Home » Spanish Golden Visa scheme disappoints compared to US

Spanish Golden Visa scheme disappoints compared to US

spanish golden visa property investment
Spend €500,000 or more on a property like this in Spain and get a ‘Golden Visa’

A ‘Golden Visa’ scheme in the US has been a big hit, whilst the Spanish version continues to disappoint.

A recent article in the FT shows how popular the US ‘Golden Visa’ scheme has been with foreign investors, in particular the Chinese. The American EB-5 visa attracted almost 10,000 investors last year, most of them for real estate, whilst the Spanish scheme has attracted just 1,189 property investors in two years, according to the Spanish property portal Idealista.com.

The US EB-5 visa grants permanent residence to foreigners who invest $500,000 or more in real estate in certain areas like Miami. The Chinese love it.

The Spanish Golden Visa scheme introduced in 2013 offering permanent residence and Schengen-area travel in return for an investment of €500,000 or more in real estate has been disappointing from the start, and still fails to impress despite tweaks to make it more attractive in 2015.

You can argue that the US is just a more attractive destination than Spain and Europe regardless of the details of the scheme, but it’s not just that. Other European countries like Portugal have had better results with similar schemes, despite being smaller and less well-known than Spain.

The problem with the Spanish scheme is it’s just not attractive enough compared to other countries (though all schemes in Europe are frowned upon by the EU, and their days may be numbered). It’s a typical example of Spanish legislation – too bureaucratic and badly designed. If you are going to offer a Golden Visa scheme you might as well make it as attractive as possible to get the best results. Unfortunately, Spanish lawmakers don’t think like that. Frankly, I don’t know why they bothered introducing a scheme that has been such a flop because of the way it was designed.

SPI Member Comments

5 thoughts on “Spanish Golden Visa scheme disappoints compared to US

  • Hi Mark. What makes you suggest the Golden Visa scheme was poorly designed? I purchased a property in BCN under this scheme recently and found it very straightforward. I was actually very impressed with all of the Govt authorities I had to deal with – maybe that was more a reflection of having a good lawyer overseeing it for me.


    • Mark Stücklin says:

      Hi Robert, when it was first introduced it was typically bureaucratic and made applicants jump through too many hoops to get a Visa that didn’t compare favourably to other schemes like the one in Portugal, where the path to citizenship is shorter and less onerous. It’s improved but still not the best in the market. If you are going to give Visas in return for €500k you might as well make the process as painless as possible, but that’s something Spanish lawmakers and the bureaucracy ain’t good at. Anyway, I’m happy to hear it’s going well for you.

  • I got my golden visa…. The fact that it havent be sucessfull is because there is no information or publicity about it.
    I find out through friends that were talking about it, but nobody knew if it was a reality, but i decide to buy and find out later.
    Was a whole search and a procedure no one knows anything about it, not even the lawyers, they say is super dificult almost imposible.. cause the spanish are nazis… But i decide to do it myself without anystupid spanish advising me.
    i arrive to the madrid office of emprendimiento after a long search and they look at me like trash
    ¿Are u asking for golden visa? Cause i dress normal without pretentions.
    At the end i show my papers and escrituras and they couldnt say anything and needed to give me the papers obviously you see they are not so happy the green eye.
    im in the first step ll let u know in future… How it ends.

  • Spain’s “Golden Visa” missed a “Golden Opportunity.” The scheme was originally muted as being 160,000 euros, and at this price would have been an offer impossible to resist, and at the same time tacking the seemingly unsolvable problem of almost 2 million empty and “unsellable properties.”

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