Golden Visa Spain 2023 – The Ultimate Guide by Experts

Spain’s world-class beaches, mouth-watering cuisine, rich culture, and high living standards are attractive enough prospects for relocation. Much like other nations have adopted the Golden Visa Spain also offers foreign investors and their families an opportunity at residency in Spain in exchange for a qualifying economic contribution.

Thanks to the Spanish Golden Visa program, global citizens who are not part of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EE), or Switzerland can make a financial investment in Spain and be granted a legal residence permit.

In this ultimate guide, we aim to provide you with practical and up-to-date information on the procedure of the Spanish Golden Visa, including the program’s benefits, requirements, and application process.

about Golden Visa Spain

Golden Visa Spain: Brief Overview

Launched in 2013 by the Spanish government as part of their national strategy to boost their economy and increase foreign investments, the Spanish Golden Visa – also officially known as Spain Investor Visa, or Spanish Residence Permit Program – is a residency by investment scheme aimed at high-net-worth-individuals and foreign investors outside of the European Union.

The Spanish Investor Visa program grants qualifying individuals a renewable, temporary residence permit in exchange for an investment in the country. Individuals can either purchase real estate, invest in a Spanish business, create employment opportunities, or make a qualifying contribution to government bonds.

Reasons to Apply for the Spanish Golden Visa

Similar to Portugal’s Golden Visa program, the Investor Visa program has proven particularly popular among applicants from China, Russia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, and India. Between January to June 2019 alone, 848 residency applications were approved, and as of 2021, 13,000 Golden Visas were approved according to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

What’s behind the program’s popularity? Well, a key advantage of the Spanish Golden Visa is that the government legislation does not impose a minimum period of residence. Qualifying applicants and their family members who meet the program’s requirements and invest at least €500,000 in either real estate, or at least €1 million in a business, government bonds, or otherwise, are offered an easy and quick way to a residence permit. The initial residence permit is granted for one year, or two years if you visit Spain, which can then be renewed every five years.

Permanent residency can be applied for after you’ve actually lived in the country for a period of five years. Please note that applicants will be required to visit Spain to submit their biometric data. While it is not necessary to live in Spain in order to obtain and renew residence permits, the pathway to citizenship does require the investor and their qualified family members to live at least six months per year in Spain for ten consecutive years.

Investors must also travel to Spain twice a year, leaving no more than five and a half to six months between each visit. This will then allow eligible investors and/or their families to be successful in their application for Spanish citizenship. Some nationalities, including former Spanish colonies, can benefit from a reduced length of full-time residency before being able to apply for and obtain Spanish citizenship.

General Benefits of the Investor Visa

While there are plenty of Golden Visas across Europe, the Spanish Visa has one of the easiest application processes, known for its speed and clarity. Applicants who are successful in acquiring the Golden Visa in Spain are able to enjoy key golden visa benefits, among other advantages.

  • Fast processing time – It is possible to acquire the residence permit within 60 days from the time the Golden Visa application is submitted.
  • Travel visa-free – Since Spain is an EU member state, when obtaining the golden visa, you can travel visa-free to the other 26 countries that constitute the Schengen zone.
  • EU rights – Obtaining a residence permit means you can live, work and study in Spain.
  • Family residency plans – Your spouse and children under the age of 18 are guaranteed residence permits. Other family members can also obtain residency, provided paperwork is presented, showing they are your legal dependents.
  • Family security guarantee – Having a ‘plan B’ puts your mind at ease in times of economic or political instability.
  • Easy renewal – The residence permit can be easily renewed and you only have to visit Spain twice a year in order to maintain the permit.
  • Donation-free – No donation is required as it is an investment-only program that provides many different investment options.
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Spanish Citizenship and Passport

The Spanish Golden Visa program has proven to be one of the most popular residency and citizenship-by-investment programs in Europe. Obtaining a Spanish passport is an ultimate dream for many individuals as it allows them access to the world at large with visa-free travel or visa on arrival to 173 countries, according to the Global Passport Index. Holders of the Spanish passport are also granted the right to study, work and live in any EU-member state.

Citizenship in Spain can be obtained by means of naturalization after ten years of maintaining their residence permit. To be successful in their applications for citizenship, applicants must show proof that they have resided for at least six months every year throughout that period. Once applicants have either permanent residency or citizenship, they are free to disband their investment as further golden visa renewals are not required.

