How to obtain a Golden Visa in Spain or residency by investment

What is the Golden Visa

The Golden Visa or Residence by Investment is an authorization that allows non-EU immigrants (not coming from countries of the European Union, the Economic Region or Switzerland) to live and work together with their family in Spanish territory, proving that a substantial capital investment has been made in Spain and that all other conditions are fulfilled. Its main advantage is that they are not obliged to remain in Spain for a certain period of time in order to be able to renew such residence, requesting as the only requirement for the renewal the maintenance of the investment.

For the granting of this type of residence visas for investors will have had to make such investment and prove its fulfillment in a period not exceeding 60 days prior to the filing of the application.

There is no residency requirement to maintain the Golden Visa. You only need to visit Spain once during the first year for the biometric data collection session, and once each time the permit is renewed.

Those who are able to comply will obtain a residence visa to reside for at least one year and a two-year residence permit that can be renewed as long as the investment made is maintained and if any travel to Spain has been made during the period of residence.

In order to obtain and renew the residence visa, the investor must maintain the investment in Spain, and is obliged to make a visit during the period of residence.

golden visa españa

Spain to stop offering Golden Visa for the purchase of real estate property

At a time when rents continue to rise in major Spanish cities and acquiring a property with a mortgage is more difficult due to high interest rates, the government of Pedro Sánchez announced in early April 2024 that it will end access to “golden visas” through the purchase of homes, but made no reference to other financial investments.

The Government puts an end to this regime two years after it extended the deadline for foreigners buying homes to reside in Spain. In 2022 it introduced a modification in the regulation to add one more year to the initial validity of the residence permit, through a provision in another law, the 28/2022, of December 21, which was aimed at the promotion of start-up companies.

It thus extended from two to three years the initial authorization for foreigners buying a house for more than 500,000 euros to live in Spain. In the same year, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission recommended that member countries rethink the practice of granting European residency (even citizenship in some states) in exchange for investments.

According to the Spanish president, the measure aims to “ensure that housing is a right and not merely an object of business speculation”, as most of the visas granted were related to the purchase of properties in places such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Alicante and the Balearic Islands, all areas where the real estate market “is under enormous pressure”.

But experts believe the measure is unlikely to affect the housing market, as less than 0.1% of the 4.5 million homes sold since the “golden visas” came into effect in 2013 were bought under the scheme, according to real estate website Idealista.

The measure taken in Spain joins those taken in 2022 and 2023 by the governments of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Portugal, which stopped offering residency in exchange for the purchase of properties.

Some 10,576 real estate golden visas in 10 years in Spain.

Between 2013 and 2023, Spain granted a total of 2,712 golden visas to Chinese investors, of which 99.33% were granted under the assumption of real estate acquisition.

They were followed by Russian investors with 1,159 and Iranian investors with 203.

Mexicans and Venezuelans also appear on Transparency International’s list, ranking 9th and 10th with 114 and 98 “golden visas”.

Advantages of the Golden Visa in Spain

Absence from Spain for prolonged periods of time.

All residence permits in Spain require a constant residence in the country (more than 6 months per year). If this condition of stay is not fulfilled, the residence permit expires and at the time of renewal the appeal will be rejected (Royal Decree 240/2007).

However, the picture is totally different with the Golden Spanish Visa, since you and your family members will be able to be absent practically during the entire period of your stay, without this implying your absence.

This is provided for in the sixth additional clause of Law 14/2013 of September 27, in favor of entrepreneurs and their internationalization (Law 14/2013, below), according to which “the renewal of the residence will be carried out with the still existing absences exceeding 6 months per year in the case of visas and authorizations for foreigners”.

This allows the investor visa beneficiary and his family to travel to other countries inside and outside Europe, either for leisure or even for business in other parts of Europe.
In addition, if you need a Schengen visa, regardless of origin, you will not have to apply to the various consulates or embassies every time you want to enter Europe.

Family members can come from the very first moment

Unlike with other residence permits, the Golden Visa in Spain allows investing families without having to wait a year to exercise the right of family reunification (Article 62.4 of Law 14/2013).
Unlike ordinary reunification, the Golden Visa allows the accompaniment of children over 18 years of age, as long as they are economically dependent on the family member and have not constituted their own family unit.
The applicant’s parents can also benefit from obtaining Spanish residency, even if they are under 65 years of age. All this can be done from the beginning, without having to wait 5 years to regroup, as it happens with the ordinary family regrouping.
The Golden Visa does not modify the original passport of the beneficiary.
The passport is always linked to the nationality of the beneficiary of the residence by investment, so that the obtaining of a residence or stay permit does not modify your nationality, except in the case that, after successive extensions of the residence permit, you wish to obtain the Spanish nationality.

In this case, by your own free will, you will be able (by residing in Spain for two, five or 10 years) to request the Spanish nationality and modify your passport.

Obtaining Spanish nationality by residence

An individual with a Golden Visa permit can opt for nationality because he has been in a state of residence. In addition, he/she complies with the provisions of Article 22.1 of the Civil Code for the Acquisition of Nationality.

