On the 18th of September 2013, the Spanish Government modified the Spanish immigration law to allow what is called the “Golden Visa”, granting Resident Visas to non-EU Nationals who invest in Spain.
To qualify for this visa the investments must meet one of the following conditions.
- The acquisition of shares in Spanish companies of an amount greater than 1,000,000€
- The purchase of Spanish Government bonds of an amount greater than 2,000,000€.
- The creation of business projects of general interest.
- The purchase of a property or properties of a value greater than 500,000€.
The Visas are granted for two years, and are renewable after the two years providing the criteria are still met.
The 2015 Update
In 2015 the Golden Visa scheme was updated to make it attractive to a wider range of investors, causing the following changes:
- The visa is now valid for 2 years without renewal.
- All direct descendants and ascendants of the investor will be allowed to obtain a residency permit.
- The residency permit now includes the right to work in Spain.
- Married couples are no longer required to spend €500,000 each individually to qualify. This also now applies to unmarried, co-habiting couples with a ‘domestic partnership’.
- Investors can now qualify despite investing (directly or indirectly) through a company, as long as they still own the majority of the company’s shares and the company is not in a tax haven.
- There is no longer a legal requirement to visit Spain in order to renew the visa.
Obtaining Residency by Purchasing Real Estate in Spain
Non EU nationals are able to apply for a residency permit if they purchase property or properties in Spain with a total value of 500.000 euros or more.
When applying for the Visa the applicants must prove ownership of the real estate by providing one or more certificates of proficiency from the Land Registry that corresponds to the property or properties. These certificates must be dated within 90 days prior to the visa application.
The applicants must also:
- Not be living illegally in Spain.
- Be over 18 years old.
- Not have a criminal record in Spain or in countries where they have lived during the previous 5 years.
- Not be eligible of refusal of entry by any country with which Spain has a treaty of entry.
- Possess Private or Public Healthcare Insurance contracted with an insurer authorised to operate in Spain.
- Show they have the financial means to support themselves while in Spain.
- Pay the necessary taxes to obtain the visa.
Becoming a Spanish Citizen
Becoming a Spanish citizen requires various conditions. The general rule in Spain is that you can become a Spanish national after 10 years of residency.
This residency must of course be legal, and can be achieved in many ways, including by applying for the Golden Visa and requesting the additional periods (although further application will be required to extend your residency). The residency must also be continuous and the nationality request must follow it immediately. Continuous residency basically means that you should maintain your residency/domicile in Spain and spend at least 6 months here per year.
Even for people who have spent the necessary 10 years in Spain, there are further requirements. These are:
- Good civic conduct: you must obey Spanish laws, have no criminal record, no administrative sanctions etc.
- A sufficient degree of integration: knowledge of Spanish language, traditions, and customs (you will have to pass an exam of general culture).
As these are indeterminate concepts, they are applied on a case-by-case basis.
The required residency period is only 5 years for people with refugee status, and 2 years for nationals of countries with close bonds with Spain (Latin American countries, Philippines, Portugal, Andorra, Equatorial Guinea or minorities as the Sephardis).
It is also possible to obtain nationality within one year if:
- You were born in a Spanish territory
- You have had a 2 year period of reception in a Spanish placement centre
- You have been married to a Spanish national for 1 year
- You are the widow of a Spanish national
- You were born outside Spain, but have a Spanish mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather.
Read our article on the Golden Visa here. If you need further assistance on this matter please contact us and Casamona’s lawyer will be able to help you.