Last updated on October 1st, 2021

Spain Golden Visa 2021:
The Definitive Guide

Investing in Spain comes with benefits.  The Spanish Golden Visa program allows you to invest in the country and obtain a residence permit for you and your family.

What exactly can you do with a Spain Golden Visa?  Well, you can live and work in Spain, and travel across the Schengen countries without the need for an additional visa.

The program has welcomed over 6,000 applicants, which attracted over €3 billion in incoming investment since its launch in 2013.

Let’s take a closer look at the program.  What you will find in this comprehensive guide:

  • Program benefits
  • Eligibility
  • Qualifying Investment Options for Spanish Golden Visa
  • Application Process
  • Timeline

Table of Contents

Golden Visa Spain Benefits

Here are some of the main benefits the Spain Golden Visa program offers:

Mobility

As a Spain Golden Visa holder, you have the freedom to travel around the Schengen area. This basically means that you can spend Saturday in Holland, Sunday in France, and head back to work in Spain on Monday.

Fast Processing Times

Spain is very well-organized bureaucratically. This is why you should be able to acquire your Spanish resident permit within 90 days of your Golden Visa application.

Generous Taxing Initiatives

In Spain, you will only be taxed on your worldwide income if you are a Spanish tax resident.  For non-residents, there is a flat 24.75% tax rate for income earned in Spain, such as rental income.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) starts at 24% and can go up to 27% for any gains exceeding €50,000. CGT applies to any profit made from selling a property at a profit.

Annual property taxes are very cheap.

Inclusion of Family Members

Golden Visa Spain allows you to include your family in the program. Your spouse and children under the age of 18 are guaranteed residence permits.

Some other family members may also be eligible, such as your parents or children over the age of 18, if they’re dependent on you.

No Minimum Stay Requirement

Spain requires no minimum stay requirement to maintain your Spanish Golden Visa card.  You only have to enter the country once per year to keep your permit.  After your Golden Visa application, you receive your temporary permit, which is valid for either a year or two years, if you visit Spain.  After that, you can renew your residence permit for five years at a time.

Permanent Residency and Citizenship

If you maintain a temporary residence in Spain for five years, you become eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Important Note on Naturalization in Spain:

As we mentioned above, there is no stay requirement in Spain to keep your residence permit. However, if you ultimately wish to apply for citizenship, you are required to live in Spain at least six months per year for ten consecutive years. If you do so, you may qualify for a Spanish passport.

The Spanish passport is amongst the strongest in the world. It allows you to travel visa-free to 188 countries.

Variety of Investment Options

Spain is a financially strong country with many attractive investment opportunities. The Golden Visa program in Spain allows you to invest in various sectors such as real estate, or any Spanish business as a matter of fact.

Keep reading this guide for a deep exploration of the investment options.

Eligibility for Golden Visa in Spain

In order to be eligible to apply for a Golden Visa in Spain, you must:

  • Non-EU, non-EEA, or non-Swiss citizen
  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Not have been refused visas or entry into the Schengen zone
  • Have enough funds to support yourself during your stay in Spain
  • Make a qualifying investment in Spain
  • Not be on the nation’s list of undesirable people
  • Have health insurance that covers you in Spain

Spain Golden Visa Investment Options

Spain Golden Visa program allows you to choose between various investment options:

  • Real Estate Investment Option

Real estate acquisition in Spain is the most popular option for getting a Golden Visa.

You must invest a minimum of €500,000 in Spanish real estate in order to qualify. You can choose a commercial or residential property. You may also choose a combination of both.

You can choose to rent out your real estate property in Spain. Additionally, you may choose to invest in multiple properties. As long as the total amount is at least €500,000, you qualify for a Golden Visa.

Any amount exceeding the minimum property investment can be mortgaged out in Spain.

  • Capital Transfer

This option requires you to invest a minimum of €1,000,000 in Spanish Treasury Bonds. This tends to be a popular option because of the financial security of these bonds. Moreover, the Spanish government backs Treasury Bonds. This is a safe and conservative form of investment.

Alternatively, you can invest a minimum capital of €1,000,000 in Spanish companies or in bank deposits to a Spanish financial institution.

