The objective of the law is to attract entrepreneurs to Spain, and stimulate foreign investment in Spanish real estate, public debt, and job creation.
This law enables non-EU nationals to get qualified residency permits in return for investing in Spanish real estate (and other assets), leading to long-term residency in Spain if certain conditions are fulfilled.
Spanish residency, and the ability to travel freely in the European Schengen area (for 90 out of every 180 days), will be a major attraction for many non-EU investors. Added to which, Spanish property prices have crashed into bargain territory, creating some excellent investment opportunities. It’s an attractive combination of residency and bargain prices for investors from outside the EU.
Spain launched its golden visa programme in 2013. An investment of €500,000 in real estate will gain family residency. The Spanish investor visa can be renewed every two years and after five years it is possible to gain permanent residency and after ten years’ citizenship. It is not necessary to live in Spain in order to retain and renew the investor residency visa.
Residency in Spain under the golden investor visa program allows a real estate investor and his or her immediate family to live in Spain. The legislation has no minimum period of residence. Hence an investor can buy a property in Spain, travel freely to Spain at any point and his or her family can do the same. The family can live in Spain permanently, with access to schools both state and private following the English curriculum. Eventually citizenship can grant access to study elsewhere at universities in Europe including the UK.
Obtaining a long-term residence that allows ease of travel in EU Schengen countries is a key factor for these non EU Citizens. Investors from these non EU countries also understand that now is an opportune time to invest in real estate in Spain. The permit is issued to the head member of the family which covers a spouse and children up to the age of 18 unless they are still dependents for example in full time study. In addition, one is required to have private health care and also deposit a cash sum in a Spanish bank account to demonstrate that they are able to fully fund themselves.
Initially the permit is issued for one year and needs to be renewed every two years. Holders of the permit must travel at least once to Spain during the period of issue. With Spain being a member of the Schengen Area, which enables free travel between 26 European countries, this is a small price for to pay for such freedom for high net worth individuals from non EU Citizens.
- Fast-tracked. This law is specifically devised to attract affluent non-EU investors and helps to cut through the admin red tape greatly streamlining the visa procedure.
- Travel Europe visa-free. You can travel without a visa for 90 days out of every 180 days within the Schengen Area, but you will still need a visa to enter EU countries outside the Schengen Area (for example the United Kingdom).
- Clear rules. Initially 1 year (Residency Visa), then 2 years (Residency Permit), renewable indefinitely every 2 years.
- No need to become resident in Spain. You only have to visit Spain once to get or renew the Residency Permit. There is no minimum stay requirement, and you don’t have to become a fiscal resident or actually live in Spain.
- Family included. You may get additional permits for your spouse and children under 18 years (or disabled children over 18). Same-sex partners inclusive. Dependent parents of applicant are now also included (extended family).
- You may work in Spain.
- Spanish nationality (optional). This is a 2-year Residency Permit, not the right to permanent residency or a Spanish passport. However, it can lead to long-term Spanish residency after 5 years of continuous residence, and citizenship after 10 years.
- Underaged children may study in Europe. Underaged offspring can live and study in Europe, in company of your partner, whilst you work and earn money abroad.
- Return on investment. Take advantage of Spain´s burgeoning real estate recovery. Year-to-date (first five months), the market has expanded by double-digits in almost every region compared to the same period last year. Property prices are rising sharply spearheaded by Madrid (+17% YOY), Barcelona (+11% YOY), Mallorca (+15% YOY) and selected coastal areas. Low prices and cheap mortgages will not last forever, dip in whilst you can.
Realize the investment in Spanish real estate:
We must provide as proof of the purchase of the property the certification of domains and charges from the Property Registry.
In order to successfully apply for the golden residency, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Not be a citizen of a country member of the European Union. This special residency permit is designed for citizens from countries outside this area, which have it more difficult to get a visa in Spain.
- Be of legal age (+18 in Spain).
- Lack of criminal records, both in Spain and in any other country. The deadline to take into account here will be the last 5 years.
- Having full-coverage healthcare in Spain. This can be obtained through public insurance or a private one.
