The Spanish Golden Visa – History and Q&A

The Spanish Golden Visa has become the gateway to Europe for thousands of applicants pursuing the European dream. They have collectively invested over 2 billion euros since its inception in 2013. Although Spain’s visa programme was initially a flop, as it fell well below expectations, and was marred with teething issues, an ambitious overhaul in 2015 made it extremely competitive compared with similar schemes offered by fellow EU countries. So much so, that this massive tweak enabled Spain to confidently overtake Portugal, becoming Europe’s leading Golden Visa supplier.

Although this procedure was originally devised to cater to affluent Russian, Chinese, and Iranian nationals, in a post-Brexit world, UK nationals now have a golden opportunity (excuse the pun) to benefit from the wide array of advantages offered by Spain’s Golden Visa scheme.

With the European Union’s Parliament official confirmation from last week that it will ratify belatedly the Withdrawal Agreement in February 2021, Brexit is now truly done and dusted. This opens the doors for Britons to apply for a GV application. Although Brexit has been a protracted procedure, as a positive note, it has allowed the prospect of Golden Visas for British nationals.

UK nationals may now enjoy – for the first time ever – the slew of advantages that were until now reserved only to a select minority of wealthy non-EUs. The main advantage is that it allows British nationals – that lack a EU passport – to enter and move visa-free through the Schengen Area, skipping pesky passport controls on an equal footing to EU nationals. Much like before the UK voted to break away from the Union.

If you fancy an in-depth take into this subject, you can take a peek at our 2013 article: Investor Guide to Spain’s Golden Visa Law.

Spain’s Golden Visa programme allows affluent non-EU applicants, and their dependants, unfettered access across Europe´s Schengen Area. Travel unmolested through all of Europe.

A Golden Visa enables you, and your family, to live and work in Spain (Europe). This visa guarantees Spanish residency, which eventually leads to Spanish citizenship (optional). Live the dream, apply now!

Thousands of non-EU nationals have already secured their families’ future and well-being on benefiting from this special arrangement that rolls out the red carpet cutting through all the red tape. Spain’s Golden Visa is a success story, be a part of it!

 

Golden Visa Advantages

 

  • Fast-tracked. This law is specifically devised to attract affluent non-EU investors and helps to cut through the admin red tape greatly streamlining the visa procedure.
  • Travel Europe visa-free. You can travel without a visa for 90 days out of every 180 days within the Schengen Area.
  • Clear rules. Two years (Residency Permit), renewable for a further 5 years.
  • No need to become resident in Spain. You only have to visit Spain once to get or renew the Residency Permit. There is no minimum stay requirement, and you don’t have to become a tax resident or actually live in Spain.
  • Family included. You may get additional permits for your spouse and children under 18 years (or disabled and dependant children over 18). Same-sex partners inclusive. Dependant parents of main investor are now also included (extended family).
  • You may work in Spain.
  • Spanish nationality (optional). This is a 2-year Residency Permit, not the right to permanent residency or a Spanish passport. However, it can lead to long-term Spanish residency after 5 years of continuous residence, and citizenship after 10 years.
  • Underaged children may study in Europe. Underaged offspring can live and study in Europe, in company of your partner, whilst you work and earn money abroad.
  • Return on investment. Take advantage of Spain’s burgeoning real estate recovery.

 

General Requirements

 

Applicants pursuing investor visas must comply with the following general requirements:

  • Non-EU national.
  • The investor applicant must be of legal age (18-years-old or over).
  • The investor must not hold a criminal record whether in Spain or in the previous five years where he has resided.
  • Not be already in Spain irregularly.
  • Have access to private medical insurance.
  • Have sufficient financial means to support both himself and his family whilst in Spain.
  • Pay the relevant application fee.

 

Specific Requirements

 

Qualified residency permits to non-EU residents will be offered in return for any of the following:

  1. Invest at least €500,000 in Spanish real estate property.
  2. Invest at least €2,000,000 in Spanish Treasury Bonds.
  3. Invest at least €1,000,000 in shares of Spanish companies.
  4. Deposit at least €1,000,000 in Spanish bank accounts.
  5. A ‘major’ business investment which fulfils at least one of the following three criteria:
  • Meaningful job creation as a direct result of the investment.
  • Significant socioeconomic impact in the geographical location where the activity will be carried out.
  • Technological or scientific impact.

