Originally approved and launched in Spain in 2013, the Golden Visa in Spain is a residence permit aimed at non-EU citizens who are able to make a significant investment in the Spanish economy. It aims to attract wealthy foreigners and investors as a means to bring money into the country and help to boost the economy and is one of many other Golden Visas offered by other countries such as Portugal and the UAE.
MSC Notaries have compiled a guide to obtaining a Golden Visa in Spain including eligibility, benefits, the application process and the documents required.
If you are considering making an investment in the Spanish economy and applying for the Golden Visa, we are able to help you prepare all the necessary documentation and ensure these are all translated and legalised for use.
What is the Golden Visa in Spain?
The Golden Visa is a residence permit allowing holders to live and work in Spain. They are aimed at wealthy individuals and families, who must be able to make a 500,000 euro minimum deposit into real estate or a minimum of one million euro capital transfer or business shares investment. It’s a means for the wealthy to deposit and invest their money while also gaining a residence permit in return.
Golden Visas are initially automatically valid for one year, or two years for those who are able to visit Spain during the application period. After the initial two years, the visas can be renewed with the option to obtain permanent residence for a period of five years and Spanish citizenship after a period of ten years. Generally, the visa is popular among residents from China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Lebanon and more.
What are the requirements for obtaining a Golden Visa in Spain?
The most important requirement that deems whether an applicant is eligible or not, is the ability to invest a substantial amount of money.
There are various options for investing in Spain to obtain the Golden Visa, including:
Real estate investment
The most popular route chosen by investors applying for the Golden Visa is real estate investment. The visa is open to any individual who has purchased a property, or multiple properties, without a mortgage loan for a minimum of the sum of 500,000 euros (plus tax).
The purchases can be a commercial or residential property or both, and the property can be rented out once purchased. Any amount of investment that exceeds the minimum amount of 500k can be mortgaged, and the investment of property can also be split among different buyers.
There are various options available for making capital investments, including:
- Depositing one million euros to a Spanish bank
- Investing one million euros in shares of a Spanish company
- Investing two million euros in Spain’s Public Debt
The visa is open to entrepreneurs looking to start a business venture in Spain. The business must be of ‘general interest’ as well as create jobs in the country, have an impact on the socioeconomic status of the country or region, and demonstrate that it will contribute to scientific or technological development.
Other important eligibility criteria include:
- Must be a resident of a non-EU country as the visa is not aimed at those who reside within the EU
- For adults over 18 years of age
- No criminal record in recent five years of application
- Must have private medical healthcare insurance in Spain for the duration of your permit
- Must demonstrate you are financially able to live in Spain and support any dependent others
- Must not have been previously rejected for residency from Spain or other Schengen area countries
What are the benefits of the Spanish Golden Visa programme?
- Fast-tracked application process; if the application goes through successfully you can have a Golden Visa in as little as two months from it being submitted.
- Free movement and travel between other EU countries in the Schengen area and you are permitted to live and work in any EU country.
- Residence visas are also permitted for spouses and children under 18.
- Access to public schools in Spain for all dependents of the Golden Visa.
- Any children born in Spain will have the option to have Spanish passports.
- Retirement benefits as there are various attractive pension schemes in Spain that make it a great place to retire.
- Pathway to Spanish citizenship providing you live in Spain for six months of the year for a period of 10 years while holding your Golden Visa. You no longer need to maintain your investment once you have been accepted for permanent residence after five years either.
How to apply for the Golden Visa in Spain
1. Decide on your investment route.
2. Make your investment.
3. Obtain the necessary documents to demonstrate your investment and all the required documentation for the application process.
Depending on which type of investment you are making you will need different documentation prepared to submit your application.
Documents required for the different investment routes
If you are investing in real estate and buying a property, you will need:
- Certificate of domains/property registration
- Deed(s) of sale
If you are investing in shares in a Spanish company, you will need:
- For unlisted stocks, you will need an acquisition declaration filed with the Ministry of Economy and Registry of Investments
- For listed shares, you will need a broker’s statement registered with the National Stock Market Commission or Bank of Spain
If you are investing in Spain’s public debt, you will need:
- Certificate from the Bank of Spain or subsequent financial institution showing the individual as the holder of the purchase
If you are making a deposit in a Spanish bank, you will need:
- Certificate from the financial institution who you contracted the deal with, that states the individual as the sole holder of the deposit
If you are starting a company in Spain, you will need:
- Report on all the business operations planned in Spain
Other required documents for all applicants include:
- National visa application form completed
- Passport-sized and passport-style, colour photograph
- Valid original passport for one year minimum and a copy of your passport, with two blank pages minimum
- Document proving sufficient funds for living expenses in Spain for the time of your residence including bank statements showing bank deposits and transactions for at least 12 months
- Document confirming medical insurance
- Medical certificate original and copy issued a maximum of 90 days prior to the biometric appointment date, with an original signature or stamp from a doctor
- Criminal record check certificate issued a maximum of 90 days prior to appointment and valid for three months post-appointment
- Proof of residence in the consular district you are applying from
- Proof of payment of the visa fee, which must be paid in euros
- Where applicable, document confirming the schooling of any children involved from the relevant authorities
- Where applicable, documents proving family relationships with the main investor, for example, legalised marriage certificates, legalised birth certificates, or certificates of registration for unmarried couples
- Where applicable, for adult children, documents proving their financial dependence on the investor and civil status
- Where applicable, for other dependent relatives, documents proving they are dependent on and in the care of the investor
- If you are submitting your application through a legal representative, you must also submit proof of their identity including an original and copy of their passport or ID
All foreign documents required and submitted as part of the Golden Visa application process must be professionally translated into Spanish and legalised before use for your application to be processed and accepted. The documents must all be legalised and have an apostille attached once they’ve been professionally translated into Spanish.
