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Spain Golden Visa Guide for 2024: Pathway to Residency

Mark Damsgaard

Mark Damsgaard

Founder of Global Residence Index

Last updated: May 23, 2024

Spain Golden Visa Guide for 2024: Pathway to Residency

The Spain Golden Visa Program, officially beginning in 2013, has been an attractive pathway for non-EU investors to gain residency in Spain. By making a significant investment, such as purchasing real estate, applicants can secure the right to live and work in Spain. This program has historically offered a range of benefits, including the ability to travel visa-free within the Schengen Area and the potential for permanent residency and citizenship.

Recent changes in 2024 mark a significant development for the Spain Golden Visa scheme. With the Spanish government announcing plans to investigate the program’s feasibility following concerns of its impact on real estate prices and financial transparency, prospective investors should be keenly aware of the current guidelines and legal framework. Understanding the latest eligibility criteria and investment requirements is crucial, as these could affect the program’s accessibility and the investment’s long-term viability.

Key Takeaways

  • Significant investments by non-EU citizens can lead to Spanish residency.
  • The program allows visa-free travel within the Schengen Area.
  • Prospective applicants must keep abreast of recent 2024 regulatory changes.

Overview of Spain Golden Visa

The Spain Golden Visa program is an investment-based immigration pathway that grants non-EU individuals the opportunity to obtain residency in Spain. Designed to attract foreign investment, this visa provides a mutually beneficial arrangement: investors contribute to the Spanish economy, while gaining access to Spain and the broader Schengen Area.

Key Benefits:

  • Residency: Investors, along with their families, can live and work in Spain.
  • Schengen Access: The Golden Visa allows visa-free travel within the Schengen Area.
  • Path to Citizenship: It potentially leads to permanent residency and citizenship.

 

Seeking expert immigration guidance?

Navigating through immigration programs can be complex and overwhelming, regardless of the country or program you’re interested in. If you’re struggling to find clear, accurate information, you’re not alone. Our team is here to offer you clarity and reliable advice across a wide range of immigration programs.

By scheduling a consultation, you’ll receive personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation. We’re dedicated to helping you understand the details of various immigration programs, making them more straightforward so you can proceed with confidence.

During our call, we will:

  • Address any specific questions: We’ll answer your questions about the program and the application process, providing you with the clarity you need.
  • Detail every step: We’ll break down each stage of the immigration process, ensuring you know exactly what to expect.
  • Evaluate program suitability: We’ll help you determine if the chosen program is the right fit for you or suggest alternatives that may better align with your goals.
  • Connect you with local professionals: Gain access to our network of recommended local lawyers in the respective country, as well as trusted providers of eligible investment options.


 

Investment Criteria:

Applicants are required to invest in one or more of the following:

  • Real estate property with a minimum value of €500,000.
  • A capital investment in Spanish companies.
  • Government bonds or a bank deposit in Spain.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Applicants must make a significant investment.
  • Clean criminal record.
  • Comprehensive health insurance in Spain.
  • Sufficient financial resources to support themselves and their dependents.

Documentation:

The application process necessitates a set of documents, including proof of investment, a valid passport, and the fulfillment of relevant legal criteria set by the Spanish authorities.

Application Process:

Prospective applicants apply through the Spanish consulate or within Spain, if legally present. They are advised to engage with legal specialists in Spanish immigration to navigate the application process effectively.

Eligibility Criteria

Spain’s Golden Visa program presents non-EU citizens a unique opportunity to gain residency through investment. It is designed with specific conditions that applicants must meet to be considered eligible.

General Requirements

Applicants must demonstrate sufficient financial means to cover their stay without the need for employment, ensuring their income does not undermine local labor opportunities. Additionally, those applying for the Golden Visa must not have any history of criminal records within their home country or any other country where they have resided for the past five years. Furthermore, applicants need a valid health insurance policy with coverage in Spain.

