Spain Golden Visa Program: Residence by Investment
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Spain Golden Visa Program: Residence by Investment

Golden Visa for Spain: Guide on How to Apply for the Investor Visa

Spain, with its robust economy and strategic location, has become a desirable destination for international investors seeking to establish a foothold in the European Union and the Eurozone. Recognizing this interest, the Spanish government has implemented the Spain Golden Visa program, a residence by investment scheme that offers foreign nationals the opportunity to make a substantial investment in exchange for the privilege of living, working, and enjoying visa-free travel within Europe’s Schengen Area. This article delves into the intricacies of the Spain Golden Visa, outlining its benefits, requirements, and application process, providing a comprehensive guide for investors aiming to navigate this golden pathway to Spanish residency.

Approved visa application form with 'APPROVED' stamp for Spain Golden Visa documentation

The Spain Golden Visa (Residence by Investment)

The Spain Golden Visa, officially termed as the Investor Visa, is a residence permit designed to attract non-EU citizens who are willing to make a significant financial commitment to the Spanish economy. This residency-by-investment scheme serves a dual purpose: it provides investors and their immediate families the chance to reside in Spain and enjoy its vibrant culture, dynamic economy, and high quality of life, while simultaneously bolstering the Spanish economy through foreign direct investment.

Established with the intent to draw capital and entrepreneurial talent into the country, the program offers a swift pathway to temporary residence, typically within a month of application, subject to immigration rules and qualifications. Investors can look forward to potentially obtaining permanent residence after five continuous years in Spain and may eventually apply for Spanish citizenship. The allure of Spain’s diverse landscapes, rich history, and favorable climate, coupled with the program’s rank as the 7th out of 26 on the 2023 Global Residence Program Index, underscores its appeal as an optimal route for investors aiming for European residency.

Navigate your Golden Visa journey with confidence. Secure your spanish dream with our expert lawyers at Lawants. Don’t hesitate to contact us for tailored legal guidance for your business and residency needs.

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Golden Visa for Spain: Benefits

The Spanish Golden Visa offers a plethora of advantages that extend well beyond the initial residency status:

  • Freedom of Movement: Holders enjoy the right to live, work, and study in Spain, coupled with visa-free travel within the EU and Schengen Area.
  • Path to Permanent Residency and Citizenship: After five years of residence, investors may apply for permanent residency and eventually Spanish citizenship after ten years.
  • Family Inclusion: Spouses, financially dependent children of any age (provided adult children are full-time students), and dependent parents over 65 can be included.
  • Healthcare and Education Access: Access to Spain’s public healthcare and education systems is granted, ensuring a high quality of life.
  • Tax Benefits: Investors may benefit from favorable tax implications, as Spain does not require a minimum period of residence for Golden Visa holders.
  • Majestic Landscapes: Experience life in a vibrant EU country known for its beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

Specific Benefits for Spain:

  • Swift Residency Permit Issuance: The process is efficient with low processing costs and renewal fees.
  • Real Estate Investment Choices: Investors have a wide array of real estate options with no restrictions other than the minimum investment threshold.
  • No Minimum Residence Requirement: There is no obligation to live in Spain to maintain or renew the Golden Visa.

These benefits not only facilitate a seamless integration into Spanish society for investors and their families but also contribute significantly to the local economy through their investments and consumption.

Read also: Entrepreneur Visa for Spain: Requirements and Application Process

Spain Golden Visa: Requirements

To qualify for the Spain Golden Visa, applicants must meet one of the following investment criteria:

  • Real Estate Investment: Purchase of property worth at least €500,000. This can include one or multiple properties and can be residential or commercial. The investment can be mortgaged beyond the minimum amount.
  • Capital Investment: A minimum of €1 million in shares of Spanish companies, bank deposits, or investment/venture capital funds based in Spain.
  • Government Bonds: A minimum investment of €2 million in Spanish government debt securities.
  • Business Development: Investment in a business project deemed to be of general interest, which could involve job creation, socio-economic impact, or scientific/technological innovation. The minimum investment for this option is €1 million.

