Spain offers a wide range of options when it comes to obtaining a Spanish residence permit, the fastest and most premium of which is the Golden Visa, a program which grants you residency by making an investment in Spain.
In this article we are going to address all the questions you may have on the matter.
- What is the Golden Visa program?
- Who qualifies for a Golden Visa?
- Types of Golden Visa in Spain
- Golden Visa by Investment in Financial Assets
- Golden Visa by Investment in Business – Company Shares
- Golden Visa by buying a property in Spain or Investment in Real Estate
- How to Purchase Property or Invest in Real Estate in Spain
- Advantages of obtaining a Golden Visa
- How to obtain a Golden Visa
- Required Documents for your Golden Visa application
- How long is a Spanish Golden Visa valid for?
- Applying for a Golden Residence Permit in Spain – The premium way
The Golden Visa is essentially a residency by investment granted to non-EU citizens that are willing to make an investment in Spain – whether it’s in real estate, public debt or in a Spanish company.
The Golden Visa program was established in September 2013 following the entry of the 14/2013 Act on International Mobility supporting the internationalization of entrepreneurs. The program is also called the investors visa, and is meant to promote international mobility of professionals, executives, entrepreneurs, and to promote foreign investment. The Golden Visa offers a flexibly process to obtain visas and residency for foreign investors and high-qualified workers.
The Golden Visa Program has allowed thousands of foreign talents to live, work and study in Spain. Although the program is not a direct route to citizenship, you may even obtain citizenship after 10 years of living in Spain off of the Golden Visa.
The Golden Visa or investor visa is available to foreigners who are making a large capital investment. In order to be eligible for the Golden Visa program, Spain allows for the following investments to be made:
- Invest in a minimum of 1 or 2,000,000 € in Spanish financial assets
- Purchases company shares or make a deposit in a Spanish bank of at least 1,000,000 € or start a business project in Spain that is considered to be of general interest (i.e. have a significant socio-economic impact, create jobs, etc.)
- Purchase in real estate of a minimum value of 500,000 €
If this has been accomplished, nearly anyone can apply for the Golden Visa Program. There are only a few additional requirements that applicants must meet:
- Unless the investment is made in real estate/property, it must have been made at least a year prior.
- Applicants should be at least 18 years or older and have no criminal record in their current country of residency or citizenship.
- Applicants must also obtain health insurance in Spain before applying to the program.
- Lastly, applicants of the Golden Visa Program must not have been refused a Schengen Visa in the past. If you have previously been refused a Schengen Visa, you will not be eligible for the Golden Visa and should consult a lawyer or your nearest Spanish embassy/consulate.
In short, you can obtain a Golden Visa by making on the of the following investments:
- Investing in the Financial Assets
- Investing in Business – buy Company Shares
- Investing in Real Estate – buy a property in Spain
Let’s see them in detail.
Unlike the purchasing of property, there are less steps when it comes to investment in Financial Assets in Spain. This type of investment is more flexible and liquid, however it is subject to any fluctuations and risks of the volatile financial markets. Those who wish to obtain a Golden Visa by investing in the Spanish Financial Assets must invest a minimum of:
- € 1 million in bank deposits in a Spanish bank. You must be the only owner of the investment. We can assist you in finding the best conditions and the best returns on your deposit, including the maximum guarantees of return in case of the bank running into trouble.
- € 1 million in Spanish investment funds, closed-end investment funds or venture capital funds. We can assist you in drafting all the necessary contracts to ensure the safety of your investment.
- € 2 millions in Spanish public debt. You must be the only owner of the investment, and you must hold it for at least 5 years.
If you decide to go down this route, you must present a corresponding certificate that clearly proves that you are the one who made the investment. This certificate can be obtained from the Bank of Spain or the bank/entity in which the investment was made through.
The second way of obtaining a Golden Visa is by investing in either company shares or create a business of “general interest for Spain”:
- € 1 million in shares/stock in Spanish companies with real business activity.
- € No minimum investment if you invest in a business project
The Immigration Office will assess its impact on the general interest for Spain on a case-by-case basis, it takes into account:
- Job creation.
- Socio-economic impact on the geographical area where it will be developed – i.e. investing € 200,000 won’t have the same consequences for the local community in Madrid or in Mérida.
- Relevant contribution to scientific and/or technological innovation.
In order to obtain the visa through investing in shares, you must present a declaration or certificate that proves that the investment was made and that it was made by the person applying for the visa. Applicants going down this route can obtain a declaration of the investment through the Investment Register of the Ministry of Economy, or a certificate of the financial intermediary, issued by the National Securities Market Commission.
Investing in real estate is one of the most commonly used investments in order to apply for the Golden Visa program. The investment must be a minimum of 500,000 euros, and it must be free of any mortgages or any charges in taxes or other fees. Applicants are allowed to have additional charges (mortgages, taxes, etc.) on top of the initial 500,000 Euro minimum per application. The one year wait period before applying to the Golden Visa program is not applicable to real estate investments.
