After the Brexit referendum many UK nationals are searching for alternatives that will allow them to continue to enjoy unrestricted movement across the European Union and avoid Passport controls when travelling or having to request visas is staying for prolonged periods. Amongst the most popular alternatives is what is known as the Golden Visa (“GV”) also commonly referred to as investor visa. This visa was first introduced in Spain in 2013 and was subsequently modified in 2015 and allows foreign citizens from non-EU countries that meet certain criteria, to enjoy the perks of residency in Spain (including working), even leading to the possibility of obtaining citizenship.
The Golden visa targets affluent foreign citizens and in exchange for their investment offers temporary residency, allowing them to reside, study and work in Spain for an initial period of 1 year.
The administrative process of obtaining the GV normally lasts between 2 and 4 months and consists in presenting, both personally or through a third person, such as Imont Legal Services via power of attorney, the required documentation in the Spanish Consulate of the requester’s home country. Once you have obtained a Golden Visa, you along with your spouse and underage dependants will be able to live, work and study unrestrictedly in Spain as well as travel visa free through Europe. Further to the advantage of GV holders, this visa does not require you to physically live in Spain and therefore you do not have to pay resident taxes unless you reside for an amount of time over the stipulated threshold (183 days).
Similarly, to apply for the Golden Visa it is necessary to comply with some general requirements, among others, not to be irregularly in Spain, to be of legal age and to have a public or private medical insurance.
There are also other more specific requirements for the Golden Visa, the most important being that the applicant accredits the intention or acquisition of the properties. The intention to purchase can be accredited by presenting a preliminary contract with a guarantee for the purchase, by means of a deposit contract or any other means provided for by law and formalised in a notarial public deed.
The acquisition, in turn, can be accredited by means of registry certification of domain and charges issued by the competent Property Registry for the property in question.
In order for foreign nationals to obtain the GV they must meet one of the following criteria:
- Purchase real estate property, with minimum equity contribution of 500,000
- Invest 2,000,000 in Spanish treasury bills alternatively invest 1,000,000 in publicly traded shares of Spanish domiciled companies or deposit a minimum of 1,000,000 of funds into a Spanish bank account
- Invest in a business venture which fulfils either one of the following conditions:
- Creates meaningful employment as a direct result of the investment.
- Significant socio-economic impact in the area where the activity will be carried out.
- Material technological or scientific impact.
Golden Visa FAQ
Who can apply for a Golden Visa
Any non-European foreign citizen which meets the stipulated criteria and invests:
- 500,000 of equity in Spanish real estate,
- 2,000,000 in Spanish Treasury Bonds or 1,000,000 in shares of Spanish companies or 1,000,000 deposit in Spanish bank account and… invests in a business which either creates meaningful employment, significant socio-economic impact or technological or scientific impact.
How can you apply for a Golden Visa?
The interested party can physically or through an intermediary, such as Imont Legal Services, present the required documentation in the Spanish Consulate or Embassy of their home country.
Can I purchase several properties to be eligible for GV?
Yes, you can purchase as many properties as you like as long as the equity contribution of the combines properties is above the 500,000 threshold.
Can I finance the purchase of the properties with mortgage?
Yes, however to be eligible for a GV the mortgage financing of the property must be of the excess of 500,000.
Can I apply for a visa if i have not yet purchased the property?
Yes, but in this case it must be proven that a deposit or similar contract has been signed that guarantees the fulfilment of the purchase of the property and that the necessary amount is available for the purchase, including taxes and charges. In this case, the residence permit will be for 6 months until the purchase of the property is accredited.
How long does the Golden Visa last?
The initial duration of the GV is 1 year which can be extended another two years and another 5-year extension subsequently.
Can I obtain Spanish citizenship through GV?
Yes, GV holders who have resided in Spain for a period of 10 years or more have the option to apply for Spanish citizenship.
Do I have to live in Spain to maintain the GV?
No, unlike other visas from other countries, such as the Green Card in the USA, Golden Visa holders are not obligated to reside in Spain for any minimum amount of time. Therefore, if GV holders do not reside in Spain for the minimum stipulated threshold they don´t have to pay resident taxes in Spain.
Can my family also be eligible for a GV?
Yes, once you have obtained a GV your partner along with all of your underage depends will also be eligible to obtain a GV.
If i buy the property with my spouse and we are in a marital regime or similar, who is considered to have made the investment?
If the investment does not reach €500,000 for each spouse, only one of the spouses will be considered to have made the investment, in order to obtain the visa, however, the other spouse will be able to obtain the residence visa for being a direct family member.
Can the investment be made through a company? The investment can be made through a company provided that:
- The company is not located in a tax haven; and
- The applicant has a majority of the voting rights in the company and sufficient powers to appoint and remove a majority of the company’s directors.ç
Imont Legal Service is a leading law firm with over 15 years of experience helping customers with their legal, conveyancing and tax needs in Spain. We are present in all of the South-East of Spain with four offices in San Javier (Murcia), La Zenia (Alicante), Finestrat (Alicante) and Madrid. If you would like further information of the Golden Visa or any other issue regarding purchasing a property in Spain contact any of our offices and our dedicated experts will be able to help you in English, French, German, Swedish and Spanish.