Additional stipulations include:

  • Investments by legal entities are acceptable provided they are not domiciled in tax havens and the investor has sufficient control over the entity.
  • The investment must be maintained for a period required by law to retain visa status.
  • Family members such as spouses, dependent children, and dependent elderly parents may also obtain visas through the investor’s application.

It is essential for investors to provide documentary evidence of their investments as part of the application process to ensure compliance with the program’s regulations.

Who can apply for the Golden Visa in Spain?

Eligibility for the Spain Golden Visa is open to applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • Investors who have made a qualifying investment in Spain.
  • Individuals who are at least 18 years old.
  • Applicants with valid health insurance in Spain, either private or public.
  • Those with sufficient financial resources to support themselves and their family members.
  • Candidates with a clean criminal record from all the places they have resided in during the past five years.
  • Persons not listed as undesirable in Spain or with no prior Schengen Visa rejections.

It is important to note that:

  • EU member state nationals, as well as individuals from Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, are exempt from applying for this visa and can move to Spain without it.
  • Applicants must not be illegally residing in Spain at the time of application.
  • Applicants must not be on any list of undesirable people and must not have been refused residency by certain other countries or by Spain itself.
  • Applicants are required to have healthcare coverage that will cover their stay and prove that they have sufficient funds to live on without the need for employment in Spain.

Application Procedure for the Spain Golden Visa

The application process for the Spain Golden Visa is a systematic journey that leads to residency by investment. Here’s an outline of the key steps involved:

  • Step 1: Make an Eligible Investment – Select and commit to one of the qualifying investment options. This may require a trip to Spain on a standard visa to complete the investment process.
  • Step 2: Apply for the Golden Visa – Within three months of making your investment, submit your Golden Visa application at the nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your home country. This can be done personally or through a legal representative.
  • Step 3: Documentation Submission – Alongside your application, provide all necessary documents as required by the program.
  • Step 4: Biometric Data Submission – Once your initial application is approved, travel to Spain to provide biometric data to the authorities. This step typically takes about two months.
  • Step 5: Receive Your Residence Permit – After submitting your biometrics, there’s an approximate 20-day review period. Following approval, you’ll be granted a residence permit with an initial duration of three years, which can be renewed for five years provided the investment is maintained.

It’s important to note that applicants can apply directly for a residence permit if already in Spain on a long-term visa, bypassing the need for a separate residence visa. The process is designed to be efficient, usually taking less than a month for consideration. There’s no minimum stay requirement to retain residency status, but an initial visit to Spain is necessary to obtain the first residence permit. The permit extends to immediate family members, ensuring that investors can bring their loved ones along on their new Spanish venture.

Read also: Beckham Law in Spain: 2024 Guide for Expats to Save on Taxes

Close-up of a hand stamping official paperwork, possibly for Golden Visa for Spain applications

How much does it cost to get a Golden Visa in Spain?

The financial threshold for obtaining a Spanish Golden Visa involves making a significant investment in the country. Prospective applicants must choose from several investment options, each with its own minimum investment amount. The most common route is through real estate acquisition, requiring a minimum investment of USD 500,000. Alternatively, investors can opt to purchase at least USD 2,000,000 in Spanish public debt or make a bank deposit of at least USD 1,000,000 in a Spanish financial institution. Investing in shares of a Spanish company is also a viable option.

It’s essential to consider that these figures represent the minimum investment amounts and do not include additional costs such as processing fees, legal expenses, taxes, or property maintenance costs for real estate investments. Each applicant should assess the total cost in consultation with legal and financial advisors to ensure compliance with the program requirements and to plan for all associated expenses.

Your spanish venture, made easy: Lawants can be your partner in unlocking Spain’s opportunities. Discover our tailored legal advice for entrepreneurs and investors.

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Spanish Citizenship by Investment

Holders of the Spain Golden Visa may set their sights on permanent residency after five years of continuous residence in Spain. To transition from temporary residency to citizenship, investors must fulfill a ten-year residency requirement, demonstrating their commitment to living full-time within the country. This residency must include physical presence in Spain for at least 183 days per year.

The journey to Spanish citizenship demands more than just time; applicants must integrate into the Spanish community, which includes acquiring a basic proficiency in the Spanish language and an understanding of Spanish history and culture. Additionally, applicants must be free of criminal convictions and have no outstanding debts in Spain.

