Information about the Golden Visa.
1. What is the Golden Visa and what are the requirements to obtain it?
The “Golden Visa” is permission to reside in Spain issued to natural persons without any time limit on the length of stay, including the right to work in Spain. The basic requirement is that the interested applicant makes an investment in Spain, the most common investment being the purchase of at least 500.000 euros in real estate, although the Golden Visa can also be granted on the basis of an investment in companies or financial products. The minimum investment requirement of 500.000 euros is the net investment amount meaning the applicant must consider transactional costs (such as transfer taxes and fees paid to notaries, registries, legal counsel, etc.) of approximately 12% (second-hand properties) or 14% (new properties) on top of the purchase price. As such, in practice, an applicant must have a minimum of around 560.000 euros to satisfy the investment hurdle. Furthermore, the 500.000 euro amount must be liquid capital brought into Spain from another country, the investment required cannot be raised by obtaining funds from a source within Spain, such as, for example, seeking a mortgage loan from a Spanish lender. Any type of real-estate investment will qualify (residential, commercial, vacant land, parking spaces, etc.). The investment can also consist of several investments, each with a value of less than 500.000 euros. Once the limit of 500.000 euros has been fulfilled, the application can be submitted.
2. What is the difference between the Golden Visa and other Spanish residency permits?
The Golden Visa differs radically from traditional Spanish residency permits in a number of aspects: a) The renewal of a Golden Visa does not require a minimum stay in Spain (all other permits require staying at least six months per year in Spain, i.e. becoming a tax resident in Spain). b) The Golden Visa has an easier and faster application procedure and a very high probability of success in obtaining it. c) The Golden Visa includes a working permit that is automatically granted along with the residency permit. d) The Golden Visa allows the investor to bring along his or her family.
3. I am not allowed to enter Spain without a visa – can I get a “Golden Visa” to come and purchase property or review other investment opportunities?
It is possible to obtain a temporary visa or residency valid for six months when a down payment agreement has been signed before a notary and the investor proves that he or she has the funds necessary to make the investment in Spain. The temporary visa can be extended and turned into a residency visa or residency permit upon its expiry if the purchase has been completed.
4. How do I get my Golden Visa once I have fulfilled the investment hurdle of 500.000 euros?
Investors that are staying legally in Spain, on any kind of visa or visa exemption, can apply directly for their Golden Visa in the form of a residency permit in Spain. Other investors should apply for the Golden Visa at the Spanish Consulate of their country of residence and are given a residency visa valid for one year. Once they come to Spain under this residency visa, this visa can be turned into a residency permit. It is not necessary to wait for the residency visa to expire to apply for the permit.
5. For how long can I stay in Spain on my Visa and can it be extended upon expiry?
The initial investor’s residency permit is valid for two years and can be extended upon expiry, as long as the investor maintains the minimum level of investment. The application for an extension can be made in Spain by a representative (no need to be here in person). The second permit and all the consecutive permits are valid for five years at a time.
6. Is there a limit to the number of times that I can extend the Visa?
There is no limit to the number of times that the Visa can be extended, but it is necessary to maintain the minimum investment at all times. Investors are allowed to switch between types of investments, for example, from one property to another; or from real estate to a bank deposit or investment fund.
7. Can the Golden Visa be used to become a long-term resident or a citizen?
If the investor lives in Spain, his or her status can change after five years of residency, turning into a long term resident on a permit valid for consecutive periods of five years. The main effect is that the investment no longer has to be kept to maintain resident status, and there exists the possibility to apply for a change of residency to another EU country. If the investor lives in Spain permanently, he can obtain Spanish citizenship after 10 years, including the right to a Spanish passport. Latin American citizens and certain other countries, however, can seek to attain citizenship after two years. The option to seek nationality applies only to investors who actually reside in Spain. Investors who come to Spain only occasionally with their Golden Visa are not eligible for citizenship.
8. Does the Golden Visa make it easier to visit European countries other than Spain?
Yes, a Golden Visa works as a tourist visa for the rest of the countries that belong to the Schengen area. This means that the holder of the Golden Visa has the right to remain in Spain for an unlimited period of time, plus in the rest of the Schengen area for three months within each period of six months.
9. Do I have to stay for a minimum of time in Spain in order not to lose my visa?
No, there is no minimum time that has to be spent in Spain in order to keep the Golden Visa. If a visa holder voluntarily chooses to spend more than six months in a year in Spain, however, he/she will become a tax resident in Spain for that particular year and should declare and pay taxes in Spain on his/her global income.
10. Can I work in Spain with my Golden Visa?
Yes, the Golden Visa automatically confers a work permit on the holder of the Golden Visa.
11. Can I bring my family into Spain on a Golden Visa?
The investor can bring along his or her spouse or partner and children under the age of 18, as well as children over 18 years of age and parents, as long as they are economically dependent on the visa holder. The visas for the family members are identical to the investor’s and can be obtained at the same time or later, whichever is more convenient.
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