Golden Visa in Spain
If you are evaluating the possibility of investing in Spain, but you are not sure if you want to move to our country, or if you want to live and work in Spain, the Spanish Golden Visa may interest you. In this guide updated to 2023 and written by lawyers specialized in Spanish immigration law, we explain all the necessary steps to be able to apply for and obtain your Golden Visa successfully, as well as information about the benefits you will have when obtaining it.
What is the Spanish Golden Visa?
The Spanish Golden Visa, also known as investor visa, or Spanish residency by investment, is a residence authorization for investors that allows foreign citizens, not belonging to the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, to reside and work in Spain, after making a significant investment.
What is considered a “significant investment in Spain”?
According to the relevant Spanish Law a “significant investment in Spain” usually refers to either an investment that exceeds a minimum economic threshold, or a business investment of general interest.
The most common case of significant investment in Spain is investment in real estate, for an amount equal to or greater than five hundred thousand euros (EUR 500,000), taxes excluded. The investment can be in a single property or in several properties, provided that, as a whole, the aforementioned total sum of five hundred thousand euros is reached. If you choose this option, one of our expert immigration lawyers will advise you in relation to the documents you need to obtain, as well as to draft, review and negotiate your contracts. Likewise, for your peace of mind, we will also accompany you to the execution of the Public Deed of Purchase and Sale before the Spanish Notary Public of your choice.
Other alternatives to real estate investment to obtain the Golden Visa in Spain are the following:
- Initial investment equal to or greater than two million euros (EUR 2,000,000) in Spanish public debt securities.
- Initial investment equal to or greater than one million euros (EUR 1,000,000) in stocks or shares in Spanish companies undertaking actual business activities.
- Initial investment equal to or greater than one million euros (EUR 1,000,000) in investment funds or venture capital funds established in Spain,
- Initial investment equal to or greater than one million euros (EUR 1,000,000) in bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions.
- Investment in a business project in Spain that is considered to be of general interest. In this regard “general interest” shall mean the creation of a substantial number of jobs, the significant socio-economic impact on the geographical area in which the project is to be carried out, or its significant contribution to scientific or technological innovation.
What are the main requirements to be eligible for residency for investors?
The main requirements that the applicant for the Spanish Golden Visa must meet are the following:
- Being of legal age: Being over 18 years old.
- Make a significant investment in Spain: For these purposes, for the initial application the reality of the investment must be demonstrated, while for future renewals the maintenance of the investment must be accredited.
- Have sufficient financial means: 400% of the IPREM for a single applicant (approximately EUR 33,600). If you want to bring other members of your family to Spain, 100% of the IPREM for each member of your family (approximately EUR 8,400 for each family member).
- Obtain a health insurance without copayment, with an insurance entity authorized to operate in Spain.
- No criminal record.
How should I prove the significant investment in Spain?
The accreditation of the investment must be carried out as follows:
- Investment in real estate: The public deed of purchase and sale, and a certificate of ownership and encumbrances must be provided.
- Investment in unlisted shares or social participations of a Spanish company: The copy of the declaration of investment made in the Registry of Foreign Investments of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness must be presented.
- Investment in listed shares: A certificate from the financial intermediary must be provided, duly registered with the National Securities Market Commission (“CNMV”) or with the Bank of Spain, stating that the investor has made the investment for the purposes of the provisions of Law 14/2013, of September 27, on support to entrepreneurs and their internationalization.
- Investment in Spanish public debt: You must provide a certificate issued by the Bank of Spain, or a certificate issued by the financial institution with which we have managed the investment. Said certificate must clearly state that the investor is the sole owner of said investment in Spanish public debt for a period equal to or greater than five (5) years.
- Investment in investment funds, closed-end investment funds or venture capital funds incorporated in Spain: A certificate from the fund management company must be attached, incorporated in Spain, duly registered with the National Securities Market Commission (“Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores” or CNMV”), stating that the investor has made an investment of at least one million euros (EUR 1,000,000) in a fund or funds under its management.
