For the last 5 years or so, we’ve helped hundreds of people (individuals, couples, and families) relocate to Spain using the Non-Lucrative or Retirement Visas. Recently, we’ve been getting asked more about a relatively new visa program: The Golden Visa Spain. While this may sound like something out of Willy Wonka, it’s really a fantastic program for those who are interested in obtaining long-term residence in Spain. In some ways, it’s much easier to obtain, and there are fewer restrictions for those who obtain the Golden Visa. So let’s get into it!
Spain Golden Visa Program Description
Spain launched the Golden Visa program in 2013. By investing in one of a number of different options (of varying euro amounts) for a minimum of 5 years, Spanish residency will be granted. As with the Non-Lucrative and Retirement Visas, the Golden Visa allows the holder to travel freely throughout all of the Schengen member countries.
Those member countries are: Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland!
Who is covered under the program?
Not only the investor, but the investor’s immediate family are eligible as well. This includes a spouse and dependent children, (including over the age of 18 years). An adult child will need to provide proof that they are financially dependent on the main applicant. In addition, they must not have started a family unit for themselves nor are they working. Being covered under the main applicant’s visa allows children to join the Spanish education system.
For example, an investment of €500,000 in real estate will allow family residency. The Spanish investor visa can be renewed every two years. After five years it is possible to gain permanent residency and after ten years citizenship. It is not necessary to live in Spain in order to retain and renew the residency visa permit.
What this means for the Golden Visa holder?
This is a fantastic visa program as it allows the holder:
- A residence permit that allows you to live, work, study, and retire in Spain.
- There’s no requirement to live in Spain in order to maintain the residency. This is one of the biggest benefits to this program in my opinion. Compared to the Non-Lucrative and Retirement visas, which place limitations on how long you can be out of Spain/Schengen Zone, the Golden Visa does not have that limitation.
- It is not required for you to be a tax resident in Spain. Another huge benefit!
- The resident card can be applied for in up to 30 working days. The process is much faster, and can be done within Spain, which is not possible with the Non-Lucrative/Retirement visas.
- Freely explore the Schengen member countries without restrictions.
- Live in Spain for an unlimited period of time providing the applicant properly renews.
- Applicants require up to 10 years of maintaining the investment to apply for Spanish nationality. Former Spanish colonies only require up to only 2 years of residency.
What are the various investment options?
Investments can be made in one or more of the following instruments:
- €2 million on Spanish treasury bonds
Spanish government bonds are obligations of the Spanish government, and they are issued by the Spanish Public Treasury very similar to other treasury bond issues in other countries. There are short-term and long-term bonds with varying maturities from 3 months all the way to 30-years.
- €1 million in stocks or deposits in Spain
Investments can take place in one of Spain’s 4 stock exchanges. The largest and most international is the Bolsa de Madrid (Madrid Stock Exchange). The other stock exchanges are located in Barcelona, Valencia, and Bilbao.
- €500,000 on one or more properties
This is probably the easiest of the four options. Proof of the investment(s) must be provided with a Property Registry filing certificate. Property can consist of rural/developed land, buildings, garage & parking spaces/structures, houses, or apartments.The investment must be of at least €500,000 (excluding taxes) with funds owned directly by the investor/applicant. Due to legislation concerning money laundering, the investment funds must come from transparent sources.Click here to view some property options below.
- In business projects that generates jobs.
This type of “investment” is more complicated than the others, so I won’t go into detail about this, but it is an option if you are interested in starting a business that’s going to be hiring Spaniards.
Note: For those looking to invest in either stocks or bonds, use care and do your due diligence when investing in these instruments. The rules more than likely will differ from those of your home country, so do your research.
For all of the above instruments, it will be necessary to provide proof of legitimate source of the funds for the property investment. This is typically in the form of showing bank/transaction statements going back 12 months.
Going forward, I’ll be referring to the purchase of real-estate as it’s the easiest and most common investment instrument. The program is fairly straightforward. The following rules are:
- The minimum property investment must be at least €500,000 (before taxes). These investments may be spread over one or more properties.
- Investments can be made through a foreign company. It will be necessary to prove that you own or are the majority shareholder of this company.
- Real estate investments must be documented before applying for a Golden Visa.
- Real estate assets can be sold after five years when you have achieved permanent residency or when you become a Spanish Citizen (after 10 years).
The program is setup to be very simple and again, a huge benefit is that you can do all of the work in Spain unlike the Non-Lucrative/Retirement visas. I’ll cover some both the general application requirements and then go into the document requirements. Most of this is common-sense stuff.