Age Requirement

To be eligible for the Spain Golden Visa, individuals must be at least 18 years old. This ensures that only legally accountable adults can make the significant investment required for the visa.

Investment Types

The program offers several investment options:

  • Real Estate Investment: A minimum of €500,000 investment in Spanish real estate is required. The property acquired can be either residential or commercial.
  • Capital Investments: The minimum threshold includes a capital investment of at least €1,000,000 in either quoted shares, unquoted shares, or a deposit in a Spanish bank.
  • Business Projects: Alternatively, investments can be directed towards a business project deemed of public interest in Spain, with criteria such as job creation, social and economic impact, and contribution to scientific and/or technological innovation.

Upon making a qualifying investment, applicants will receive a Temporary Residence Permit (TIE) which is the physical document that evidences their legal status and grants them residency in Spain.

Application Process

The application process for the Spain Golden Visa requires meticulous documentation and adherence to specific submission protocols. Applicants should prepare for a clear set of steps and understand that the processing time can vary based on individual circumstances.

Documentation Needed

A key component in applying for the Spain Golden Visa is gathering the correct documentation. Applicants will need:

  • A valid passport
  • Proof of a qualifying investment, such as property purchase for a minimum of €500,000, a bank deposit, or investment in public debt securities
  • A clean criminal record, evidenced by a Criminal Record Certificate from the applicant’s country of residence and any country where they have lived in the past five years
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to support themselves and their dependents
  • Health insurance valid in Spain

Documentation must be officially translated into Spanish and apostilled.

Application Form Submission

Applicants need to fill out the long-term visa application form accurately and attach a passport-sized photograph. This form, along with the aforementioned required documents, should be submitted either through a Spanish consulate or, if the applicant is legally in Spain, through a public registry office.

The documents typically include:

  • Application form EX-01
  • Form 790 code 052
  • Receipt of fee payment

It’s essential to ensure that all documents are current, correctly filled out, and submitted in the prescribed manner to avoid delays or rejection.

Decision Timeframe

The decision on a Spain Golden Visa application should be communicated within 20 working days from the submission date. If applying from within Spain, it may take an additional three months to issue a Residence Permit once the Golden Visa has been granted. However, this is subject to individual cases and can vary depending on the volume of applications received and the accuracy of the submitted documentation.

Applicants can generally expect to receive short-term visa approval, allowing entry into Spain, followed by a Residence Permit, which can lead to permanent residency if the conditions are maintained for five years.

Investment Types and Requirements

The Spain Golden Visa program requires substantial financial investments in different categories to grant residency to non-EU investors. These categories are designed to bolster the Spanish economy while offering investors and their families a chance to reside in Spain.

Real Estate Investments

Investors looking to attain the Golden Visa must consider investing in real estate. The minimum amount to be invested in real estate property is €500,000. This investment can include one or multiple properties and must be free of any liens or encumbrances. The types of eligible properties include:

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Land (with development potential)
  • Industrial

Capital Investments

A capital investment made by an individual is another route to obtaining the Golden Visa. The investment must be of a significant amount, meeting or exceeding the following thresholds:

  • €1 million in shares of Spanish companies
  • €1 million in investment funds, venture capital funds, or investment funds of close-end type that are incorporated within Spain
  • €1 million in a bank deposit with a Spanish financial institution

Government Bonds

Investing in Spanish public debt securities can also lead to Golden Visa eligibility. The requirement for this pathway is an investment in government bonds valued at a minimum of €2 million. These bonds are a stable investment option that contributes directly to the public treasury.

Business Investment

Applicants can invest in a business project that is considered to be of general interest, or in a company that has a real business activity. Key elements of a qualifying business investment include the creation of jobs, having a socio-economic impact on the geographical area of the investment, or contributing to technological or scientific innovation. The minimum investment amount in this category is not explicitly defined, but the project’s viability and impact are assessed rigorously.

Benefits of The Golden Visa

The Golden Visa program in Spain offers an array of advantages to international investors, extending benefits beyond the immediate investment to encompass residency, citizenship, and lifestyle enhancements for their families.

