Spanish Golden Visa
On September 30th 2013, Spanish Parliament passed an important new law that aims to promote new business schemes within an international reach. Law 14/2013 regulates how to gain a residence permit when investing in Spain, most likely through buying property.
Only certain types of investment qualify in these circumstances. Though property is a popular choice, there are several possible investment paths to obtain a Golden Visa and Spanish residency. In all cases, you must be able to meet the minimum investment thresholds using your own money. These are the investment options available:
- ⦿ Purchasing at least 500,000 € of Spanish real estate (either a singular property or multiple smaller properties with an overall worth of 500,000 €)
- ⦿ Buying shares in a Spanish company or investment funds worth at least 1,000,000 € or depositing this amount in a Spanish bank
- ⦿ Acquiring Spanish Treasury Bonds of at least 2,000,000 € (investing in Spanish public debt)
- ⦿ Investing in a major new business project in Spain that will provably create jobs, have a positive social and economic impact, or contribute to scientific innovation
In principle, the minimum real estate investment is €500,000 per person for a residence permit. However, in the case of a family, further investigation should be conducted to show that the head of the family is able to support their dependants (spouse and children under the age of 18) through a Sponsorship letter.
How does the Spanish Golden Visa work?
The Spanish Golden Visa allows non-European citizens to obtain a permit allowing family residency. This visa can be renewed every 2 years, and after 5 years the opportunity to gain permanent residency in Spain arises. Once you have achieved 10 years of residency, you no longer need to stay in the country to retain and renew the Spanish Golden Visa, as you can apply for full-time citizenship.
The original visa remains valid for 1 year and can be extended and renewed for Spanish residency every 2 years. The same conditions apply for renewal as when the individual first obtained the Spanish Golden Visa. They must also travel to Spain at least once during their first year of residency.
Applicants must be able to meet all other requirements to become a Spanish resident, such as holding public or private health insurance, having appropriate resources to provide for themselves and their family, and being able to prove a clean criminal record.
You will also have to pay the application fees and obtain all relevant documents for you and any eligible family members who want to legally reside in Spain. There may also be additional costs for getting documents officially translated and apostilled.
Obtain Spanish residency through investment
According to the Spanish government, almost 5,000 permits have been issued under the Golden Visa scheme between its launch in 2013 and the end of 2022. This number includes investments in capital and economic projects, but the majority of applicants choose to invest in real estate in Spain.
If you would like to join this select number of foreign nationals enjoying the benefits of Spain’s Programa de residencia para inversores y emprendedores (residency programme for investors and entrepreneurs), it is important to analyse the best investment route for you and your family.
Manzanares Lawyers can review your case and your short-term and long-term objectives in investing in Spain for residency to help you follow the appropriate legal path. We can assist with visa applications from your home country, or with residence permit applications from within Spain if you are already legally staying in Spanish territory.
If you would like to find out more about the Spanish Golden Visa and receive assistance with your application, you can get in touch with Manzanares Lawyers by filling out our online form for a FREE consultation. You can also call us on +34 952 59 50 42 (Alhaurin) or +34 952 82 41 12 (Marbella) to discuss your Golden Visa eligibility over the phone, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond in due course.
The documentation required to complete a Spanish Golden Visa application includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- ⦿ Golden Visa application form and proof of payment of the application fee
- ⦿ Valid passport plus 2 passport size photographs
- ⦿ Recent bank statements or other proof of sufficient income
- ⦿ Current police records showing no criminal history
- ⦿ Health insurance certification from either a public or private Spanish provider
- ⦿ Medical certificate proving you do not provide a public health risk
- ⦿ Land Registry certificate (for property purchases)
- ⦿ Statement from the Spanish Registrar of Foreign Investments of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (for investment in Spanish stocks or shares)
- ⦿ Certificate from the Bank of Spain or the relevant Spanish financial institution (for bank deposits or government bonds)
- ⦿ Marriage or birth certificates for dependant family members
If the documents are not already written in Spanish, they must be professionally translated into Spanish and apostilled in the country of issue.
Spanish Golden Visa Timeline
If you’re wondering how long it takes to get a Spanish Golden Visa, it’s different for everyone. It depends how long it takes you to make the required investment, get your documents in order, and submit your application. The timeline generally looks something like this:
- ⦿ Initial investment – Choose the appropriate option and complete the investment.
- ⦿ 1 month – Fill out the paperwork and register with the local Spanish embassy.
- ⦿ 2 months – Submit your residency application documents (including Spanish translations).
- ⦿ 2-3 months – Travel to Spain on a temporary visa to submit biometric data and get a TIE (Foreigner’s Identity Card).
- ⦿ 3-4 months – Wait while the Spanish government reviews your application (maximum processing time of 20 days).