General application requirements
Applicants must meet certain guidelines such as:
- Provide proof of the property investment, by providing the original deeds with the registry of property attesting ownership.
- At any point, investors must not have been refused entry in any of the Schengen member countries.
- It is mandatory to have public or private health insurance, which must be authorized to operate in Spain.
- Investors must provide evidence of sufficient economic means for personal & family living expenses. In terms of amounts, the base amount would be $30,000 per year for the primary applicant, and $6,500 per year for spouses/dependants. This is typically done with a combination of bank, foreign investment accounts, 401k, etc. It is safe to assume that they will require 12 months of bank statements.
- Have a Spanish bank account. These are very simple to obtain. Our recommendation is to choose a bank with a large presence in Spain so that access to the ATM network is easy. In addition, look for one that provides foreign language services if you’re not fluent in Spanish. We selected Banco Sabadell, and have been very pleased with the services they provide.
The documentation is simple. Expect the following documents when applying:
- A passport of yourself and each of your family members.
- The title deeds of the purchased property/properties.
- Provide proof of legitimate source of the funds for the property investment.
- Provide proof of no criminal record in your home country, for yourself and your family. For U.S. citizens, this means getting an FBI Criminal Background Check. Information can be found here.
The good news is that the application process is very fast! Providing all of your documentation is in order it usually takes 10 working days for the Golden Visa Spain and 20 working days for residence permit.
Other visa options to live in Spain
Buying a property in Spain?
If you are looking for villas for sale in Spain or for luxury real estate, we have some options below. These would meet the requirements of the Golden Visa and you can be living your dream life or retirement in Spain soon! Here are some houses for sale Costa Tropical and Costa del Sol Spain!
Luxury Villas Costa Tropical
La Herradura – SANNTONIO
This is a new development with 10 luxury villas to choose from. You can select your options for the build and have from 2 to 4 bedrooms, including 2 terraces, parking, private Jacuzzi and a communal pool. These homes are set in the natural area of La Herradura with astonishing views of the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Located on the Costa Tropical with easy access to both Granada and Málaga. You will have all of the amenities available to you including; the beach, golf, culture, shops, water sports, restaurants and more.
If you aren’t quite ready to retire in Spain or live in Spain full-time, SANNTONIO will manage your property for holiday rentals. This way you can generate an income while waiting to retire or move to Spain.
Read more here.
Luxury Properties Costa del Sol
Estepona – SANTA ANA I
There are two properties available at Santa Ana I, an apartment and a penthouse. Santa Ana I is located frontline in the heart of Estepona, with impressive views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar. This is a typical village in the Costa del Sol, with plenty of charm, traditions, restaurants, activities, and community of people.
The 3 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath apartment includes ample terrace space with a sliding glass wall, to have the indoor-outdoor living style. There is also heating, air conditioning, underfloor heating, video intercom, alarm system, fully equipped kitchen, WiFi, sound system, home automation system, and luxury finishes.
Read more here.
The penthouse has 3 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths and is located on the 6th floor. It includes a fully equipped kitchen with all Gaggenau appliances, air conditioning, underfloor heating, video intercom, alarm system, WiFi, sound system, home automation system, and luxury finishes. There is also a solarium and large terrace spaces, including a private Jacuzzi with amazing sea views.
Read more here.
Estepona – IBERIA
This penthouse apartment is frontline on the beach, with spectacular sea views. It is a gorgeous 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom ático (penthouse) situated in the city center of Estepona. If you like luxury you will find all the amenities at your fingertips, including a parking space. This penthouse includes air conditioning and heating, a video intercom, alarm system, fully equipped kitchen, and luxury finishes.
Read more here.
Estepona – MIRASOL
This apartment is beachfront with breathtaking sea views and a rooftop communal swimming pool. It is a gorgeous 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment situated in the center of Estepona. It has been decorated by the top design studio in Marbella, to ensure you have all of the luxuries you desire. This apartment includes parking, heating and air conditioning, a video intercom, security alarm system, fully equipped kitchen, and luxury finishes.
Read more here.
What are you waiting for? Let us help you with your dream home or move to Spain!
Contact us today for consulting, if you would like to know more about the Spain Golden Visa or assistance with your life in Spain. We have helped hundreds of people move to Spain and can provide you with information and resources to save you time and money. Tell us about your plans and we can design a custom consulting package just for you. This is not meant as a standard quetion and answer contact form.