The Spain Golden Visa, also known as an Investor Visa, is an investment immigration program that allows non-European Union (EU) investors to live and work in Spain. It is designed for individuals who are willing to make significant investments in Spain, enabling them to effectively settle in the country. The Spanish Government created this program to promote foreign investment and bolster the domestic economy.
One of the big Golden Visa drawcards is it creates a pathway for non-EU nationals to reside in Spain permanently. Upon acquiring an initial one-year Golden Visa, recipients can apply for a residence permit for an additional two-year stay—this is extendable indefinitely. After living in Spain for ten years with a residency permit, you can even apply for Spanish citizenship.
The applicant must fulfill numerous Spain Golden visa requirements to visa:
The most challenging requirement is to make a substantial financial investment in Spain. The investment can be in real estate, stocks, public debt securities, or a business project.
Investors must be at least 18 to apply for a Golden Visa. Golden visa holders can bring minor children to live in Spain with them.
The Spain Golden Visa program is only open to non-EU nationals. Foreigners with citizenship from any country outside the EU may apply.
Applicants must have a clean criminal record to apply for a Spain Golden Visa. Police checks are part of the required documentation.
A Golden Visa applicant’s family may acquire a residency visa to live with the investor in Spain. Eligible family members include:
Applicants must have sufficient financial means to support their stay. The Spanish Government requires a minimum amount of money equivalent to 400% of Spain’s Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator (IPREM)
You can meet this requirement with liquid assets, such as savings, or a regular source of income, such as a pay check. The applicant must have an additional 100% of the IPREM for each family member.
Applicants must have a public or private health insurance policy from a provider with the authority to operate in Spain.
Applicants must make a significant financial investment to acquire a Spain Golden Visa. Four different investment options are available.
Purchasing unencumbered real estate with a minimum value of 500,000 euros is one of the least expensive ways to fulfill the investment requirements. The term “unencumbered” means without a mortgage or financing. Therefore, you must purchase the property outright with cash.
Not only is this the most cost-effective pathway, but a property also gives you a home to live in. Plus, real estate tends to appreciate, making your new home a potentially lucrative investment.
An investment in Spanish public debt securities of at least 2,000,000 euros lets you apply for a Spain Golden Visa. The applicant must demonstrate they will be the sole owner of the investment for at least five years.
Unlike a private corporation, the Spanish Government is highly unlikely to default on its debts, meaning your money is in relatively safe hands. This low-risk investment makes public debt securities a good option for wealthy investors who wish to diversify their portfolios. On the downside, public debt securities typically offer lower returns than private investments.
Investing 1,000,000 euros in quoted or unquoted Spanish stocks is another way to fulfill the Spain Golden Visa eligibility requirements. All shares must be for a Spanish company operating in Spain or venture capital funds for a company incorporated in Spain. Another private investment option is to make a 1,000,000 euro bank deposit into a Spanish financial institution.
Generally, the stock market entails more risk than public debt securities investments. But the rewards can be much greater, with some private companies providing an impressive return on investment (ROI).
Venture capital funding means investing in an early-stage company. As a new business hasn’t had time to demonstrate its profitability, this investment type is generally considered riskier. If the startup proves successful, however, the investor can expect a significant ROI.
Making a 1,000,000 euro bank deposit into a Spanish financial institution is generally the safest option. However, depending on the interest rate, you probably won’t see much growth.
The fourth and final option is to invest in a Spanish business project in the “general interest” of the country. Factors such as local job creation, a positive economic impact on a specific area, or a contribution to technological/scientific innovation can help qualify a business project. However, the Spanish Government will ultimately decide which projects are in its country’s interest.
With this option, a Golden Visa may be granted to a representative designated to manage the project rather than the actual investor. However, the investor may also be eligible, provided all requirements are met.
The business project option has no minimum investment requirement; it could be the most cost-effective way to obtain a Golden Visa. However, the final price ultimately depends on the amount invested and the project’s ROI. Furthermore, demonstrating a business project is in Spain’s general interest can be challenging.
The Spain Golden Visa gives you the right to live and work anywhere in Spain, either on your investment project or in other industries. With Spain permanent residence, you will get access to the country’s excellent state-funded healthcare and education systems. These perks apply to family members who obtain a Spain residency visa alongside the investor.
Furthermore, Spanish residents get the right to travel visa-free throughout the Schengen Area, which comprises 27 European nations. Holders of the Spanish Golden Visa may stay in any Schengen or EU country for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
Finally, a Golden Visa can potentially create a pathway towards Spanish citizenship as it may open the door for individuals to pursue naturalization, granting them the opportunity to become full-fledged Spanish citizens.
The Golden Visa application process involves numerous steps. You must lodge a Golden Visa application at a Spanish Diplomatic Mission and Consular Office in your country of residence or origin.
Non-EU nationals already residing in Spain can apply for a resident permit at the Unidad de Grandes Empresas y Colectivos Estratégicos (UGE-CE) office, located at Pl. de la Remonta, 8, Madrid.
The Golden Visa application process requires submitting a long-term visa application form with an attached passport-sized photograph, as well as numerous other documents.
While the process varies between consulates, applicants must generally book an appointment with their local mission and submit their paperwork in person. However, you may also nominate an authorized legal representative to apply for you. Minor children can get a parent (either the investor or their spouse) to apply for them. Some consulates require each family member to book a separate appointment, including minors.
Many foreign documents must be legalized or apostilled. This verification process requires additional fees and must be done by an authorized notary or an equivalent authority in your country of residence or origin. You must submit many foreign language documents with an official Spanish translation, which also entails additional fees, adding to the Spain Golden visa cost.
The precise process varies between countries. However, you should expect to take the following steps.