  • Business Development in Spain

The goal of this route is to boost the Spanish economy directly. You need to create employment in Spain by creating a Spanish company. Secondly, your investment should have a positive socio-economic impact on the country. Finally, your Spanish company should contribute to scientific and technological innovations.

The minimum investment for this route is €1,000,000. You can choose to start a new company or, alternatively, you can choose to invest in a business project in the country.

  • Business Projects in Spain

There are currently over 3,000 start-ups in Spain in which you can invest.  The Spanish government has implemented many tax changes in favor of investment in such companies.

This can be attractive for business venturers or angel investors, who are keen to take advantage of the tax incentives. Keep in mind that this might get slightly complicated legally. 

Spanish Golden Visa Application Process

After completing at least one of the above-mentioned investments you can initially apply for a Schengen Visa to Spain. You will receive a multiple-entry Spanish residency visa that is valid for one year. In that one-year period, you should go to Spain in person to apply for your temporary two-year Golden Visa residence permit.

As mentioned above, you are not required to live in Spain to maintain your Golden Visa residence permit. However, you have to visit the country at least once a year to renew your Golden Visa residence permit and maintain the investment.

Required Documents for Spain Golden Visa Program:

  • A valid passport which has at least a year until expiry
  • A document proving that you have sufficient funds to cover living during the time spent in Spain
  • Medical insurance which provides coverage in Spain

All of these documents must be notarized and translated into Spanish.

Spanish Golden Visa Timeline

Fast-Track to Citizenship Option for Nationals from Former Spanish Colonies

Spain has recently introduced some legislative changes that allow nationals from a select few countries to qualify for Spain’s fast-track citizenship process.

More specifically, applicants from former colonies of Spain may get a fast-track to citizenship in just two years. For this, they are required to meet the minimum stay requirement. The minimum stay requirement is to travel to Spain once every three months, or eight times in total within a consecutive 730 days.

These residency requirements for citizenship can be made possible with a multiple exit Golden Visa. This is under the condition that none of the time spent outside of Spain lasts longer than three months.

Below you’ll find a table listing the countries which can enjoy fast-track to citizenship in Spain:

Countries Which Can Benefit From Fast-Track Citizenship in Spain
Mexico Peru Argentina
Philippines Cuba Bolivia
Chile Colombia Costa Rica
Dominican Republic Ecuador El Salvador
Guatemala Honduras Venezuela
Panama Paraguay

The NIE Number

Número de Identificación de Extranjero or NIE is the Foreigner’s Identification Number. This acts as a tax identification number in Spain. You need this number for most activities regarding banking, taxation, acquiring real estate property, or any other financial activities involving the Spanish tax office.

An NIE is mandatory to have if you’re a foreigner with professional or financial affairs in Spain.

Non-EU citizens typically get their NIE application with their Spanish residency. With the NIE you can perform various actions such as:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Being legally employed
  • Paying taxes in Spain
  • Buying or selling real estate property in Spain
  • Becoming self-employed
  • Buying or selling motor vehicles
  • Registering a business
  • Receiving Inheritance
  • Studying in Spain
  • Getting a Spanish driver’s license
  • Arranging utilities
  • Getting health insurance

Step by Step Guide for The Spain Golden Visa

  • Step 1

    Decide on Your Investment Option

    For this step, you should choose the investment option that works best for you.

  • Step 2

    Make the Investment and Prepare The Documents

    Purchase the investment and have all the documentation notarized and translated into Spanish. It’s advisable that you get professional help in this step as the documents can get messy.

    Step 2

  • Step 3

    Submit Your Application to The Spanish Consulate

    Here you’ll have to pay the government application fee and provide the required documentation.

  • Step 4

    Book Your Interview and Visit Spain to Give Your Biometrics

    After your interview has been approved. You should visit Spain to give your biometrics. After you pay the government permit fee, your Golden Visa will arrive.

    Step 4

  • Step 5

    Get an NIE and Open a Bank Account

    As we mentioned before, you should have the NIE to make it easier to conduct business and personal affairs in Spain. We also advise you to open a bank account to make your transactions easier.

