The main objective of the Golden Visa law is to attract entrepreneurs to the country, and boost investments in Spanish real estate, public debt, and job creation. The most common eligibility requirement is to make an investment of at least €500,000 in real estate. Any type of real estate can qualify, including residential, commercial, vacant land or parking spaces. The €500,000 minimum does not have to be made in a single investment. A series of smaller investments can be made to reach the sum required to qualify for a Golden Visa. So far it has proven most popular with Russian and Chinese investors, as well as residents of Egypt, Qatar, Iran, Lebanon and Ecuador.
Over the past number of years the Spanish authorities have become increasingly aware of the huge amounts of overseas investments pouring into their country, and they have now decided that it is vitally important that they keep a firmer control on this, and receive the appropriate taxes that for so many years have been slipping through their fingers. As such the days of tax avoidance via creative accounting (in fairness it didn’t even need to be particularly creative!) are now long gone and anyone choosing to come and settle in Spain will be expected to pay their way. The taxes are not even that penal, it’s just that so many people for so long have been “getting away with it” that to many it has all come as a bit of a shock.
However, now that the authorities have become better organised, it naturally followed that they would like to welcome overseas investment and not just from it’s European neighbours. As such on the 27th September 2013 the Spanish Government introduced the Spanish Golden Visa.
Am I eligible?
If the answer to any of the following questions is yes then you are eligible to apply for a Golden Visa:
- Are you 18 years old or older?
- Do you possess public or private health insurance valid in Spain?
- Can you demonstrate you have economic resources to support yourself, the applicant, as well as any dependents?
- Can you prove you are able to pay the visa processing fee and applicable taxes?
The answer must also be no to the following:
- Have you ever entered or stayed illegally in Spain, or been refused entry into any Schengen countries?
- Do you have a criminal record?
- Are you listed as undesirable in Spain?
Should you decide to follow this route then once the necessary criteria have been met your family will also be eligible to apply for a Golden Visa under your investment. (This covers your spouse, any children under 18 years of age and any older disabled children).
There is no restriction on the number of times your Golden Visa may be extended, providing you retain your investment within Spanish territories. However, after 5 years under the Golden Visa status, you can apply to become a long-term resident, which means you do not have to maintain the investment to keep your resident status. You can also apply for a change of residency to another EU country.
One thing must be borne in mind, and that is that any taxes incurred whilst purchasing a property do not count towards the required investment of 500,000 euros. That is the minimum, unencumbered investment required. Holders of a Spanish Residence Permit will not require a visa to enter the Europe Schengen area. They can transit and enjoy free movement within the Schengen area for a maximum period of three months (90 days) per half-year from the date of first entry. However, please be advised that not all countries within the European Union are party to the Schengen Agreement i.e. the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland maintain opt-outs.