In 2013 Spain introduced a law offering residency permits to non-EU nationals in return for an investment of €500,000 or more in Spanish property. This became popularly known as the Spanish Golden Visa scheme.
The objective of the law is to attract entrepreneurs to Spain, and stimulate foreign investment in Spanish real estate and job creation.
This law enables non-EU nationals to get qualified residency permits in return for investing in Spanish real estate (and other assets), leading to long-term residency in Spain if certain conditions are fulfilled.
Spanish residency, and the ability to travel freely in the European Schengen area (for 90 out of every 180 days), will be a major attraction for many non-EU investors. Added to which, Spanish property prices have crashed into bargain territory, creating some excellent investment opportunities. It’s an attractive combination of residency and bargain prices for investors from outside the EU.
In July 2015, the Spanish parliament introduced a number of improvements to the regime, in order to streamline the bureaucratic process, as well as progress upon the initial regulations put in place. The update includes the following key changes:
- Now, direct ascendants and descendants of the investor will be allowed to obtain a residency permit, regardless of their age, thus enabling the wider family including parents and adult children to benefit from the scheme. Previously, only the investor’s spouse and children under 18 were eligible for approved residency.
- The Residency permit now also includes right to work in Spain.
- Married couples who wish to acquire a property together are no longer required to comply with the €500,000 minimum investment individually. Before the changes, the minimum investment requirement applied on an individual basis, creating a disadvantage for co-owning couples.
- Another addition to the scheme will ensure that unmarried, co-habitating couples will now also benefit from the Law when they register under the Spanish “domestic partnership” Civil Registry, a rule which also applies to same sex couples.
- Under the previous Law, property investments were legally required to be made on an individual basis. Investors will now be able to purchase their properties in Spain either directly or indirectly through a registered company, so long as they continue to hold the majority of shares and the company’s address is not located in a tax haven.
- The visa process has been simplified significantly, with no legal requirement to visit Spain to renew the visa, which now also has a longer validity after its first renewal. The golden visa is granted for 2 years, and (providing the investment remains), can be renewed for a further 5years etc. The initial residency permit can now also be requested directly from Spain, as opposed to first requiring an investor visa from the investor’s home nation. A shorter 6 month visa can now also be obtained upon production of a deposit contract (arras) and proof of funds in Spanish a bank account, allowing for more flexible travel during the on-going purchase.
We welcome the new changes to the Residency legislation which we expect to boost the real estate led demand for Golden Visas substantially. Good quality, centrally located properties in Spain still cost around half of the London, Paris or New York equivalents but the lifestyle benefits are the same, if not more attractive. We’ll let you decide. Come and visit Javea, the pearl of the Costa Blanca in Spain.