Understanding Spain’s Golden VisaFebruary 4th 2024 | by Darren Burns
If you have been considering moving to Spain or buying Spanish property and are a non-EU citizen, you may have already come across the term, “Golden Visa”. In our experience, if you are considering moving to the “Siesta Haven”, understanding how to negotiate the legalities of residency should be considered an important objective and decoding the “golden visa” is of course one of the first tasks for anyone who is not an EU citizen.
What is a Golden Visa in Spain?
The Golden Visa program in Spain offers an opportunity for non-EU citizens to embrace life in Spain through a visa granted in return for substantial investments in Spain. Whether it’s investing in real estate, contributing to innovative projects, or creating job opportunities, the program opens doors to a temporary residency. This pathway not only allows individuals and their families to enjoy the beauty of Spain but also presents a potential journey toward permanent residency or even citizenship after five-years. It’s a dynamic initiative designed to bring positivity and investment into the Spanish community, creating a win-win scenario for everyone involved.
The Spanish Golden Visa program offers a diverse range of investment options:
- Make a minimum investment of €500,000 in Spanish Real Estate (without a mortgage).
- Invest €2 million in Spanish public debts.
- Invest €1 million in Spanish companies through shares.
- Deposit €1 million in a Spanish bank account.
- Entrepreneurs Visa (start a business).
What is the best Investment Type for a Golden Visa?e
Real Estate Investment in Spain
Naturally, the most common investment made is Spanish real estate investment. This can go hand in hand with a Golden Visa application, assuming you will also need a place to live. Additionally making an investment in the vibrant Spanish real estate market is by far the most popular choice. You can spread the €1/2m investment across several properties. Spanish property is an excellent long term investment. Average property values across Spain increased by 3.2% per year, from 2002 – 2023. Of course, in-demand locations can perform considerably better. It is a cost effective investment to obtain a visa in Spain with a €500,000 minimum investment, while also making considerable savings on rent.
It is also extremely common to purchase properties for long and short term rental businesses. Popular tourist areas such as Marella and the Costa Del Sol are excellent investment regions with year round tourism. With solid real estate growth average yields across Spain including valuation growth stood at 10% in 2021, according to Bank of Spain data. If you want a more passive income, it is possible to use one of Spain’s many rental Management businesses. They can often look after everything for you for a percentage fee.
Investing In Spanish Public Debt
While a €2 million investment is required, this more expensive route to a Spanish Visa is popular. Investing in Spanish public debt (Spanish Government Bonds) is considered to be a low risk investment with yields averaging around 3% for a 10 bond. Of course this is something of a changing landscape and we recommend consulting with a financial advisor in Spain for the most up to date rates available.
This can be a good option for those wanting to live in Spain who do not want to purchase a home. But it is important to remember that funds are tied up for a considerable amount of time. At Nevado Realty, we have found property investment to provide higher yields with the option to liquidate without penalties.
Investing In Existing Spanish Businesses
With a €1 million Euro minimum investment required, investing in an existing Spanish can be an expensive and risky process. We can only recommend this for experienced businesses personnel who have the ability to assess the risk and growth potential. Naturally, doing business in Spain can be very different to transacting in other countries, and extensive research is a must. At Nevado Realty, we highly recommend consulting with a Spanish lawyer to ensure that your investment meets the required visa criteria.
Spanish Entrepreneur Visa
The entrepreneur’s visa is the only “Golden Visa” type that requires no minimum investment and you won’t need to employ anyone. While this may seem initially attractive, it is important to know that it is also one of the most difficult visas to obtain in Spain. One of the most important criteria (of which there are many) is that most business types will not qualify. There is a fundamental requirement that your startup must be original. Additionally, that there is no product or service offering the same. Overcoming this can be a significant stumbling block. An application should be considered only if you manage to do so. You can explore this idea further at the official website for Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores.
Navigating the Golden Visa Journey: Insights and Advice from a Relocator to Spain
- Tell us about you and the factors that motivated your decision to relocate to Spain? I’m Adrian, 49, with a background in property development in Manchester. My wife Paulina, 45, holds a Ph.D. in Psychology. In 2019, we planned extensive travel but the pandemic changed our course. Brexit added complexity to European travel, prompting us to consider permanent relocation. We aimed for a warm climate, a relaxed lifestyle, and proximity to family in the UK. Discovering the Spanish Golden Visa, we focused on properties along the southern coast. Initially we were looking at property for sale in Marbella centre. However, after some time here, we discovered other areas which suited our requirements better.
- What prompted your selection of a Property Investment Golden Visa, and what considerations influenced this choice? After taking time to understand the financial conditions, we realised this worked well for our particular situation. Importantly, it ticked all the boxes for us. We had sold our primary residence in the UK, so it made sense for us to buy a permanent home. We initally researched how to buy property in Spain, as it is a very different process to the UK. We settled on buying a villa in Estepona.
- Did you hire professionals for your visa application? Yes, we used the same lawyers who handled our house purchase. Most lawyers in Costa Del Sol are knowledgeable about the Golden Visa process.
- How long did the application take, and were there unexpected challenges? It took a few months due to various documents. Things move slower in Spain than the UK. Once UK nationals apply, the 90-day allowance stops. Allow extra time, especially for documents from Spanish banks.
- Any advice for those moving to Spain based on your experience? We have no regrets. Adjust your pace of life and savor the beauty of this country!
- Do you have any recommendations for Golden Visa applicants? Hire a good lawyer or gestor. Check reviews or with other clients before choosing.
Thank you for reading our Guide to Golden Visa’s in Spain. For professional advice on buying or selling, please contact our team at Nevado Realty. We also have close links with experienced Visa experts in the Marbella area.
We invite you to watch our video conversation with our CEO Gines Garcia and our Golden Visa Legal expert, Jose Luis. Nevado Realty are at your disposal should you have any questions on moving to or buying in Spain.