- Having and demonstrating the possession of sufficient economic means for the maintenance of both the principal investor and his family (if he also applied for their residency permits): You must prove that you have 400% of the IPREM annually on your bank account. For this year 2019, the IPREM is 548.60 € for a month. As the measurement unit we are interested in is the year, our target will be 6.454,03€. That is, the main applicant for this visa must demonstrate he or she has is 26,332.80 €. Nevertheless, we suggest you have a bit more than that if you would like to have a successful application. Take that number as a minimum reference point.The general Spanish immigration law states that you can use any kind of proof. Nevertheless, many times the different Spanish consulates request a bank certificate of liquid money on your account. The exact date of the certificate must be as close as possible to the application day. Credit cards or property values can also be used here, as long as you also submit with them a document that certifies their validity from your bank.
A) You come to Spain with your travel visa and look for a property.
B) Once the pre-agreement (contrato de arras) is signed and corresponding funds are deposited, you can apply for the golden visa. If needed, the authorities can grant you a permit for six months so you can complete the process of buying your property.
C) If your golden visa application is accepted, you will receive a visa for one year. As opposed to other visas, the golden visa application can be presented while you are in Spain.
D) After receiving your golden visa, you can keep renewing the visa, as long as you do not sell your property.
Yes. The investor’s visa authorizes to circulate freely within the “Schengen” area (Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland).
Yes. The holder of the permit can keep his tax residence outside Spain, as long as he stays in our country for a period less than 183 days per year. Also, the residence permit can be renewed even with absences longer than six months per year.
The residence visa for investors authorizes to stay in Spain during one year. Once this period is expired, a residence authorization can be requested for a period of two years, renewable for two more years if you prove the maintenance of the investment.
Yes. The Golden Visa authorizes to live and work in Spain. This results from the Fourth Additional Provision of the Law, which states a single proceeding to request a permit authorizing to live and work.
Yes. The visa applications will be solved and notified in a period of ten working days, while the maximum period to solve the residence authorizations are 20 days since the submission of the application, with a positive administrative silence.
Per petitioner, but he can also include his companion relatives, who can jointly and simultaneously or successively request the authorization and, in case, the visa. Nevertheless, they have to fulfill the general requirements and prove the relationship bond through their corresponding certificates.
The position as relatives will be considered for the spouse and children less than 18 years or of legal age that are not objectively able to provide their own necessities due to their health condition.
Yes. The reference of real estate assets made by the law does not mean only one property, and not only one type of property. In any case, the investment has to be carried out before requesting the visa.
Yes. In the assumption of acquisition of real estate assets, the petitioner should prove his capacity of carrying out an investment of 500.000 Euros free of any charge and encumbrance. Nevertheless, the amount that exceeds for the required figure can be subject to charges or encumbrances.
It can be requested, but will not be granted automatically at the termination of the investors permit. In this case, the continuity of the residence in Spain should be proven for the acquisition of the long-term residence.
In order to access the long term residency, it is required that the person from abroad has lived legal and effectively in Spain for five years. That the residency is effective means that the periods lived out of Spanish Territory must be less than six consecutive months and not exceed a total of ten months during the said five years.
Yes. The time lived in Spain legally will count to request the long-term residency and also the nationality.
Yes, however with certain clarifications. The residence authorization for investors must have an initial duration of two years, after which the permit can be renovated every two years indefinitely in the case that the investment and the rest of requirements are complied.
No, it is necessary to have the investors authorization which is valid for one year. During this year, the residence authorization can be requested at any moment without having to wait to complete the year.
No. The Law is only applicable to the investments carried out from the 29th September 2013 onward, date when the law entered into force, as it is states in the thirteenth final disposition of the same.
es, but it has to be from a foreign bank. The logic is that will bring 500,000.00+€ of foreign investment into Spain. If you borrow money from a Spanish bank, you are not bringing money into the country. Our recommendation is to either pay in cash, or have your financing lined up before you purchase. Ideally, this will be with a bank you’ve done business with for years.
Currently there are no requirements on the timing of your purchases. The only potential problem would be if the Spanish Government modified the law. Please note that this type of thing has been known to occur. Spanish laws do respond to external factors. For example, the law that created Spain’s Golden Visa was established in 2013. At that time there was a deep economic crisis, caused by the collapse of Spain’s housing bubble. There was a large inventory of unsold properties that were seized, or slated to be seized, by Spanish banks. These weighed heavily on public and private debt. Since domestic housing demand was virtually non-existent, the country did everything it could do encourage foreign investment.
In our opinion, this law will not suffer important changes in the next five to ten years. However, it is important to know that there is a small chance that the law could change.
