If you’re a British expat thinking of moving to Spain, the hurdles just got a lot higher in your race for residency.
For example, you’ll need a job offer from a Spain-based company or a salary of at least £24,000 if you’re self-employed. Whereas EU citizens can buy a house with little more than a tax identification number (NIE), non-EU citizens will need a valid visa before even thinking about property in Spain.
This is where the Golden Visa becomes attractive. Spain’s Golden Visa scheme grants automatic residency to non-EU citizens, so long as they invest at least €500,000 or more in a Spanish property (cash). In this article with the help of Jávea-based real estate agency Blanca International we’ll look at the requirements for obtaining a Golden Visa in Spain.
Spain’s golden visa program was rolled out in 2013 to encourage foreign investment in Spain. It allows families and investors a fast-track approach to gaining residency permits. Otherwise, non-EU citizens would need to obtain an appropriate visa to enter Spain and later acquire residency status once settled in the country.
The golden visa program lets investors remain in Spain for five years, by which time they can apply for permanent residency. At this stage residency is granted regardless of investments in Spain. People who use the golden visa scheme can enjoy faster processing times for first-time residency permits (under 60 days). Successful applicants can also bring their spouse and children under 18 along.
With Spanish residency, investors gain visa-free access to the Schengen Zone of 26 EU countries (inc. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein).The golden visa is sometimes applicable to businesspeople who invest in a Spanish company (they’re sometimes known as Spain Investor Visas). The golden visa is not designed to fast-track citizenship. This option becomes available after 5 years with permanent residency in Spain, regardless of what visa you arrived in Spain with.
Investors must invest more than €500,000 in a Spanish property, in cash. The property can be a home, a commercial building, land or a combination of properties. You do not need to reside in Spain more than 183 days in a year to be eligible for the golden visa. (If you plan to apply for full Spanish citizenship, however, you must spend over 183 days a year in Spain.)
You must be at least 18 years old, and not already an EU citizen (or an EEA citizen). You must have a clean criminal record, valid medical insurance and prove you have enough funds to reside in Spain.
If you invest in a property to later rent it out, rental income will be taxed at 24-75% Expect to pay around €9,000 in legal fees for a family of four, and €2,500 for each renewal.
Portugal also has a golden visa scheme, however qualifying investments in Portugal can be as low as €280,000. Portugal also grants citizenship to residents through the golden visa scheme within five years, rather than Spain’s minimum 10. However, Spain has a faster processing time than Portugal. According to Blanca International, Portugal is the best bet for anyone desiring an EU passport, while Spain is the better choice for buying a property to live in longer term.
This is because Spain has a better economy, better infrastructure and a larger international community.
You can, and the taxes can be favourable. For example, in Spain you can expect to pay around 14% of the property’s price in taxes and fees for a second-hand home. For new builds, however, taxes and fees amount to around 10% of the property’s price.
If you would like more information about Spain’s golden visa, don’t hesitate to contact the international experts Blanca International. If you are looking to buy a house in Jávea or the Costa Blanca north region Blanca International has exclusive listings of luxury properties for international buyers.