Residency and Citizenship

The Golden Visa Spain provides a rapid route to residency for investors and their immediate family members, including spouses and children. It offers a clear pathway to permanent residency and, after a set period of compliance with the program’s requirements, opens the possibility for obtaining Spanish citizenship through investment.

Family Reunification

Family reunification is a cornerstone of the Golden Visa program. Investors can extend the program benefits to their family, ensuring that spouses, children, and dependent family members can enjoy residency rights. This facilitates access to Spain’s education system and comprehensive healthcare, providing a high quality of life.

Freedom of Movement

A significant benefit of obtaining the Golden Visa is the freedom of movement it grants. Holders can travel visa-free within the Schengen Area, encompassing 26 European countries. This mobility is a key factor for business professionals and travelers seeking uninhibited access to the continent.

Economic Advantages

Investors contribute to the Spanish economy through residency by investment, supporting the financial health of the nation. In return, they may partake in the local economy, including establishing businesses or partaking in employment opportunities. With the Golden Visa, stability and economic interaction with Spain are markedly enhanced.

Financial Considerations

When applying for the Spanish Golden Visa in 2024, applicants must carefully evaluate the financial implications, including direct costs, taxes related to investments, and insurance requirements.

Costs and Taxes

Investment Costs:

  • Minimum Investment: Applicants must invest at least €500,000 in Spanish real estate to qualify for the Golden Visa.
  • Additional Costs: Beyond the purchase price, buyers should account for taxes and fees, such as property transfer tax (6-10% depending on the region) and legal and notary fees (1-2% of the property value).

Taxes:

  • Income Tax: If one becomes a tax resident, they are subject to Spanish income tax on their worldwide income.
  • Wealth Tax: Some regions in Spain impose an annual tax on the value of an individual’s economic interests.

Health and Medical Insurance

Requirements:

  • Applicants must possess private health insurance from a company operating in Spain.
  • The health insurance policy should offer coverage that is equivalent to that provided by the Spanish National Health System.

Considerations:

  • Policy Coverage: Ensure the policy covers all family members without any copayments or gaps in benefits.
  • Duration: The policy must be valid for at least one year with the possibility to renew.

Financial Institution Requirements

Economic Stability:

  • Applicants must demonstrate they have sufficient funds to support themselves without the need to work. This implies having a stable income or savings.

Spanish Financial Institutions:

  • Financial Proof: Documentation from a Spanish bank showing economic means is often required.
  • Investment Origin: Applicants must prove that the funds for the investment come from legal sources.

By providing clarity on these financial aspects, applicants can better prepare for the Golden Visa process, ensuring compliance with Spanish regulations and a smoother path toward residency.

Renewal and Permanent Residency

Renewing the Golden Visa and transitioning to permanent residency are critical steps for investors who wish to maintain their ability to live and work in Spain long-term.

Renewal Requirements

Upon securing a Golden Visa, investors receive an initial residence permit valid for two years. To renew it, they must demonstrate continued ownership of the investment. The requirements for renewal typically include:

  • Proof of maintained investment, such as real estate or financial assets.
  • Evidence of spending a minimum amount of time in Spain, which may not necessarily mean residing full-time.
  • Up-to-date documents demonstrating the applicant’s and their family’s good standing, such as a clean criminal record and health insurance.

Renewals are generally granted for five-year periods, given that the conditions of the initial visa are maintained.

Path to Permanent Residency

Holding a Golden Visa can eventually lead an investor to permanent residency and is a stepping stone to apply for Spanish citizenship. The specifics:

  • Applicants must have legally resided in Spain for a minimum of five years.
  • During this period, the investor must have maintained their investment and followed all renewal requirements.
  • Permanent residency allows individuals to live and work in Spain indefinitely, reaping similar benefits to Spanish citizens without holding a passport.
  • After ten years of legal residence, individuals may apply for Spanish citizenship, provided they meet all relevant criteria, including but not limited to language proficiency and integration into Spanish society.

