Most ‘golden visas’ have been issued in these Spanish cities

by Lorraine Williamson
Golden Visa

MADRID – The golden visa program, which grants residence rights in the Schengen zone to foreigners who invest €500,000 or more in real estate in Spain, has been widely used since its introduction in 2013.  

However, following a call from the European Commission, Spain is now considering stricter requirements for golden visa applications, including potentially doubling the minimum investment amount. 

In 2022, Barcelona, Madrid, and Málaga were the provinces where the highest number of ‘golden visas’ were issued to foreigners who purchased properties valued at €500,000 or more. This information comes from a parliamentary response obtained by Europa Press writes El Economista 

Although the government has not provided a detailed breakdown by province, it revealed that a total of 476 such visas were granted by 2022. The ‘golden visa’ program was introduced through Law 14/2013, which aimed to support entrepreneurs and promote internationalisation, under the former government of Mariano Rajoy. 

However, criticism has been directed at the program by left-wing parties. Más País has taken steps to abolish these visas and has reached an initial agreement with the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security, and Migration to tighten the conditions for residence permits. 

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Tightening or abolishing the conditions 

However, the dissolution of parliament due to early elections has complicated the implementation of legislative changes to abolish these visas, particularly since Minister José Luis Escrivá has stated that the topic is not a “priority.” Nevertheless, the minister is considering tightening or even abolishing the conditions for residence permits for foreigners who purchase properties in Spain worth €500,000. This could involve increasing the minimum investment threshold to €1 million or eliminating residence permits in exchange for investments in homes. 

Chinese and Russian investors 

According to previous government responses, between 2013 and 2022, a total of 4,940 visas were issued, including not only those granted for real estate investments but also for investments in capital and business projects. Chinese citizens accounted for 45% of these visas, with a total of 2,263 visas issued. Russian investors received 19.6% of the visas (969 visas), while citizens of Ukraine obtained 2.7% (136 visas). 

While the ‘golden visa’ program continues to generate debate about its advantages and disadvantages, foreign investors remain interested in purchasing Spanish properties. The future of the program and potential changes to its requirements are subjects of ongoing political and legal discussions. 

Also read: Golden Visa in Spain – Residency through investment 

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