Golden Visa Spain: Your Essential Guide to Investment & Residency

The Golden Visa Spain is a clear route to residency for non-EU investors. With an investment starting at €500,000, applicants gain access to Spain and, potentially, permanent residency. This article cuts through the complexities to lay out eligibility, investment paths, and the profound benefits you stand to gain.

Key Takeaways

  • The Spanish Golden Visa is a Residency by Investment Program designed to attract non-EU investors to Spain by offering them and their families the ability to reside, work, and travel within the Schengen Zone.
  • Applicants for the Spanish Golden Visa must meet specific investment thresholds, such as purchasing real estate worth at least €500,000 or investing in government bonds or Spanish companies, and fulfill personal criteria like having a clean criminal record and sufficient financial means.
  • Holders of the Spanish Golden Visa can enjoy benefits like visa-free travel in the Schengen Area, access to public services, and the potential for permanent residency and citizenship, with tax implications based on their residency status.

Understanding the Spanish Golden Visa

Spanish Golden Visa

The Spanish Golden Visa is more than just a visa, it’s a gateway to the lifestyle and opportunities that Spain offers. Launched in 2013, this investor visa was Spain’s strategic initiative to attract foreign investment and talent, thereby stimulating economic growth and contributing to Spain’s high standards of living. It’s a win-win situation – the Spanish economy benefits from foreign investment, and non-EU investors enjoy the privilege of residing in one of the world’s most loved countries.

Interested in the Spanish Golden Visa? To truly seize this golden opportunity, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the Spanish Golden Visa and its inception is key.

What is the Spanish Golden Visa?

The Spanish Golden Visa is a Residency by Investment Program, designed to facilitate the acquisition of a residence permit through significant investment. It offers the following benefits:

  • Breaks down the barriers for non-EU investors
  • Makes it easier for them to reside in Spain
  • Allows investors to tap into the myriad of opportunities the country presents

But how does one secure this Golden Visa? The key lies in investment. Investors can obtain the Spanish Golden Visa through various types of investments such as:

  • The acquisition of real estate
  • Investment funds
  • Bank deposits
  • Shares in Spanish financial institutions
  • Government bonds investment

Why was the Golden Visa introduced in Spain?

The introduction of the Golden Visa in Spain in 2013 marked a pivotal moment in the country’s economic strategy, driven by the need to stimulate growth and attract foreign investment.

Golden Visa in Spain
  • Economic Stimulus: Spain, like many countries, was recovering from the global financial crisis of 2008, which had a significant impact on its economy. The Residency by Investment Program was conceived as a means to inject capital into the Spanish economy, thereby stimulating growth, creating jobs, and fostering development across various sectors.
  • Foreign Investment: By offering residency and citizenship incentives to foreign investors, Spain sought to attract individuals with significant financial resources to invest in the country. This influx of foreign capital could be directed towards a wide range of ventures, including real estate, business development, infrastructure projects, and innovative startups, all of which contribute to economic prosperity.
  • Talent Acquisition: In addition to financial investment, Golden Visa program aimed to attract talent from around the world. By providing residency rights to skilled professionals, entrepreneurs, and individuals with specialized expertise, Spain sought to enhance its human capital and promote innovation and competitiveness in key sectors of the economy.
  • Promotion of Economic Welfare: The Entrepreneurs Act, which encompasses Golden Visa program, is aligned with Spain’s broader objectives of promoting economic welfare and enhancing its global competitiveness. By facilitating the entry of investors and skilled professionals, the program contributes to job creation, knowledge transfer, and the overall dynamism of the Spanish economy.
  • Integration into the European Union: As a member of the European Union, Spain sought to leverage Golden Visa program to position itself as an attractive destination for foreign investment within the EU. This strategic move not only aligns with broader EU objectives of economic integration but also enhances Spain’s profile as a desirable location for business and investment activities within the European market.

Eligibility Criteria for Spain’s Golden Visa

Obtaining a Spanish Golden Visa is a complex process, entailing a unique set of criteria that applicants must fulfill. Applicants must prove they have made an investment according to the Spanish Golden Visa program requirements. Personal requirements include being over the age of 18, having valid health insurance in Spain, and not having any of the illnesses considered a health risk as per the 2005 regulations.