Living in Spain

Residing in Spain offers a rich blend of education, cultural immersion, and stable housing markets, which are key elements for those looking to integrate smoothly into Spanish life.

Education and Culture

In Spain, the education system is well-structured and offers opportunities for children of expatriates to attend international schools, where instruction is often available in English in addition to Spanish. Higher education is esteemed, with universities in Madrid and other cities being internationally recognized. Spanish culture is a tapestry of historical traditions and modern advancements, ensuring a dynamic environment for all residents.

Real Estate and Housing

The real estate market in Spain has been a point of attraction, with investment opportunities commonly leading to the obtainment of a Golden Visa. Properties range from urban apartments in vibrant cities like Madrid to serene coastal homes. Expats can secure property with relative ease, and the option for a mortgage is available, though investment thresholds for residency must be met outright without financing.

Integration into Spanish Life

To effectively integrate, understanding and speaking the Spanish language is highly beneficial. The government issues a TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero), which is a residence card that includes a Foreigner’s Identity Number (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) required for various administrative processes. Expats often find Spain’s lifestyle stable and conducive to a high quality of life, endorsing the decision to relocate.

Legal and Procedural Assistance

Navigating the legalities of the Spain Golden Visa requires precise knowledge and adherence to the intricacies of the application process. Applicants benefit from professional legal assistance to ensure compliance with the regulations set by the Ministry of Economy and adherence to the financial stipulations mandated by the National Securities Market Commission and the Bank of Spain.

Lawyers and Consultants

Applicants are best served by engaging with a lawyer or consultant who specializes in immigration and investment laws within Spain. These professionals guide them through the required legal steps, including:

  • Ensuring accurate completion of all application forms
  • Proper submission of necessary documentation to the pertinent authorities
  • Overseeing investment compliance as stipulated by the Ministry of Economy

A consultant’s deep familiarity with the National Securities Market Commission and the Bank of Spain’s regulations can be crucial for financial investments connected to the visa.

Power of Attorney

Granting Power of Attorney to a legal representative can streamline the Golden Visa process. It enables the representative to act on the applicant’s behalf and manage tasks that include:

  • Attending appointments
  • Opening a bank account
  • Purchasing real estate

It’s imperative for applicants to understand that the Power of Attorney should be carefully drafted to specify permitted actions and is subject to notarization for legal efficacy.

Comparative Analysis

This section provides a focused examination of Spain’s Golden Visa program in contrast with similar programs in other European countries.

Spain vs Other Countries

Spain’s Golden Visa Program offers a residency by investment opportunity that stands out due to its strategic location and EU membership, facilitating visa-free travel within the Schengen Area. Here’s how Spain compares to other popular Golden Visa destinations:

  • Portugal: Portugal’s Golden Visa requires the same investment amount but can no longer be in real-estate. Instead, it has to be in qualifying investment funds. Both countries offer a path to citizenship, though Portugal’s process may be slightly faster. 
  • Malta: The Maltese Investment Immigration Program is geared more towards affluent individuals, offering citizenship rather than just residency. Malta’s program is costlier, but it provides a Maltese passport which allows for greater global mobility, including to the United States. Spain’s program initially grants residency with a potential route to citizenship and requires a less substantial investment. 
  • Greece: Greece’s Golden Visa Program has a lower investment threshold for real estate compared to Spain, making it an attractive alternative for some investors. However, Spain’s program may provide a stronger legal framework for rights within the country and includes access to employment, which Greece’s program does not explicitly offer. 

Both Spain and its counterparts do not necessarily guarantee dual citizenship; acquiring a second citizenship depends on the laws of the investor’s home country and whether it allows dual nationality.

In summary, while Spain’s Golden Visa Program is competitive in terms of investment options and benefits, other countries may be more appealing depending on an investor’s personal requirements and financial situation. Investors should consider their long-term goals, such as permanent residency, citizenship, and visa-free travel access when choosing an investment immigration program.