Eligibility Requirements for the Golden Visa Spain

Any non-EU, non-EEA, or non-Swiss citizen who holds a clean criminal record and makes a qualifying financial investment in the Spanish economy is eligible for a residence permit under the investment program, along with their immediate and dependent family members.

If you or your family decide to live in Spain, you become eligible for permanent residency after five years. However, you have to demonstrate that you did not spend more than a total of eleven months outside of Spain within those five years.

The general Golden Visa Spain requirements are:

  • The primary applicant must be over 18 years of age.
  • The primary applicant must make a significant investment as stipulated by the Spanish government, and provide proof of the respective financial investment.
  • Applicants must possess a clean criminal record.
  • Applicants must not be on the nation’s list of undesirable people.
  • Applicants must have valid medical insurance coverage and an official health certificate.
  • Applicants must not have previously been refused visas or entry into the Schengen zone.
  • Applicants must have sufficient funds to sustain themselves while they reside in Spain.

Which Family Members Qualify for the Golden Visa in Spain?

You are able to include your immediate family members in your application for the Golden Visa in Spain, including certain dependents. Those who can qualify are:

  • Your spouse
  • Your children under the age of 18
  • Your dependent family members – on the condition that you present financial proof that they are dependent or have a health condition that makes them unable to provide for themselves.

Spain Golden Visa Program Investment Options

The Spanish Golden Visa scheme provides flexible investment options to qualifying investors and high-net-worth individuals, whether in real estate or capital shares. Most applicants choose the real estate investment option under the Spanish Golden Visa since it provides easy access to the European Union and gives investors and their families a residential home in the Mediterranean to enjoy.

Below are the investment options under the Spanish Golden Visa Scheme. Regardless of your preferred route, do note that you must maintain your investment for a minimum period of five years in order to keep your residence permit.

REAL ESTATE
REAL ESTATE
Purchase commercial and/or residential real estate in Spain with a minimum value of €500,000.
Spanish Public Debt Securities
Spanish Public Debt Securities
Invest at least €2 million in public debt securities.
Stocks, Shares, or Bank Deposit
Stocks, Shares, or Bank Deposit
Invest at least €1 million in stocks or shares of companies operating in Spain, in Spanish investment funds, venture capital funds, or in bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions.
BUSINESS INVESTMENT
BUSINESS INVESTMENT
Invest at least €1 million in starting a business in Spain that generates employment, contributes to technological and/or scientific innovation and has a strong socio-economic impact.

Tax Considerations

There are a few taxes you might want to consider when applying for the Golden Visa in Spain, and they are as follows:

Spain tax considerations
  • Foreign Income Tax – Investors will be taxed on their worldwide income if they reside in Spain for over 183 days in any year.
  • Personal Income Tax (PIT) – Non-residents are subject to a 24 percent tax on income accrued from employment or business conducted in Spain.
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) – Non-residents are subject to a 19 percent tax on financial investment income and capital gains arising from Spanish sources that amount up to €6,000; 21 percent for income between €6,000 and €50,0000; 23 percent for income between €50,000 and €200,000; and 26 percent on amounts exceeding €200,000. This also applies to any profit made from the sale of a property.
  • Property Tax – Individuals are required to pay an annual property tax between 0.4 percent and 1.3 percent, depending on their property type and location.

Application Process

After purchasing real estate property equal to or over €500,000, you will automatically receive a multiple entry initial Golden visa which is valid for one year. Within that year, you must go to Spain in person to apply for the two-year initial residence permit, on the condition that your investment is still in place. While you and/or any of your family members do not need to live in the country to maintain your residency visa permit, you must visit Spain in order to renew your permits.

Note that due to legislative changes in recent years, nationals from a select few countries are able to qualify for Spain’s fast-track citizenship process; namely applicants from former Spanish colonies. The fast-track option is over two short years (730 days) and mandates its own minimum stay requirements that must be met.

These requirements include the need to travel every two and a half months to three months or eight times in total to Spain within a total of 730 days. These residency requirements for citizenship are made possible with a multiple exit golden visa, as long as none of the trips last longer than 3 consecutive months.

