any Spanish territory.
- To be 18 years of age or over.
- To not have been refused entry in any of the Schengen countries.
- To have public or private health insurance recognised in Spain.
- To have sufficient economic means to cover personal and family living expenses (this amount will be revised regularly).
- Proof of the investment must be made through a Registry of Property certificate proving ownership.
- Or, if the ownership title is not yet registered, via a copy of the acquisition public deed and proof of filing the deed in the Registry.
The new Spanish visa application process for non-EU nationals is a step towards acquiring Spanish citizenship. It is a lengthy process but one that will open many doors for many people.
Acquiring Spanish residency gives you the right to live in Spain and to travel freely to Spain which is within the Schengen visa area of Europe. The legislation has no minimum period of residence. Hence, an investor can buy a property in Spain, obtain residency and then travel freely to Spain at any time. Their family can live in Spain permanently, with access to schools, both state and private, selecting the type of education desired.
The new Golden Visa for Spanish Residency does not include a Spanish work permit as standard. That is one of the reasons that we suggest buying a Spanish Property Portfolio that actually produces an income if you are going to be residing in Spain.
You may apply for Spanish work permits after the first year of your residency so we also recommend keeping back an amount of money to tide you over for the first year. However, you can apply for a work permit while here if certain conditions are met. There is a good description of these conditions on the Ministry website
Bear in mind that you will be required to show that you can support yourself and that you have health insurance when you apply for residency (Which will be granted automatically if you have spent over 500,000 Euros in total on your property purchases.)
Important Update 2023 (Click here!)
Now, with the help of our chosen immigration expert lawyers, we will provide answers to frequently asked questions about the Spanish Golden Visa.
– What is a Golden Visa?
A Golden Visa is a new type of residence visa, established by Law 14/2013 of the 27th September, aimed for non-resident foreigners who wish to enter Spanish territory in order to carry out a significant capital investment.
– What types of Golden Visa are there?
The Law distinguishes two big groups. Capital investments (in public debt, stocks or social shares in Spanish companies, bank deposits in Spanish financial entities and by the acquisition of real estate) and other types of investment (creating a company of general interest, highly qualified professionals and transfers within the same company).
– Does the Golden Visa authorize me to travel freely within the Schengen area?
Yes. The investor’s visa authorizes to travel freely within the “Schengen” area (Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland).
– Can I keep my fiscal residence out of Spain?
Yes. The holder of the permit will be able to maintain their fiscal residence out of Spain, as long as they remain in our country for a period less than 183 days per year. Furthermore, the residence permit can be renewed even in the case that there are absences of more than six months per year.
– How long can I stay in Spain with my Golden Visa?
The residence visa for investors authorizes to remain in Spain during a year. Once this period has expired or when it is in force, a residency authorization can be requested for two years, which can be renewed another two years in the case that the maintenance of the investment is proved.
– Does the Golden Visa authorize me to work?
Yes. The Golden Visa authorizes to live and work in Spain. This results from the fourth additional disposition of the Law, which states a single application proceeding for a permit which allows living and working in Spain.
– Is the proceeding to obtain the residence shorter now?
Yes. The visa applications will be resolved and notified in a time period of 10 working days, whereas the maximum period to resolve the residence authorizations will be 20 days since the request is presented, with an implied grant of authorization.
– Are the 500.000 Euros per applicant o per application?
Per applicant, however, the applicant can also include family members, who will be able to request jointly and simultaneously or successively, the authorization, and, in turn, the visa. In any case, the applicants will have to comply with the general requirements and prove the family relationship by means of the corresponding certificates.
– Who is considered a family member with the effects of requesting the investor’s visa?
Spouses, children under 18 years of age or children of legal age who are not able to provide for themselves due to their health condition will be considered as family members.
– Can I purchase more than one property?
Yes. The reference that the law states concerning real estate does not refer to one asset or to one type of asset. However, the investment has to be carried out first and the visa requested after.
– Does the investment have to be carried out free of charges and encumbrances?
Yes. In the event of the acquisition of real estate, the applicant will have to prove that he can carry out an investment of 500.000 euros free of charges and encumbrances. However, the amount of the investment that exceeds the amount required can be subject to charges and encumbrances.
– At the end of the maximum period of five years, can I request a long term residency?
The residency can be requested, however, it will not be granted automatically at the end of the investor’s permit. In this case, the applicant will have to prove the fulfilment of the established legal requirements.
– What requirements do I have to comply to access the long term residency?
In order to access the long-term residency, the foreigner is required to have lived legally and effectively in Spain for five years. That the residence is effective means that the absence periods in Spanish territory will have to be less than six consecutive months and not exceed a total of ten months during the said five years.
– Does the time period of legal residency in Spain count at the time of requesting the nationality?
Yes. The time period lived in Spain legally will be taken into account to request the long-term residency as well as the nationality.
– Can I have direct access to the residence authorization for two years without having to obtain first the investor’s visa?
No. It is necessary to have the investor’s visa which is valid for one year. During this year, you can request the residence authorization at any time without having to wait to complete the year.
– Does the Law 14/2004, of the 27th September have retroactive character?
No. The Law is only applicable for the investments carried out from the 29th September 2013, date when the Law entered into force, as states on the thirteenth final disposition of the same.