For individuals hailing from former Spanish colonies such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and several others, Spain offers an expedited two-year residency route to citizenship. It is crucial to note that investment alone does not guarantee citizenship; it is the combination of investment and meeting the stringent residency and cultural integration requirements that pave the way to becoming a Spanish citizen.

Given these complex prerequisites and the potential need to renounce one’s original citizenship, it is advisable for investors to seek professional legal guidance to navigate this process effectively and with clarity on the implications of such a significant decision. Contact our team of expert consultants to receive tailored legal assistance.

Golden visa for Spain: documents required

Applying for the Spain Golden Visa requires meticulous preparation of various documents to ensure compliance with the Spanish immigration authorities. The primary documents necessary for the application include:

  • A completed national visa application form, signed and filled out in every section.
  • A recent passport-size, color photograph with a light background, without any accessories that obscure the face.
  • A valid, unexpired passport with a minimum validity of one year and at least two blank pages.
  • Proof of investment, which may vary depending on the type of investment:
    • For unquoted stocks and shares: A declaration of investment from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation.
    • For quoted stocks: A certificate from a financial intermediary registered with the CNMV or Banco de España.
    • For public debt: A certificate from a financial entity or Banco de España.
    • For bank deposits: A bank certificate confirming sole ownership of the investment.
    • For real estate investments: A Certificate from the Land Register and, if necessary, the deed of sale.
    • For business projects: A favorable report stating the project’s general interest.
  • Evidence of sufficient financial means to support oneself and any accompanying family members.
  • Criminal record check certificate(s) from countries of residence for the past 2 years and a declaration of no criminal records in the last five years.
  • Health insurance contracted with an insurer authorized to operate in Spain.
  • Proof of legal residence within the consular district or evidence of attending classes in person within it.
  • If applying through a representative, proof of the representative’s identity and legal capacity.

For family members accompanying the investor, additional documents such as proof of family relationship (birth or marriage certificates), proof of financial dependence, and legal status for adult children are required.

All foreign documents must be legalized or bear the Hague Apostille and be accompanied by an official Spanish translation if necessary. It’s also important to note that a criminal record check certificate should not be older than 6 months unless specified otherwise.

Moreover, applicants must not have had any previous issues with Spanish immigration authorities and must undergo background checks as part of the application process. The visa fee must be paid in local currency at the time of application submission, subject to regular changes due to currency fluctuations.

Professional assistance from our lawyers experienced in Spanish law can provide invaluable help in gathering and submitting all required documents correctly, ensuring a smooth application process for your Golden Visa in Spain.

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How long can you stay in Spain with the Golden Visa?

The Spain Golden Visa initially grants a one-year residency to its holders.

After this initial period, investors have the opportunity to convert their visa into a two-year renewable residence permit, provided they maintain their investment, such as property ownership. This residence permit is renewable every two years, offering a pathway to continuous residency in Spain for as long as the investment is upheld.

For those who choose to reside in Spain, after five years of continuous living with the renewable two-year residence permit, they are eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit. It’s important to note that while the Golden Visa allows full-time living in Spain, it does not impose a minimum stay requirement for the renewal of the residency visa.

However, if an investor aspires to obtain Permanent Residency, they must reside in Spain for at least four years and two months within the five-year period to qualify. This flexibility makes the Golden Visa an attractive option for those seeking both a potential permanent home in Spain and for those who wish to travel or reside part-time while maintaining their investor status.

Renewal and maintenance of the Spain Golden Visa

The process of renewing the Spain Golden Visa is straightforward but requires adherence to specific conditions to ensure continuity of residency. Initially granted for one year, the Golden Visa can be extended for successive two-year periods, up to a total of five years, after which holders may apply for permanent residency.

Key to the renewal process is ensuring that the investment that qualified the individual for the visa remains active. Additionally, visa holders must have a current or recently expired (no more than 90 days) Investors Residence Visa and must have visited Spain for at least one month during the previous year.

Maintaining a clean legal record is paramount throughout this period, as any infractions may affect the status of the visa. While there are no minimum stay requirements for renewal of the Golden Visa itself, significant time spent outside of Spain could impact eligibility for permanent residency or citizenship, which demand more stringent physical presence in the country. For permanent residency, applicants must have lived in Spain for at least five years without interruption, typically understood as residing in Spain for at least six months each year.