Basically there are only two scenarios under Spain’s Golden Visa program where you would be denied renewal. First, if you sell your property or transfer it into someone else’s name. Second, if you have a criminal record. If you have a criminal record you will not receive an initial residency permit.
1 – VAT:
These taxes apply for residential properties being sold for the first time (never previously occupied), or for commercial properties and plots of land. This is a national tax, so VAT is the same wherever the property is located (with the exception of the Canaries, which have their own version of VAT).
At present VAT (known as IVA in Spain) is 10% on the purchase price of residential properties (villa, apartment, etc), and 21% for commercial properties and plots of land.
VAT on new homes in the Canaries is known as IGIC (Impuesto General Indirecto Canario), and currently stands at 4.5%.
2- The Stamp duty:
This tax is 1% of the price of the purchase, but might go up in some regions, so be sure to check on the latest rate. Both VAT and Stamp Duty are paid by the buyer, and if any deposit is paid before completion of the sale, such deposit will be subject to VAT at the moment of payment of this deposit. In this scenario there is no transfer tax to pay.
1- Spanish Transfer Tax:
This tax applies if the property is deemed to be a second or posterior transfer (i.e. not the first time a newly built home is bought), and is paid by the buyer. If any deposit is paid before completion of the sale it is not subject to ITP pro rata. However the full amount of ITP still has to be paid upon completion. In this scenario there is no VAT to pay, and stamp duty is already included in this tax.
The Transfer Tax rate is ceded to the autonomous regions, who can choose to apply the general rate, or their own rate.
The general (national) rule of ITP is 7%, but many of the autonomous regions have applied higher local rates between 8% and 11%.
2- Income tax provision when buying from non-residents:
If the seller is not resident in Spain, the buyer has to withhold 3% of the purchase price and pay it to the tax authorities (application form 211).
Estate agency fees or commissions are paid by the seller, unless otherwise agreed. If the buyer uses a search agency then search fees are paid by the buyer.
You are strongly advised to hire a lawyer to help you during the buying process. Your lawyer drafts and reviews contracts on your behalf and can explain all the legal and administrative issues you face. Your lawyer should also carry out any necessary due diligence (checking ownership claim of the seller, charges on the property, permits, etc.) and arrange all the required documents to complete the process (property registration, tax payments, etc.).
Many charge around 1% of the purchase price in legal fees. Be warned that some lawyers charge 1.5% or more of the sale price, which is a rip off. Even 1% can be unreasonably high given the work that is involved in a straightforward purchase of an expensive property with no legal complications.
If you choose to buy with a mortgage then this will incur several additional costs. First there will be the property valuation that the mortgage provider will require before granting the mortgage. This is paid for the by the buyer and can cost around 500 Euros. Then there will be the costs of the mortgage itself. This varies according to the provider, and even according to the particular branch. However there is usually some kind of opening fee of around 1% of the value of the mortgage. Finally a mortgage will increase the Notary expenses.
Notary expenses are nearly always paid by the buyer and are calculated in relation to the purchase price declared in the deeds of sale. To be on the safe side you should calculate Notary fees as being 1% of the purchase price declared in the deeds of sale. In many cases however Notary fees are more like 0.5% (or less) of the price declared in the deeds.
Expenses related to inscribing the sale with the land registry are also nearly always paid by the buyer, and are calculated in relation to the purchase price declared in the deeds of sale. To be on the safe side you should calculate 1% of the purchase price declared in the deeds, though once again it depends upon the property and the area, and the fee could be considerably lower.
Once you have got the funds in place, you will need to pay the vendor on the day you complete the purchase. The most common way to do this is to take a banker’s cheque along to the notary’s office to give to the vendor when you sign the deeds. Banks try to charge as much as they can for issuing banker’s drafts, and I’ve even known them to charge 0.5% of the cheque’s value. It all depends on the deal you have with your bank. Make sure you clarify this with your bank before you ask for the cheque.
A local tax on the ownership of property in Spain, irrespective of whether the owner is a resident or not. Calculated on the basis of the valor catastral (an administrative value that is usually lower than the market value, sometimes considerably so) set by the town hall the tax rate goes from 0.4% – 1.1% of the valor catastral depending on the Spanish region.
The fees will vary according to the magnitude of the common areas, the costs of maintaining them, and the services that the community vote for. A budget for annual community expenses is approved by majority vote of all owners.
Household insurance will vary according to the circumstances of the owner and the type of property. However it should be born in mind as a cost that all property owners will face.