19 December 2017
Spain boasts the golden sun, golden sand and now Golden Visa. In spring 2017 this Spanish program offering permanent residency to non-EU nationals in return for an investment of €500,000 has become the leader in Europe in terms of the number of issued residence permits.
It started in crisis-hit Cyprus, followed by Latvia, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Malta. However, for Spain the beginning wasn't successful. Launched in 2013 Golden Visa programme attracted to Spain only 500 investors within a year (e.g. compare with 2000 in Portugal). Having improved it in summer 2015, Spanish authorities turned it into a magnet for wealthy foreigners. Within a year modified attractive terms increased the number of investors by 4 times.
New key facts:
Spanish residence may be issued to investors' family, including spouse, underage children and financially dependent parents and children over 18 with no own families.
Legally staying in Spain investors can apply for a residence permit without leaving the country.
It's allowed to file documents immediately after signing a preliminary contract (arras). After signing the purchase contract, it's possible to apply for an annual visa or a residence permit; 1st residence card issued for 2 years, then 5 years with extension every 5 year (keeping investment).
The investor visa provides both Spanish residence and work permit (as an independent entrepreneur or a salaried employee) with ordinary tax obligations. Residence is a right, not an obligation now. One visit during each residency period is enough (which means the possibility of renting your property).
The time for submitting applications is increased (from 2 to 12 months) and examination procedure is accelerated now (10 days for a visa, 20 days for a residence permit). An applicant will receive a permit in about a month and a half after giving fingerprints at the local police.
It's not called Golden for nothing, the benefits of the Golden Visa residency program are obvious. It allows to:
– live in the country that is at the top of the list when it comes to climate, properties, culture and health. The latest survey of HSBC Expat Explorer-2016, which covered almost 28 thousand expats in 190 countries, showed that, Spain ranks the first in terms of quality of life;
– gain access to the domestic market from 46 million consumers and 12,500 foreign companies engaged in business in Spain, including 70 brands from Forbes100;
– use Spain as a platform for international business, especially with Latin America (common roots, agreements to avoid double taxation and protect mutual investment), the Middle East and North Africa (MENA agreements to protect investment and increase trade).
– travel free throughout 26 Schengen states, stay 90 days in every six-month period in almost every European country.
– be tax resident in other countries as there is no law on minimum stay in Spain;
– get work permit in Spain for the investors family members;
– set up children for a happy life and interesting future (access to state and private schools, granting access to study elsewhere at universities in Europe incl. the UK).
– get Spanish citizenship after 5 years of permanent residency (10 years in total, 2 years for citizens of Ibero-American states, Andorra, Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, Portugal or with Sephardic Jews roots).
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