Ultimately, if you cannot demonstrate that your investment remains intact—such as retaining ownership of purchased property or sustaining your business investment—you risk losing your Golden Visa Residence Permit. This underscores the importance of ongoing investment as a cornerstone of maintaining and extending your residency status under the Spain Golden Visa program.

usinessman in a suit holding documents and making a phone call, potentially discussing Spain Golden Visa details.

Spanish Golden Visa and Taxes

Holding a Spain Golden Visa implicates certain tax considerations that investors must be aware of. The tax obligations for Golden Visa holders largely depend on their residency status in Spain. Non-residents—those who live in Spain for less than 183 days a year—are not required to pay income tax on their worldwide income. However, they are still subject to taxes on any income generated within Spain.

For Golden Visa holders who have invested in Spanish property, irrespective of their residency status, they must fulfill the local property tax obligations, including municipal taxes and potentially rental income taxes if the property is leased out. Non-residents are taxed at a flat rate of 24.75% on any rental income or other income sourced from Spain.

It’s important for investors to understand these tax requirements and plan accordingly, as failure to comply with Spanish tax laws can lead to penalties and affect the status of their Golden Visa. It is advisable for investors to seek professional tax advice to ensure they meet all their tax obligations and optimize their tax position while holding a Spain Golden Visa.

FAQ

Navigating the intricacies of the Spain Golden Visa program can often lead to a plethora of questions. To assist investors and potential applicants in better understanding the program, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Spanish Golden Visa. 

Can you apply for the Golden Visa with a Mortgage?

Yes, applying for the Spain Golden Visa with a mortgage is permissible, provided that the minimum equity investment of €500,000 is met. For instance, if you purchase a property valued at €750,000 and secure a mortgage for €250,000, the equity amount surpasses the threshold required for the Golden Visa application. It is crucial to understand that only the investment amount free of any loans or mortgages counts towards the Golden Visa eligibility.

How long does the Golden Visa Permit last?

The Spain Golden Visa begins with an initial validity of one year, serving as a pathway to a more permanent status. Following this period, investors have the opportunity to transition their visa into a residence permit for investors, which is valid for two years. Subsequent to the initial residency period, the permit can be extended for an additional five years, assuming the investor maintains their qualifying investment and continues to meet all necessary criteria.

What are the investment methods available for the Spanish Golden Visa?

To qualify for the Spanish Golden Visa, investors can choose from several investment methods:

  • Real Estate Investment: A minimum of €500,000 invested in Spanish real estate property. This can include residential or commercial properties, and the investment can be spread across multiple properties. The property can also be rented out.
  • Business Development: A minimum of €1 million invested in a new business that will create jobs, have a socio-economic impact, or contribute to scientific or technological innovation in Spain.
  • Capital Transfer: A minimum of €1 million invested into Spanish treasury bonds, shares in Spanish companies, or bank deposits at Spanish financial institutions.

Is Spain getting rid of the Golden Visa?

As of 2023, there have been discussions within the Spanish government regarding the future of the Spain Golden Visa program. Authorities are contemplating two potential changes: either the complete abolition of the “golden visa” or a significant increase in the minimum investment required, potentially raising it to €1 million. These considerations reflect ongoing evaluations of the program’s impact and its alignment with national economic strategies.

Can I bring my family members with me?

Yes, the Spain Golden Visa program is designed with family inclusivity in mind. When you apply for this visa, you have the option to include several family members in your application. This encompasses your spouse, your minor children who are unmarried and under the age of 18, as well as adult children who are financially dependent on you. Additionally, you can include dependent elderly parents, ensuring that the program accommodates the broader family unit for those seeking residency in Spain.

Can I lose the residence permit?

Indeed, the continuation of your Spain Golden Visa is contingent upon the maintenance of your investment in the country. Should you divest from your investment, such as selling the property you initially purchased or liquidating other financial investments that qualified you for the program, you may forfeit your right to the residence permit. It is imperative to uphold the investment criteria to ensure the ongoing validity of your Golden Visa status in Spain.

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