Countries that enjoy fast-track to citizenship privileges include: 

  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • Argentina
  • Philippines
  • Cuba
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Venezuela
  • Panama
  • Paraguay

Keep in mind that your application for the Golden Visa can be made in your name or through an EU company fully owned by you. You can get in touch with our specialists at Global Citizen Solutions for more information on how we can take care of the whole application process for you.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. DECIDE ON AN INVESTMENT

2. MAKE THE INVESTMENT

3. PREPARE DOCUMENTS

4. FILL OUT THE APPLICATION

5. BOOK AN INTERVIEW

6. ATTEND INTERVIEW

7. OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT/NIE

8. ISSUANCE OF GOLDEN VISA

9. CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION

  1. Decide on your investment route: Choose whether you want to invest in real estate property or make a capital investment.
  2. Make the qualifying financial investment: Have all documentation translated into Spanish or English and legalized according to the Spanish government’s standards.
  3. Prepare your documents:
    i. Property Registry Filing certificate OR notarized deeds and proof that the deeds have been submitted to the Property Registry.
    ii. All other required documents as stated further down in this guide
    iii. Notarized and translated documents
  4. File the initial application with the Spanish Consulate: You will need to pay the government application fee and provide all the required documentation.
  5. Book your interview
  6. Attend a biometric collections session in Spain:
    i. Wait for the final approval
    ii. Upon approval of your Golden Visa, pay the government permit issue fee.
  7. Open a Spanish bank account and NIE: A bank account and NIE (Foreigner’s Identification Number/tax identification number) make it easier to conduct business and personal affairs in Spain.
  8. Issuance of Golden Visa: Your residence permit will be issued and it will be valid for one year.
    i. Renew your residence permit at the end of year two
    ii. Become a permanent resident in year five
  9. Apply for citizenship: You will receive your Spanish passport after ten years.

Golden Visa Processing Time

MONTHS 1-2

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PREPARATION TIME

  • Clients choose the best investment option suited to their needs.
  • Preparation and submission of an application for the Schengen Visa.
  • Travel to Spain and submit biometric data (fingerprints and photos).

AFTER 20 DAYS

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PROCESSING TIME

The Spanish authority reviews and approves the application.

YEAR 2

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RENEWAL APPLICATION

Right before the two-year residency permit expires, go to Spain and renew your application.

YEAR 10

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APPLY FOR CITIZENSHIP

The citizenship application may be submitted after ten years of permanent residency.

Required Documents for the Golden Visa in Spain

The following documents must be submitted by Golden Visa applicants both for the initial application and for each renewal. Additional documents also may be required. Check with your nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate for further clarification.

Common Required Documents:

  1. Your filled-in application.
  2. Original and a copy of your passport, valid for at least one year with two blank pages for the visa.
  3. A recent, passport-size, colored photograph with a white background.
  4. Original and copy of valid medical insurance: public health insurance or private health insurance contracted with an insurance company licensed to operate in Spain.
  5. Original and photocopy of a medical certificate with an original translation and photocopy of translation if required: This document must be issued no more than 90 days before your appointment date, and must include letterhead and original signature and/or stamp from a doctor (only M.D. or D.O’s will be accepted).
  6. Certified copy of your criminal record certificate showcasing your behavior over the past five years from your country of origin. The certificate must have been issued no more than 90 days before submitting your application and must be valid for a period of three months after the date of issuance. For anyone coming from a country that is not Singapore, their certificate must be legalized by the Spanish Consulate/Embassy there.
  7. Proof of payment of the visa fee, which has to be paid in the local currency (Euros). Please note that the fee is subject to regular changes due to currency fluctuations.
  8. Proof of legal residence in the consular district where the applicant is residing.
  9. Proof of the legal representative’s identity and capacity in cases where the application is submitted through one. An original and a copy of their identity document or passport has to be provided, as well as proof of their power of attorney, or any document accrediting their representation.

Financial Guarantee:

  1. The primary applicant must show proof of sufficient financial means for the next two years equal to an amount of €2,130 monthly, plus an extra €532 for each dependent person under their charge who is also acquiring a residence permit.
  2. To provide a financial guarantee, the applicant must produce an original and a photocopy of their savings accounts or current account bank statements showcasing bank deposits and transactions up to at least 12 months. Their name as the account holder has to be stated in each document.