Sufficient financial means to sustain oneself and any family members is an essential requirement for Golden Visa applicants. Applicants must:

  • Have a clean criminal history in all places of residence from the past five years
  • Cannot be listed as undesirable or have any record of illegal stay or entry into Spanish territory
  • Must not be in Spain illegally at the time of applying for the Golden Visa.
Criteria for Spain's Golden Visa

Investment options

Investment is the cornerstone of the Spanish Golden Visa. There are several routes for obtaining the Spanish Golden Visa, including:

  • Real Estate Investment: Minimum investment of €500,000 in Spanish real estate property, which must be mortgage-free. This investment can be in commercial, residential, or a combination of both types of properties, and may be rented out. The investment must be certified with relevant documents like a certificate from the Property Registry and possibly the deed of sale.
  • Investment in Spanish Company Shares or Bank Deposits: Another avenue for obtaining the Golden Visa is by investing €1 million in shares of Spanish companies or through bank deposits. This option allows investors to contribute directly to the growth and development of Spanish businesses or to deposit funds in Spanish financial institutions.
  • Investment in Spanish Government Bonds: Investors can opt to invest €2 million in Spanish government bonds, providing critical financial support to the government while securing residency rights under Residency by Investment Program. This investment option offers a relatively straightforward pathway to residency for investors seeking to contribute to the stability and economic well-being of Spain.
  • Investment in Spanish Investment Funds or Venture Capital Funds: Alternatively, investors can choose to invest €1 million in Spanish investment funds or venture capital funds, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. This option enables investors to diversify their investment portfolio while fulfilling the requirements for obtaining the Spanish Golden Visa.

Each investment option under the Spanish Golden Visa program offers its own set of advantages and considerations, allowing investors to tailor their investment strategy to align with their financial goals and preferences. Whether through real estate, company shares, government bonds, or investment funds, the program provides a pathway for investors to secure residency and potentially citizenship in Spain while contributing to its economic growth and prosperity.

Personal requirements

Personal requirements for the Spanish Golden Visa are:

  • Applicants must be of legal age, which is 18 years or older.
  • They should not have any criminal record in Spain or in their home country for the past five years.
  • They should not have entered or stayed illegally in Spain or have been listed as undesirable.
  • They should not have any rejected visas from Schengen countries.

Applicants are required to submit proof of private health insurance contracted with an insurance entity authorized to operate in Spain. Moreover, proof of sufficient financial means is required for the Golden Visa, which equates to 400% of Spain’s Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator (IPREM) for the investor, plus an additional 100% of the IPREM for each family member.

Benefits of Obtaining a Spanish Golden Visa

Benefits of Spanish Golden Visa

The benefits of obtaining a Spanish Golden Visa extend far beyond mere residency, encompassing a range of advantages that enhance the overall quality of life and opportunities for investors and their families.

  • Residency and Work Authorization: Holders of the Spanish Golden Visa enjoy the legal right to reside and work in Spain, offering flexibility in lifestyle and professional pursuits. Importantly, there is no requirement for permanent residency, granting freedom to choose residence duration.
  • Visa-Free Travel in the Schengen Zone: Golden Visa holders and their families benefit from visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days within any 180-day period. This facilitates easy travel for personal, business, and leisure purposes across Europe.
  • Comprehensive Family Benefits: Family members of Golden Visa holders, including spouses, unmarried partners, financially dependent children (of any age, with adult children as full-time students), and financially dependent parents aged 65 and older, enjoy the same residency and travel rights. Access to Spain’s healthcare and education systems ensures the well-being and education of the entire family, enhancing the appeal of the Golden Visa as a family-friendly option.
  • Renewable Visa and Pathway to Permanent Residency: Golden Visa holders can renew their visa for two years initially, with a potential total duration of up to five years. Subsequently, they are eligible to apply for permanent residency, providing long-term stability and security.
  • High Quality of Life and Vibrant Environment: Spain offers a high quality of life, characterized by a rich cultural heritage, culinary delights, and breathtaking landscapes, ranging from pristine beaches to majestic mountains. The country’s vibrant EU status presents numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth, with access to diverse industries and cultural experiences.
  • Pathway to Spanish Citizenship: After two years of effective residence, individuals with Sephardic Jewish ancestry or descendants and citizens of select countries, including Ibero-American nations, Andorra, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal, and the Philippines, can apply for Spanish citizenship, further expanding opportunities and rights.
  • Diverse Educational Opportunities: Spain boasts excellent schools offering tuition in various languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Mandarin, catering to the diverse needs of Golden Visa holders and their families.

