Moving permanently to Spain used to be relatively straightforward, but since the UK left the EU, living in Spain after Brexit is a little more complicated. If you were living in Spain before Brexit then you’re eligible for pre-Brexit residency rules, but if you weren’t then you probably already know that obtaining residency is now much harder. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible though: all it takes is a little research and a little dedication! One of the easiest and most popular types of residency visas for Brits is the Golden Visa scheme. Whilst there are a wide range of different visa types available, the Golden Visa means that permanent residency is available to any non-European that makes an investment of at least €500K in Spain. For many, this is the easiest way to access residency to Spain. Here’s everything you need to know about the Golden Visa so you can decide if it’s the right option for you:
What is the Golden Visa Scheme?
First introduced in September 2013, the Golden Visa Scheme gives the right to reside in Spain to any eligible foreigners who invest a considerable sum in Spanish property, real estate, or significant business projects in Spain. The minimum investment you must make to be eligible for the Golden Visit is €500,000 ($551,000) before taxes, meaning that once taxes and costs have been factored into the sum, the real investment value is around €600,000. Most people who choose this visa type choose to invest in property, as it is the fast and easiest route.
The main perk of the Golden visa scheme? That non-EU citizens are given the right to remain not only in Spain, but access to the entire Schengen area. It’s important to note though, that the scheme still doesn’t allow you to work in Spain, so you would need to have the financial means to support yourself whilst you were living in the country.
The Rules of the Golden Visa Scheme in Brief
As the main motivator for this scheme is a financial one, to bring money into Spain, you need to have at least €500k to invest for this to be right for you. You don’t have to choose just one property, you could choose to purchase a series of properties. Other important rules to understand when you’re considering whether kind of visa investment is right for you are:
- You can’t borrow money in Spain to count towards your investment; the money must be money you bring into the country. That means that you must purchase the first 500k of your property with either savings or a mortgage agreement from a non-Spanish bank. Any cash you need over the initial €500k investment could be secured via a Spanish mortgage
- Only the property price counts towards your Golden Visa application; any refurbishment costs or additional fees will not be counted, although you should consider them in your financial planning.
- You can divide the €500k across multiple properties.
Securing your Golden Visa Once You’ve Purchased Your Property
Once you have made an investment worth at least 500k you are in a position to obtain your Spanish Golden Visa. You cannot apply for this until the purchase is complete, which is another risk to be aware of. Here is the process you should follow to secure the visa:
You cannot apply for your visa in Spain; you have to do this via the Spanish consulate in your home country. You can only do this once you can show your property purchase agreement and your property deed: this is the proof that you have made the relevant property investment, and that its value meets the criteria. You would also have to show your passport and proof that you don’t have a criminal record. At this point you would be given a stamp in your passport that allows you to travel to Spain, with multiple entries and exits, for one year. Your spouse and any dependent children under the age of 18 are also guaranteed residency permits when you apply for and receive a Golden Visa, but any other family members that want to move with you will need to present paperwork proving they are your legal dependents for their application to be successful, because this visa doesn’t allow you, or them, to work whilst they’re in Spain.
Once you are in Spain, its time to apply for your residency permit. This must be done within a year of your arrival in Spain, and your whole family should attend this appointment in person to have their finger prints taken.
When you apply for a Golden Visa, your initial residence permit is valid for two years. You do not have to live in Spain during this time, but you do need to return to renew your residence permit in person once the two-year period is expired. This permit will be issued within 50 days of your application being received; you should repeat this process until you can been a a legal resident of Spain for five years. At this point you are eligible to apply for permanent residency. Once you have ten years of Spanish residency, you are eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship if you want to.
What If My Residency Permit Isn’t Renewed?
This is something many residents worry about: after all, it’s a big investment to make only to not be able to reside in Spain. But rest assured that there are only three reasons why your residency permit wouldn’t be renewed. These are:
- If you sell your property or transfer it into someone else’s name
- If you have a criminal record
- If you are not up to date on your Spanish tax payments
Have you always dreamt of retiring to Spain? Whether you’re looking for golden mile properties in Marbella or bargain property in Andalucia, our local property experts are perfectly placed to turn your dreams into a reality. Why not get in touch to find out more about how we can help you.