- Investment in bank deposits: The certificate issued by the financial institution must be provided, indicating that the investor is the sole owner of the bank deposit.
- Investment in a business project in Spain that is considered to be of general interest: A favorable report must be submitted to verify that reasons of general interest concur in the business project presented. The report will come from the Economic and Commercial Office of the area of geographical demarcation where the investor submits his application for a golden visa. On the other hand, if what is requested is the residence authorization for investors, a favorable report from the General Directorate of International Trade and Investment issued by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness must be attached to verify that the reasons of general interest initially accredited are currently maintain.
What are the benefits of an investors’ residence permit?
- You will have the right to reside, work, and/or study in Spain. The initial authorization will be for three (3) years. You can either work on your own (creating your company) or work for someone else (rendering services for a company).
- Possibility that your family members obtain their residence and work permit together with yours. This applies to your wife or unmarried partner, minor children, adult children who are financially dependent on the investor, and first-degree ascendants, who are also dependent on the investor.
- Free movement through all the twenty-six (26) countries of the Schengen territory.
- The time of residence in Spain computes to obtain Spanish citizenship. If the investor proves to be a national of an Ibero-American country, (country whose official language is Spanish or Portuguese), of Andorra, the Philippines, Portugal, or Equatorial Guinea, he may apply for Spanish citizenship upon completing two (2) years of continued legal residence in Spain.
- It is not necessary to reside in Spain or have tax residence in Spain to be able to maintain or renew your Golden Visa. The investor can reside in another country and maintain his non-resident status in Spain.
- Agile application processing: The application must be answered within twenty (20) business days. Delayed response equals to concession of the investor’s residence authorization.
- You can be absent from Spain for extended periods of time: To renew your residence authorization for investors, it is only necessary to travel to Spain once during the period of residence.
- Application can be filed before the competent Spanish General Consulate or in Spain.
What relatives of the investor can apply for the Golden Visa?
- The investor’s spouse or unmarried partner.
- Children and adult children (over 18 years old) who are financially dependent on the investor, and who have not created a family unit of their own.
- Relatives in the ascending line (investors’ parents) under the investor’s financial care.
What is the residence visa application process?
The residence visa application for investors is processed before the Consulate General of Spain in the country of residence of the foreigner. The foreigner must go in person to formalize their application.
The resolution period is ten (10) business days.
What is the application process for a residence permit for investors in Spain?
The application for a residence permit for investors in Spain is made electronically and is submitted to the Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit. In order to submit the application, it is a mandatory requirement to have made a significant investment in Spain and to be able to prove it with documentation.
The term for resolution of the residence permit for investors is twenty (20) business days. If it is not resolved within that period, the request is considered estimated.
Once the application is considered, the foreigner must apply for the Foreigner Identity Card (“T.I.E.” by its Spanish acronym) at a Police Station.
What is the duration of the initial nonprofit residency and renewals?
The residence authorization for initial investors will have a duration of three (3) years.
The renewal of the residence authorization for investors will be carried out for five (5) years.
How is the initial residence permit renewed and within what period?
To carry out the renewal, it is necessary to have traveled to Spain once within the period of residence granted to the investor, and to prove that the significant investment is maintained in Spain.
The term to renew the authorization is between sixty (60) days prior to the expiration of the Foreigner Identity Card (“T.I.E.” by its Spanish acronym), and ninety (90) days after the expiration date of said T.I.E.
In order to renew, the investor must prove that they are up to date with their tax and social security obligations in Spain.
Compliance with tax obligations implies the presentation of declarations in Spain by the investor, before the State Tax Administration Agency, either as a resident in Spain (if he resides more than 183 days in Spanish territory), or as a non-resident (if he resides less than 183 days in Spain).
Do you have any questions?
Get in contact with our experienced immigration lawyers
Frequently asked questions about residence for investors in Spain:
What are the main differences between the Spanish Golden Visa and the Non-Lucrative Visa?
The main difference is that the Golden Visa is a residence and work authorization, while the Non-Lucrative Visa, as its name indicates, is a residence authorization that does not allow you to carry out work or lucrative activity in Spain.
