Second Citizenship
December 12, 2023
Reading Time: 7 min

Spain Golden Visa Program: how to get a residence permit by investment

Investors obtain residence permits known as the Spain Golden Visa by investing in the country’s economy at least €500,000. The most popular investment option is purchasing real estate.

The Spain Golden Visa allows its holders to visit all Schengen countries visa-free and live, study, and run a business in Spain.

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Knows everything about the Spain Golden Visa Program

Spain golden visa

Spain Golden Visa Program: how to get a residence permit by investment

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.

Spain’s Golden Visa Program is designed for non-EU citizens interested in obtaining residency for themselves and their families. In contrast to the Schengen visa that allows the holder to spend only 90 days out of 180 in Spain, Golden Visa holders can relocate to the country and live there as long as their residence permit is valid.  

There are no obligations for Golden Visa applicants to demonstrate Spanish language skills, present educational credentials, or showcase any business experience to become residents.

Living in Spain with a Golden Visa leads to permanent residency in 5 years and citizenship in 10 years.

7 benefits of the Spanish Golden Visa

1. Visa-free travel to the Schengen countries. Holders of residence permits visit 27 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 healthcare. 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 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. The average cost of living in Spain for a single person without rent is €700. 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.

Worth considering the Spain Golden Visa? View the video for answers

Who can apply for the Spain Golden Visa

Spain Golden Visa requirements for the main applicant are the following:

  • age over 18;

  • a legal income;

  • money for investment is earned outside of Spain;

  • no criminal records;

  • no debts in Spain;

  • medical insurance.

Along with an investor, their family members can also be added to the application and get Spain Golden Visas.

Qualifying relatives include a spouse in a registered marriage or a partner, where same-sex couples can apply for the Golden Visa as a family. Children can be included if they are under 18 or unmarried, without children and financially dependent on the main applicant. The spouses’ parents must depend financially on the main applicant to get visas.

Spain Golden Visa for real estate purchase

There are various options for getting a residency in Spain by investment, but the most popular one is purchasing a real estate property for €500,000.

Under 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 include the following:

  • €500,000 — purchase of real estate;

  • 6—25% — taxes, depending on the real estate type;

  • €600 to 1,000 — a notary fee;

  • €400 to 650 — a registration fee.

Other investment options for obtaining the Spain Golden Visa

Investments in stocks, bonds, shares in a fund, or deposits. If an investor chooses one of these options, they invest €1,000,000 or more. 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.

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Spain

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Spain

Spain residence permits for investors and financially independent people: terms comparison

Investors with passive and remote income can obtain a Spain residency permit as financially independent people. An additional condition is renting or owning a house in Spain. No price limit applies to housing for financially independent applicants.

Both investors applying for the Golden Visa and financially independent people confirm their financial solvency. The amount is calculated based on the minimum cost of living in Spain — Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples, or IPREM.

In 2023, IPREM is €600 a month, so the main applicant’s income or savings must be 400% of IPREM — €2,400 a month. 100% IPREM is added per family member included in the residency application.

Proving financial solvency requires demonstrating a stable income within at least a year or savings sufficient to live in Spain for at least a year. Therefore, the investor or financially independent person demonstrates an income or savings of at least €28,800, while a family of four requires at least €50,400.

Comparing residency terms for investors and financially independent people

Terms

Golden Visa

Residency for financially independent people

Obligatory residing in Spain

Not required

183 days per year

Validity of residence permit

2 years, extending for 5 years

1 year, extending for 2 years

Financial solvency

€28,800 for the main applicant

+ €7,200 per family member

€28,800 for the main applicant

+ €7,200 per family member

Investments in the country’s economy

€500,000+

Not required

Eligibility to work in Spain

Yes, through obtaining a work permit

No

Need to obtain a national D visa to enter Spain

No

Yes

Documents required to apply for the Spanish Golden Visa

  1. Photocopies of international passports of all family members participating in the program.

  2. Completed and signed applications.

  3. Two 3,5 × 4.5 cm colour photos on a white background.

  4. Health insurance for all participants.

  5. Police clearance certificates for the last 5 years for participants over 18.

  6. Proof of family relationships — birth certificates for children and marriage certificates for spouses.

  7. Proof of investment: extract from the cadastral register of the property, purchase and sale agreement.

  8. Proof of financial solvency.

  9. Proof of family members’ financial dependency on the investor.

When and where to apply for the Spain Golden Visa

When to apply. The application process for the Investor Visa in Spain typically involves several steps, and the timing can vary depending on your circumstances.

