2023

Reading Time: 6 min

Spain residence permit for a single mother to start a new life after divorce

My ex-husband and I had been dreaming of moving to Europe for several years, but we were too busy with our careers and raising our son, Elias.

We have divorced recently. And I thought, “Well, now is the time to start a new life. Relocating to Europe can be the first step.”

Leyla

Leyla, 45

CEO of an international shipping company in Lebanon

Clients’ names and photos have been changed

Spain Golden Visa by purchase of real estate

Spain residence permit for a single mother to start a new life after divorce

Leyla is the CEO of an international shipping company. She has a 14-year-old son, Elias.

While living in Lebanon, Leyla had a routine life that only consisted of working and raising her son. After the divorce, she realised she was tired of her old lifestyle and wanted something new and exciting. Leyla’s work was stable and could be done remotely.

Besides, Elias was already a teenager, so he didn’t require as much attention as before, but needed to think about further education and a future career.

So, Leyla decided to change her life drastically. After contemplating a little, she settled her mind on her old dream — living in Europe. It could give many opportunities for travelling and a bright future for Elias. Leyla thought she must give it a try.

She started to gather information on residence permits and relocation. Residency by investment attracted her attention as it was one of the fastest and easiest ways to move to Europe. Leyla understood the outline of the process. However, she wasn’t sure she would be able to do everything on her own.

Thus, she addressed her colleague, who had already obtained European residency by investment and sought their advice. The colleague recommended contacting a reliable agent, Immigrant Invest, and Leyla did so.

European residence options for Leyla

Immigrant Invest lawyers offered Leyla four residency by investment programs that operate in Europe. The investor planned to relocate to Europe and live in her own property, so each program needed to have a purchase of a real estate option.

Spain residency by investment. The minimum sum of investment in real estate is €500,000. The property can be residential or commercial.

Greece’s residence permit can be obtained by investing €250,000 in residential and commercial real estate. The investor can own or register a property with an EU-based company. It is required that the investor owns 100% of the company’s shares.

Malta. A foreigner gets a permanent residence permit if they fulfil three requirements: buy or rent a residential property, pay administrative and state fees, and donate to a Maltese non-government organisation.

Real estate that qualifies must cost:

  • €300,000+ if it’s located in the south of Malta or on the Gozo island;

  • €350,000+ if it is in northern or central Malta.

If a foreigner decides to rent a property, the cost requirements are:

  • €10,000 per annum — if it’s located in the south of Malta or on the island of Gozo;

  • €12,000 per annum — if situated in northern or central Malta.

Other expenses include an administrative fee of €40,000, a contribution fee of €28,000 or €58,000, and a charitable donation of €2,000.

The investor must have at least €500,000 in available assets, including at least €150,000 of liquid financial assets.

Cyprus. Under the Cypriot residency by investment program, one can buy a residential or commercial property for a minimum of €300,000 and obtain permanent residency for life. Real estate can be rented out.

Why Leyla decided to get a residence permit in Spain

While considering options, Leyla noticed that Spain and Cyprus allowed investors to buy more than one property. The accumulated price of purchased real estate must be €500,000 and €300,000 or more, respectively.

Leyla decided it was the perfect opportunity to buy real estate for herself and her son. While Elias is a minor, she can rent the second apartment out and get a year yield of 3—5%. Then, her son can move there and start an independent life.

Cyprus was an attractive option due to the sum of investment — €300,000, but its permanent residency didn’t allow one to travel to the Schengen countries visa-free. Leyla, who wanted more freedom of movement, wasn’t happy with it.

On the contrary, Spain, as a part of the Schengen Area, gave her a right to enter other Schengen states without visas. So the decision was made.€500,000

Comparing terms of Spain and Cyprus residency by investment

Terms

Minimum investment in real estate

€500,000

€300,000 

Possibility to buy two properties

Yes

Yes

Leasing of the investment property is permitted 

Yes

Yes

Visa-free entry to the Schengen Area

Yes

No

Choosing real estate in Spain

Immigrant Invest has a database with reliable properties all over Spain that Leyla could choose from. We advised her on the most suitable ones. Leyla couldn’t come to the country to examine real estate herself, so our lawyers did that on her behalf. They sent photos and videos.

