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 to secure residency in Spain in exchange for a qualifying economic contribution.
Thanks to the Spain Golden Visa program, global citizens who are not part of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland can financially invest 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 Spain Golden Visa, including the program’s benefits, requirements, and application process.
- Golden Visa Spain: Brief Overview
- Reasons to Apply for the Spanish Golden Visa
- Eligibility Requirements for the Golden Visa Spain
- Spain Golden Visa Program Investment Options
- Application Process
- Step-by-Step Guide
- Golden Visa Processing Time
- Required Documents for the Golden Visa in Spain
- Government Fees
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 the Spain Investor Visa, or Spanish Residence Permit Program – is a residency by investment program. This program offers non-EU citizens legal residence in Spain in exchange for an investment.
It is not a direct route to obtain Spanish citizenship. However, after acquiring a Golden Visa and spending ten years as a Spanish resident, you could be eligible for citizenship.
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 Spanish companies, 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. As of 2021, 13,000 Golden Visas have been approved, according to the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration (Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones).
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 ($546,000) in real estate, or at least €1 million ($1.09 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. You can obtain permanent residency after you’ve been domiciled in the country for 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 requires the investor and their qualified family members to live in Spain for at least six months per year 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 allow eligible investors and/or their families to successfully apply for Spanish citizenship. Some nationals of former Spanish colonies can benefit from a reduced length of full-time residency before being eligible to apply for and obtain Spanish citizenship.
General benefits of the Investor Visa
While there are plenty of Golden Visas across Europe, the Spanish Golden Visa application process is one of the easiest, known for its speed and clarity. Applicants who successfully acquire the Golden Visa in Spain can enjoy key Golden Visa benefits, among other advantages.
- Visa-free travel throughout the Schengen Area: Since Spain is an EU member state and part of the Schengen Area, obtaining the Spain Golden Visa means you can travel visa-free to all 26 countries constituting the Schengen zone.
- Create a “safe haven” by moving to Spain: Having a ‘plan B’ puts your mind at ease in times of economic or political instability or global crisis.
- The right to work and do business in Spain: Obtaining a Spanish residence visa means you can live, work and do business 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.
- Access to an EU standard of education and healthcare: As a Spanish Golden Visa holder, you and your family gain the right to high-quality education and healthcare in Spain.
- Easy renewal: The residence permit is easily renewable, and you only have to visit Spain twice a year in order to maintain the permit.
- Fast processing time: It is possible to acquire the residence permit within 60 days of submitting a Spain Golden Visa application.
- EU citizenship eligibility after ten years of residency: The Spain Golden Visa is renewable, and provided that the minimum investment is maintained, EU citizenship is possible after ten years of residency.
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, according to the Global Passport Index, it allows them access to the world at large with visa-free travel or visa-on-arrival access to 173 countries. Spanish passport holders 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 succeed in their citizenship applications, applicants must show proof that they have resided in Spain 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 with a clean criminal record and who makes a qualifying financial investment in the Spanish economy is eligible for a residence permit under the investment immigration program, along with their immediate and dependent family members.
If you and 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 Spain investment visa scheme provides flexible investment options to qualifying investors, such as 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.
Spain Golden Visa Program Investment Options
Real estatePurchase commercial and/or residential real estate in Spain with a minimum value of €500,000 ($546,000)
Spanish public debt securitiesInvest at least €2 million ($2.18 million) in public debt securities
Stocks, shares, or bank depositsInvest at least €1 million ($1.09 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 investmentInvest 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
There are a few taxes you might want to consider when applying for the Golden Visa in Spain, and they are as follows:
- 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: 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 ($6,550); 21 percent for income between €6,000 and €50,0000 ($56,000); 23 percent for income between €50,000 and €200,000 ($218,000); 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.
After purchasing real estate property for at least €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 your family members do not need to live in Spain to maintain your residency visa permit, you must visit Spain to renew it.
Note that due to legislative changes in recent years, nationals from a select few countries can 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 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 three consecutive months.
Countries that enjoy fast-track to citizenship privileges include:
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
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.
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 bank account/NIE
8. Issuance of Golden Visa
9. Citizenship application
- Decide on your investment route: Choose whether you want to invest in real estate property or make a capital investment.
- Make the qualifying financial investment: Have all documentation translated into Spanish or English and legalized according to the Spanish government’s standards.
- 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
- File the initial application with the Spanish Consulate: You will need to pay the government application fee and provide all the required documentation.
- Book your interview
- 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.
- Open a Spanish bank account and NIE: A bank account and NIE (Foreigner’s Identification Number/tax identification number) make conducting business and personal affairs easier in Spain.
- 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
- Apply for citizenship: You will receive your Spanish passport after ten years.
Golden Visa Processing 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
The Spanish authority reviews and approves the application.
Right before the two-year residency permit expires, go to Spain and renew your application.
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 for both the initial application and each renewal. Additional documents also may be required. Check with your nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate for further clarification.
Commonly required documents:
- Your completed application
- Original and a copy of your passport, valid for at least one year, with two blank pages for the visa
- A recent, passport-size, colored photograph with a white background
- Original and copy of valid medical insurance: Public health insurance or private health insurance contracted with an insurance company licensed to operate in Spain
- 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).
- 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 all applicants besides Singaporean nationals, their certificate must be legalized by the Spanish Consulate/Embassy there.
- Proof of payment of the visa fee, which must be paid in the local currency (Euros) Please note that the fee is subject to regular changes due to currency fluctuations.
- Proof of lawful residence in the consular district where the applicant is residing
- 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.