First, investors would need to make a qualifying investment in Spain. After that, the investor can apply for a Spain Golden Visa.

Where to apply. Golden Visa applications are accepted online, but applicants must be in Spain at that moment.

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.

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence check

This step helps reveal some possible problems in the investor’s biography and reduces the risk of refusal to obtain a Golden Visa to 1%. The check is carried out by an Immigrant Invest’s certified Anti Money Laundering Officer.

2

1-4 months

Purchase of real estate

Immigrant Invest real estate specialists help the client to find a property. The client either comes to Spain to look at real estate, or they can choose it remotely with photos and videos provided by our specialists.

3

3-5 weeks

Preparation and submission of the documents

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.

4

+ 30—45 days

Getting a Golden Visa

The application is usually processed within 30—45 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.

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.

Spain has progressive income tax rates: the more an investor earns, the more taxes they pay. The income tax for residents varies between 19 to 47%. Non-residents pay tax only on income earned in Spain, with a flat rate of 24%.

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. An investor must live in Spain for 5 years with a Golden Visa to obtain a permanent residence permit. 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

Andorra

Colombia

Portugal

Argentina

Costa Rica

Puerto Rico

Bolivia

Cuba

El Salvador

Brazil

Mexico

Uruguay

Venezuela

Nicaragua

France

Guatemala

Panama

Chile

Honduras

Paraguay

Ecuador

Dominican Republic

Peru

Alternatives to the Spain Golden Visa

The Spain Golden Visa isn’t the most competitive compared to other European Golden Visa Programs. Portugal, Malta and Greece residence permit programs offer similar opportunities but cost twice as much.

All the investment programs contain real estate options, except Portugal, where property purchase was cancelled in 2023 under the government decision.

Comparing European residency programs

Criteria

Entry threshold

€500,000

€150,000

€250,000

€250,000

Real estate purchase

€500,000

€370,000

€250,000

No

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

Key points on the Spain Golden Visa

  1. The Spain Golden Visa Program allows investors to obtain a Spanish residence permit by investing in the country’s economy. It is primarily designed for non-EU citizens who wish to gain official status in the EU for themselves and their families.

  2. Holders of the Spain Golden Visa can enjoy visa-free travel to all Schengen countries, which includes 27 European nations. They are allowed to stay up to 90 days every 6 months in these countries.

  3. Investors can obtain the Spain Golden Visa by investing in various ways, with the most popular being purchasing real estate valued at €500,000 or more. Other options include investing in stocks, bonds, shares in a fund, or deposits and creating a company in Spain.

  4. The initial residence permit obtained under the Golden Visa is valid for 2 years and can be renewed for another 5 years.

  5. Gaining citizenship involves living in Spain for a total of 10 years, taking language proficiency and cultural exams, and potentially giving up citizenship in the investor’s country of origin.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain a Spain Golden Visa?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a Spain Golden Visa?

Frequently asked questions

  • Is Spain stopping the Golden Visa?

    No. The Spanish Golden Visa Program is available for non-EU citizens interested in obtaining official status in the EU for themselves and their families. If you reside there for ten years, you’ll become eligible for an EU passport.

  • Can I get residency in Spain if I buy a house?

    Yes. The most popular option among investors is purchasing a real estate property for €500,000. An investor can buy one or several properties according to the program’s conditions.

  • Can I stay in Spain if I buy a property?

    Once you have bought a property that meets the investment criteria under the Spain Golden Visa Program, you apply for a Spain residency, which allows you to spend any part of the year in Spain and travel freely in the Schengen Area.

  • What is a Golden Visa in Spain?

    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.

  • Who qualifies for a Golden Visa in Spain?

    The Spain Golden Visa requirements for an investor:

    • 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.

  • How much does it cost to get a Spanish Golden Visa?

    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.

  • How long can I stay in Spain with a Golden Visa?

    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.

  • How to get residence 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.