Furthermore, as far as Ibero-Americans are concerned, it must be remembered that with only 2 years of citizenship they will now opt for Spanish nationality, i.e., the universal 10-year law does not extend to them to apply for it.

It includes a work permit for the beneficiary and his/her family members.
When the Gold Visa is received, both the beneficiary and all accompanying family members of working age (from the age of 16, as provided for in Article 6.1 of the Workers Regulation) will have the possibility to work without the need for sponsorship by an employer or, in general, without any additional paperwork before the authorities.

Investment requirements to obtain a Golden Visa in Spain

1. Investment in financial assets, real estate or business projects.
The main requirement to obtain a Golden Visa in Spain is to make a minimum investment in financial assets, real estate or business projects:

Obtaining through the acquisition of 2 million euros of public debt.
Obtained through the acquisition of one million euros in shares or stocks, or bank deposits in financial institutions.
Residence permit through the purchase of real estate worth 500,000 euros free of all encumbrances.
Residence permit through a business project of general interest.
If the investment is made through a company, the applicant must be the owner of the majority of the share capital, as established in Article 63.3 of Law 14/2013.

A report certifying that the company is domiciled in a country not considered a tax haven must be submitted to the Directorate General of International Trade and Investments (DGCOMINVER) of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

2º To have a medical insurance
When we are going to make an investor visa or an authorization as investor it is mandatory to have a medical insurance during the whole period of duration of the investor visa with a coverage equal to the one of the Social Security that covers hospitalization and protection in case of accident and/or illness, since the investor and his relatives will not be carrying out any type of labor activity while they are in Spain.

The medical insurance will be obligatory at the moment of renewal of the visa as investor.

3º Not to be irregularly in Spanish territory.
Unlike the vast majority of immigration procedures, which must be initiated from the Spanish Consulate of the country of origin or previous residence, Spanish law allows the procedure for obtaining the Golden Visa to be initiated directly from Spain.

That is, you can enter Spain as a tourist (whether you need a visa to enter the Schengen territory or not) to stay in the country and apply for the Golden Visa. However, for it to be valid the condition at the time of filing the application must be of regularity (legality).

This point would be fulfilled if the application is submitted within 90 calendar days from the date of entry into the Schengen area.

4º To be of legal age
Since one of the essential conditions for obtaining the Golden Visa is to make a substantial expenditure of money, Law 14/2013 states that the applicant must be over 18 years of age.

It should be noted that it is the main applicant who must be of legal age, but as mentioned above minor members of the family, such as children, may benefit from residency through investment (accompanying the main applicant), even though they remain minors in compliance with Spanish law.

5º Lack of criminal record
In order to obtain the Golden Visa, the applicant must present the criminal record certificates of the countries of residence in the last 5 years.

The criminal records that are relevant for obtaining the investor visa are those originated by actions considered as crimes in the Spanish legal system, not those of the country of origin.

6º To have economic means to guarantee the standard of living.
To have and demonstrate the possession of sufficient economic means for the maintenance of both the principal investor and his family (if he also applied for the residence permit for them).

Economic sufficiency is determined on the basis of the Public Indicator of Multiple Effect Income (IPREM), which is currently 537.84 euros.

In accordance with criterion 1.3 of application of Law 14/2013, the “holders of visas or residence authorizations for investors must prove that they have economic resources for their support in Spain with an amount that represents monthly in euros 400% of the IPREM.”

In case of coming with family members, 100% of the IPREM for each accompanying family member of the main investor.

Duration of the Golden Visa in Spain

As we have previously mentioned, although as a rule all the residence permits are valid for 1 year and the renewal terms are of 2 years. In the case of the Spanish Golden Visa, “the initial residence authorization for investors will have a duration of 2 years” and “once this period has expired (…), they may request the renewal of the residence authorization for successive periods of 5 years”.

In case of investment in real estate assets with a deposit contract: the duration is 6 months. That is to say, for the case of people who live outside Spain and have the contract of sale and purchase, but have not yet completed the operation. In this case, the following must also be demonstrated.

How to apply for the Golden Visa in Spain:

In order to apply for the Golden Visa we will have to follow a procedure. Depending on whether you are in Spain or abroad, the procedure will have 1 or 2 different phases.

The phases of the procedure are the following:

a)Visa application. In case you are outside of Spain and also because of your nationality you need a Schengen Visa to enter any of the 26 countries that are part of this territory, you must first obtain it from the Spanish Consulate or Embassy where you legally reside.

If you come from a country of the space, it is preferable that you come to the country and begin the procedure directly.

b) Request of the authorization. The authorization of residence for investment in Spain is requested before the Unit of Large Companies and Strategic Groups (UGE-CE) and the concession corresponds to the General Direction of Migrations.

See more info on the website of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

How long does it take for the investment visa to be granted?

According to Article 76.1 of Law 14/2013, the maximum period for resolution on the visa by investment will be 20 days from the electronic submission of the application to the competent body for its processing.