A complete list of required documentation is available in the next section of this post.
Depending on your chosen investment option, you may need to start the investment process as per the Spain Golden Visa program's criteria.
Contact your local consulate to book an appointment.
Give the required paperwork and your passport to your local consulate.
The consulate provides the applicant with a Proof of Receipt, enabling them to track their application status online.
The consulate may ask the applicant to submit any missing or extra documentation. The applicant may also be required to visit the consulate for an in-person interview.
The official Spain Golden Visa processing time is ten days. However, this timeframe may increase if the consulate requests additional documentation or an interview.
The applicant must collect their passport and attached Golden Visa within one month of receiving a favorable decision.
An unsuccessful applicant may submit an appeal to the relevant consulate within one month of receiving an unfavorable decision. You can also apply for a judicial review with the High Court Justice of Madrid within two months of receiving a refusal of a visa application or appeal.
The required documentation may vary between countries. Consult the website of your local consulate for a checklist with detailed information.
Gathering the correct documentation and ensuring it is all correctly translated/legalized is challenging, especially for a non-Spanish speaker. A Spain Golden Visa lawyer can streamline the process and handle the most difficult aspects of the application.
Most applicants must submit the following documentation:
Each applicant or their representative must fully complete and sign the form.
A recent, passport-sized color photograph is required. The photo must be taken against a light background with the applicant facing forward. You must not wear dark or reflective glasses or garments that conceal your face.
You must submit a valid, unexpired passport and a photocopy of the biometric data page (the one with your name and personal details). Your passport must have two blank pages and a validity of at least 12 months. Passports issued more than ten years ago aren’t accepted.
Some consulates will keep your passport during the application process. In this situation, you may have to provide a pre-paid envelope for return postage.
The applicant must provide evidence of their legal right to reside in the country where the consulate is located. Proof of residence can be in the form of a passport, visa, or residency permit.
Adult applicants must submit the original document and a copy of a criminal record check certificate for all countries they have lived in recently (usually the last two or five years).
The process for obtaining this document varies between countries. See the website of your local Spanish consulate for more information.
All applicants must submit an original and a copy of a private or public health insurance certificate covering their time in the country. The insurer must be authorized to operate in Spain.
The applicant must provide evidence of their residence status in the country where the consulate is located. Some consulates may accept proof the applicant is attending in-person classes in the local district.
When submitting a Golden Visa application through a representative, they must provide a photocopy of a recognized identity document, such as a passport. The representative must also provide copies of power of attorney (or an equivalent document) papers authorizing them to act on your behalf. Original documents must be shown when a representative submits an application.
You must submit evidence you have sufficient savings or income to live in Spain. The minimum requirement is 400% of Spain’s IPREM, which equates to 2,300 euros per month in 2023. You must also have access to 100% of Spain’s IPREM (currently 600 euros per month) for each dependent family member.
Suitable documentation could include pay slips, rental income reports, bank statements, and employment contracts, among other things.
Most documentation must be legalized or apostilled by an authorized notary (or the equivalent authority) in your area. The process of obtaining documentation legalization varies between countries.
An accredited Spanish translation must accompany documents in any language other than Spanish.
Documentation that must be legalized/apostilled and translated (where applicable) includes:
The required documentation depends on the type of investment.
Any investment made by an authorized legal representative must include a report from the relevant Economic and Commercial Office. The report should confirm the company is not based in a recognized tax haven. The investor must also hold majority voting rights and the power to appoint and dismiss most board members.
Eligible family members—minor children, dependent adult children, spouses/unmarried partners, and dependent parents—must submit the following documentation with their application:
For family members, the requirements for legalized/apostilled and translated documents are the same as the Golden Visa applicant.
Family members must also provide proof of their relationship to the applicant. This evidence could include an official birth or marriage certificate, a certificate of registration as an unmarried couple, and other evidence to show a de facto relationship.
Adult children must provide documentation proving their financial dependence on the Golden Visa applicant. Parents financially dependent on the applicant must provide evidence of being under the applicant’s care.
All this documentation must also be legalized/apostilled and translated into Spanish by an accredited translator (if applicable).
The Spain Golden Visa program typically offers an initial visa with a validity of one year to applicants from outside Spain. Subsequently, visa holders can apply for a two-year Spanish Residence Permit at the UGE-CE office in Madrid. Renewal of the Residence Permit is possible, contingent upon the visa holder's compliance with the original Golden Visa conditions, including maintaining investments in Spain.
Successful renewals may lead to extended Residence Permits with a duration of five years. This process can be repeated indefinitely, allowing individuals to live and work in Spain for as long as they wish, provided they continue to meet the program's requirements.
Furthermore, after ten years of continuous residence in Spain, applicants may become eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship, subject to meeting additional prerequisites.
The Spain Golden Visa program offers a pathway to citizenship through a process known as naturalization. This opportunity is particularly appealing, considering the significant benefits enjoyed by Spanish citizens:
The naturalization process varies depending on your country of origin. However, to obtain Spanish citizenship, most applicants must comply with the following requirements:
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The Golden Visa is a Spain investment visa that provides non-EU nationals with a residency permit in Spain, which can be extended indefinitely.
A minimum Spain real estate investment of 500,000 euros makes you eligible for the program, though you may find a cheaper way by founding a business that serves the national interest.
You can bring your partner/spouse, minor children, dependent adult children, and dependent parents into the country with you.
While the initial visa granted to successful Spain Golden Visa applicants is valid for only one year, recipients can repeatedly apply for a resident permit. That lets you live and work in Spain indefinitely, eventually opening the door to Spanish citizenship.
Obtaining the Spain Golden Visa requires a significant financial investment and a mountain of paperwork. A professional immigration service will make the process a whole lot easier.