Spanish residency permits for property investors in 2022
The Spanish Government has finally approved the long-awaited Investor’s Residency Law (Golden Visa). Keen to give the ailing real estate sector a gentle nudge, it had long been mulling the idea of investor visas. Inspired by similar laws in fellow European Union member countries, Spain enacted on the 27th of September 2013 the Entrepreneur’s Law. It introduces, amongst a wide array of measures, for the first time residency visas and permits for non-EU investors.
A Law For Entrepreneur And Property Investors
Law 14/2013, of the 27th of September 2013, on support for entrepreneurs and internationalisation introduces in articles 61 through to 67 the conditions that have to be met by non-EU investors to qualify for Spanish residency. The law distinguishes clearly between residency visas and residency permits. I will elaborate in more detail what these are further below.
This new law allows non-EU investors to qualify for the highly coveted so-called Golden Visas. To summarise, this new law enables non-EU nationals to attain qualified residency permits in return for investing in Spanish real estate (and other assets), leading to permanent residency in Spain if certain conditions are fulfilled.
Investors’ General Requirements 2022
Applicants pursuing investor visas / permits need to comply with the following general requirements which are specific to Non-Lucrative Residency Permits:
– Non-EU national
– The investor applicant must be of legal age
– The investor must not hold a criminal record whether in Spain or in the previous five years where he has resided
– Not be already in Spain irregularly
– Have access to medical insurance whether private or public
– Have sufficient financial means to support both himself and his family whilst in Spain. This should definitely not be an issue for those who have the socioeconomic profile to qualify for a Golden visa in the first place; it goes without saying.
– Pay the relevant application fee
Distinction between Investor Residency Visas and Residency Permits
In addition to the above general requirements set out in art 62 which are common to both types, applicants must also meet those stipulated in articles 63 (Investor Residency Visas) and article 66 (Investor Residency Permits).
This law distinguishes two types of permits:
Residency Visas (art 63): on following the requirements (see below) one qualifies for a residency visa which entitles an investor to reside in Spain for up to one year (art 65).
Residency Permits (art 66): however, if an investor wishes to stay longer he must qualify additionally for what is known as a residency permit. This permit entitles an investor to live for up to two years in Spain and is renewable providing the requirements are still met (art 67). This permit will be granted on the following twenty days of having applied for it. It can be granted by the Administrative Silence Rule (ASR) in case of non-reply by the Authorities. This path leads eventually to Spanish citizenship.
In both cases the investment needs to be maintained during the validity of the Residency Visa or Permit. Spanish Authorities may carry out routine checks to verify this is still the case.
Investor Residency Visas
One may attain a residency visa on investing in any of the following asset classes in compliance article 63.2:
a) Investing at least €2,000,000 in Spanish Treasury bonds
b) Investing at least €1,000,000 in shares of publicly trading Spanish companies or non-trading ones
c) Depositing at least €1,000,000 in Spanish bank accounts
d) Acquisition of real estate located within Spanish territory of at least €500,000 per applicant
e) A ‘major’ business investment which fulfills at least one of the following three conditions:
- Meaningful job creation as a direct result of the investment
- Significant socioeconomic impact in the geographical location where the activity will be carried out
- Technological or scientific impact
The law adds that the investment can be made by either a physical or legal person. The legal person must not be located in one of the countries deemed as a tax haven by the Bank of Spain. A physical person must demonstrate it exercises a holding control of the company’s shares. This translates to the investor being able to control, directly or indirectly, the majority of voting rights besides having the power to name and remove the majority of members sitting in the board of directors.
Investor Residency Permits
To attain a residency permit one must comply with the following (art 66):
a) Comply with the requirements laid out in art 63 (see above for more details)
b) Hold a valid investor’s residency visa or one that is not overdue by more than 90 days from the expiration date
c) Have travelled to Spain at least once during the validity of the visa stay (you must be able to support this claim with evidence)
d) Provide legal support to uphold the investments made in art 63.2.a) (see above for details) have been held during the mandatory minimum legal period required by law. Depending on the first three cases different legal documents will be required to support this claim.
e) Having complied and be up to date with all Social Security and Tax related obligations
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