How to get EU residency for you and your family with Spain’s Golden Visa
It is not a myth! If you buy property in Spain you can get a Spanish residency permit (this is the correct bureaucratic terminology for Spain’s golden visa), which allows you to live in Europe. The only challenge is the paperwork, and you must invest at least 500.000 €. Keep reading for the details . . .
In 2013 Spain passed a law that gives residency permits to non-EU citizens in exchange for a property investment of 500.000 € or more. The idea is to attract foreign investment and create jobs. This will stimulate the economy and reduce public debt.
We have many clients that have taken advantage of Spain’s Golden Visa. In this article we address their most frequently asked questions. We explain the difference between a visa and a residence permit, details about the type of property purchases that qualify, timing and more!
Q: Can I apply for Spain’s Golden Visa with more than one property if each property is less than 500.000 €?
Yes. You can use more than one property to qualify for Spain’s Golden Visa as long as the amount invested is equal to or greater than 500.000 €.
Q: Is there a certain period in which the purchases must take place? Suppose I buy one property now and another, say, a year later?
Currently there are no requirements on the timing of your purchases. The only potential problem would be if the Spanish Government modified the law. Please note that this type of thing has been known to occur. Spanish laws do respond to external factors. For example, the law that created Spain’s Golden Visa was established in 2013. At that time there was a deep economic crisis, caused by the collapse of Spain’s housing bubble. There was a large inventory of unsold properties that were seized, or slated to be seized, by Spanish banks. These weighed heavily on public and private debt. Since domestic housing demand was virtually non-existent, the country did everything it could do encourage foreign investment.
Like any law, this one could undergo changes. For example, if the government decided it was more interested in infrastructure development, as opposed to selling real estate, it could increase the minimum floor for real estate investment and offer more advantageous programs for infrastructure investment. If this were to happen before you submitted your application, it could be negatively impacted.
In our opinion, this law will not suffer important changes in the next five to ten years. However, it is important to know that there is a small chance that the law could change We will tell you why we don’t think it will undergo material changes in coming years.
Q: Can the law regarding the right to have a Golden Visa be changed retroactively?
One of the cornerstones of the Spanish legal system is that laws don’t have retroactive effects. This achieves legal stability with respect to acquired rights. Thus retroactive change is only applied in very exceptional cases.
Q: How long does Spain’s Golden Visa last?
Please note that there are two steps to this process. First you obtain the visa, which is a stamp in your passport issued by a Spanish Consulate. It allows you to travel to Spain, with multiple entries and exits, for one year. Within this year you should travel to Spain and apply for your residency permit. You must apply for this in Spain.
Q: How long are the residency permits valid?
Residency permits are initially valid for two years. After this period you can renew it. This renewal is valid for five years. You can continue renewing it every five years as long as you own properties in Spain. You do not have to reside in Spain in order to be allowed to renew your residency permit.
Q: How do I start the process?
A: In order to start the Golden Visa/Residency Permit process you must first purchase properties in excess of 500.000 €. You will need the purchase agreement(s) and the deed(s) to prove that you have made the investment(s). For information on how to obtain your title and other documentation, read 5 steps to take after purchasing property on Costa de Sol.
Q: How long does the process take?
A: Once you apply for your residence permit, it takes about 60 days. Roughly 30 days to complete the application process and 30 days to receive your ID card.
Q: Does the Golden Visa only apply to me or can I extend it to family members?
A: Spain’s Golden Visa extends to immediate family members. As Spain is one of the best places in the world to raise children, this is an attractive option if you have a family. Spouses and dependent children under the age of eighteen years are guaranteed residency permits. For all other family members you must present paperwork proving they are your legal dependants.
Q: Can I get a mortgage to purchase my property?
A: Yes, but it has to be from a foreign bank. The logic is that will bring 500,000 € of foreign investment into Spain. If you borrow money from a Spanish bank, you are not bringing money into the country. Our recommendation is to either pay in cash, or have your financing lined up before you purchase. Ideally, this will be with a bank you’ve done business with for years.
Q: If I buy property through a company, can I still get a Golden Visa?
A: Yes you can. All you have to do is prove that you, directly or indirectly, hold the majority of the voting rights and have the power to appoint or dismiss the majority of the board of directors. This needs to be demonstrated through official documents such as your company’s articles of incorporation. These documents should be notarized and translated into Spanish.
Q: Are there any scenarios under which the immigration authorities will deny renewing your residence permit?
Basically there are only two scenarios under Spain’s Golden Visa program where you would be denied renewal. First, if you sell your property or transfer it into someone else’s name. Second, if you have a criminal record. If you have a criminal record you will not receive an initial residency permit.
When you purchase property in excess of 500,000 € you will receive a multiple entry visa which is valid for one year. Within this year you must go to Spain and apply, in person, for your residency permit. It is valid as long as you keep your Spanish properties in your name. You do not need to reside in Spain, but will have to come here each time you need to renew your residency permit. This is because you have to personally apply for your Spanish ID card.
If you decide to live in Spain, you are eligible for permanent residency after 5 years. However, you have to demonstrate that you did not spend more than eleven months outside of Spain within the prior five years. Once you have a permanent residency permit you do not need to renew it. You just renew your ID card which is very fast and easy.
As you may heard of, navigating the Spanish bureaucracy can be time consuming, tricky and frustrating! We advice lawyers, who have applied for many Golden Visas and residence permits for our customers and can make the process very easy for you. Given the time and headache the lawyers can save you, we think you will find using their services a very worthwhile investment.
Please contact us to schedule a free consulting.