Conclusion

The Spain Golden Visa program stands as a robust Plan B for high-net-worth individuals looking to invest in foreign markets while securing a pathway to residency—and potentially citizenship—in a European nation. Since its inception, the program has attracted significant foreign investment into Spain, underpinning both the real estate sector and the broader economic landscape.

Applicants are positioned well to leverage the benefits of the program, which includes visa-free travel within the Schengen Area, enhancing their mobility and business flexibility. The privilege of living in Spain extends to immediate family members, ensuring that the benefits of the Golden Visa permeate through the family unit.

By maintaining a good standing with clear financial records and following legal channels diligently, investors not only enjoy a serene lifestyle in Spain but also keep the door open for Spanish citizenship. It is essential to note that this option is a long-term possibility, requiring a considerable period of residency prior to eligibility.

General interest in the program is expected to remain high, correlating with the ongoing global search for political and economic stability amidst an ever-changing landscape. Affiliated professionals and specialized agencies continue to provide guidance, simplifying navigation through the application process, which underscores Spain’s welcoming stance toward qualified global citizens.

Investors are recommended to perform due diligence, seeking comprehensive advice tailored to their circumstances to harness the full spectrum of opportunities the Spain Golden Visa offers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum investment required to obtain a Golden Visa in Spain in 2024?

The minimum investment for obtaining a Spain Golden Visa is 500,000 euros in real estate. This threshold is exclusive of taxes and other charges and must be made without financing.

Can I apply for a loan to obtain the Spanish Golden Visa?

No, that is not possible. To apply for the Golden Visa, you must make the initial investment from your funds. However, we do have real estate management partners in Spain that will offer you an upfront guaranteed yield on commercial rental property, effectively giving you the same benefit as a loan would.

Can the Spain Golden Visa lead to permanent residency or citizenship?

Yes, holders of the Spain Golden Visa can apply for permanent residency after five years. After ten years of legal residency, they may apply for Spanish citizenship, subject to meeting all other legal requirements.

What types of investments qualify for the Spain Golden Visa program?

Qualifying investments for the Golden Visa include a real estate purchase of at least 500,000 euros, a capital investment of 1 million euros in Spanish companies, a 2 million euros purchase in Spanish government bonds, or a significant business project that is considered as of public interest.

Are there any changes to the Spain Golden Visa regulations for 2024?

No significant changes to the Spain Golden Visa regulations have been introduced for the year 2024 yet. It is advisable to consult the latest legal texts or professional advisors for the most current information.

How does the application process for a Spain Golden Visa work?

The application process involves selecting a qualifying investment, applying for the visa through Spanish consulates or immigration offices, providing required legal documents, and demonstrating the procurement of an investment. The procedure may involve background checks and other due diligence.

What are the residency requirements for maintaining the Golden Visa in Spain?

To maintain the Golden Visa, there is no minimum stay requirement, meaning investors are not required to spend a specific amount of time in Spain. However, the visa must be renewed after one year and then every two years while meeting the investment conditions.

Need help?

Navigating through golden visa & citizenship by investment programs can be complex and overwhelming, regardless of the country or program you’re interested in. If you’re struggling to find clear, accurate information, you’re not alone. Our team is here to offer you clarity and reliable advice across a wide range of immigration programs.

By scheduling a consultation, you’ll receive personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation. We’re dedicated to helping you understand the details of various immigration programs, making them more straightforward so you can proceed with confidence.

GET PERSONALIZED GUIDANCE

During our call, we will:

Here is what to expect from a call with our advisory team:

1

We’ll answer your questions about the program and the application process, providing you with the clarity you need.

2

We’ll break down each stage of the immigration process, ensuring you know exactly what to expect.

3

We’ll help you determine if the chosen program is the right fit for you or suggest alternatives that may better align with your goals.

4

Gain access to our network of recommended local lawyers, as well as providers of eligible investment options.