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Moving to Spain? Spanish visa overview

Raymundo Larrain gives us a sweeping overview of the Spanish visa system. If you are a non-EU national, and plan to move to Spain, this article is for you.

Moving to Spain? Spanish visa overview

Spain is the second most visited country in the world, with over 84 million tourists every year. It’s a beautiful country to visit or live in. Gorgeous weather, great food, affordable prices, great amenities, and ultra-low taxation (in some regions of Spain) appeal to foreigners at large. Many of these tourists decide to settle down and buy a property in Spain.

In recent years, Spain has introduced two new immigration schemes with significant tax advantages associated for those that qualify: Beckham’s Rule (named after the English football player) and also the Digital Nomad Visa.

Both of these allow applicants to pay NO tax on any assets or income held abroad. Moreover, on the income derived strictly in Spain, applicants pay only a flat fee, which is a mere fraction of the standard tax rates. These two immigration schemes have been purposely devised to attract foreign overachievers, so they relocate to Spain alone, or with their families. Due to their unique tax advantages, they are proving wildly popular amongst foreign applicants, both EU and non-EU respectively.

At LNA, we can help you attain a visa or residency permit to live in Spain legally in record time at an affordable price. Your case will be handled by one of our immigration lawyers assisted by one of our in-house visa managers.

General requirements for all Spanish visas

The following five are staple requirements across all visa types:

  1. Non-EU national
  2. Hire private health insurance
  3. Clean criminal record, no trace (previous 5 years)
  4. Be self-supporting (you will not claim benefits from the State)
  5. Not be living in Spain illegally at the time of making the visa application

Spanish visa overview

Spain offers five visas for non-EU nationals. At LNA, we can assist you in filing all five below.

Some visas will suit applicants better than others. Some offer unique tax advantages.

1.   Golden Visa – Investor Visa

Spain’s Government announced on the 8th of April 2024 they will be scrapping this visa. However, it will take them many months to implement this change (likely by Autumn). For those who are still interested, you should apply now whilst you still can.

The investor visa is thought for affluent non-EU applicants. It is popularly known as a ‘Golden Visa’. It’s a blue-ribbon visa that basically rolls out the red rug for its privileged holders that neatly cuts through all the red tape. Its purpose is to foster foreign investments in Spain. Whilst there are many different ways to attain a GV, the most popular (and least expensive) is by investing in Spanish real estate. This requires investing €500,000 in property.

We should point out that it applies retrospectively; meaning that any non-EU national that bought a property in Spain for over 500k on or after the 28th of September 2013 may qualify. The investment in property can be made either as a physical person or as company. Alternatively, you can also deposit €1mn in a Spanish bank (no need to invest it), or you can invest €2mn in Spanish listed shares. All three ways will allow you to qualify for a coveted golden visa.

Unlike the other four visas listed below, renewals are not tied to proving you live in Spain all year round. They are based on keeping the investment. This ability to override the 90/180-day rule and not being ‘forced’ to live in Spain, make it one-of-a-kind visa and goes on to explain why it is highly sought-after by affluent individuals.

Another point to consider, is that the Golden Visa is the ONLY visa in Spain which does not make you tax resident in Spain on applying for it. GVs allow you the right to work in Spain (optional). This visa is attained by us in under 3 weeks.

Suitable for:

  • Affluent applicants who invest €500,000 in Spanish real estate.
  • Affluent applicants who deposit €1mn in a Spanish bank.
  • Affluent applicants who invest €2mn in Spanish Teasury bonds, or €1,000,000 in shares of publicly trading Spanish companies.

Further reading:  Spanish Golden Visa Explained

2.  Digital Nomad Visa (tax-free visa)

Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) was approved in December 2022. The DNV is extensive to family members i.e. spouse and children under the age of 18 years old.

It allows applicants to work remotely from Spain i.e. teleworkers. The main advantage of a DNV is its privileged taxation. It grants its applicants a special tax regime whereby they pay very few taxes as opposed to the standard tax rates that apply to Spanish tax residents.

The main two tax advantages open to successful DNV applicants are:

  • No tax on assets & income held abroad. This is of special interest for applicants holding substantial wealth and interests abroad Spain (i.e. HNWIs), which would go untaxed by Spain.
  • A flat tax rate of 24% on any income derived strictly in Spain.

Please contact us if you wish to pursue a DNV. This visa is attained by us in under 3 weeks.

Suitable for:

·       Teleworkers
·       Digital nomads
·       Self-employed (freelancers) who manage their business remotely

Further reading: Tax Advantages of Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa

3. Marriage Visa – EU Family Regroupment

It’s intended for families or couples that have been separated, in and out of the EU. It seeks to reunite them in an expedited manner within the EU. So, although this type of visa is popularly dubbed as ‘Marriage Visa,’ it would rather be more appropriate to label it as ‘Family Visa’. Unfortunately, the term ‘Marriage Visa’ has caught on and sounds more catchy, so we will just stick to that for simplicity’s sake.

Its scope goes well beyond a married couple. It ought to be understood in broader terms, as in family reunion. As its own name implies, couples must be married (including same-sex partners), this is the core requirement. Alternatively, it can also be a civil partnership. This visa allows you the right to work in Spain. This visa is fast-tracked, we can attain it in one month.

Suitable for:

  • Separated family members that wish to reunite within the EU
  • Married couples

Further reading:  EU-Family Regrouping (Marriage Visa)

4.   Business Visa – Lucrative Visa

As its own name implies, this permit allows the applicant to work in Spain as you will be self-employed. This residency applies to someone who is looking to set up his own business in Spain. Typically, you will be acting as a director or managing director overseeing the company. Needless to say, one of the key requirements is that you will have enough means to be self-supporting, both for yourself and your family for one year.

The catch, besides a cast-iron motivation, is that you need to invest in the ballpark of €80,000 to €100,000 to open & run a business in Spain. You will also be required to hire employees (the cornerstone of this visa). This visa allows you the right to work in Spain as self-employed.

Suitable for:

  • Applicants (families) wishing to set up and run a business in Spain
  • Self-employed
  • Dauntless entrepreneurs

Further reading:  Lucrative residency permit (Business Visa)

5.   Non-Lucrative Visa – Pensioner’s Visa

As its own name implies, this visa allows applicants to live, but not to work, in Spain. If you are working, or plan to work in Spain, you will be stripped of this visa. Only pensioners should apply for it.

The applicant will be expected to be self-supporting and will be required to prove he or she has enough savings for at least two years. This visa is ideal for retirees who wish to spend extended periods of time in Spain – without working – enjoying the finer things in life.

This visa is available from us from only £300.

Suitable for:

  • Pensioners
  • Would-be buyers, long-term tenants
  • Bon vivants

Further reading: Non-Lucrative Visa

Our law firm has a track record of 100% attaining Spanish visa & residency permits since 2013. We have assisted hundreds of individuals and their families.

Residency services available from LNA:

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) we have over 21 years’ experience specializing  in immigration & residency visas. We also assist clients buying, selling, or renting properties in Spain. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone at our UK line (+44) 0754 3838 218 or Spanish line (+34) 952 19 22 88, or by completing our contact form.

Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) has over 21 years’ of experience at your service. We offer a wide range of 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain.

You can review here our client’s testimonials.

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