Documents Required for Applicant Family Members:

  1. The general documents 1-7 apply for family members.
  2. A marriage certificate has to be provided if your spouse applies with you to the Golden Visa. If your country of origin is not in the UAE, the certificate must be legalized by the Spanish Consulate in the country of issuance. If the certificate is in a language other than English or Spanish, it must be officially translated into Spanish or English and the translation must be certified by the Consulate in the country of issuance.
  3. If children apply, birth certificates are to be provided along with the same certification requirements, as well as any medical statement proving their dependency if they are over the age of 18.

Documents Required for Real Estate Buyers:

  1. Proof of purchase showing that the property has been purchased 90 days at most prior to your visa application being submitted.
  2. Property Registry Filing certificate OR notarized deeds and proof that the deeds have been submitted to the Property Registry.

Documents Required for Capital Investors:

  1. Golden Visas under the capital investment route require a substantial investment worth at least €2 million in Spanish bonds, or at least €1 million in the acquisition of shares of Spanish companies, or bank deposits worth at least €1 million in Spanish banks. Proof of those payments has to be provided by the main applicant.
  2. Proof that the investment has been carried out 60 days at most prior to the application being submitted.
  3. Proof that the investments are justified:
    i. In the case of acquisition of shares of non-publicly traded companies, present a certificate issued by the “Registro de Inversiones Exteriores del Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad”, or the Registry of Foreign Investments of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
    ii. In the case of acquisitions of publicly traded companies, present a certificate of a registered broker.
    iii. In the case of acquisition of Spanish bonds, a certificate of a bank or of the Bank of Spain accrediting the investment for a period of at least five years.
    iiii. In the case of bank deposits, a bank certificate showing proof of the deposit.

Legalizing Documents

Any document issued by a government authority needs to be legalized with the Apostille of the Hague, in order to be used in the Golden Visa application.

These documents include but are not limited to: 

  • Criminal record background checks
  • Marriage certificates
  • Birth certificates

Your document must be Apostilled through the country or state where it was issued. In the United States for example, the Secretary of State of each state is able to issue an Apostille. Once your background check is Apostilled, you should have a two-page document. The first page will be the Apostille and the second page will be the official letter from your background check. Do not detach the documents for any reason.

Translating Documents

All documents/certificates that are not originally in Spanish must be translated by a Sworn Spanish translator certified by the Government of Spain. A translation is not needed if the document is available in English or Spanish.

Opening a Spanish Bank Account & the NIE Number

After submitting their Golden Visa application, non-EU citizens typically receive their NIE, or Número de Identificación de Extranjero, application along with their Spanish residency permit. NIE is referred to in English as the Foreigner’s Identification Number, or the tax identification number. The number is mostly used when paying taxes, making official purchases, and going through other legal or official activities. It is used in all fiscal transactions that involve the Spanish tax office.

An NIE number is mandatory for all foreigners with financial, professional, or social affairs in Spain. It is best to have an NIE number as soon as possible even if you are not seeking to obtain permanent residency.

Golden Visa Documents Spain

Government Fees

The Spanish government charges specific fees with respect to the Golden Visa, and although they are subject to change depending on currency fluctuations, they are mainly within the following range:

Golden Visa Spain Cost:

  • For business investments: €1,137
  • For real estate investments and capital transfers: €1,910
  • For added family members: €1,202

Legal costs are normally around €8,000 for a single applicant, €10,500 for a family of four for the initial application, and €2,500 for each renewal.

WE WORK FOR THE BUYER

It is well known that real estate agents work exclusively for the vendor of the property and are incentivized to achieve the highest price for their clients. Without seeking a source of impartial advice elsewhere, buyers have little way of knowing whether they are getting a good deal or are making a sound investment.

At Global Citizen Solutions, we work for the buyer and aim to change the imbalance that exists in many property transactions. With almost a decade of experience, we have a 100% success rate in Golden Visa applications. You can contact us for more information on how we can help you with your Golden Visa Spain needs.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Spanish Golden Visa

What is Spain’s Golden Visa program?

The Spain Golden Visa program is a residency-by-investment visa program established by the Spanish government in 2013. The program is geared toward non-EU investors and high-net-worth individuals who would like to make either capital investments or real estate investments in Spain in exchange for a temporary residency permit.

