Second Citizenship
April 8, 2024
Reading Time: 7 min

How to get a Spain Golden Visa as a US citizen and move to Europe’s top beach destination

To get a Golden Visa to Spain, a US citizen needs to invest at least €500,000 in the country’s economy — purchase real estate, securities, or start a business.

The Spain residence permit allows its holder to reside in the country, take advantage of universal healthcare, study at local universities, and obtain a work permit.

Explore the benefits of Spain residence by investment and the details of obtaining it as a US citizen.

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Explained the rules of obtaining the Spain Golden Visa by Americans

Spain Golden Visa for US citizens

How to get a Spain Golden Visa as a US citizen and move to Europe's top beach destination

What is a Golden Visa in Spain?

The Golden Visa is a program that allows Americans and other non-EU foreigners to obtain residence permits in Spain by investment in the country’s economy. Applicants choose from six options to contribute:

  1. Purchase real estate — €500,000.

  2. Open a deposit in a Spanish bank — €1,000,000.

  3. Purchase shares of Spanish companies — €1,000,000.

  4. Purchase units in investment funds — €1,000,000.

  5. Purchase government bonds — €2,000,000.

  6. Invest in a business in Spain.

Upon making the investment, participants are granted a 2-year residence permit in Spain. Following these two years, they can renew the permit for another 5 years.

Golden Visa investors can eventually obtain permanent residency and return the investment. To get permanent residency, they need to live in the country for 5 years without leaving it for more than 10 months in total.

8 benefits of the Spain Golden Visa for Americans

1. Moving to Spain with the whole family. With the Golden Visa program, Americans looking to move to Spain can invite their direct family members and provide them with residency. This applies to the investor’s spouse, children, and parents.

2. No residency requirements. The investor and their family members are not obliged to live in Spain permanently or spend any time here at all. They only need to visit the country to renew the residence permit.

The investor is required to actually reside in Spain only if they are aiming for permanent residence status in 5 years.

3. No requirements for inventors’ education or experience. Americans obtaining a Golden Visa in Spain don’t need to learn Spanish, have a degree, or prove their business experience to invest and get residence permits.

4. Access to universal healthcare. Spain boasts a high-quality healthcare system, providing universal coverage for all residents. Most primary care is free; patients only pay a proportion of prescription charges.

5. Education in any EU country. Americans with a Golden Visa can study at any Spanish university without having to obtain a visa and pay tuition fees for international students. Besides, investors and their family members can take short courses, up to 90 days in duration, at universities in other EU states.

6. Permission to work and do business in Spain. Golden Visa investors can move their businesses to Spain and access the EU market. They can also obtain a work permit to get employed by a local company.

7. Lower cost of living. Life in Spain is cheaper than in the US. To live comfortably in the country, one person needs, on average, $750 per month without rent. For comparison, a person with a similar lifestyle in the US will need around $1,200 per month.

8. Picturesque scenery and rich culture. Spain ranks among the world’s top tourist destinations, and it’s easy to see why. The country offers magnificent beaches along both the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, picturesque mountainous national parks, and captivating volcanic landscapes.

Equally diverse is Spain’s cultural heritage. Shaped by a tapestry of historical influences, the country now showcases a distinctive fusion of Roman, Gothic, and Moorish architecture. Additionally, it boasts renowned modernist landmarks like Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia.

La Caleta beach | Spain Golden Visa

La Caleta beach, located in the historic port city of Cadiz in Andalusia, is one of Blue Flag beaches in Spain. The country has the highest number of “Blue Flags” in the world — 729 in total

Who is eligible for the Spain Golden Visa

To apply for a Golden Visa in Spain, US citizens must invest at least $500,000 in the country’s economy. Other than having the investment amount, other criteria for joining the program include the following:

  • age over 18 years old;

  • ability to prove legality of income;

  • the investment money is earned outside of Spain;

  • no criminal record;

  • no debts in Spain;

  • medical insurance.

Investors can invite family members to obtain residence permits as well. This applies only to direct family:

  • investor’s spouse or partner, including same sex couples;

  • children under 18;

  • adult children if they are unmarried, without children, and financially dependent on the investor;

  • investor’s and their spouse’s financially dependent parents.

Expenses for getting Spain Golden Visa

When obtaining a Golden Visa in Spain, applicants have expenses aside from the investment. The additional costs include a notary fee of €600—1,000 and health insurance coverage for all applicants, which is around €1,000 per year.

When it comes to traveling to Spain from the US, the price for flights starts from €500.

Property buyers also cover taxes and fees associated with the real estate transaction:

  • 6—25% — property transfer tax;

  • 10% — VAT;

  • 1,5% — stamp duty;

  • €400—650 — registration fee.

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Spain

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Spain

Documents required to apply for a Spain Golden Visa

To apply for a Golden Visa in Spain, a US citizen is required to provide the following documents:

  1. Passport copy.

  2. Completed and signed application forms.

  3. Two color photos on a white background.

  4. Medical insurance valid in Spain for all participants.

  5. Police clearance for the last 5 years.

  6. Proof of financial dependency for children over 18 and parents, if applicable.

  7. Proof of investment.

  8. Proof of financial solvency. The investor must provide evidence of income of at least 400% of IPREM per month for the main investor and 100% for each family member in the application.

IPREM is an index similar to the minimum wage; it grows each year. In 2023, IPREM is €600 per month. This means that the minimum income one must have in order to get a Golden Visa is €2,400 per month if applying alone.

A married couple will have to show an income of at least €3,000 per month. A family of four — €4,200.