If the application “is not resolved within that period, the authorization will be deemed to have been granted by administrative silence”.

What fees must I pay to obtain the Golden Visa

If the application procedure for the residence authorization for investment is initiated in Spain, the amount of the fee is 71.81 euros.

Requirements to be able to renew your investor visa
That the investment made at the beginning has been maintained.
Have economic means (that you have money to live in Spain).
Have medical insurance (that you maintain the medical insurance you subscribed at the beginning of the process).
Remember that the Large Business Unit will have to assess and verify all these requirements in order to approve your application for renewal. But, if it is proven, then you will receive your card for 5 years.

After 5 years of residency, the investor can apply for a permanent residency visa, and after 10 years of residency, the investor can apply for citizenship.

This point would be fulfilled if the application is submitted within 90 calendar days from the date of entry into the Schengen area.

How to obtain a Golden Visa for real estate investment:

Real estate investment is one of the main ways to obtain a Golden Visa in Spain. In 2019, 681 Golden Visas were granted to foreigners who disbursed more than 500,000 euros for the purchase of one or more real estate assets. The arrival of the Covid 19 pandemic, meant a significant drop to 394 who got their residence permit by buying a property (Source: Idealista), mainly due to the fall of Chinese and Russian citizens, but the data for 2021 are encouraging and the foreign buyer is once again interested in buying a home in Spain

As established by Article 63. b of Law 14/2013, the value of the real estate investment must amount to 500 thousand euros plus taxes.

It can be in one or several properties. It can also have several owners who can benefit from the visa, as long as their percentage of ownership reaches the minimum value of the 500 thousand euros.

To the 500 thousand euros we must add the corresponding taxes applicable to the real estate operation. That is to say, if it is a first transfer, the operation will be subject to Value Added Tax (VAT), which may vary depending on the autonomous community (in Catalonia it is 10%). If it is a second or subsequent operation (sale of second-hand real estate), it will be subject to Transfer Tax (ITP), which in Catalonia is 10% for real estate up to 1 million euros and 11% from this figure.

This amount must be accredited as stated in Article 64.b) of Law 14/2013, “the applicant must accredit having acquired ownership of the real estate by means of certification of ownership and charges from the Land Registry that corresponds to the property or properties. The certification may incorporate an electronic verification code for online consultation. This certification will include the amount of the acquisition; otherwise, it must be accredited by providing the corresponding public deed.”

In addition, the property must be free of encumbrances at least, for the minimum investment value. “The part of the investment exceeding the required amount [500 thousand euros] may be subject to charge or encumbrance” (Added our/ Article 64.b of Law 14/2013).

If outside Spain (with the property already acquired):

If you have deed of sale, certificate from the Land Registry and that it is free of encumbrances, you can make the request for your authorization as an investor at the Spanish Consulate in the country where you are legally residing.

If you are in Spain and want to apply for the authorization as an investor:

If you are on a tourist visa or if you have any legal residence in Spain then you could apply from here. In this case you would not need to apply for a visa but for an investor authorization directly through the UGE.

You will not be able to get a Golden Visa if you use a mortgage to pay for a property in Spain, at least not for the minimum requirement. You have to make a payment of at least 500,000 euros entirely from your own funds, but for anything over that amount, you can use a mortgage or financing.

Rely on a real estate agency to find a good investment.

In our real estate of luxury homes, we have a wide portfolio of properties in Barcelona and Maresme ideal for obtaining a Golden Visa acquiring a luxury property in Barcelona, one of the most coveted cities to live in Spain for its charm and cosmopolitan atmosphere or enjoying a magnificent house of high standing in the Maresme in one of the most beautiful and desirable regions to live in luxury and tranquility, in towns like Alella, Masnou, Teià, Sant Andreu de Llavaneres,…

Other means to obtain the Golden Visa

To obtain the Golden Visa with investment of movable capital, “the applicant must prove to have made the investment in the minimum amount required, in a period not exceeding 1 year at the presentation of the application”.

Investment in Public Debt, for 2 million euros or shares or stock in Spanish capital companies for 1 million euros.
Investment funds: closed-end investment funds or venture capital funds incorporated in Spain, for 1 million euros.
Bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions for 1 million euros.

Bussines Investmets. Unlike the rest of the investments, in this case no minimum investment amount is established. However, a series of requirements are developed to decide that it is a legitimate investment to receive the Golden Visa. Therefore, Article 63.2.c) of Law 14/2013 specifies that the business proposal must be “considered and certified as being of general interest”, for which the fulfillment of at least one of the following conditions will be evaluated

Creation of jobs. Realization of an investment with a significant socioeconomic effect in the geographic area where the operation is to be established.
Significant contribution to scientific and/or technical progress.

Which European countries offer the Golden Visa?

Currently, there are 5 European countries, in addition to Spain, that offer the Golden Visa: Portugal, Greece, Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Specific requirements, including minimum investment, differ from country to country.
Updated November 19, 2023

 

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