The Application Process

Applying for the residence involves a structured process outlined below:

  • Initial Application Phase: Applicants begin by submitting their application forms, accompanied by the requisite fees and supporting documentation, in their home country. This phase entails applying for a Spanish residence visa, enabling applicants to reside and work in Spain for a duration of one year.
  • Second Application Phase: In the subsequent stage, applicants proceed to apply for a Spanish residence permit. Those who enter Spain on a regular tourist visa have the option to directly apply for the residence permit, bypassing the initial visa phase.
  • Key Points to Note: The residence permit extends to the primary investor, their spouse or partner, and all economically dependent descendants. Unlike some residency programs, there is no obligatory minimum stay requirement to maintain residence status. However, applicants must visit Spain to obtain the initial residence permit.
The Application Process of Spanish Golden Visa

This two-phase application process ensures a streamlined pathway for investors and their families to secure residency in Spain, offering flexibility and convenience in the transition to living and working in the country.

Preparing ocuments

Document preparation is a fundamental aspect of the Golden Visa application process. The basic documents required include:

  • A valid passport from a non-EU country
  • Documentation confirming sufficient funds
  • Private medical insurance from a Spanish company
  • Background checks
  • Evidence of investment such as property registration certificates and purchase deeds.

All foreign documents must be legalized or apostilled and must be accompanied by a sworn translation into Spanish. Prior to application submission, a decision on the investment must be made, forming part of the required documentation. Applicants must have health insurance from an authorized Spanish provider to apply for the Golden Visa.

Submitting the application

The submission of your Spanish Golden Visa application marks a crucial juncture in your journey. Applications can be submitted either at a Spanish Embassy or Consulate when outside of Spain, or at designated large business units or Police Stations within Spain. The application must include a completed national visa application form, two recent passport-sized photos, and a valid passport with a minimum validity of one year and two blank pages.

The Golden Visa application is processed within 20 days from submission, and if not addressed within this period, the application is deemed automatically granted. Hence, it’s essential to ensure that the application is complete and accurate to avoid any delays or rejections.

Approval and receiving the visa

Every applicant anticipates the moment of visa approval and receipt with bated breath. The Spanish authorities are expected to make a decision on the Golden Visa application within 10 to 20 business days. Upon approval of the Golden Visa, the applicant must travel to Spain to exchange the visa for a residence permit and provide biometric data.

Family Members and the Spanish Golden Visa

The Spanish Golden Visa program extends its benefits to the immediate family members of the main applicant. Eligible family members for inclusion in the Spanish Golden Visa application include:

  • The applicant’s spouse
  • Unmarried minor children under 18
  • Dependent adult children
  • Dependent elderly parents

The primary applicant must provide evidence of sufficient financial means to support all family members who are included in the Golden Visa application.

Family members - the Spanish Golden Visa

Included family members receive the same type of residence permits as the primary applicant and can freely travel within the Schengen Zone. However, they must visit Spain for the permit renewal process. For family members to be included, the primary applicant needs to submit the required documents, but the investment threshold does not need to be met individually for each family member.

Maintaining Your Spanish Golden Visa

To sustain your Spanish Golden Visa, you need to diligently manage your investment and comply with residency requirements. To maintain the Golden Visa, the holder must:

  • Not have sold the property or liquidated the investment that qualified them for the visa.
  • For the renewal of the Golden Visa, the investment must still be in place.
  • Provide proof of the maintained investment.
  • Demonstrate that they have visited Spain at least once in the previous year.

Maintaining the Spanish Golden Visa and becoming eligible for permanent residency requires the investor to hold their investment without selling it for the entire period leading up to the application for permanent residency, and to have visited Spain for at least one month during the previous year of their application. The initial Golden Visa is valid for one year and can be converted into a two-year residence permit for investors; this permit is renewable indefinitely every two years as long as the investment is maintained.

