The reasons for Spain being such an alluring investment opportunity are well-known: there are simply few other European countries that offer such a formidable combination of gorgeous weather and a relaxed lifestyle. Major cities like Barcelona and Madrid serve up manifest cultural, historical and sporting charms, while such surrounding islands as the Canaries and Balearics offer a very different, but no less endearing experience for visitors and residents alike. Whether you move to Spain to soak up the sun in a peaceful and hospitable environment or have your eye on an urbane, sophisticated lifestyle in the cities, Spain has it all.
A range of interesting investment formats have opened up for those wishing to gain residency in Spain, since the legal right for investor residency in the country was established in 2013. Investors can be fast-tracked into a visa, with relatively few restraints on how much time they spend in the country.
In common with various other EU countries, Spain offers a ‘golden visa’ programme for those prepared to invest in the country. This scheme has been in operation since September 2013 and represents an attractive option for residency, given the low government fees and quick process. It is not as suitable for those seeking citizenship, however.
Applicants are required to invest €500,000 in Spanish real estate of an either residential or commercial nature, with this able to be rented for income. Investors can combine any number of properties to reach the minimum €500,000 required figure, while joint buyers can pool investments into one property. Any property investment exceeding the minimum can also be mortgaged.
In addition to the real estate investment, applicants must:
Qualifying family members include the main applicant’s spouse and all children under 18. Children aged 18 and over and parents can also qualify if dependent.
Successful applicants for the golden visa gain the right to live in Spain, although they are not required to do so, as there is no minimum stay requirement. Possession of a residency card enables all family members to freely travel throughout the EU Schengen visa zone without the need for additional visa applications.
However, this path is a long and restrictive one for those seeking a second passport, with applicants also needing to live in the country to gain citizenship – a requirement that does not apply to neighbouring Portugal.