Qualified applicants and their immediate family members are issued an initial residency visa that can be renewed every few years and acts as a pathway to permanent residency and Spanish citizenship.

How long do Spain Golden Visas last?

It is a two-step process. First, you need to meet Spain’s immigrant investor program’s requirements in order to obtain the visa, which is issued by a Spanish Consulate or Embassy. It permits you to travel to Spain with multiple entries and exits for one year. Within this year, you are required to go to Spain and apply for your residency permit in person.

How long are the residency permits valid?

The first residency permit you obtain is valid for two years. After this two-year period, you can renew it. This renewal is valid for five years. You can continue renewing it every five years as long as you own properties in Spain. You do not have to reside in Spain in order to be allowed to renew your residency permit, which is one of the Golden Visa Spain benefits.

If you want permanent residency or citizenship, you will need to live in Spain for at least five years in order to acquire permanent residency, or ten years if you would like to obtain a ‘Golden passport Spain’.

Can I apply for Spanish citizenship with a Golden Visa?

Yes, you can, the Spain Golden Visa program is seen as a window of opportunity for citizenship. When you make a qualifying investment in Spain and submit your application successfully, the government grants you a renewable residence permit. Once you take the right steps and abide by the program’s investment and stay requirements you become eligible for citizenship, which is usually after ten years of residency.

Can I fast-track to Spanish citizenship?

Yes, certain nationalities who come from former Spanish colonies may be eligible for the fast-track route to citizenship. In just two years, you can obtain a Spanish passport. Conditions include fulfilling the minimum stay requirement, which is the need to travel every two and a half months to three months, or eight times in total to Spain within the two-year period. You must also pass a language exam.

Can I work in Spain with a Golden Visa?

Yes, the Golden Visa authorizes the individual to work and live in Spain.

When does the Golden Visa start counting?

Your residence permit starts counting at the exact date you’re issued with a Golden Visa. Once the Golden Visa is issued, every stay counts.

What does a financial guarantee mean for the Golden Visa requirement?

Each applicant must show proof of enough income or savings to stay in Spain. You can also show proof of your savings with a considerable balance of funds in your account as opposed to showing your monthly income statements.

What is the cost of Golden Visa Spain to get citizenship?

The Golden Visa Spain cost depends on what investment option you select. For the Spain real estate visa option, you will need to purchase real estate with a minimum value of €500,000. You can invest in more than one property and they can be commercial or residential.

Another option would be to make a bank deposit of at least €1,000,000, or alternatively, invest €1,000,000 in shares of Spanish businesses. Finally, you also have the option of contributing €2,000,000 in public debt securities.

How can I get permanent residence in Spain?

In order to be granted permanent residence in Spain, the applicant must have lived legally and effectively in Spain for five years. This means that the individual must not be abroad for over six consecutive months and must not exceed a total of ten months of absence from Spain during the respective years.

Do you get residency if you buy property in Spain?

Yes, if you purchase property with a minimum value of €500,000, you are automatically granted the right to apply for Spanish residency.

What are my Spain Golden Visa property options?

You are not limited to purchasing one property or type. As long as the property/properties amount to or exceed €500,000, you are qualified for residency. Note that you can either opt for residential or commercial property or a combination of both.

The properties involved may be leased. Different buyers can also combine their investments into one property, and any amount exceeding the minimum investment may be mortgaged out.

Can I buy a mix of properties individually and in bank loans?

As long as you invest €500,000 of your own funds, the rest can be financed by a bank of your choosing. E.g. if you buy a property for €1 million, you can place €500,000 out of your own funds, and €500,000 as a mortgage.

Can I get a Spanish passport?

Yes, provided that you fulfill the government’s criteria of residing in Spain for ten years, and follow all the legal steps to citizenship.

How long can I spend in Spain with a Golden Visa?

You can choose to reside indefinitely in Spain with a Golden Visa. In fact, if you reside there for a period of ten years, you’ll become eligible for Spanish citizenship.

Does Spain have a Golden Visa?

Yes, Spain has a Golden Visa scheme that provides foreign investors and high-net-worth individuals with residency rights in exchange for a significant investment in the country’s economy.

What does a Spanish Golden Visa give you?

The Spanish Golden Visa gives you full residency rights in Spain, and access to the Schengen area and Europe at large. It enables you to live and work in Spain, access national healthcare, and more.