The second significant difference is the duration of the initial authorization, which in the case of the non-lucrative residence authorization is one (1) year, while the residence authorization for investors is granted for three (3) years.
And the third difference is given by the terms of effective residence in Spain to be able to carry out the renewal of the initial authorization. In the case of a non-lucrative residence permit, for the first renewal, the applicant cannot leave Spain for more than 6 months. However, in the case of investors, it just requires a one (1) day stay during a three (3) year period.
What is the minimum residence period to be able to request the renewal of the residence permit for investors?
In order to renew the initial residence authorization, the applicant must prove that they have traveled to Spain at least once during the residence period. In other words, the requirement would be understood to be fulfilled with a visit to Spain within the first three (3) years of granting the authorization.
What requirement must British citizens meet to be eligible for the Golden Visa for real estate investment after Brexit?
British citizens who want to apply for a residence authorization for investors must prove that they have made a real estate investment in Spain, for an amount greater than five hundred thousand euros (EUR 500,000), after September 29, 2013, the date of entry into force of the Law that regulates the granting of the Spanish Golden Visa. The rest of the requirements are the same as those expressed above in this guide.
Is the significant investment in real estate for an amount equal to or greater than 500,000 euros mandatory that it be paid in full, or can I request a mortgage?
The first five hundred thousand euros must be paid by the investor. However, the investor may obtain a mortgage to pay the excess between five hundred thousand euros (EUR 500,000) and the total purchase price of the property.
Is it mandatory to acquire a single property of more than 500,000 euros, or can I buy several properties whose total amount exceeds that amount?
The minimum threshold for it to be considered that a significant investment has been made in Spain is five hundred thousand euros (EUR 500,000), but to reach this amount, an investment can be made in one or more properties.
The decision on whether to acquire one or more properties usually depends on the objective of the investor. In the almost ten years that the Spanish Golden Visa program has been in force, experience tells us that investors who wish to live in Spain usually acquire at least one property of more than five hundred thousand euros (EUR 500,000), while investors who choose to maintain their residence abroad tend to acquire several properties in order to obtain a higher return on their investment.
Depending on your needs, our investment consulting team can advise you on different real estate investment opportunities, and, once you have identified the property or properties you wish to acquire, our legal team will advise you throughout the purchase and sale process.
Can García de Ceca provide me with tax advice in connection with my investments?
Indeed, our expert tax lawyers will advise you on your tax related matters, and they will clarify any questions that may arise, whether you are going to reside in Spain, or if you wish to maintain your status as a non-resident in Spain and pay Spanish Non-Resident Income Tax.
If my spouse and I buy a property together for an amount equal to or greater than 500,000 euros, can we both be considered as investors?
If a married couple acquires a property for more than five hundred thousand euros (EUR 500,000), only one of the spouses can be considered as an investor. The other spouse may obtain his residence authorization in Spain as a family member of the investor.
If my application for a golden visa or residence authorization for investors is denied, what can I do?
It is not common for an application for a Golden Visa or residence authorization for investors to be denied. However, we have come across cases in which clients have made their request with poor advice or have provided incorrect or even false documentation. Depending on each case, we can offer our clients different alternatives to appeal their denial decision. If this is your case, request an appointment with one of our expert immigration lawyers and we will inform you about the best way to resolve your denial.
Can I make my investment through a Spanish company or through a foreign company?
Indeed, the investor can decide between carrying out the acquisition in his name, or through a company, which must be domiciled in a territory that is not considered a tax haven under Spanish regulations, and in which the investor owns, directly or indirectly, the majority of its voting rights and has the power to appoint or dismiss the majority of the members of its administrative body.
Is it mandatory to apply for the Golden Visa for my relatives together with mine or can I do it later?
It is not mandatory that the application for the Golden Visa or the residence authorization for investors be carried out jointly. Depending on the personal and family circumstances of the investor, sometimes the initial application is made only by the investor, and, later, an application is filed for the rest of their family members. On other occasions, both the investor and his family members request it at the same time.