The Golden Visa of Spain Program for Real Estate – Is it Worth it?

7 mins read

Ah, the Golden Visa of Spain appeals to many who want to live in Europe and under the sun. The Spanish government introduced the national program for non-EU citizens in 2013. Much like in other countries, the process is simple. The applicant makes certain investments to get permanent residency and the same rights as a Spanish citizen. Officially called the residence by investment program, there are many factors to consider to determine if this is a sound investment.

This article will examine the whole program by explicitly talking about real estate investments, the most popular option. The real estate market of Spain is diverse, with strong domestic and international sales from non-EU investors. Real estate property ranges from apartments to penthouses to luxury villas and traditional Spanish homes. However, any real estate purchase to get Spanish residency should be carefully managed. Let’s look at what to know.

About the Golden Visa of Spain

panoramic view of malaga

Please note: Fully understanding the Spain golden visa program is a lot of information for non-EU investors. While the article attempts to answer many common questions, identify attractive options and clarify precisely what it entails, to speak to a real estate representative instead, call us today. We can answer any questions about the residency by investment program and send further details via email.

Who Qualifies for a Golden Visa in Spain?

Anyone looking at the golden visa to get Spanish citizenship must qualify for specific government criteria before investing.

  • You must be a non-EU citizen.
  • You must be over 18 years of age
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Have health insurance in Spain

How Much Money do you Need to get a Golden Visa in Spain?

The minimum investment and transaction amount varies depending on which direct route you follow to get permanent residency. Investment options within Spanish territory are…

  • Invest 500,000 Euros in real estate, either one house or multiple purchase
  • Invest 2 million Euros into the Spanish government’s public debt securities
  • Deposit 1 million Euros into a Spanish bank account
  • Buy shares worth 1 million euros in Spanish companies
  • The last investment option is to set up new Spanish businesses that will prove valuable to the local community through employment opportunities or technological innovation. Ideally, for this, you need business experience in Spain.

What are the Pros and Cons of the Golden Visa in Spain?

Before making the visa application for Spanish citizenship and the initial investment, it is worth knowing both the pros and cons. After all, this isn’t some tiny business project but significant lifestyle changes to become a Spanish resident. Let’s look at the pros first.

  • Spanish society ranks highly on the International Quality of Life Index
  • The Mediterranean outdoor lifestyle also offers all permanent residents 300 days of sunshine a year.
  • It is one of the least expensive European countries for the cost of living.
  • Belongs to the Schengen zone, giving access to 180 countries with a Spanish passport
  • Under 18s can get access to free education offered by the Spanish government.
  • The health system and medical insurance are some of the best in Europe.

However, as with all capital investment options, there are also cons. Consider your lifestyle, income and expectations, and the ones we list below.

  • The minimum investment set by the Spanish government is high compared to other countries, including Portugal and Turkey.
  • Applicants first go through the lengthy residence permit route, lasting 5 years.
  • The application is cancelled if you sell the assets or withdraw the investment before five years.
  • Applicants can only live out of Spain for ten months during those five years. Other countries require no permanent residence.

Can Family Members be Included in the Application?

Yes, applicants can include their spouse, any dependents under 18, and any elderly parents of retirement age. Minor children will require specific documentation, but there is no limit.

How Long is the Investment Golden Visa Valid for?

When the applicant first applies, they will receive 1 year visa. After that, the applicant will renew the document to get a two-year visa. They will repeat this process to fulfil five years of residency, in which case, the applicant receives the right to live and work in Spain permanently.

What are the Required Documents for the Application?

  • The Golden visa application form is available via the Spanish embassy or consulate in your country of origin.
  • Obtain 2 passport photos. Ensure they adhere to the biometric process standards.
  • Gather all financial documents and bank certificates to prove the funds and sufficient income for the applicant and family living in Spain.
  • Your passport must have at least one year’s validity on it.
  • The applicant must also obtain a criminal record certificate from the police where they reside that is no longer than 3 months old to prove that they have a clean criminal record.
  • Don’t forget to buy the health insurance certificate from a Spanish company.
  • All required documents and certificates related to the investment.
  • Proof of the applicant’s current country of residence and an identity document.

For families, the application must also include the marriage and birth certificates of all dependents from their country of origin. Likewise, they must also have a medical certificate proving health coverage and a clean criminal record certificate issued within 6 months.

Please note: Foreign documents must have an official translation by an approved translator. Additional documents must also be legalized by the consulate of the issuing country. Official and additional documents and identification issued by a Member State of the European Union do not require legalization. Please check the official website for a complete list of documents that need an official translation.

Note re Sufficient Funds: You must provide original and copies proving sufficient financial funds or regular source of income for the primary applicant and, where applicable, for the applicant’s family members accompanying them. The minimum required amount equals 400% of Spain’s Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator (IPREM). This amount must be added to 100% of the IPREM for each applicant’s family member. Foreign documents must be apostilled and, submitted with an official translation into Spanish.