- The primary applicant must show proof of sufficient financial means for the next two years equal to an amount of €2,130 ($2,325) monthly, plus an extra €532 ($580) for each dependent person under their charge who is also acquiring a residence visa.
- To provide a financial guarantee, the applicant must produce an original copy and a photocopy of their savings or current account bank statements showcasing bank deposits and transactions up to at least 12 months. Their name as the account holder must be stated in each document.
Documents required for applicant family members:
- The general documents 1-7 apply to family members.
- A marriage certificate has to be provided if your spouse applies with you for the Golden Visa. If your country of origin is not the United Arab Emirates, 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 Spanish Consulate in the country of issuance.
- If children apply, birth certificates are to be provided along with the same certification requirements and any medical statement proving their dependency if they are over 18.
Documents required for real estate buyers:
- Proof of purchase showing that the property has been purchased at least 90 days before your visa application is submitted.
- Property Registry Filing certificate or notarized deeds proving that the real estate deeds have been submitted to the Property Registry.
Documents Required for Capital Investors:
- 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.
- Proof that the investment has been made no more than 60 days before the application is submitted.
- Proof that the investments are justified:
i. In the case of the acquisition of non-publicly traded company shares, present a certificate issued by the Registry of Foreign Investments of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Registro de Inversiones Exteriores del Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad).
ii. In the case of the acquisition of publicly traded companies, present a certificate of a registered broker.
iii. In the case of the acquisition of Spanish bonds, a certificate of the bank transfer or of the Bank of Spain accrediting the investment for a period of at least five years.
iv. In the case of bank deposits, a bank certificate showing proof of the deposit.
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 can 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 will be the official letter from your background check. Do not detach the documents for any reason.
All documents and certificates 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 and obtaining an NIE number
The NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is a Spanish identification and tax number given to foreigners. It is used for many legal or official activities in Spain, from filing tax returns to purchasing real estate. An NIE number is required when conducting fiscal transactions involving the Spanish tax office. Therefore, obtaining an NIE number as soon as possible will make life easier in Spain.
Non-EU citizens typically receive their application for an NIE with their Spanish residency permit. You can expect to be required to present a Spanish NIE in these circumstances:
- Opening bank accounts
- Signing an employee contract
- Filing tax returns
- Buying or selling real estate
- Renting property
- Automotive purchase and sale
- Becoming self-employed
- Incorporating a business
- Inheritance arrangements
- Registering as a foreign student
- Applying for a Spanish driver’s license
- Arranging basic utilities
The Spanish government charges specific fees concerning the Golden Visa. 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 ($1,240)
- For real estate and capital investments: €1,910 ($2,083)
- For added family members: €1,202 ($1,311)
Legal costs are normally around €8,000 ($8,730) for a single applicant, €10,500 ($11,450) for a family of four for the initial application, and €2,500 ($2,730) for each renewal.
We work for the buyer
It is well known that real estate agents work exclusively for the property vendor 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 percent 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 program established by the Spanish government in 2013. The program is geared toward non-EU investors who want to make either capital 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 must meet Spain’s immigrant investor program’s requirements in order to obtain the visa, which a Spanish Consulate or Embassy issues. 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 is the residency permit valid?
The first residency permit you obtain is valid for two years. After these two years, 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 must live in Spain for at least five years to acquire permanent residence, or ten years if you would like to obtain a Spanish Golden Passport Spain.
Can I apply for Spanish citizenship with a Golden Visa?
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, usually after ten years of residency.
Can I fast-track to Spanish citizenship?
Certain nationals from former Spanish colonies may be eligible to fast-track the route to citizenship in Spain. In just two years, you can obtain an EU passport. Conditions include fulfilling the minimum stay requirement, which is a requirement to travel to Spain every two and a half to three months, or eight times in total, within the two-year period. You must also pass a language exam.
Can I work in Spain with a Golden Visa?
The Golden Visa authorizes the holder to work and live in Spain.
When does the Golden Visa start counting?
The two-year validity of the Spanish Golden Visa starts counting from the day that the visa is issued.
What does a financial guarantee mean for the Golden Visa requirement?
Each applicant must show proof of enough income or savings to live 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 statement
What is the cost of the Spain Golden Visa to get citizenship?
The Spain Golden Visa 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 ($546,000). You can invest in more than one property, whether commercial or residential.
Another option would be to make a bank deposit of at least €1 million ($1.09 million) or invest €1 million in shares of Spanish businesses. You can also contribute €2 million ($2.18 million) 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?
You are automatically granted the right to apply for Spanish residency from a real estate purchase of at least €500,000 ($546,000).
What are my Spain Golden Visa property options?
You are not limited to purchasing one property or type of property. You are qualified for residency as long as the real estate investment meets or exceeds €500,000 ($546,000). 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.
Can I buy a mix of properties individually and with bank loans?
As long as you invest €500,000 ($546,000) 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 ($1.09 million), you can invest €500,000 from your own funds and get a mortgage for the remaining €500,000.
Can I get a Spanish passport?
Provided that you fulfill the government’s criteria of residing in Spain for ten years and follow all the legal steps to acquire Spanish nationality, you may be eligible for a Spanish passport.
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 ten years, you’ll become eligible for an EU passport, which means you’ll no longer require a passport or have to submit a Schengen visa application to visit EU countries in the Schengen Area.
Does Spain have a Golden Visa?
Spain has a Golden Visa program that grants foreign investors 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 is a Spanish visa that gives you full residency rights in Spain and access to the Schengen Area and other EU countries. It enables you to live and work in Spain, access the country’s national healthcare system, and more.