The Golden Visa Spain was introduced in 2013 in a bid to help stimulate the Spanish economy. It is a residence visa issued to non-EU nationals making a significant investment in Spain and is now available to British nationals.
Post-Brexit, British nationals looking to purchase a property in Spain may be interested in knowing that an investment of €500,000 or more could also get them a Golden Visa. The Golden Visa was initially intended to attract wealthy Russian, Chinese and Arab nationals, but Brexit has given the British a way to benefit from the scheme. Furthermore, since the dollar lost value against the Euro, Spanish property has become cheaper for US investors.
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Criteria for a Golden Visa
To qualify for a Golden Visa in accordance with Law 14/2013 of September 27, the main investments that can lead to obtaining the Golden Visa are:
- An investment in real estate in Spain with a value equal to or greater than 500,000 euros per applicant.
- An investment in shares or social capital of Spanish companies, or bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions, with a value equal to or greater than 1 million euros.
- An investment in Spanish public debt with a value equal to or greater than 2 million euros.
- The execution of a business project in Spain that is considered of general interest, for example, by creating employment, making an investment with socioeconomic impact, or contributing to scientific and/or technological innovation.
In addition to the investment, the applicant must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial means for themselves and for their family members during their residence in Spain, and must have public or private health insurance with a company that operates in Spain.
Golden Visa through the real estate option
To qualify for a Golden Visa through the real estate option, investors must pay a minimum of €500,000 for the property. The property can be residential or commercial, or a combination of both. However, the €500,000 must be a cash payment – you cannot use a loan to reach the minimum amount. For example: the property is valued at €750,000. You could purchase it with a cash payment of €500,000 and a loan for €250,000 to qualify for the Golden Visa Spain.
There are also some personal criteria. You must:
- Be over 18 years of age
- Not have a criminal record
- Not have been refused visas or entry into the Schengen zone
- Have health insurance which covers you in Spain
- Not be on Spain’s list of undesirable people
Also known as a property visa
Though there are several investment options for the Golden Visa, the real estate option remains the most popular. This is why it is often known as a ‘property visa’.
Whilst the Golden Visa gives you residency in Spain, and the benefits that entails, the property does not have to be your primary or permanent residence. This means, if you are looking for a second home to spend some of the year in, or simply looking for a property to rent out and earn an income, you can still get the visa. Furthermore, attaining a Golden Visa does not make you a tax resident in Spain.
The process is relatively simple, but it is advisable to get professional advice from a lawyer in Spain. To obtain the visa, you need to prove you paid the qualifying amount. Also, you must provide a Land Registry certificate within three months of purchase.
You can even start the process before completion, through submitting a preliminary contract and letter from a Spanish financial institution proving you have the required funds.
Golden Visa benefits
Possibly the best benefit of the Golden Visa Spain is the freedom to travel visa-free around the Schengen area.
Brexit put paid to the faster channel at passport control, with British nationals now required to show appropriate paperwork. With a Golden Visa, UK nationals can travel the Schengen area on the same basis as EU nationals.
Further benefits include living and working in Spain legally without need for further visas and permits. The visa does not require permanent residency in Spain; you simply return to Spain to renew the visa. You and family members have access to public services. It is also a route to Spanish citizenship – though there are further criteria for that.
Length of visa
The Golden Visa is initially valid for a year. You must enter Spain during that year and exchange it for a residence permit. That done, the residency is valid for a period of one to two years. As long as you maintain your investment in Spain and travel to Spain to renew your residency, it can be renewed repeatedly.
For non-EU nationals, such as the British or Americans, the Golden Visa is an attractive proposition. To see whether you qualify for the visa, InSpain.news recommends you speak to a lawyer with property specialisation and enjoy the benefits.
Fiscal and legal obligations
It is important to note that, although the “Golden Visa” offers multiple advantages, there are also fiscal and legal obligations that investors must fulfill. Therefore, it is advisable for those interested in obtaining this Residence Permit to have the appropriate advice to fully understand the implications and benefits of their investment.
Possible end of scheme?
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the Spanish government is reconsidering the Golden Visa program. According to left-leaning politicians from the Más País party, the golden visas have led to a sharp increase in housing prices and the displacement of the local population without creating new jobs. Moreover, the risks of money laundering and of granting access to Spain to criminals are extremely high, they argument.
Contrary to their stated goal of bringing more financial wealth into the country, the golden visas would actually not be beneficial for the national economy. Therefore, the government would consider stricter requirements for Golden Visa applications. The amount that needs to be spent might possibly be doubled. According to insiders, the government has not yet reached an agreement. Moreover, it is now a matter of waiting for a new government to be formed, before negotiations on the golden visa scheme can resume.
In 2022, the European Commission called on EU countries to end programs allowing investors to gain citizenship. They should also tighten control on the issuance of residence permits due to security and money laundering risks. Portugal has already announced it will end a similar plan. Ireland, Greece, and Malta have also adjusted or scrapped their golden visa programs.
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