- ⦿ Within 1 year – Travel to Spain to apply for a residency permit (and/or immigrate to Spain).
- ⦿ 2 years – Renew your residency permit in person before it expires.
- ⦿ 4 years – Renew your residency permit again (must be renewed every 2 years).
- ⦿ 5 years – Apply for permanent residency after 5 years of temporary residency in Spain.
- ⦿ 10 years – Apply for Spanish citizenship after 10 years of residency (spending more than 183 days a year in the country).
As you can see, if you spend a few months sorting out the paperwork and expenses, this can draw things out. However, once you complete the application process, you’ll only have to wait a maximum of 20 days to find out whether the Spanish government has approved your Golden Visa.
Then, depending on what you want from your continually renewed residency, you can apply to be a permanent Spanish resident after maintaining your status for 5 years. This gives you greater access to resident services. You can also choose to become a Spanish citizen after 10 years, though you may have to renounce your current citizenship if your home country doesn’t allow dual citizenship.
Spanish Golden Visa FAQs
If you’re wondering what makes the Golden Visa so special compared to other Spanish residency permits, it’s that it rolls the rights of several different visa types into one convenient package. Just by meeting the minimum requirements, you could access all of these benefits:
⦿ Ability to live, work, and study in Spain
Not only does this visa allow you to legally move to Spain if you wish, but it also allows you to work within the country or remain in Spain as a student in higher education. If you, the primary investor and applicant, need to stay in another country, your immediate family can still access these rights.
⦿ Family residency with no further investment required
One of the biggest draws of the Spanish Golden Visa’s fast-track residency is the ability for the investor’s spouse/civil partner and financial dependents to legally immigrate to Spain. This means children can benefit from a good education and elderly parents can benefit from quality healthcare.
⦿ Visa-free travel in Europe
If you and your family love to travel, then freedom of movement between the 26 countries in the Schengen Area as a Golden Visa holder is a big attraction. You can spend 90 days out of every 6 months exploring any of the member countries without having to apply for new visas every time.
⦿ Easy to renew without having to live in Spain
The Spanish Golden Visa offers a kind of preferential treatment for foreign investors, as applications can be processed quickly and you only have to visit Spain once a year to renew if you don’t intend to move there full-time. You can retain any tax residence you own outside of Spain during this time.
Spain’s Golden Visa can benefit anyone from outside the EU who wants to gain European residency. It’s an incredibly popular option all around the world to obtain Spanish residency through investing.
It’s less of a question of why you should invest in Spain, and more of a question of why shouldn’t you? On the surface, Spain is renowned for its laidback Mediterranean lifestyle and climate, with world-famous beaches and cuisine. Alongside having excellent schools and healthcare, promising a high standard of life, Spain also has a strong economy.
Spain is a relatively safe and stable place to invest compared to other parts of Europe, but it’s also well-located for further foreign investments. Beyond the booming tourism industry in Spain, it’s a great base to work from when investing in other global business markets, from the EU to North Africa, or from Latin America to the Middle East.
This also means that should you ever tire of picturesque Spain, there are plenty of other countries for you to explore practically on your doorstep. Whether you want to set up a business in Spain or start a new life there with your family, the Spanish Golden Visa makes it easy to gain residency through investment. There are lots of ways to invest, and access to even more government incentives throughout Spain and the EU.
Ten years into this relatively successful residency by investment programme, some political parties have raised concerns about less than scrupulous investors using the Golden Visa process without contributing to the improvement of Spain, following the European Commission’s warnings about money laundering risks.
Though nothing has been confirmed yet, this is likely to result in the government making changes to the Spanish investment visa requirements. Whether the Spanish government decides to suspend the programme or increase the minimum investment to 1,000,000€, as rumoured, it is a good idea to apply sooner rather than later to benefit from lower investment thresholds while they last.
Usually, buying a house in Spain and becoming an owner of Spanish property wouldn’t make you a resident. You would still have to apply for residency separately if you wanted to live in the house more than half of the year, and especially if you wanted to work in Spain while you were there.
However, you can speed things up by applying for a Golden Visa. You need to make an investment, such as purchasing Spanish real estate, as part of the application process – meaning you can apply for a residence permit at the same time. It also has an implicit work permit included in the visa, so you don’t have to worry about applying for a lucrative visa if you want to earn money in Spain.
The Spanish Golden Visa allows you to obtain a Spanish residency if you invest at least 500,000€ in your property. This is a secure method of keeping your residency for the long term. If you keep in line with the regulations of the Visa and maintain your property investment for the duration of this time, you will be entitled to residency in Spain for as long as you require.
Your years holding a Spanish Golden Visa will count towards permanent residency, allowing you to apply to be a permanent Spanish resident after 5 years – even if you haven’t lived in Spain full-time during that period. While the programme offers a kind of fast track to legal residency in Spain, it’s not a fast track to Spanish citizenship – you’ll still have to keep your residency for 10 years to apply.
