Aimed at attracting foreign investment, the Spanish Golden Visa is an attractive residence programme which allows non ‐EU citizens to join the advantages of this Schengen‐area country with simple and clear requirements.
The Spanish parliament has enacted on 19 th September 2013 the so‐called “Law to support entrepreneurs and their internationalization” with the goal to boost the recovery of the Spanish economy.
One of the key measures that will stimulate the beginning of new businesses and encourage foreign investment in Spain is the introduction of a “golden visa” programme that facilitates and speeds up the issue of residence permits for wealthy people and for highly qualified professionals.
Capital and real estate investors
Visas will be automatically granted for those foreigners investing at least:
- — 500,000 euros (665,000 USD aprox.) in Spanish properties, or
— 1 million € in shares of a Spanish company (either listed or not), or
— 2 million € in Spanish debt for at least 5 years, or
— 1 million € in a deposit in a Spanish bank.
The investment may be performed directly or through a company ultimately controlled by the foreign investor and domiciled in a country not listed as a tax haven by the Spanish law.
Entrepreneurs engaged in projects of general interest for Spain
Foreigners looking forward to developing a business project focused on job creation, innovative activities, or activities with relevant economic interest for the country will also get a visa, once the Spanish authorities have analysed the project and confirmed the existence of those general interest reasons.
It is worth mentioning that there are no minimum stay requirements. Therefore, persons with vacation homes and secondary residences qualify for the visa, and business people may live in two countries while looking after their global businesses.
The “Golden ticket” will cover the investor, his spouse and minor children. Once issued, the visa will be valid for one year and will then be converted into a residence permit, provided that the investor has travelled to Spain at least once and the investment has remained stable or increased. The residence permit will be granted for two years and renewed for subsequent periods of the same duration.
Once the visa is obtained, the holder may freely travel within the Schengen area which covers the vast majority of European Union countries plus Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
Wealthy foreigners are lining up for this ”golden ticket’, which waives most of the usual conditions required for migrants to obtain a visa in exchange for a relatively low ‐amount investment in Spain.
It is significant that according to the current regulations it is possible to get a residence visa for Spain without the need for making an investment. The temporary residence status would be granted to those who can attest to having liquid economic resources of at least 2,130 euros per month for their own sustenance plus 530 euros for each family member as well as health insurance coverage in Spain.
Highly qualified professionals can also obtain a residence permit. The law refers to foreigners with an academic degree in a university or a business college, as well as to executives and highly qualified personnel joining a business project of general interest for Spain or hired by a large ‐sized company.
Finally, foreigners relocating to Spain within the framework of a labour or business relation with a Spanish or a foreign company, as well as those entering Spain for professional training activities will also have access to a visa.
It is important to remember that the Golden Visa programme does not concern nationals of other European Union States who have a fundamental right to move and reside freely within the EU Member States (the so ‐called free movement of persons) and therefore do not need a visa in order to reside in Spain.
The programme is expected to attract to Spain a select class of wealthy and highly skilled migrants who, with their families, will take advantage of being part of the European Union.
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