  • Step 6

    Receive Your Golden Visa

    You’ll get a residence permit which is valid for two years, after which you can renew it for five years successively.

    Step 6

  • Step 7

    Become a Permanent Resident

    After five years of successful residency, you can apply for a permanent residency in Spain.

  • Step 8

    Apply for Spanish Citizenship

    You will be eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship after ten years, provided that you live at least six months annually in Spain in those ten years.

    Step 8

Alternative Residency by Investment Programs in Europe

Portugal Golden Visa

The Portuguese government offers a similar program called Portugal Golden Visa. It enables you to invest in Portugal and obtain a residence permit for you and your family.  With the permit, you can live and work in Portugal, and travel visa-free across Schengen countries.  The main difference is, you do not need to live in Portugal in order to qualify for Portuguese citizenship at the end of five years.

Read all about its details from an actual investor in the Portugal Golden Visa guest post.

Greece Golden Visa

The Greek government allows you to invest €250,000 in Greek real estate to qualify for a residence permit in the country.  Similar to Spain, the Greek Golden Visa allows you to live in Greece and travel across Europe.  It does not lead to citizenship unless you live in Greece full time.

Check out our article on the Greece Golden Visa program.

FAQ

Can I get Spanish Citizenship through the Spain Golden Visa?

The Spanish Golden Visa is not technically a citizenship by investment program. It’s a Spanish residency by investment program which does eventually make you eligible for citizenship. In order to be eligible for citizenship, you have to reside in Spain for at least six months a year for a period of ten years.

In other words, Spanish citizenship by investment is possible through the Spanish Golden Visa program.

How can I get a Permanent Residence in Spain through Spanish Golden Visa?

To get permanent Spanish residence in Spain, you must first obtain a temporary residence permit. With your temporary residence permit, you should live legally in Spain for at least five years. This means that you need to live in Spain for at least six months in any year.

Can I get a Bank Loan for my investment?

You must make a minimum investment of €500,000 of your own funds. If you decide to purchase a real estate property that is worth more than €500,000 you can mortgage out the rest of the cost. For example, if you buy a property worth €750,000 you need to pay €500,000 but can mortgage out €250,000.

Will my family members get a Residence Permit as well?

Yes, the Spain Golden Visa allows family inclusion. The family members that qualify are your spouse and children under 18 years old. These family members can receive residence permits in Spain.

In cases where other family members are dependent on you, for example, full-time students or your parents, you can also include them in the program. For this, you need to provide documentation showing that they are financially dependent on you.

What Does “Financial Guarantee” mean in Golden Visa requirements?

This means that you need to provide documentation showing that you can support yourself during your stay in Spain.

How long does it take to receive the Golden Visa in Spain?

This usually takes between two to three months, depending on the backlog of applications. We advise you to hire a professional to help you in this process, to make sure that you don’t miss anything and have a smooth application.

Does Spanish Golden Visa Allow Me to Work in Spain?

Yes, the Golden Visa allows you to work, live, and study in Spain.

Which Countries can I visit visa-free If I have a Spanish Golden Visa?

If you’re a holder of the Spanish Golden Visa, you can visit all the countries in the Schengen Area visa-free. These countries are namely: 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.

Can I sell my property later on?

Yes, you can. You have to retain your property until you obtain you become a permanent resident. After five years of successful temporary residency, you can apply for a permanent residence. After you receive your permanent residency, you can resell your property. Keep in mind that a successful temporary residency means that you need to reside at least six months annually in Spain for five years.

What kind of property do I need to buy for the Golden Visa?

You must make a €500,000 investment in real estate property. As long as you make at least one investment of that size, there is no restriction on the property. This means that you can buy residential or commercial property.

Can I invest in more than one property in Spain?

Yes, you’re allowed to acquire more than one property, provided that the combined value of these properties is at least €500,000. Remember that any property can be commercial or residential.

What’s the Difference between a Schengen Visa and a Golden Visa?

The Schengen Visa is an entry visa, not a residence visa. The Golden Visa, on the other hand, refers to the residency by investment scheme which allows you to gain a residence permit in exchange for an investment in the country.