Spain launched its golden visa programme in 2013. An investment of at least €500,000 in real estate is sufficient to be granted residency for you and your family. The Spanish investor visa has to be renewed after 2 years, and then every 5 years. After 10 years you can apply for citizenship if you move permanently to Spain. It is not necessary to live in Spain in order to retain and renew the residency visa permit. For this reason the Spanish Golden Visa programme is popular with those applicants who either wish to reside full time in Spain or simply maintain a second residency in Europe but without a path to citizenship.
We have created a brief guide for the application procedure for the programme. It is for clients using our real estate services and does not serve as a full legal guide to acquiring the Golden Visa. Laws change from time to time, so please contact us for more details.
After several years of price declines, real estate is now at very attractive values. Thus, the Spanish property market should offer considerable potential for capital gains in the coming years. Investors need to consider their purchase carefully. Is it for investment & rental or is it a lifestyle decision? The Spanish real estate market is highly developed giving investors a solid base and peace of mind from a legal point of view. The market is deep and diverse with products on offer from particulars, developers and banks. Like in all global markets, location and property type are critical to the success of the property as an investment.
The golden visa program in Spain is flexible in terms of the family options it offers however it is restrictive when it comes to the route to citizenship. Government fees are low and the process while complex can be done quickly with the right advisors. It is ideal for residency but less so for those requiring a second passport.
Applicants deciding to live full time in Spain will require private medical insurance always. However if families reside and work permanently in Spain, they will have access to all public services including state medical care and schooling. Healthcare in Spain consistently ranks amongst the top 10 in the world (http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf). State schooling follows the Spanish curriculum but there are many International schools available as well.
The Spanish residence permit gained through the golden visa allows freedom of travel throughout the EU Schengen zone.
Citizenship in Spain can be applied for after 10 years. However applicants will need to have been resident throughout that period in order to gain citizenship and a Spanish passport. Once applicants have either permanent residency or citizenship then they are free to dispose of their investment as further golden visa renewals are not necessary. Gaining a passport in Spain is a long process and requires the applicant to live in the country. However, eventual passport holders gain European residency, meaning the ability to live, work, study and travel freely anywhere within the European Union.
Prior to any application for the golden visa, we need to go through a preliminary consultation and eligibility with our team of lawyers. It is absolutely necessary that the minimum investment in real estate is reached: that is €500,000 per main applicant. Subject to making the required investment and meeting the programme criteria below, applicants will be granted the residency visa.
First, we will review your status and determine if you are eligible for a Golden Visa. We will require a fee in order to investigate your eligibility. You will need to fill a questionnaire to assist us in starting the application review.
- PRE VISIT STAGE
As per our lawyer’s advice, we will then start the property search. Once we understand your needs, we will determine the most appropriate areas and real estate investments to suit your requirements. Lifestyle vs investment, intended usage, capital growth, business and travel needs will play a part in this amongst many other factors.
- VISIT STAGE
During your visit to Spain you will essentially need to do 3 things:
- Visit and view properties with us and our trusted partners
- Meet with lawyers and grant a Power of Attorney (POA)
- Open a bank account
We will help you with all the arrangements and accompany you. Throughout this time we have built a network of trusted partners including banks, developers, agents and lawyers to help ensure a smooth process for your visit and property investment. Most importantly, we are real estate brokers, therefore we negotiate for you the best price for your property purchase.
DUE TO THE PANDEMIC, WE ARE ABLE TO ASSIST AND GUIDE YOU THROUGH THIS REMOTELY. COVID might make travel restricted. But with a proper POA (Power of Attorney), we can do most steps on your behalf.
After you have identified the property you wish to purchase, you will need to put a deposit down while waiting to close the sale (ie. normally 10% of the value). Typically, closing takes 2 to 3 months. Our lawyer can undertake this in full in your absence.
Qualifying family members include spouse and all children under 18. Children 18 and over and parents can qualify if dependent.
The requirements for the investor visa are:
- Minimum investment of €500,000
- Clean criminal record
- No previous refusal of entry or visa to the EU
- Sufficient medical insurance coverage
- Bank statements to prove sufficient income
On completion of the property purchase our lawyer will then process your visa application. Typically, this takes a further 10 working days before issue.
Investors will only be taxed on their worldwide income if they are resident in Spain for over 183 days in any year. For those non-resident individuals tax is charged at 24.75% on income derived in the country, such as rental income. This can be reduced with expenses. Capital gains tax (CGT) applies to any profit on the sale of a property. CGT starts at 24% rising to 27% for gains over €50,000. There are allowances and deductions that can be made. Annual property taxes (IBI) are payable to the local authority, typically €2000. and above per year for an apartment. If the apartment is rented, the owner will need to declare rental income and pay around 24% of the annual profit.
Closing costs are transaction costs once the seller and buyer have agreed to a price. The buyer needs to add 10-15% of the purchase price to close the sale; it varies by region. These costs include notary and agent’s fee costs.