What is the Spain Golden Visa Program?
The Spain Golden Visa Program is a way to get a Spanish residence permit by investing in the country’s economy. Despite the program name, it has nothing in common with traditional visas. A Golden Visa is a special program allowing an investor to obtain a residence permit in Spain under a simplified procedure.
The program is suitable for non-EU citizens interested in obtaining official status in the EU for themselves and their families. After 5 years of living in Spain with a Golden Visa, a person can apply for permanent residence, and after 10 years — for Spain citizenship.
Benefits of the Spain Golden Visa
1. Visa-free travel to the Schengen countries. Holders of residence permits visit 26 Schengen countries freely and spend up to 90 days every 6 months.
2. “Safe haven”. An investor doesn’t have to live in Spain to obtain the status, but they can visit the country at any time, even if the borders are closed.
3. Access to European education and medical care. An investor’s family can enjoy the best European medical services, and the investor’s children get an opportunity to study in public or private Spanish schools.
4. Working and conducting business in Spain. Along with a Golden Visa, a holder has an opportunity to obtain a work permit in the country. It means that they can transfer a company to Spain or create a new one.
5. Prospect of obtaining EU citizenship. After 5 years of living in the country with a Golden Visa, an investor can apply for permanent residence, and after another 5 years — for Spain citizenship. Investors are obliged to give up citizenship in the country of origin if they aren’t citizens of former Spanish colonies.
6. Low cost of living in comparison with other Western European countries. According to Numbeo, the average cost of living in Spain for a single person without rent is €631. It’s 28% cheaper than in France or Austria.
7. Warm climate. Spain has a mild Mediterranean climate. Winters are relatively warm with an average temperature of +6—10 °C, and summers aren’t sweltering in most parts of the country with an average temperature of +27—30 °C.
Spain residence permits for investors and financially independent people: terms comparison
Investors with passive and remote income can obtain a residence permit as financially independent people. An additional condition is renting or owning a house in Spain.
Financially independent people confirm their financial solvency: they should have at least €27,000 in their bank account and pay an additional €7,000 for each family member.
|Criteria||Residence permit by investment||Residence permit for a financially independent person|
|Obligatory residing in the country||Not required||183 days per year|
|Validity of residence permit||2 years, then 5 years||1 year|
|Financial solvency||Not required to be confirmed||€27,000 for the main applicant|
+ €7,000 per family member
|Investments in the country’s economy||€500,000+||Not required|
|Eligibility to work in Spain|
|Need to obtain a national D visa|
Spain Golden Visa for real estate purchase
There are various options for getting a Spain Golden Visa by investment, but the most popular one is purchasing a real estate property for €500,000. According to the program’s conditions, an investor can buy one or several properties.
Most clients prefer to buy housing. For purchasing new buildings, investors pay 7—12% tax on the transaction amount; resale housing tax is 6—10% of the cadastral value. Another option is purchasing commercial property with the highest tax — up to 25%.
After 5 years of owning, аn investor can sell a house or their commercial property and return the investments.
Spain Golden Visa expenses when buying real estate
- €500,000 — purchase of real estate
- 6—25% — taxes depending on the real estate type
- €600 to €1,000 — notary fee
- €400 to €650 — registration fee
Other investment options for obtaining the Spain Golden Visa
Investments in stocks, bonds, shares in a fund, or a deposit. If an investor chooses one of these options, they invest €1,000,000 or more in the country’s economy. Government bonds and bank deposits are suitable for conservative investors, whereas stocks and shares in venture funds suit risk-takers.
Business investments. This option implies creating a company in Spain. In contrast to other options, the minimum investment amount, in this case, isn’t established by law. The Spain Golden Visa by business investments is suitable for investors who believe in the Spanish economy or want to expand into the European market.
Spain Golden Visa taxes
A Spain Golden Visa holder becomes a Spanish tax resident when they spend more than 183 days per year in the country. In this case, the investor's world assets and personal income will be taxed in Spain.
Income tax. Spain has progressive tax rates: the more an investor earns, the more taxes they pay. Income tax for residents varies from 19 to 47%. Non-residents pay tax only on income earned in Spain with a flat rate of 24%.
Who can apply for the Spain Golden Visa
Spain Golden Visa requirements for the main applicant:
- age over 18 years old;
- a legal income;
- money for investment is earned outside of Spain;
- no criminal records;
- no debts in Spain;
- medical insurance.
Along with an investor, other family members can also be added to the application and get Spain Golden Visas:
- Investor’s spouse or partner. In a registered marriage or unregistered partnership, including same-sex couples.
- Children under 18. If over 18 — unmarried, without children and financially dependent on the investor.
- Investor or spouse’s parents. Financially dependent on the investor.
Step-by-step procedure for obtaining the Spain Golden Visa
Obtaining the Spain Golden Visa is usually divided into 4 steps and takes 2—3 months.
