How to get a Golden Visa for Spain

8 March 2018

Spain has quickly become a top destination for retirees and other expats who prioritize quality of life thanks to its wonderful culture, great climate and low cost of living. There are several different types of visas that can be used for foreigners who want to live in Spain, each with its own criteria and required documentation. This guide will focus specifically on the so-called golden visa for Spain, which is a preferred route to residency for many affluent expats.

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For expats who are nationals of another European Union country, no visa is required to visit Spain, and no work permit is required if you wish to be employed there. Certain other countries may not be required to get visas for short visits (usually less than 90 days), but all non-EU expats who wish to obtain Spanish residency will need to enter the country on a visa. A legal professional specializing in Spanish immigration law can help you determine which visa is the best fit for your personal situation.

What is the golden visa in Spain?

Spain’s golden visa is intended to encourage and reward foreign investors buying Spanish real estate. This special visa grants non-EU citizens a Spanish residency permit in exchange for buying €500,000 worth of real estate or more in the country. Put into effect by legislation known as the Investor’s Residency Law, the golden visa has helped pull Spain’s real estate market out of the hole it found itself in after the financial crisis that occurred a decade ago.

In addition to the property investment requirement that is the hallmark of this type of visa, the applicant must not have a criminal record in Spain or their country of residence during the last five years, including not being in the country illegally. They must also have medical insurance, either public or private, and the economic means to support themselves and any family they bring with them to Spain (which is unlikely to be a problem for someone with €500,000 to spend on foreign real estate).

How to get permanent residency in Spain

There may be time restrictions on your Spanish residency if you enter the country on a golden visa depending on your personal circumstances. In many cases, your residency can be renewed indefinitely so long as you continue to meet certain requirements. If desired, this may also lead to Spanish citizenship, should the expat wish to apply for this.

The path from a golden visa to permanent Spanish residency can be tricky and is replete with forms and paperwork. For that reason, someone who has the financial means to invest in enough real estate to qualify for a golden visa will generally be best served by employing the services of a legal professional who can cut through all of this red tape and expedite the process. Along the way, your lawyer can assist you with the intricacies of purchasing real estate in Spain and making sure that you are meeting all of your obligations as a buyer, including any tax liability that may be applicable. Granting power of attorney can make the entire experience much easier for you—you’ve got more important things to worry about, after all.

It is important to realize that visas usually have to be applied for in person by the applicant themselves, though. This means that, even if you have signed a power of attorney, you will probably need to appear at your local Spanish consulate or embassy in order to file the application. The majority of other procedural matters, however, can usually be handled by your lawyer after you grant them power of attorney.