The real estate investment can be spread out into multiple properties anywhere in Spain, and these properties are allowed to be rented out.
Although there are no specific requirements when it comes to purchasing or investment in real estate in Spain, it is important that you have a Foreign Identity Number (NIE), as well as a bank account in Spain which will help make transactions easier. Further information what the NIE is and how to obtain one can be found on our website.
- The first step to buying property in Spain is to find property you´d like to purchase and making an offer. There are plenty of real estate websites that offer services in a variety of languages to best fit your needs. It is always preferable to visit the property before purchasing so it may require a trip or two to Spain.
- Next, you must sign off on a down-payment contract, also called a Contrato de Arras. Once the contract has been agreed upon and signed, you must pay the down-payment amount, which tends to be roughly around 10% of the total property value.
- Then comes the process of finding a mortgage. It´s important to note that there are different requirements depending on if you´re a non-EU citizen or a Spanish Citizen. The best way of finding a mortgage that fits your needs is by contacting a mortgage broker in Spain, which will save you the stress and time.
- Lastly, you must sign off on a final contract in front of a Notary. This contract is also referred to as an Escritura de Compraventa. You must also register your new property at the Registro de la Propiedad.
- Fast-tracked procedure
- Option to exchange for residence permit
- Easy renewal
- Family inclusion
- Accessible travel to the Schengen nations
The Golden Visa program was meant to serve as an easier way for those who wanted to invest in Spain to obtain Spanish residency. It offers many benefits, but arguably the biggest advantage is that the Golden Visa program offers a fast-tracked procedure. In fact, it is the quickest way of obtaining a Spanish visa or resident permit.
It takes about 10 working days for visas to be processed and delivered, and 20 working days for residence permits to the processed and delivered. Once you have received your Golden Visa from the embassy, it will be valid for one year. Within that year, there is also the option of exchanging the Golden Visa for a residence permit. These resident permits are valid for two years and can be renewed for as long as the investment remains active.
Furthermore, direct family can also be included, and are exempted from the 500,000 Euros per applicant requirement (real estate investment). Direct family members include spouses or unmarried partners, children and adult children who remain financially dependent. Relatives who are in the ascending line and under the care and responsibility of the investor may also be included.
Additionally, there exists the opportunity to travel to any of the 27 Schengen nations just as any other Spanish resident or citizen could.
As previously mentioned, one of the following investments has to be made: in real estate, Spanish public debt, company shares or deposit in a Spanish bank, business project in Spain.
Once you have made a valid capital investment in Spain, you are able to submit a Golden Visa application at your nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate. Applications can be submitted in person by the applicant or an authorized representative. You must book an appointment in order to submit the application and supporting documents. However, if you are currently residing in Spain, applications can be completed online.
If you have any questions on how to book an appointment, you can contact your local Spanish Embassy or Consulate for specific instructions and information. For a more personalised assistance, our experts at Klev&Vera are happy to give you the best legal advice before make any sort of investment for the Golden Visa process.
Once you have confirmed your appointment, be sure to bring the following documents with you:
- Spanish Visa Application form
- Two passport-sized photographs (be sure to follow the picture guidelines for a Spanish Visa)
- Valid passport along with a photocopy (If you are not a citizen in the country where you reside, provide a residence permit instead. The passport or residency will not be returned until after a visa decision has been made
- Proof of sufficient income
- Criminal background heck (must be issued within the three months prior to the application submission)
- Proof of health insurance with an insurance company in Spain
- Proof of payment of the Visa Application fee
- Proof of residence in the consular district
- Original and a copy of the documents accrediting the investment
Once the application has been submitted and the visa has been granted, the visa must be collected in person within a month, along with the original passport or residence permit.
Once a Golden Visa has been granted, it will be valid for one year. However, you have the option of renewing your visa as many times as you please as long as the investment is still in place, without making additional investments.
Fortunately, the process of renewing a Golden Visa is relatively simple. The only requirement is that you must have visited Spain at least once during the period of your visa. After 10 years of remaining in the country under a Golden Visa, you will be given the option to apply for citizenship as well.
You can also choose to apply for a Golden Visa Residence Permit if you plan to eventually settle in Spain.
In order to apply for the Golden Visa program in Spain, you need to be legally present in Spain, and file your residence permit application online in the Unidad de Grandes Empresas y Colectivos Estrátegicos – UGE. The necessary documents are basically the same as indicated above.
The Golden Visa program is great for high-qualified persons, businessmen, and entrepreneurs who wish to invest in Spain and obtain residency quickly.
Applying for this program is relatively fast and easy, however, if you are having any difficulty with the process and need professional advice, at Klev&Vera have years of experience assisting English-speaking foreigners and are able to give premium assistance in residency matters. We pride ourselves in offering you tailored advice and English services in all steps of the process.
Contact us if you are looking for quality and tailored assistance in your Golden Visa process.