|July 8, 2016||No Comments|
The Golden Visa is a passage to Spanish residency created by the government in September 2013 in order to boost foreign investment in the country’s faltering real estate market. Investing in Spain had become unsurprisingly unfashionable ever since the beginning of the recession in 2008 – little wonder, as house prices fell continuously from 2008 to 2014. However, Spain is now beginning to see an improvement in its economic situation: in 2014, a year after the introduction of the Golden Visa, Spanish house prices showed their first signs of growth. This growth has continued cautiously into 2016, and 1.5 years of growth should give hope to any property investor. In this article we examine the Golden Visa and its potential benefits.
The short answer is “yes, but we were all a bit worried for a minute there”. The initial uptake was slow: in the year after the scheme’s launch a mere 324 people had signed up – fewer than one a day – and El País described the idea as a flop. The process was too bureaucratic and the requirements too exclusive.
However, in 2015, a number of highly beneficial changes were announced. Most importantly, the changes made the administrative side of getting the visa considerably easier, and allowed couples (married or in a domestic partnership) to combine their resources to invest. The most recent figures are not yet available, but it is thought that the changes will help the scheme emulate the success of Portugal’s equivalent, which tripled the Spanish figures in its first year.
The main attraction of the Golden Visa is that it allows a non-resident to be in Spain for two years, as opposed to the usual 90 days. Furthermore, there is no minimum to the amount of time you can spend in Spain before renewing it, and the 2015 update has made the renewal process considerably easier. As such, the Golden Visa has become an extremely convenient path to Spanish citizenship.
The other major benefit of the Golden Visa is that it gives access to free movement in the Schengen area, which includes many of Europe’s most desirable locations. This free movement is particularly enticing now that the 2015 update allowed any descendant or ascendant of the investor to claim the Golden Visa as well, as it makes family travel in Europe a real possibility.
Finally, it is worth taking into account the relative stability of the market to which the Golden Visa gives access. While Spain has had some serious economic problems, as mentioned earlier, the gradual and consistent growth of its real estate market will appeal to people living in countries where political stability renders the market considerably more volatile.
Aside from the pretty obvious catch – that you have to spend money – there really isn’t one. It is widely thought that the Spanish real estate market will continue to grow gradually, and there are no hidden strings attached to this deal. There is an application fee, and you should bear in mind that the €500,000 minimum does not include tax spend, but, aside from that, what you see is what you get!