Launched in 2013, Spain’s golden visa program – also known as the investor visa, Spanish residence permit, or residency by investment – offers non-EU citizens legal residency in exchange for making a qualifying investment. While not a direct route to citizenship, it does allow families to enjoy many benefits of living in Spain.
Under this scheme, foreign nationals who invest a minimum of EUR500,000 in real estate gain family residency. The residency is valid for two years and can be renewed every year, providing the investment remains in place. It also allows the holders and their family members to travel visa-free within the Schengen Zone. After five years, the family may apply for permanent residency and after ten years can apply for citizenship.
While the golden visa program has been a great success, it’s not without controversy. Some cases of corruption and fraud have emerged, raising questions over the due diligence and vetting processes in place. This has led to calls from the European Commission for Spain and other EU member states to review and reform their programmes.
Despite this, Spain remains one of the most attractive places to invest in Europe and its golden visa programme continues to attract high-profile investors from all over the world. The government is now working with a number of companies to promote Spain’s investment opportunities.
There are various ways in which you can invest to obtain the golden visa, including purchasing real estate in Spain. To do so, you will need to submit a certificate of ownership issued by the Land Registry and the deeds of the property purchased. If you invest in shares or securities, you will need to provide proof of purchase accompanied by the certificate of the investment register of the Ministry of Economy (securities) or the declaration of investments issued by the Investment Register of the Ministry of Economy (shares).
Another popular option is to invest in a business project. However, you will need to prove that your proposed business is in the public interest and contributes to job creation, scientific or technological innovation, or has a significant socio-economic impact on the geographical area in which it operates.
Finally, you can also invest in treasury bonds. These are backed by the government and offer high returns. The maximum amount you can invest is EUR1 million.
In addition to investing in a property or a business, you can also use the golden visa programme to set up a fund in Spain. This can be used to finance projects that have a social or economic impact in Spain. You will need to submit a letter of motivation along with your investment plan.
Once you have invested the required amount, you can start the application process. You can do this either from your country of residence or in Spain itself. It is recommended that you begin the application process well in advance of your planned move to Spain. The processing time is around six to eight months. golden visa program spain