The Application Process

Many non-EU nationals employ experts to help them through the official activities and process; however, to go on the direct route alone, first make the investment. The primary applicant cannot use a loan for funds or a financial intermediary and must invest solely from their income. Within 3 months of making the investment, start the visa application process at the Spanish embassy.

Don’t forget to include all foreign documents, including a passport, proof of private health insurance, proof of purchase showing the real estate value, and a valid passport. Visa fee payment is compulsory. When submitting applications, pay the fee in local currency. It is subject to changes due to the currency fluctuations. Once you receive the golden visa, swap it for a residency permit, then renew it after one year and two years before obtaining permanent residence.

Can I Lose the Spain Golden Visa?

Yes, if applicants liquidate their investment or sell the property before the duration of five years. In that case, they will automatically forfeit the residence visa and not receive permanent residency.

Can I get a Golden Visa if I already own a property?

Yes, you can get a Spain golden visa if your ownership is no longer than three months. All applications for permanent residence via real estate must be made within three months. Proof of purchase dates is obtained from the land registry.

Does Spain Allow Dual Citizenship?

Yes, Spain does allow dual citizenship, but before applying for the investor visa, check with your existing country of origin first. Some, like the USA, don’t let it.

Other Visas for Spain

Schengen Tourist Visa: This short-stay visa allows holders to visit Spain and other Schengen Area countries for tourism or business purposes for a maximum period of up to 90 days within 180 days. It’s typically issued for tourism, family visits, business meetings, or cultural events.

Student Visa: Obtain a student visa to study in Spain for more than 90 days. Applicants must have an acceptance letter from a recognized educational institution in Spain to apply for this visa.

Work Visa: You will need a work visa to work in Spain. Usually, potential employers in Spain sponsor the application of the primary applicant, who needs to demonstrate they possess the necessary skills and qualifications for the job.

Residence Visa: This visa allows individuals to reside in Spain for over 90 days. It includes categories like family reunification, retirement, and self-employment.

Au Pair Visa: This visa is for a single applicant to work as an au pair in Spanish households. It allows the qualified applicant to live with a Spanish family for the entire period while caring for their children and improving their Spanish language skills.

Cultural and Sports Visa: This visa is for artists, performers, athletes, and others in the cultural and sports sectors who intend to participate in events or activities in Spain.

Transit Visa: Applicants travelling through Spain to another destination and having a layover or stopover may need a transit visa. It’s essential to check if your nationality requires this type of visa.

Other Countries Offering Citizenship by Investment

Turkey: Authorities in Turkey also launched their golden visa program for foreign investors. The investor visa boasts of low entrance levels and quick processing time. In contrast to Spain, applications for an investor visa made by the real estate route are typically processed within a year. Most properties that are eligible for the foreign investment program are in Istanbul.

Portugal: People often compare the golden visa in Spain to Portugal. This is another country with investment opportunities and, given that it is bordering, holds equal weight and admiration to the Spanish residency by investment program. Foreign nationals who invest in Portugal benefit from being a tax resident.

Where to Buy Property in Spain

Since the program launched, roughly 5,000 people have qualified, many of whom have made real estate purchases in the big cities of Madrid and Barcelona. Barcelona, located in Catalonia, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city known for its stunning architecture, delightful property types, rich culture, and beautiful beaches. It’s a popular choice for property transactions.

Spain’s capital city, Madrid, with its dynamic business environment, world-class museums, and historic landmarks, is a hub for culture, finance, and education and is famous for the route to citizenship. However, Spain has many locations with various types of property. Residential properties in Spain vary in size and budget; you can see our entire portfolio here. But other popular places for property transactions include

Costa del Sol: This southern coastal region, including cities like Marbella and Malaga, offers a Mediterranean lifestyle with sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and golf courses. It’s a hotspot for tourists and retirees.

Valencia: Valencia earns fame for stunning architecture, pleasant climate, and cultural attractions. It’s more affordable than other major Spanish cities, making it attractive for property buyers.

Seville: Seville,  famous for historical sites, festivals, and Andalusian charm offers history and culture in abundance.

Bilbao: Located in the Basque Country, Bilbao is noted for modern architecture, including the Guggenheim Museum. It’s an emerging destination for property buyers.

Costa Blanca: This region includes cities like Alicante and Benidorm and offers a mix of coastal living and cultural attractions.

When considering where to buy real estate property in Spain, consider your lifestyle preferences, whether you want to live in a bustling city, near the coast, in a rural area, or on one of Spain’s beautiful islands. Additionally, consider your budget, as investment property prices vary significantly from one region to another. See our complete list of the best places to buy real estate property in Spain, and for property transactions, call us to find out how we can help.

Also of Interest

Easiest Countries for Citizenship: The lure is easy to understand when looking at an investor visa. At the same time as investing, investors enhance their quality of life and knowledge of cultures. Additionally, being a global citizen opens doors to more investment opportunities. Hence, the popular citizenship investment programs are not new but have seen an increased focus in the last ten years.

About Natalie

Natalie is a dedicated real estate professional currently working at Spot Blue International Property. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding global properties.

Properties For Sale in Spain