What is a Golden Visa?
A golden visa is a type of permit that is a step up from the standard visas that people use when they want to move or visit a new country other than the one, they are currently living in. A golden Visa has many extra benefits compared to a standard visa permit and those who hold one can get a visa via an investment they have made. Different countries have different requirements on how much needs to be invested, but, for Spain, this amount is around €500,000 in real estate or any other valuable and qualified financial investment. This aims to attract investors and entrepreneurs to the country to help grow these industries.
Benefits of a Golden Visa
As mentioned above, the Golden Visa allows users to gain many benefits, but what exactly are they? Firstly, users can get access to travel to all countries that require a ‘Schengen’ visa to travel to them such as Denmark, Germany, and France. A Schengen visa essentially allows you to visit specific countries within the Schengen area like the ones just mentioned and go between them for a short period of time of around 90 days. Furthermore, with a Spanish Golden Visa, you can apply for residency after 5 years and citizenship after 10 years as well as bringing family members over such as spouses, unmarried minor children who are under 18 as well as adults who are dependent on you.
How to Apply for a Spanish Golden Visa
To apply for a Spanish Golden Visa, there are a range of requirements to fill to get the Golden Visa. Although there are many requirements, an individual looking to apply for this type of visa only needs to meet one of them to be eligible. The requirements are as follows:
- Owning a Spanish property worth over €500,000
- Company shares, investment funds or bank deposits worth over €1,000,000
- Spanish treasury bonds worth over €2,000,000 or more
- Business ventures which are deemed to be of general interest. i.e., those which may create employment opportunities for the people of Spain
There are also some documents that needs to be submitted such as:
- The Spanish long stay visa
- 2 passport photographs
- Valid passport which was issued within the last 10 years
- Proof of country of residence
- Proof of investment made
- Residency Visas for acquisition of Real Estate
- Residency Visas for capital investors
- Police Clearance
- Proof that you have significant economic funds
- Medical insurance and a certificate that confirms whether you have a disease that could pose a risk to wider society
Once a person has met one of these requirements and submitted their documents, they can apply and submit their application and then once that is done and they have received their Golden Visa, they must travel to Spain and exchange it for a residency permit. An important thing to note however, is that you can lose the golden visa if you do not maintain your assets for example, through liquidation or bankruptcy.
Gaining Citizenship though a Golden Visa
A Spanish Golden Visa has a higher chance of leading to Spanish citizenship than any other visa which is why it is also known as Spanish Citizenship by investment. After 10 years, you can gain a Spanish passport given that you meet the following requirements:
- You have remained in Spain for at least 183 days a year for the past 10 years and this would also mean that you would need to pay income taxes because you would be considered a resident. If you have stayed less than 183 days a year, then you wouldn’t be considered a resident thus would not need to pay income tax, however, you would need to pay 24.75% on rental income or any other income you receive in Spain
- You have a basic level of the Spanish language as well as culture and history
- No criminal convictions or debts in Spain. The debts that you may have had must have been cleared before applying for citizenship
For those from former Spanish colonies like Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and Mexico can gain citizenship a lot faster in as little as 2 years.
As the Golden Visa is closely linked with a Schengen visa, a person applying for the Golden Visa must not have been rejected from getting a Schengen visa in the past. In the case that this has happened, many vigorous checks must be done, and this makes the process more drawn out.
In conclusion, getting a Golden Visa can allow someone to gain residency and citizenship by investing into the country either by real estate or through businesses. By integrating into Spain via these methods, it is easier to gain a residency permit or citizenship however, the process of first getting set up takes a lot of financial capability which also needs to be maintained.