Nadja Vietz
by

It is a great time to move to Spain. Spain has a competitive business environment, excellent infrastructure, and fantastic international schools. The dollar is rising against the Euro and Spain is a major recipient of investment worldwide. Real estate prices are attractive and Spain offers immeasurable lifestyle benefits compared to its European neighbors.

If you are thinking about making a move and looking for a good investment, you should know about Spain’s “Golden Visa” program for private investors from outside the European Union. Spain launched the Golden Visa program in 2013 to make the Spanish economy more competitive, further boost foreign direct investment, and enhance foreign trade and local job creation. Amendments to the law in 2015 added additional incentives and made it faster and easier to secure Spain visas and work permits. Spain’s Golden Visa program is now one of the most attractive programs for outside-EU investors.

To qualify for a Golden Visa you must be ready to invest significant money in Spain. The visa can be obtained by spending at least €500,000 on real property in Spain; by investing at least €1 million in a Spanish company, investment funds or venture capital funds; or by investing at least €2 million in Spanish government bonds.

Once the visa is granted, an investor can buy and sell properties as long as he or she maintains an investment threshold of €500,000. Investors are no longer required to invest as individuals. Rather, investors may purchase property in Spain either directly or indirectly through a registered company, so long as the investor continues to hold the majority of shares and the company’s address is not located in a tax haven. This means that if you can find investment partners, you can secure a Spain visa by investing well under €500,000

Though there are several types of visas for travel to Spain, the Golden Visa is particularly attractive as it can give Spanish residency for the investor’s immediate family. As of 2015, applicants may request reunification not only with married partners but with common law partners as well. The program also covers the investor’s economically dependent children, including grown up children, as well as parents. The residency permit further allows for a work permit in Spain.

Successful applications receive an initial one-year visa. The applicant may then apply for a residence permit that is valid for two years and that can be renewed for periods of five years. The visa does not have a minimum stay requirement for renewal. This is appealing for those investors wanting the benefit of Spanish residency while enjoying unlimited travel to other European countries. Investors can choose to remain in Spain or become tax residents in a third country. After ten years of continued residence (you must spend at least 183 days per year in the country), applicants may apply for Spanish citizenship.

Obtaining a Spanish Golden Visa will not guarantee you a lifetime of sand and siestas, but given Spain’s status as the country with the second highest life expectancy in the world (83.2 years!), Spanish tapas, Gaudi’s Barcelona, Mediterranean beaches, and Spanish football, you could do a lot worse with your time and investment dollars.