Documents required for investor’s family members for a Spain Golden Visa

Investor’s family members provide documents proving their identity and relations to the main applicant:

  1. Passport copies.

  2. Completed and signed application forms.

  3. Medical insurance.

  4. Police clearance for the last 5 years for all applicants over 18.

  5. Marriage certificate for spouses and birth certificates for children.

Documents proving investment

For each investment type, there are specific documents to provide.

Real estate investors are required to show a certificate from the Land Registry confirming the transfer of ownership to the main applicant.

Capital investors provide a certificate from the institution they transferred money to.

Business investors show a favorable report from the relevant Economic and Commercial Office of their consular district.

How to get a Spain Golden Visa as a US citizen

The most popular and affordable investment option for the Spain Golden Visa is real estate purchase. Typically, it takes at least 3 months to obtain a residency permit. 

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence

Before starting the application process, a certified Anti Money Laundering Officer performs preliminary Due Diligence. This is a mandatory step that allows Immigrant Invest to reduce the rejection risk to 1%.

The background check takes 1 day and requires only the investor’s passport. The results are confidential.

2

1 to 4 months

Real estate purchase

According to the program’s rules, investors first buy real estate and then apply for the Golden Visa.

Immigrant Invest real estate specialists assist investors in finding and acquiring a suitable property. This process can be conducted remotely, as our specialists provide up-to-date photos and videos of the available properties for the investor’s consideration. Once a property is selected, our legal team takes over and manages the transaction on behalf of the investor.

Alternatively, investors can travel to Spain to personally inspect the available properties and participate in the transaction process, if they so prefer.

The lawyer receives an individual taxpayer number for the investor, reviews the transaction terms, and prepares the documents. Then, the investor or the lawyer signs the sale and purchase agreement. After that, the lawyer submits the contract to the Land Registry and receives an ownership certificate.

3

3 to 5 weeks

Document preparation and application

We start preparing the documents simultaneously with the real estate purchase. The investor supplies the necessary application documents, while Immigrant Invest specialists take care of form-filling, document translation, copy certification, and assistance with fee and tax payments.

The lawyers then submit the application online. The program regulations dictate the investor’s presence in Spain at this stage.

Once the application is submitted, the investor and their family members, accompanied by Immigrant Invest lawyers, visit a police station. They provide their fingerprints as per program requirements.

4

Up to 20 days

Collecting residence permit cards

Golden Visa applications are processed within 20 days. Once the residence permit is issued, the investor must collect it personally at a police station. Immigrant Invest lawyers accompany the investor during this stage as well.

Obtaining permanent residency or citizenship after the Golden Visa

Investors with a Golden Visa can eventually obtain permanent residency and citizenship in Spain.

To obtain permanent residence, a Golden Visa investor has to reside in Spain for at least 5 years. Within that time, they should not be absent from the country for more than 10 months in total.

When applying for permanent residency, a foreigner submits their passport, residency card, proof of income, and City Hall registration certificate.

To obtain citizenship, one is required to have lived in Spain with a residency permit for at least 10 years, take language proficiency and cultural exams, and prove a clean criminal record.

A mandatory condition of acquiring Spanish nationality by naturalization is to renounce the applicant’s first citizenship. Spain doesn’t recognise multiple citizenships with most countries.

The exceptions are Portugal, Andorra, and former Spanish colonies: Latin American countries, the Philippines, and Equatorial Guinea. Nationals of these countries can keep their first passports when acquiring a Spanish one.

Moving to Spain: important things to know as an American expat

Over 5.5 million foreign residents live in Spain. The largest foreign populations in the country are primarily from Morocco, Romania, Colombia, the UK, and Italy.

Madrid and Barcelona are the largest cities in Spain. They offer the benefits of major urban centers, including robust job markets, rich cultural life, and large expatriate communities. A large portion of the population in these cities understands English.

Other cities that are popular among foreign residents in Spain include Valencia, Malaga, and Seville. These are smaller urban centers known for offering a relaxed pace of life, a relatively lower cost of living, and a family-friendly environment.

Around 30% of the population speaks English. Even though the number of English-speaking Spaniards increases, it’s a good idea for a US expat to learn basic phrases in Spanish.

Working hours. Working hours for businesses and government facilities in Spain are different from those in the US.

On business days, the workday typically begins between 9 and 11 AM and ends between 5 and 7 PM. Sundays are generally observed as days off for most businesses and facilities, including supermarkets, restaurants, and pharmacies.

In the southern part of the country, people still keep the tradition of siestas, a 2-hour lunch break in the afternoon. Many shops, cafes, and small businesses close for a siesta every day. However, this practice is less common in large cities and the northern regions of Spain.

Work-life balance. In Spain, people tend to have a more laid-back lifestyle than in the US. Staying late at the office is not a common practice, and overworking is not encouraged. Instead, locals prefer having weeknight parties and spending time with friends.

Key points on the Spain Golden Visa for US citizens

  1. The Spain Golden Visa allows one to obtain a residency permit in the country by making an investment of at least €500,000. There are six investment options, with real estate purchase being the most popular and affordable among them.

  2. It takes at least 3 months to obtain a Golden Visa by investment in property.

  3. US citizens with a Golden Visa can move to Spain, but don’t have to do so. They are only required to visit the country to renew their residence permits. The first residence permit is issued for 2 years and can be renewed for another 5 years.

  4. After 5 years of continuously residing in Spain, a Golden Visa investor can apply for permanent residency. This is possible only if they didn’t leave the country for longer than 10 months in total within the last 5 years.

  5. The investor can obtain citizenship in Spain as well. For that, they need to continuously reside in the country for 10 years, learn Spanish, and give up their first nationality.

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?

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Will you obtain a Spain Golden Visa?

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