Leyla chose residential properties in Alicante because she liked the town’s location on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, its relatively small size and its picturesque nature and architecture.

Alicante is situated near Murcia, which is famous for housing the University of Murcia and being the biggest student city in Spain. So, Elias, if he wants, can study at the university not far from home.

The family purchased two apartments in different residential complexes:

  • a two-bedroom one for €340,000;

  • and a one-bedroom apartment for €270,000.

Leyla and Elias preferred properties with panoramic windows, sea views, and outdoor swimming pools. The first apartment also has tennis courts and sports playgrounds.

How Leyla got Spain residence permits

The whole process took around 8 months. Leyla contacted Immigrant Invest in February 2023; in October 2023, she and her son had already obtained their resident permits.

1

February 15th, 2023

Leyla contacted Immigrant Invest

Before signing a Service Agreement, Immigrant Invest always conducts a preliminary Due Diligence. It helps to understand the investor’s background and figure out how to act to avoid a refusal.

Preliminary Due Diligence is entirely confidential and is done in one day. The only thing the investor must do is to provide their passport.

Leyla’s background was clean. Thus, after the check, we signed a Service Agreement with her and started to work on the case.

2

+4 months

Purchase of real estate, €681,150

Leyla couldn’t come to Spain to choose properties. So, she signed a power of attorney. It allowed the lawyer to act on her behalf in Spain.

Immigrant Invest lawyer received an individual taxpayer number for the investor and checked the transaction terms.

When Leyla decided upon two properties, she and the lawyer signed sale and purchase agreements with the developer. Then, the lawyer submitted the document to the Land Registry in Spain to receive ownership certificates.

The total value of the two apartments was €610,000. Besides paying for the properties, Leyla spent:

  • 10% VAT — €61,000;

  • a stamp duty of 1,5% — €9,150;

  • a notary fee — €600;

  • a registration fee — €400.

3

+6 weeks

Preparation of documents, €2,500

Our lawyers provided Leyla with a list of required documents. She started to prepare them during the process of purchasing real estate. All the documents were translated by certified translators, notarised and apostilled by the lawyers.

The list included:

  • Leyla and Elias’s passports;

  • birth certificates;

  • a no criminal record certificate for Leyla;

  • documents proving financial independence: earning €3,000 a month to support the family and having at least €54,000 of savings, which proves the financial solvency for 1.5 years;

  • bank references for the last 12 months;

  • health insurance for both Leyla and Elias;

  • passport-size photos.

Among other papers, Leyla had to provide a signed document from Elias’s father proving that he was allowing his son to leave Lebanon. The father wrote a consent letter and went to the notary to have it notarized. Then he handed it to Leyla.

At this stage, Leyla paid €2,000 for her and Elias’s health insurance and around €500 for legal services.

4

+1 week

Applying for a residence permit, €21.88

When Immigrant Invest representatives obtained real estate ownership certificates for both properties, they informed Leyla that she needed to come to Spain.

She and her son entered the country on Schengen visas, and their lawyer applied for residence permits. The fee for issuing a residence card was €10.94 per applicant.

5

+25 days

Approval

25 days after the submission, Immigrant Invest received a notification that Leyla and her son’s application was approved. The family came to Spain to submit their fingerprints.

6

October 18th, 2023

Collection of residence permits

The residence permit cards were issued 37 days after the approval. When the lawyer was informed that the cards were ready, the family came to Spain to collect them.

The lawyer accompanied Leyla and Elias to a police station, where they got their residence permits.

Leyla and Elias’s life after becoming Spanish residents

The family moved to Spain in November 2023 and are now getting used to their new life. So far they enjoy Spain, its culture, history and cuisine. They also want to experience traditional Christmas bazaars in different European countries. With Spanish residence permits, they can enter other Schengen states visa-free.

Leyla found a great English-speaking school for Elias, where he has already started his studies. She also motivated her son to start learning Spanish alongside her. She hopes Elias will continue studying at Spain’s university and knowing Spanish will expand his options.

At the beginning of 2024, Leyla plans to start looking for people she can rent their second apartment out to. She expects to get a year yield of 4—5%.

This case was provided by our expert

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Head of the Maltese office, MBA

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Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Head of the Maltese office, MBA

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