UK nationals now have a ‘golden’ opportunity when it comes to investing in property in Spain and can, for the first time, benefit from the highly-sought after Spanish Golden Visa scheme which is only available to non-EU citizens.

The scheme, also known as Residence by Investment (RBI) was introduced by the Spanish government in 2013 in an effort to boost foreign investment following the economic downturn in 2008.

In a nutshell, any non-EU citizen who invests at least €500,000 in Spanish property (or other eligible investments) will be rewarded with a Spanish residence permit, in return for contributing to the Spanish economy. The process is straightforward to complete, and a single application will grant permits to the primary investor and their immediate family.

What are the benefits post Brexit?

Once granted, Spain’s Golden Visa gives you several advantages including:

  • Free movement in the Schengen zone, meaning you can roam the rest of Europe visa-free for 90 days out of every 180 days
  • A big tax benefit – you can stay in Spain for up to 183 days without affecting your UK tax status as there is no tax on foreign sourced income for non-domestic residents
  • You and your family can choose to live and work in Spain and this in turn is a route to permanent residency (and eventually citizenship if you wish), if you decide to physically reside in Spain for at least five years

How do I know if I am eligible?

To be eligible to apply for a Golden Visa, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Be over 18 years old
  • Be a non-EU citizen
  • Have no criminal record
  • Acquire Spanish health insurance
  • Have sufficient financial resources to support yourself and your family

What investment do I need to make?

There are three ways to obtain the Golden Visa in Spain:

  1. Invest in property (this can be residential, commercial or land) worth at least €500,000 (net of any mortgage financing)
  2. Invest in financial assets (€2,000,000 in government bonds, €1,000,000 worth of Spanish stocks or shares, €1,000,000 in investment funds or €1,000,000 deposit in a Spanish bank)
  3. Start a company that meets one of the following criteria – creates jobs for local people, has a regional socio-economic impact, or contributes to scientific or technological innovation

How do I apply?

Following your investment you must apply for your permit via your local Spanish consulate (or local police station if you are in Spain) and pay an admin fee (the amount depends on your nationality but is usually around £200 – 300 per application). There is a fair amount of paperwork involved and we recommend asking your lawyer to assist with the application as it needs to be completed in Spanish and notarised. You should hear back from the consulate within 20 business days but this can take up to three months if you made the investment via a legal entity.

You must travel to Spain to collect your resident permit which will include a biometric session at the local police station.

How long is the visa valid for?

Your initial permit will be valid for two years and can then be renewed every 5 years for as long as you retain your property or investment. You must visit Spain at least one time per year to maintain your permit.

You can also apply for a Golden Visa retrospectively if you bought your Spanish property after September 28, 2013 when the scheme was first launched.