Path to Permanent Residency and Citizenship

Beyond providing a Spain residency permit, the Spanish Golden Visa also sets the stage for eventual permanent residency and citizenship:

  • Permanent residency after five years of legal and effective residency within the country
  • Spanish citizenship after a total of 10 years of legal residence. A reduced period of 2 years for nationals from certain Latin American countries, Andorra, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, or Portugal

Yet, progressing to permanent residency or citizenship is no easy feat; it necessitates the preservation of investments and fulfillment of residency obligations.

Timeline for permanent residency

Golden Visa holders may transition to permanent residency after five years of temporary residence in Spain. After being in Spain for five years with a two-year Residence Permit, investors are eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit.

To be eligible for permanent residency, applicants must have lived in Spain for at least five years uninterrupted, staying in the country at least six months each year. Applicants for permanent residency in Spain through Golden Visa program must ensure they have no prior Schengen visa refusals.

Tax Implications of the Spanish Golden Visa

Tax Implications of the Spanish Golden Visa

Just like in other aspects of life, taxes play a significant role in the context of the Spanish Golden Visa. Golden Visa holders can maintain their tax resident status outside of Spain if they stay for less than 183 days per year, facing tax implications only on their Spanish-sourced income. Non-resident Golden Visa holders are subject to Non-resident Income Tax (IRNR), which is 24% on rental income and can be declared quarterly or annually based on property use.

Wealth Tax applies to non-resident Golden Visa holders with properties above €700,000, subject to regional variations and deductions, and Property Tax (IBI) rates also vary by region. Tax treaties may offer relief on double taxation for Golden Visa holders, leading to potential tax savings and deductions for taxes paid in other jurisdictions.

Failing to adhere to tax filing requirements such as submitting Form 210 or filing Wealth Tax returns may result in penalties, including late payment interests and financial penalties.

Challenges and Considerations

Despite the myriad of opportunities and benefits offered by the Spanish Golden Visa, it also presents certain challenges and considerations. High investment costs are a substantial challenge for those looking to obtain the Spanish Golden Visa. Non-full-time residents with a Spanish Golden Visa are subject to relevant taxes if they have purchased property in Spain.

Potential applicants need to be well-prepared and consider all aspects before embarking on this journey. Therefore, an important element of the entire process of obtaining a Residence through Investment is the professional support of experienced experts.

Expert Tips for Success with the Spanish Golden Visa

Imperial Citizenship - Spain Golden visa

Benefits of the Spanish Golden Visa include the right to live and work in Spain, visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone, access to public services, and eligibility for permanent residency and citizenship after a specified period. To succeed in the application process, investors should carefully research education opportunities, consider tax implications, seek legal assistance, plan their finances, and prepare documentation meticulously.

With the right guidance experts and strategic approach, navigating the Spanish Golden Visa program can be a seamless experience, offering investors and their families a pathway to residency and citizenship in Spain.


In conclusion, the Spanish Golden Visa is an attractive path for non-EU nationals to gain residency, and potentially citizenship, in Spain. Although the process involves significant investment and meeting certain criteria, the benefits of residing in Spain and the freedom of movement within the Schengen area make it a valuable opportunity. With careful planning, appropriate advice, and by understanding all the requirements and implications, you can successfully navigate the Spanish Golden Visa journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get residency in Spain if I buy a house?

Yes, purchasing a house in Spain for at least €500,000 qualifies non-EU citizens for a renewable residency permit, thanks to the golden visa scheme.

Is Spain Golden Visa worth it?

Yes, the Spain Golden Visa is worth it because it provides a pathway to visa-free travel to the Schengen Area, tax benefits, and other advantages.

Who qualifies for Golden Visa in Spain?

To qualify for the Golden Visa in Spain, the primary applicant must be over 18 years old, make a significant investment as specified by the Spanish government, and have a clean criminal record.

What is the Spanish Golden Visa?

The Spanish Golden Visa is a program that provides residency in Spain to non-EU nationals in exchange for a substantial investment.

Scroll to Top