Please note that you can still apply for a Golden Visa through property even if the purchase is not yet finalised – you can submit other documents, such as the preliminary contract and a letter from a Spanish bank, confirming that you have the necessary funds to complete the investment. If you’d like to find out more about this way of becoming a Spanish resident, contact our team of experts at Manzanares Lawyers, who will gladly give advice on obtaining a Spanish Golden Visa.
From 1st January 2021, the United Kingdom is no longer a part of the European Union. This means that UK nationals are treated as non-EU citizens. As a result, it is much tougher for citizens from many countries to emigrate to an EU-based country than it was previously. However, with the Spanish Golden Visa, you are still able to obtain a residence permit by investing in Spain.
As long as you hold your investment, you are entitled to both live and work in Spain during this time. These benefits also apply to your spouse and any children under 18 years old. This is much easier for British families hoping to relocate to Spain after Brexit – otherwise, you would have to apply for the relevant visas for each family member separately, according to what each person will do in Spain.
Before Brexit, this route was actually closed to people from the UK, as only non-EU residents could apply. Since EU residents had easier ways to gain freedom of movement and the right to dwell in other EU countries, there was no need to find an alternative fast-track route with the benefits they already had access to. Now that UK citizens are non-EU citizens, those rights no longer apply, but Spanish Golden Visa eligibility does – offering a new and exciting opportunity for British expats.
It's important to bear in mind that Spanish residency through a Golden Visa does not grant EU citizenship and restore previous rights. It does, however, give you freedom of movement within the Schengen Area, and the right to live, work, and study in Spain. If you do want to become an EU citizen again by living in Spain, it will take at least 10 years, and you may have to give up your British citizenship in order to become a Spanish national.
The long process of Brexit has been a complicated time for everyone directly affected, so if you feel like you need more advice on how you can start a new life in Spain, please contact our expert lawyers today and we will happily give you the information you require.
The Spanish Golden Visa is applicable for anyone who is a non-EU, non-EEA, or non-Swiss citizen that is looking to live or work in Spain through investing, as well as their dependant family. Nationals from former Spanish colonies may be able to fast-track their Spanish citizenship with this Visa. There are some requirements that you have to meet in order to obtain this Visa, so the Spanish government can be assured that you and your family are a fit and proper addition for their country.
Firstly, you must be over the age of 18 to apply, without a criminal record. You also must hold valid medical insurance and have evidence of enough funds to support yourself and any family living in the country. If you are not sure whether you qualify for a Spanish Golden Visa, our professional team will be able to give you the information you need to make a clearer judgement. Just give us a call, email us, or fill out our online form for a quick response.
You can apply on behalf of your dependant family members at the same time as submitting your Golden Visa application as the primary investor. This requires providing evidentiary documentation of the family relation, such as a marriage certificate for a spouse or birth certificates for children under 18. Dependants can also include children over 18 or elderly parents, if you can prove that they are unable to provide for themselves (perhaps due to a health condition).
The only nationalities who are currently unable to apply for a Spanish Golden Visa are citizens of Russia or Belarus. As of early 2022, Spain suspended the scheme for applicants from these countries as a sanction for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2021.
However, this may only apply to Russian and Belarussian citizens applying through consulates from their home country. If a Russian or Belarussian investor was already legally residing in Spain before the sanction was imposed, and otherwise meets all eligibility criteria, they and their family may still be able to apply for a residence permit through investment from within Spanish territory, without involving consulates in Russia or Belarus.
When you are granted a Golden Visa from the Spanish embassy in your country, you have 1 year to travel to Spain and register for a residency permit from the local authority in your area of investment. This permit will be valid for 2 years, then you must renew it every 2 years. If you live continuously in Spain for 6 months a year, for 5 consecutive years, you’ll be eligible to apply for permanent residency.
There are no stay requirements for the Golden Visa, so you do not need to live in Spain, but you do need to travel to the country when your permit renewal is due. If you want to become a permanent resident after 5 years or apply for Spanish citizenship after 10 years, you’ll need to live in the country for at least half the time.
It goes without saying that for the duration of your residence permits and renewals, you must maintain your Golden Visa investment. If you sell or liquidate your investments, you will no longer meet the eligibility requirements, and will therefore lose your Spanish residency. Once you achieve permanent residency or citizenship in Spain, you are free to disband your investments, as you will no longer need to renew your Golden Visa permits.
Unfortunately, you cannot apply for a Golden Visa if the initial investment is not made with your own money. In the case of real estate investment, though the property must be worth at least 500,000€, you must also be able to pay the additional taxes and legal fees that come with property purchases in Spain (totalling around 13% of the property value). However, if you’re purchasing a property worth more than 500,000€ then you can get a loan to finance expenses above this.
