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Golden Visa How It Works

SPANISH VISAS AND RESIDENCY FOR INVESTORS (and
Citizenship ultimately)
With e ffect f rom t he 29-09-2013, the Spanish Government finally fully approved the Investors’
Support and Internationalization 14/2013 Act which includes, among others measures, a Spanish
residency programme that will allow investors to become permanent investors if they invest, at
least, €500.000 in property located in Spain.
The law was published on the Spanish Official Gazzete (BOE) and one of the most crucial aspects of it
is that it facilitates people traveling to, or residing in Spain, who intend to carry out a ‘relevant
investment’.
What is a relevant investment?
According to article, 63, the following will suffice to attain residency in Spain:
• An investment of at least €2,000,000 in Spanish Government bonds.
• An investment of at least €1,000,000 in shares of Spanish companies.
• An investment of at least €1,000,000 with a Spanish-based bank or financial entity
(basically, depositing that money in a savings or fixed deposit account).
• An investment of at least €500,000 in Spanish property (one or several), per applicant,
provided the first €500,000 of the property value is unencumbered (mortgage free).
• A business investment that is to be carried out in Spain and is deemed of public interest for
which purpose, at least one of the following conditions will be considered relevant: a) jobs
it will create b) socioeconomic impact in the geographical area where the activity is to be
carried out and c) relevant contribution to technological or scientific innovation.
Investment by foreign companies also qualify for residency provided it does not originate from an
offshore tax haven, as per Spanish laws, and that the investor owns, directly or indirectly, the
majority of its voting rights and has also the right to designate or remove the majority of the
members of the board of directors.
Investment Residency Visa and Investment Residency Permit
The Act has created 2 different types of documents to enter and reside in Spain, the Residency Visa
and the Residency Permit.

The Residency Visa is valid for up to 1 year, and the Residency Permit is valid for up to 2 years,
which can be extended for a further 2 years. T his w ould g ive a t otal o f 5 y ears, 4 o f which are
deemed proper residency and the first one, just the right to stay and live (an important distinction
because 5 years of continued residency entitles the beneficiary to reside permanently in Spain).
In addition to meeting the conditions to qualify for the Investors’ Residency Visa, an applicant for an
Investors’ Residency Permit will have to comply with the following:
• Hold an Investors’ Residency Visa that is not overdue by more than 90 days over the
expiration date.
• Have travelled to Spain at least once during the validity of the Visa.
• Prove that the investment that enabled the applicant to receive the Visa is still in place.
What other requirements have to be met?
The Act will also require that any applicant complies with the following (standard in the Non-
Lucrative or Non-Working Residency Permit):
• Not be in Spain irregularly.
• Be over 18 years of age.
• Absence of a criminal record.
• Have medical insurance.
• Have sufficient money or financial means to support the applicant (and family) during the
period of stay in Spain. The law however does not s ay how much this i s a nd s o, if we are
guided by the income criteria of the Non-Lucrative Residency Permit, the applicant will
need to prove earnings of at least €2,128/month, plus an additional €532/month per family
member whereas, if we are guided by the EU-citizen Residency Permit financial criteria, the
applicant will have to prove having a bank balance of at least €5,058, plus an additional
€3,540 per family member.
Who can apply together with the main Applicant?
The Act states that the spouse and children under 18 years of age or those over this age who, due to
health issues, are not objectively capable of looking after themselves.
Application Process and Timescales
The Residency Visa will be applied for and granted by the Spanish Consulate of the demarcation of
the applicant.
The Residency Authorization will be applied for and granted by Directorate General of Migrations.

An application for a Residency Visa will be resolved in a maximum period of 10 days, except where
the application is subject to the EU Visa Code.
The Residency Authorization will be granted in a maximum period of 20 days from application after
which period, if the Consulate has not responded, the application will be presumed granted.
How would it work, in practical terms?
An applicant that wishes to apply for a Residency Visa under the Act will first need to apply for an
ordinary visa, with a view to travel to Spain and investigate investment options/opportunities, meet
with lawyers, real estate agents, banks, etc. Once a decision is made and the investment carried out,
the Residency Visa will have to be applied for at the Consulate (which implies going back to the
country of origin).
Obviously, it is possible that an investor decides to proceed with the investment operations
remotely (for i nstance, purchasing a p roperty v ia a lawyer, w ith a P ower o f A ttorney) a nd, o n
conclusion of the property conveyance transaction, he applies for a Residency Visa with the required
proof of his investment i.e. Property Title Deeds.
The Act does stipulate that the investment needs to be maintained during the period of the validity
of the Residency Visa or Residency Permit, and that routine checks may be carried out.
Do I have to be in Spain for more than 6 months during any year
period?
No. The Act s tipulates that Residency Visa or Residency Permit holders do not need to spend more
than 6 months in Spain, with a view to renew the permit (which implies that, provided they are in
Spain at least once during the period of the Residency Visa, they are pretty much free to spend their
time as they wish, in Spain or in any other country).
Can I become a Permanent Resident in Spain or a Spanish Citizen
through this method?
Yes. In fact, the Act specifically states that the applicant’s absences will not prejudice the right to
permanent residency (5 years onwards) and citizenship.
Can a person still apply for permanent residency without having to
invest the sums in this law i.e. buying a property worth say €200,000,
with a €180,000 mortgage?

The Act has not modified the 2 other main types of residency permit applications, which are:
• Non-Lucrative Residency Permit (Autorización de Residencia No-Lucrativa)
• Self-Employed Work and Residency Permit (Autorizacion de Residencia y Trabajo Por
Cuenta Propia)
This means a person can still apply for residency in Spain via the regular (and above) procedures.
Can I apply if I already have a (unencumbered) property in Spain
worth €500,000?
The Act does not include investors who already had a property in Spain prior to its enactment
although, nothing stops them from selling, buying again and then apply for the Investors Residency
Visa and further, the Investors Residency Permit.
People that comply with the other financial criteria (having cash deposits, shares etc.) can apply.
Does a resident of Spain under this Act need to declare assets located
worldwide?
Theoretically, this is the case with residents of Spain although the Act does not address this issue.
However, t he General Tax Act s tates that a person w ill b e resident o f S pain w hen one o f t he
following is met:
• That a person spends more than 183 days of a calendar year in Spain.
• That Spain is the main center of the person’s business activities or economic interests,
directly or indirectly.
• That the spouse and under age children reside in Spain (this presumption can be refuted
according to the Act).
If we refer to the above, holding an investors’ residency visa and permit under this Act would not
per se make a person resident for tax purposes in Spain.