At MSC Notaries, we are able to help facilitate all of this and ensure all your documents are prepared and ready for use in a timely manner. Speak to our team, let us know your required timeframe and we will do our utmost best to assist you and provide you with your legalised documents by a certain date.
4. Fill out your application and submit it.
Bear in mind that you must provide the original copy of your passport and other important documents, which will be kept in Spain while the application process is being reviewed, so it’s important to pay for secure, insured postage or to deliver your documents in person.
5. Book an interview or visit Spain to submit your application.
You will also need to provide the necessary biometric information about yourself and your family members to Spanish authorities. You will need to book an appointment yourself at your consular office, and one for each family member also applies as each person needs a separate appointment.
6. Wait for the result of your application.
7. Obtain an NIE number if you don’t have one already and open a Spanish bank account.
8. Pay the government permit issue fee.
Once your visa has been accepted, you will need to pay the issuance fee. You will then need to collect your visa in person within one month of your acceptance.
How much does it cost to get a Spanish Golden Visa?
Aside from the obvious significant investment that must be made into Spain’s economy for you to be eligible for the Golden Visa, applicants must also pay certain other fees in relation to the visa.
- Visa fees in euros at the same time as submitting their application, which varies depending on the type of investment you are making:
- For business investments, a fee of 1,137 euros
- For real estate investments and capital transfers, a fee of 1,910 euros
- For additional family members, a fee of 1,202 euros per person
- Once accepted, a visa issuance fee is also required
Legal costs will vary, however, you can expect around 8000 euros for one applicant, around 10,500 euros for a family and around 2,500 euros for renewing the visa.
There are various tax considerations to take into account when making your investment decision and applying for Spain’s Golden Visa, including:
- Foreign income tax – if you live in Spain for more than 183 days in a calendar year, you will be taxed on your global income.
- Personal income tax – you will be subject to a 24% tax rate on income earned from employment or business ventures in Spain as a non-permanent resident.
- Capital gains tax – you will be subject to varying tax rates depending on the volume of investment income and capital gains generated from Spanish sources such as shares, stocks or property. For up to 6000 euros it is 19%, up to 50,000 euros it is 21%, up to 200,000 euros it is 23% and exceeding 200,000 euros it is 26%.
- Property tax – you will be subject to annual property tax between 0.4% and 1.3% depending on the type of properties you own and their location in Spain.
Legalise your documents for the Golden Visa in Spain
Any personal or business document required in the process of application that has been issued by a government authority must be legalised and apostilled by a professional authorised to do so for it to be accepted.
The MSC Notaries team has been helping individuals and businesses to legalise all kinds of documents for many years. We can help with the entire process of preparing your documents for use as part of a Golden Visa application, including professional Spanish translation, notarisation, and legalisation and apostille stamps required for your documents to be suitable for use.
We understand how much hassle it can be to source all the documentation required for a visa application. Whilst we can’t assist with the actual application process nor advise on the documentation required, we can assist with any notarisation, legalisation or translation requirements that you may have as part of your application.
How easy is it to get a golden visa in Spain?
Providing you carry out thorough research beforehand, meet the eligibility requirements as an investor and are able to submit the application with all the required and legalised documents, the Golden Visa is not difficult to obtain.
If you have any queries on the documents required and which documents need legalising, you can speak to our team for advice and to get a free quote for our various key services that will be required throughout the process.
How long does it take to get a Spain Golden visa?
After your investment is made and all your documents are submitted, within a period of 20 days you will automatically receive a multiple-entry visa, however, this is only valid for one year.
For applications for the standard two-year Golden Visa for you and your family members, you will have to travel to Spain for an in-person interview to obtain a TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad del Extranjero) and have biometric information taken including fingerprints, which can take up to two months.
The overall length of the application process can vary depending on different factors including the speed at which you can submit your documents when you can travel to Spain, as well as the efficiency of the Spanish authorities in reviewing your application.
Can you keep your tax residence outside Spain?
Yes, you can keep your tax residence in your origin country or elsewhere, providing you are in Spain for less than 183 days per year.