This step helps to reveal some possible problems in the investor’s biography and reduce the risk of refusal in obtaining a Golden Visa to 1%. The check is carried out by an Immigrant Invest’s certified Anti Money Laundering Officer.
Immigrant Invest real estate specialists help the client to find a property. The client either comes to Spain to look at the object, or he can choose it remotely with photos and videos provided by our specialists.
Immigrant Invest lawyers accompany the process from filling out the government forms to certifying copies. The application is submitted online, but the client needs to be in Spain at this moment.
Documents required for the Spain Golden Visa application
- Photocopies of international passports of all family members participating in the program.
- Completed and signed applications.
- Two 3,5 × 4,5 cm colour photos on a white background.
- Medical insurance for all participants.
- Police clearance certificates for the last 5 years for participants over 18.
- Proof of family relationships — birth certificates for children and marriage certificates for spouses.
- Proof of investment: extract from the cadastral register of the property, purchase and sale agreement.
- Proof of financial solvency. The amount required is calculated case-by-case based on the IPREM indicator, which in 2022 is €579,02 per month. The main applicant confirms an income of 400% of IPREM per month for themselves and an additional 100% of IPREM for each family member. For example, for a family of 3, the applicant must have €41,689 in their bank account.
- Proof of financial dependence on the investor.
The application is usually processed within 20 days. After that, the investor receives a residence permit card personally in Spain.
The first residence permit card is valid for 2 years; it can be extended for another 5 years. To renew a Golden Visa, the investor needs to go to Spain.
How to obtain Spain citizenship
An investor can’t obtain Spain citizenship by investment — it’s a longer process than acquiring a Spain Golden Visa. An investor becomes a Spanish citizen by naturalisation: after receiving a Spain Golden Visa, they move to the country, get a permanent residence in 5 years, and after another 5 years, apply for citizenship.
Some nuances should be considered if an investor wants to get a Spanish passport.
Reside in Spain for 10 years. To obtain a permanent residence permit, an investor must live in Spain for 5 years with a Golden Visa. They can leave the country, but not longer than 10 months for the entire period. Only after 5 more years of living with a permanent permit an investor applies for citizenship.
Take language proficiency tests and cultural exams for obtaining citizenship. An investor confirms their Spanish language skills at level A2 and takes exams connected with knowing Spanish culture and the law.
Give up citizenship in the country of origin. Spain doesn’t recognise second citizenship with most countries. Exceptions are former Spanish colonies, Spanish-speaking countries and three European countries with a common border with Spain.
List of countries with which Spain recognises a second citizenship
|Argentina||Costa Rica||Puerto Rico|
Alternatives to the Spain Golden Visa Program
Compared with other European Golden Visa Programs, the Spain Golden Visa isn't the most competitive one. Portugal, Malta and Greece residence permit programs offer similar opportunities but cost twice cheaper.
|Criteria||Spain Residence Permit||Malta Permanent Residence||Greece Residence Permit||Portugal Residence Permit|
|Real estate purchase||€500,000||€370,000||€250,000||€280,000|
|Visa-free travel to the Schengen countries||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Residing requirements||None||None||None||7 days per year|
|Conditions of citizenship: time spent as a resident||10 years||5 years||7 years||5 years|
|Conditions of citizenship: time spent in the country||10 years in a row||4 years||7 years in a row||35 days in total|
|Obligation to give up citizenship in the country of origin||Yes||No||No||No|
In Portugal and Malta, the requirements are more favourable for investors: in order to obtain permanent residence in these countries, investors are not required to move there.
Frequently asked questions
The Spain Golden Visa Program is a way to get a Spanish residence permit by investing in the country’s economy. Despite the program name, it has nothing in common with traditional visas. Golden Visa is a special program allowing an investor to obtain a residence permit in Spain under a simplified procedure.
- age over 18;
- legal income;
- money for investment earned outside of Spain;
- no criminal records;
- no debts in Spain;
- medical insurance.
Along with an investor, other family members also can be added to the application.
The most popular option for obtaining a Golden Visa is purchasing real estate property for €500,000.
Other options include investments in stocks, bonds, shares in a fund, or a deposit. If an investor chooses one of these options, they invest €1,000,000 or more in the country’s economy.
With a Golden Visa, a holder can stay in Spain as long as they want.
A Golden Visa is valid for 2 years; it could be extended for 5 years. To renew a residence permit, an investor needs to be in Spain.
Investors participate in the Spanish residence permit by investment program to get a residence permit. To obtain the status, investors have 6 possible options: purchase property, stocks, bonds or shares in venture funds, open a deposit in a Spanish bank or invest in a business. The cheapest option is buying real estate with a minimum investment of €500,000.
The procedure consists of 4 steps:
1. Preliminary Due Diligence check conducted by Immigrant Invest lawyers.
2. Investing. Usually, clients choose to buy a property in Spain.
3. Preparation and submission of all documents.
4. Obtaining a residence permit card in Spain.