 

Why choose Europe?

 

  • Democracy. Europe, cradle of Democracy, hosts some of the world’s oldest and most solid. A clear and stable legal and tax framework allows freedom, nurtures ingenuity, and upholds (property) rights for business people. This concocts the ideal breeding ground to foster business investments, and develop an entrepreneurial skill set.
  • Education. Europe is home to some of the world’s most respected academic institutions. Secure a bright future for your children allowing them to earn their spurs in life through a meritocratic top-notch education.
  • Culture. Europe is a crucible of cultures, a conflux that laces Western and Eastern influences, offering a rich tapestry of history and arts that shaped the world as we know it. Spain’s vast cultural heritage, spanning millennia, is a legacy of commingled cultures that attracts over 84 million tourists every year leaving an indelible mark upon its visitors.
  • Languages. Seize the opportunity to master and command some of the world’s most influential languages: English (business & finance), French (arts & diplomacy), German (industry & science), Spanish (literature & poetry).
  • Healthcare. Europe, and Spain in particular, are at the forefront in modern medical facilities.
    Modern transport. Spain offers top-tier transport services including state-of-the-art high-speed rails connecting you with Europe’s major capitals.

 

 

Frequently asked questions

 

1. Can I request a mortgage on investing €500,000 in Spanish real estate?

Only on the excess above €500,000. The law requires that the first €500,000 is unencumbered – meaning the equity threshold must be free. The excess can indeed be financed through a mortgage loan if necessary. Notwithstanding the above, you may also finance the 500k using a lender, as long as he is located outside of the Union, although this may prove challenging in practice.

2. I have read that I need to spend over six months in Spain to qualify for residency. Is this true?

No. A GV neatly overrides this requirement. This law specifically targets affluent individuals who will normally be residing and working elsewhere. That doesn’t preclude the investor’s spouse and children from living and studying (or even working) in Spain (Europe). In other words, you are free to come and go as you please without needing to stay in Spain a minimum period of time every year.

3. I don’t fancy paying taxes in Spain, I already pay enough in my home country. Will I become a Spanish tax resident if I apply for a GV?

No, you won’t. A GV application is unrelated to your tax residency. Only if you spend more than 183 days a year in Spanish territory, would you become a Spanish tax resident. Ideal for those who want their families to enjoy a European lifestyle whilst the main investor commutes to work in other countries and has his/her main business outside of Europe.

4. How long does it take to attain a GV application?

Under two months, on average.

5. Can I work in Spain?

Yes. Following a change in the GV law in 2015, the main investor, and dependants, may now work in Spain.

6. Can I make use of the public healthcare system?

No. This blue-ribbon visa targets wealthy non-residents who must hire their own private insurance. We can also assist you with this: Hiring private health insurance.

7. Does a GV also include the investor’s family?

Yes, even extended family. The term ‘family’ must be understood broadly. A married couple and their children under 18 are included under the same application as a family unit. Same-sex partners qualify as a married couple. In some cases, children over 18 y.o. are also included as long as they are financially dependent. Also, dependant parents, even if under 65 y.o.

8. How long does the Golden Visa last for?

Two years, and you may renew it for a further 5 years.

9. Do holders of the so-called Golden Visa have unrestricted access to move within the European Union?

In a nutshell, yes. Holders of a Spanish Golden Visa do not require a visa to enter Europe’s Schengen Area. They can transit and enjoy free movement within the Schengen Area visa-free for a maximum period of three months (90 days) in every rolling six-month period from the date of first entry. You will have unfettered access to move within the Union.

10. Can I invest in Spanish real estate through a company?

Yes, but certain criteria apply to qualify – ask us. The bottom line is that you can indeed buy real estate through companies and still qualify to attain a GV in Spain.

 

[Source: Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, Director of Larraín Nesbitt Abogados – article]

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