This guide has been written to help you understand the Spanish ‘Golden Visa’ scheme of residency by investment offering a long-term path to Spanish citizenship. It explains the criteria for applying for a Golden Visa in Spain, how the process works, and answers the most frequent questions related to the Spanish Golden Visa Scheme.
Spain’s Golden Visa Investor Requirements
To take advantage of this law and get the ‘Golden Visa’ Residence Permit in Spain you must meet the following conditions:
- Not be in Spain in an irregular situation,
- Be over 18 years of age
- Have no criminal record in Spain or in the countries where they have resided for the past five years, for criminal offenses defined in the relevant Spanish legislation.
- Not be subject to an alert issued for the purposes of refusing entry in the territorial space of countries with which Spain has signed an agreement in this regard.
- Have a health insurance policy with an insurance company authorised to operate in Spain.
- Have sufficient financial resources for themselves and for the members of their families during their residence in Spain.
- Have paid the visa or authorization processing fee.
The investment can also be made through a company, so long as the company is not based in a tax haven, and you can demonstrate a controlling stake in it (direct or indirect control over the voting rights and the power to name and remove the majority of board members).
One application can cover Residence permits for your immediate family members, that is spouse or person with an analogous affective relationship, children who are minors or those of legal age who, being financially dependent on the holder, have not formed a family unit for themselves and the parents in their charge) if required.
Spanish Golden Visa Investment
You must make one of the following investments out of your own funds:
- €500,000 on Spanish real estate
- €2 million on Spanish Treasury bonds
- €1 million on Spanish company shares
- €1 million in investment funds constituted
- €1 million in bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions
- A ‘major’ business investment which fulfils at least one of the following conditions: i) Meaningful job creation, ii) significant socioeconomic impact in the area where the investment takes place, iii) technological or scientific impact
How the Golden Visa works in Spain with a property investment?
The first step is to buy a property worth €500,000 or more in Spain, and sign the title deeds before a notary. For the purposes of Residence applications, the investment value that counts is the purchase price recorded on the deeds.
The purchase may be done in person, or through a POA arranged before a notary in Spain or any member-state of the Hague Conference. Alternatively, a POA may be arranged through a Spanish consulate or embassy anywhere in the world. If the purchase is made in person, the subject needs be legally in Spain (under a temporary/tourist visa or any other legal status according to the requirements established for each nationality).
Once the property has been acquired, you can apply for the Residence Permit, which lasts 2 years before the Unit for Large Companies and Strategic Economic Sectors, and you must be legally in Spain in the moment of the application.
This permit may be renewed for unlimited additional 5 years periods, as long as the investment still in place.
Spain Golden Visa Residence Permit FAQ
How much do I have to invest to get a Golden Visa in Spain?
At least €500,000 of your own money, net of any mortgage financing.
Can I use a mortgage to get a Spanish Golden Visa?
Yes, but only for the excess above €500,000 that must be financed out of your own pocket.
Is the Spanish Golden Visa scheme retroactive?
Partially. Any investment made prior to the 28th of September 2013 will not qualify.
Do I have to invest €500,000 all at once?
No, you can spread the investment out over time, but, you can only apply for the Residence Visa once you have invested €500,000 or more of your own funds. Therefore, for example, if you spend €300,000 on a property today and €200,000 on another property in a year’s time, you will then be able to apply for the Residence Permit.
Are transaction costs like taxes included in the investment threshold of €500,000?
The short answer is no, meaning you have to spend €500,000 not including tax and expenses.
What taxes and transactions costs will I have to pay?
It depends on the type of property and where it is located. Generally speaking you pay VAT on new properties and a transfer tax (ITP) on resale properties. You will also have to pay stamp duty, notary, and registry fees. See our guide to transaction costs for more information.
Do I have to buy one property worth €500,000 or more, or can I buy several properties with a combined value of €500,000 or more to get a Spanish Golden Visa?
You can buy several properties costing less than €500,000, so long as their combined value is €500,000 or more.
Can I rent out the property I buy?
Yes, this new law places no restrictions on legal property use.
What kind of property do I need to buy?
You can buy commercial property, residential property, or land. In other words, any type of property investment is valid.
Can I sell the property?
Yes, you can sell the property, but you have to re-invest €500,000 in another Spanish property if you want to renew your Residence Permit.
What property should I invest in?
