The Spanish golden visa scheme has been on everyone’s lips following the completion of the Brexit process. Since the UK chose to leave the EU, Britons are now treated as third party nationals when it comes to living in Spain, meaning that rather than be afforded freedom of movement across the country, Britons can now only stay in Spain for 90 days out of each 180 day period visa-free. But if you wish to remain in the country for longer than 90 days you will need a visa: and the golden visa is generally considered the easiest option for Britons to secure.
In order to obtain a Spanish golden visa you must meet Spain’s visa requirements, and have a sizeable financial sum that you’re prepared to invest: the golden visa Spain is often referred to as an investors visa because, effectively, it allows non-EU citizens the opportunity to buy a visa by investing a significant sum into the Spanish economy. To be eligible for a golden visa you must either: purchase a Spanish property that is worth over €500,000, invest at least €1 million in a Spanish company or having €1 million in a Spanish bank account.
The Popularity of the Spanish Golden Visa
The golden visa Spain is one of the most popular visa types offered to third party nationals by the Spanish government. The golden visa was first launched in 20213, and the number of applicants has only grown every year. Before Brexit, the golden visa was most popular with non-EU nationals from countries such as China, Russia, India and America, but since 2021 it has grown in popularity with Britons too, because it is the easiest way to legally move to Spain. All you need is a huge amount of cash!
There can be no denying that the investment needed to secure a golden visa is a sizeable one, no matter how much money you have in the bank. For that reason, investing in a Spanish golden visa shouldn’t be a decision that you just rush into. To help you make the right decision, here are just some of the advantages and disadvantages of applying for a golden visa Spain:
The Benefits of Securing a Spanish Golden Visa
- You can include your family on your Spanish golden visa application: your spouse or partner, children under the age of 18 and dependent parents can all live in Spain with you for the duration of your visa.
- If you remain in Spain for at least 10 years under the golden visa scheme you can use this as a route to citizenship. Your initial golden visa will be valid for one year: after than you can renew it twice for an additional two years (four in total). At this point you can renew your visa for five years, and when this total of ten years period is completed, you will be eligible for permanent Spanish residency.
- You can work in Spain under the golden visa scheme, as can your family, providing any local requirements (such as registering to pay your taxes) are met.
- If you choose not to work during your time in Spain then you won’t need to live in the country permanently or be a tax resident of the country to meet Spain visa requirements for the golden visa. The only residency requirement you will need to meet is that you are in Spain when you renew your visa, but you don’t have to be in Spain to apply for the golden visa. This can be done remotely, online, or through specialist immigration lawyers.
- You will have the freedom to move and travel through the Schengen zone, just as you did when the UK was an EU member state. This visa free travel right will be afforded to both you and any family members you add to your golden visa application.
- The process of applying for your golden visa is incredibly simple. Because Spain visa requirements for this visa type aren’t very restrictive, the whole process can be completed in just 20 working days.
- You don’t have to buy just one property for €500,000: provided you invest this amount to secure your golden visa, you can spread the figure over several properties: ideal if you want to let any of your homes and ensure you have an income during your time in Spain.
- You don’t have to keep your property or investments forever: once you have obtained permanent Spanish residency by living in the country via the golden visa for more than five years, you can sell your properties or investments without losing your residency rights.
- The golden visa is retroactive, meaning that if you have met the investment criteria for the visa at any point since 2014 then you can still apply for a golden visa and take advantage of the security it offers.
The Negatives of Securing a Spanish Golden Visa:
- The Spanish golden visa is only the right visa for you if you have access to significant funds: you can’t use a mortgage, loan or other financing options to raise the amount you need to make your investments. The money must come from your own savings or sources.
- If you simply want ease of access to Europe then there are cheaper visa options available in other countries. Investing in the golden visa in Greece, for example, requires you to spend €250,000 on a property, in Malta you can obtain a golden visa by purchasing a property for €270,000 and in Portugal it’s currently €280,000.
- You will not be eligible to use the public health care system in Spain via your golden visa. In fact, one of the Spain visa requirements for the golden visa is that you secure private health insurance for yourself and any dependents that are using the golden visa with you. The only way you can access the Spanish public health system is if you get a job in Spain and are eligible because you have been paying into the social security system.
- The property has to be in one person’s name: you and your spouse cannot buy a property worth €500,000 as joint owners, with both names on the deeds, as you will only have invested 250,000 euros each and won’t meet the golden visa eligibility criteria. Therefore, one of you must give up the security of owning the property or you must purchase a property with 1 million euros if you both want to have your name on the property deeds.
- The golden visa in Spain is only valid for one year initially and must be renewed several times before you are eligible for permanent residency.
- You will be liable to pay property taxes on top of the €500,000 that you invest, and you will also need to pay VAT, stamp duty and transfer tax on the value of your investment. These must be paid as well as the investment figure: they cannot be included in the value of your investment.
- The financial burden of the golden visa will be exacerbated by the requirement to prove you have sufficient financial means to support your family, on top of the investment you have made. The standard financial requirement for golden visa applicants is 400 percent of the IPREM which currently equates to 2,259 (£1,952) per month. That means as a single person you will need to show you have access to €27,115 per year to support yourself. If you are moving with your family, each family member will add an additional 100 percent, or €6,778 per year, per person, to this value, making the process of securing a golden visa in Spain more expensive than you might have first considered.
Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Would you like to become a Spanish citizen, and dream of owning property in the country? Then why not get in touch with our locally based property experts, who have years of experience in helping house hunters just like you to find the property of their dreams.