If you’re thinking of making a joint investment to get a Golden Visa, all individuals must still meet the minimum investment amount. For example, if you and a friend, family member, or business partner decide to joint-invest in Spanish property, you would still have to put in at least 500,000€ each in order for both parties to meet the Spanish Golden Visa requirements.
It’s possible to make the investment through a company if you have a controlling stake with majority voting rights, but the company must not be based in a tax haven. You must be able to demonstrate your direct control of the company to invest this way. However you choose to make the initial investment, you must maintain it to keep the Golden Visa. This means that if you sell the property you invested in when applying, you will have to re-invest in another 500,000€ of Spanish real estate.
Since applying for a Spanish Golden Visa requires you to complete a significant property purchase in Spain, you will of course need to pay the taxes that come along with the sale. If it’s a first transfer, you’re likely to have to pay 10% VAT – which would be 50,000€ for a 500,000€ property. If it’s a subsequent transfer, you’ll have to pay a percentage as Transfer Tax, which varies.
Once you have your Golden Visa, and your real estate purchase is complete, there will also be ongoing taxes to consider as a Spanish property owner. This includes filing annual property tax and income tax returns. Property taxes are dependent on the percentage set by the local municipality, but any income you earn relating to your property (e.g. rent) will be taxed at 24.75%.
As for tax on other income, this depends on whether you live and work in Spain or not. The Golden Visa doesn’t require you to stay in Spain, but if you do, you’ll either pay limited non-resident tax or full resident tax. If your main home and primary economic interests are in Spain, and you spend more than 183 days a year in the country, you will be taxed as a Spanish resident.
If you won’t be living in Spain full-time, you won’t be classed as a Spanish tax resident if you spend less than 183 days of the year there. While Spanish residents must pay tax on global income, non-residents will only have to pay tax on income earned within Spain. If your family lives in Spain full-time, and any family member earns money through employment or investment returns, they will have to pay as Spanish tax residents.
On the plus side, if you’re a full tax resident, you may be eligible for tax deductions, with a basic personal income allowance based on age and additional allowances if you have dependant children (up to 4). Whether you live in Spain full-time or not, you’ll be responsible for registering and filing your tax information with the Spanish tax authority.
You can find out more about non-resident tax in Spain on our website, or contact Manzanares Lawyers for further tax advice for Spanish Golden Visa investors (Andalucía only).
Many people believe that they have to apply for a Golden Visa as soon as possible after meeting the investment requirements, as if the eligibility of their purchase has a time limit. However, the current laws don’t set a deadline on how soon you must submit the application after making an investment.
This means that you can use a Spanish real estate purchase or other qualifying investment dating back as far as 2014. The Spanish Golden Visa laws only came into force at the end of 2013, so any investments that may have otherwise qualified won’t be eligible if they happened earlier than this.
Though there are no time limits between investing in Spain and submitting your application, you’ll still have to meet all the other minimum requirements and provide proof of the investment. Since the law allows you to split the 500,000€ property investment across multiple properties, here is an example: you could have bought a Spanish house in 2021 for 300,000€, then waited a year and bought a Spanish apartment for €200,000 – then you’ll be ready to complete your visa application.
Following recommendations by the European Commission to scrap Golden Visa schemes to prevent money laundering, many EU countries have made moves to cancel or amend their own schemes. The Spanish government is also wary of this, and has suggested that although the programme may not be cancelled completely, it is likely that the requirements will become stricter.
You should bear in mind that the law in place at the time of your application will apply, not the law in place at the time you made the investment. So, if the requirements change and you do not apply for a Golden Visa until the updated scheme is enforced, you must meet the new (likely higher) minimum investment thresholds to qualify, and cannot use older investments that would have qualified previously for your application.
Yes, citizens from former Spanish colonies can fast-track their Spanish citizenship by applying after only 2 years of residency in Spain, while other Golden Visa holders must wait 10 years. This privilege applies to Spanish Golden Visa applicants from the following countries:
- ⦿ Argentina
- ⦿ Bolivia
- ⦿ Chile
- ⦿ Colombia
- ⦿ Costa Rica
- ⦿ Cuba
- ⦿ Dominican Republic
- ⦿ Ecuador
- ⦿ El Salvador
- ⦿ Guatemala
- ⦿ Honduras
- ⦿ Mexico
- ⦿ Panama
- ⦿ Paraguay
- ⦿ Peru
- ⦿ Philippines
- ⦿ Venezuela
Applicants from these former Spanish colonies must travel to Spain at least 8 times within 730 days to meet the minimum residency requirements. Each trip should be no more than 3 months long, so Golden Visa holders from these former colonies must travel to Spain every 2.5–3 months for 2 years.