Spain Golden Visas

1. Spain’s Golden Visa

It is a great time to move to Spain. Spain has a competitive business environment, excellent infrastructure, and fantastic international schools. The dollar is rising against the Euro and Spain is a major recipient of investment worldwide. Real estate prices are still attractive and Spain offers immeasurable lifestyle benefits.

If you are thinking about moving to Spain and looking for a good investment, you should know about Spain’s “Golden Visa” program for private investors from outside the European Union. Spain launched the Golden Visa program in 2013 to make the Spanish economy more competitive, to further boost foreign direct investment, and to enhance foreign trade and local job creation. Amendments to the law in 2015 added additional incentives and made it faster and easier to secure Spain visas and work permits. Spain’s Golden Visa program is now one of the most attractive programs for investors from outside the EU looking to secure a coveted EU citizenship.

2. Spain Golden Visa Investment Options

To qualify for a Golden Visa you must be ready to invest significant money in Spain. The visa can be obtained by spending at least €500,000 on real property in Spain; by investing at least €1 million in a Spanish company, investment funds or venture capital funds; or by investing at least €2 million in Spanish government bonds.

3. Getting a Golden Visa with Real Estate

Spending at leas €500,000 on a Spain property (or properties) is by far the least expensive and most common — and in many ways the fastest and easiest way — to securing a Golden Visa.

Once you have the Spain visa you can buy and sell properties so long as you maintain at least €500,000 of investment. Investors are no longer required to invest as individuals. Rather, investors may purchase property in Spain either directly or indirectly through a registered company, so long as the investor continues to hold the majority of shares and the company’s address is not located in a tax haven. This means that if you can find investment partners, you can secure a Spain visa by investing well under €500,000.

The Spanish Golden Visa grants residency in Spain when you purchase any type of property (home, commercial, land, investment, or even a combination of properties) for €500,000 or more. The golden visa also does not require you be in Spain for any minimum period of time each year, though the amount of time you spend in Spain may impact your Spain taxes and your chances of obtaining Spanish citizenship.

The below are the typical steps for obtaining a Spain golden visa based on a real estate purchase (or purchases):

1. You come to Spain with a travel visa and search for the real estate you wish to purchase. Lately, more and more people are buying their properties sight unseen via the Internet with trusted realtors and Spain-based attorneys.

2. Once you have signed the pre-agreement (contrato de arras) and deposited the property purchase funds into a Spain bank account, you are ready to apply for the golden visa.

3. Once the Spanish government approves your golden visa application, you may reside in Spain for one year and then at the end of that first year you may renew for two more years, after which time you may renew your residency for an additional five years.

4. You then can keep renewing your residence permit so long as you maintain at least €500,000 invested in Spain real estate.

5. Depending on various somewhat complicated formulas based on actual time in Spain, you can then gain Spanish citizenship ten years after your residency was first granted

A resident permit applicant must not have entered or stayed illegally in Spanish territory or have been refused entry to any of the Schengen countries, be 18 years or older, have no criminal record, be covered by medical insurance in Spain, and have sufficient economic means to cover personal and family living expenses. A spouse and children up to 18 years of age can secure their own visa and residence permit later so long as they too have a clean record and health insurance. In other words, it isn’t that tough.

Once granted, the initial Visa will be for one year and then after the first year, investors can apply for authorization to live in Spain for two more years, renewable for an additional two years if the investment requirements have been maintained or increased. This means the investor can buy and sell properties during this period but the investment threshold of €500,000 needs to be maintained. The renewal application must also evidence that the investor travelled to Spain at least once in the previous 12 months. This visa method will enable an investor to reside in Spain for five years with the possibility of getting permanent residency and, later on, Spanish nationality. That this visa has no minimum stay requirement for renewal means that investors can remain tax residents outside of Spain, while at the same time benefiting from Spanish residency and the freedom of unlimited travel and stays in the EU.

4. Golden Visa Benefits

Though there are several types of visas for travel to Spain, the Golden Visa is particularly attractive as it can give Spanish residency for the investor’s immediate family as well, and this includes not only married partners, but common law partners as well. The program also covers the investor’s economically dependent children, including grown up children, as well as parents. The residency permit will allow you to secure a work permit in Spain and it also qualifies you for free healthcare.

Obtaining a Spanish Golden Visa will not guarantee you a lifetime of sand and siestas, but given Spain’s status as the healthiest country in the world with a life expectancy of 83.5 years!, Spanish tapas, Gaudi’s Barcelona, Drop-dead gorgeous Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean beaches, and Spanish football, you could do a lot worse with your time and investment dollars.

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