Golden Visa – a myth or a fast track to Spanish residency?

People of means and an interest in purchasing a vacation or retirement home are often drawn to countries that are willing to provide residency or even citizenship as part of the deal.

For people wishing to achieve residency quickly in this manner, there is good news. Various European Union countries have introduced Golden Visa programs as a way to persuade foreign investors to bring capital to their shores. Some of these countries include Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Cyprus.

One of the primary benefits of investing in residency or citizenship schemes is that candidates are able to enjoy the many perks of being a local, without being required actually to emigrate.

Each country with a Golden Visa program is different. Spain is an attractive option due to its location, status within the European Union, and the regulations of the Golden Visa program itself.

How much money do I have to invest in order to qualify for a Spanish Golden Visa?

You will have to invest a minimum of 500.000 €. But taking into account transactional costs such as transfer taxes and fees paid to notaries, registries, legal counsel, etc., in practice, you must have a minimum of around 560.000 €.

Also, the 500.000 € amount must be liquid capital brought into Spain from another country. The investment requirement cannot be raised by obtaining funds from a source within Spain, such as, for example, seeking a mortgage loan from a Spanish lender.

What kind of investments can I make to qualify?

The purchase of any type of real-estate investment will qualify (residential, commercial, vacant land, parking spaces, etc.). The investment can also consist of several smaller investments. Once the limit of 500.000 € has been fulfilled, the application can be submitted.

The Golden Visa can also be granted on the basis of an investment in Spanish companies or financial products such as Spanish bonds.

The Spanish Golden Visa as a “fast track” to residence

The Golden Visa differs radically from traditional Spanish residency permits in two big ways:

  • It is processed much faster than other types of residency permits.
  • The Golden Visa does not require a minimum stay in Spain. Other residency permits require staying at least six months per year in Spain, and thus becoming a tax resident. With a Golden Visa you are given the residency independently from the number of days you stay in the country. Consequently, unless you exceed 183 days of stay a year and, thus, become a tax resident, you won’t have to report foreign earned income.

What benefits aside from residency will I be able to enjoy if I obtain a Spanish Golden Visa?

  • The Golden Visa includes a working and studying permit that is automatically granted along with the residency visa.
  • The Golden Visa allows you to bring all of your direct family members and have them enjoy of the same benefits as the visa holder.
  • A Golden Visa works as a tourist visa for the rest of the countries that belong to the Schengen area. This means that the holder of the Golden Visa has the right to remain in Spain for an unlimited period of time, plus in the rest of the Schengen area for three months within each period of six months.
  • If you decide to establish your tax residency in Spain, this will allow you to apply for a long-term residency after five years and citizenship after 10 years (two years if you are from Latin America).

For how long can I stay in Spain on my Golden Visa? And can it be extended?

The initial investor’s residency permit is valid for two years and can be extended upon expiry, as long as the investor maintains the 500.000 € minimum level of investment. You are allowed to switch between types of investments, for example, from one property to another, or from real estate to a bank deposit or investment fund. The second permit and all the consecutive permits are valid for five years at a time.

AvaLaw is a high quality Spanish law firm specialized in real estate and Golden Visas, among other things, and as such, has aided many people in obtaining their Golden Visas. We are here to help, so don’t hesitate to connect with us anytime for an introductory meeting.