During the past few years, there has been a growing demand from non-EU nationals for residency in European countries in exchange for real estate investment. A growing number of European nations have responded by introducing a series of varied schemes, commonly known as “Golden Visa” schemes.

These visas are in high demand, and it is easier than ever before to gain access to Spain, it’s lifestyle, and fascinating culture.

These schemes offer residency in exchange for property purchases, with rules & regulations varying from country to country. The “Golden Visas” are designed to attract foreign investment and stimulate the post-crisis property market and economy.

The “Golden Visa” is primarily targeted at the Russian, Middle Eastern and Chinese markets, but we have noticed that the scheme is also gaining interest from the United States, India and Latin America.

In Spain, the legislation for the “Golden Visa” (also known as the Property Visa), was approved on the 27th September 2013. The “Golden Visa” grants automatic residency in Spain when a property of €500,000 or more is purchased. This can be any type of property: home, commercial, land, or a combination of them all.

The applicant also needs to consider that transactional costs such as transfer taxes and fees paid to notaries, registries, legal counsel, etc., are all extra, so in essence they must have a minimum of around €560,000. This amount must be liquid capital brought into Spain from another country, as the investment requirement cannot be raised by obtaining funds from a source within Spain, for example, a Spanish mortgage.

The “Golden Visa” does not require the holder to be resident in Spain, the only requirement is that the visa holder must visit Spain at least once during each visa period. Therefore, unless the holder exceeds a stay of 183 days a year, and thus becomes a tax resident, they are not obliged to report foreign earned income.

The first visa is issued for 1 year and can be renewed on two separate occasions, each of them for 2 years, giving a total of 5 years, on the understanding that the property investment has not been sold.

The “Golden Visa” allows the successful applicant to bring all their direct family members with them, to enjoy the same benefits, including a working and studying permit that is automatically granted along with the visa. It also works as a tourist visa for the rest of the countries that belong to the Schengen area, meaning that the holder can spend 3 months in these other countries within each period of 6 months, making family travel in Europe a real possibility.

If the holder wishes to reside and pay taxes in Spain, the “Golden Visa” will allow them to apply for a long-term residency after five years, and citizenship after 10 years (two years if they are from Latin America).

If after reading this, you are interested in applying for a “Golden Visa”, please feel free to contact us, as we have a number of preferred lawyers who will be able to help, and of course some beautiful properties that are just waiting for you!