It depends on your needs, and the state of the market. You should subscribed to our news bulletin to get all the latest market analysis, and find a good real estate professional to advise ou on what to buy based on your particular needs and circumstances. You can find real estate professionals to help you buy and apply for a Golden Visa in our professional service directory. Don’t let the Golden Visa Residence Permit distract you from investing wisely. Focus on quality investments offered by professionals with good reputations.
The Golden Visa Residence Permit in Spain
How long is the Spanish Golden Visa Residence Permit granted for?
The initial Residence Permit is granted for 2 years. After that, assuming the investor still complies with all other requirements, a 5-year permit can be obtained, and renewed indefinitely every 5 years. The investor only has to visit Spain once before each permit expires to request a renewal.
Can I lose the Spanish Golden Visa Residence Permit?
Yes, if you liquidate your investment in Spain, or fail to meet one of the investor requirements.
How long do I have to spend in Spain to retain my Golden Visa?
You only have to visit Spain once to get or renew the Residence Permit. There is no minimum stay requirement, and you do not have to become a fiscal resident.
Can I get a Spanish passport?
Although they can be renewed indefinitely, these 2-year and subsequent 5-year Residence Permits are not the same as a right to permanent Residence or a Spanish passport. However, these Permits can lead to long-term Spanish Residence status after 5 years of continuous residence, and citizenship after 10 years of continuous residence, assuming all the other conditions of applying for long-term residence status or citizenship are fulfilled.
Does this replace other ways to get Residence in Spain?
No, it does not. Existing permits and procedures are still valid. This law is specifically tailored to attract affluent non-EU investors, and helps cut red tape.
Can I include my family in my Spanish Golden Visa application?
Yes, you can get additional permits for your spouse or person with an analogous relationship and children under 18 years or those of legal age who, being financially dependent on the holder, have not formed a family unit for themselves. You can also get additional permits for your parents in your charge.
Can I travel visa-free in Europe with a valid Spanish Golden Visa?
You can travel without a visa for 90 days out of every 180 days within the Schengen area, but you will still need a visa to enter EU countries outside the Schengen area like the UK.
Can I work in Spain with this Golden Visa type of residency permit?
Yes, you can reside and work in Spain during the validity of the permit.
Do I need health insurance cover for Spain even if I’m never there?
Yes, it does not matter how little time you plan to spend in Spain, you must have health insurance cover valid in Spain.
What kind of health insurance should I have in Spain?
If you are a citizen of a Member State of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland and entitled to coverage under the social security system of your country, then you can apply to the European health Insurance Card (EHIC), which can be obtained from the public health authorities of your home country.
If you are a citizen of a country outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland, then you must find out whether there exists a mutual health provision agreement between the Social Security system of your country and Spain.
If you do not fall into any of the above categories or cannot give proof of the document issued by the relevant national authority of your country, then prior to departure, you must take out private medical insurance to cover the whole stay in Spain.
However, if you have a labor contract in Spain, you will have the national health cover automatically.
Can my children go to a state school in Spain if I have a Spanish Golden Visa?
Yes, in fact in Spain it is mandatory the scholarship for children under 16.
Spanish Golden Visa tax implications
Once I have a Spanish Golden Visa Residence Permit, what are my tax obligations in Spain?
If you spend less than 183 days a year in Spain, you can avoid fiscal Residence, meaning you do not have to pay income tax in Spain, or declare your worldwide assets. The option to avoid fiscal Residence is one of the big attractions of this new law. However, you still have to pay certain taxes related to owning property in Spain, such as rental income tax and municipal taxes.
The Golden Visa application process in Spain
How long does it take to get a Spanish Golden Visa?
20 working days for Residence Permits.
Do I need an NIE number (Spanish Identity Number for Foreigners)?
Yes, you need an Spanish NIE number to buy a property in Spain. You can get this in person in Spain, or your lawyer can get it for you with a POA.
Can I purchase property through a company registered outside Spain?
Yes, so long as the company is not based in a tax haven, and you can demonstrate control of the company.
Do I have to come to Spain to apply for a Golden Visa residency permit?
The real estate property can be acquired without visiting Spain though a POA. However, in order to apply for the Residence Permit, you have to visit Spain.
Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. Laws and tax rates change over time, so this information may be out of date. Please consult a tax specialist or the tax authorities for the latest information. There are no guarantees that this information is correct and up-to-date, so you use this information at your own risk.