One of the major hurdles when deciding to move to a foreign country is the application process for residency and work permits. For citizens outside of the European Union who plan to move to Spanish territory, this process can often be both lengthy and complicated. But luckily there exists a solution to this problem, called “the Golden Visa”.
What is the Golden Visa and what are its benefits?
The Golden Visa is a special type of residence, like an alternative to the conventional residency processes, and it has quickly become popular due to its speed and simplicity. The program is created for citizens outside of the European Union who make a significant investment on the Spanish property market, and it comes with many advantages.
Not only does it offer a fast way to obtain the right to reside and work in the country, but the applicant of the Golden Visa also has the right to bring their spouse and children with them, making it an excellent option for families.
Furthermore, it is initially granted for 2 years before renewal is necessary (unlike the regular residency permits which require renewal each year). Once this period has finished, the permit can be renewed for 5 years at a time.
Once obtained, it allows for free travel within the Schengen area.
It is not required to be a resident in Spain to retain the right to the Golden Visa, it is enough for the applicant to simply travel to the country once per year.
Unlike any other visa, Golden Visa is also possible to apply for it directly from within Spain without any need to leave the country to await the results. On the other hand, there is no requirement to be personally present for the application process – instead a legal representative can be designated to gather the documentation and represent the applicant in front of the Spanish authorities.
Who is responsible for reviewing the application of the Golden Visa?
As the Golden Visa process is regulated by a specific law adopted for these purposes (among others), it does not fall under the general regime of the immigration process. This is the reason that the process can differ so much from the regular application processes, according to what has been stated above. But it is important to note that this also means that the application is not handled by the general immigration offices, instead, there exists a specialized department in Madrid that is in charge of the Golden Visa applications: the Large Business and Strategic Groups unit.
Which requirements have to be met for being eligible to apply for and obtain the Golden Visa?
Firstly, the applicant has to be of legal age (+18) and be a citizen in a country outside of the European Union. As stated above, the program is specifically designed for citizens of countries outside the Union, for whom it otherwise is more difficult to obtain a visa in Spain.
Furthermore, the applicant must have a clean criminal record, both in Spain and in any other country they have resided in during the last 5 years.
The applicant and any family members they plan to bring are also required to have health insurance in Spain, to prove that they won’t be an economic burden to the public healthcare system.
For the same reason, the applicant also needs to prove sufficient funds to be able to sustain themselves and any family members they may bring during the residency period in Spain.
And last but not least, we have the main requirement, and the purpose of the existence of the Golden Visa program: to make a significant investment in Spanish property. To be precise, to invest 500.000€ or more in real estate located within the Spanish territory.
How to fulfill the investment requirement for the Golden Visa
The investment must be made out of pocket, meaning that for this amount you can not finance the purchase with a mortgage. However, if the property purchase exceeds 500.000€ you can finance the remaining part with a mortgage and still be eligible for the visa, as long as at least 500.000€ of the investment comes out of your own funds.
The same applies to purchases of properties by joint investors, as long as each investor contributes at least 500.000€ to the total purchase they are all eligible to apply for the visa. There is no requirement for the 500.000€ investment to be put towards a single property, it can be fulfilled by purchasing two or more properties, as long as the total value of the investment exceeds the threshold.
And you need not worry if you have already made your investment but have not yet applied for the visa – there is no time limit from the time of the purchase until the visa application has to be handed in. As long as the purchase took place in 2014 or later, the year when the law regulating the Golden Visa process came into force, there is no hindrance to initiating the application process at any time.
To prove the investment, the applicant will need to present documentation that proves the ownership of the property, the purchase value, as well as that a big enough portion of the price was not paid using a mortgage. In the case of Spain, the appropriate document would be an up-to-date Certificate of Dominions and Charges from the corresponding Land Registry, to prove the ownership, purchase price as well as whether or not there exist mortgages encumbering the property. Based on this document the competent authority decides whether or not the applicant has met the minimum requirements to be granted the visa.
Why you should make your Golden Visa investment in Marbella
The property market in Marbella and the surrounding Costa del Sol is brimming with opportunity: whether you are looking for an investment property to rent out, a holiday home, or for a permanent place to live, the options are plentiful. With around 320 sun days per year, world-class beaches, and a vibrant culture and gastronomy, the area has the perfect conditions for real estate investments.
When making your property investment in Spain, the first and most important step to take is to call a lawyer. At Franke & de la Fuente we are experts in property transactions, and we take great pride in our work to protect our client’s interests. Do not hesitate to book your first free consultancy with us, we would be happy to assist you with your first property investment in Spain and to help you acquire your Golden Visa!