With the entry into force of Law 14/2013, of 27 September, on support for entrepreneurs and their internationalisation, a series of measures were introduced in order to to facilitate the entry and stay in Spain of non-EU foreigners making certain types of investments which will be discussed in this article.
1. WHAT IS THE GOLDEN VISA OR INVESTOR VISA?
This type of visa, known as the "Golden Visa", allows foreigners who make certain investments to reside and enter Spain freely for an initial period of two years, which may be extended for successive periods of five years, as long as a series of requirements are met, which we will analyse below.
The investments that allow this type of visa to be obtained are legally taxableHowever, the law does allow the same are carried out either directly by the natural person making the application or through a legal entityprovided that the entity is not domiciled in a tax haven and the applicant holds, directly or indirectly, a majority of its voting rights and the power to appoint or remove a majority of the members of its management body.
2. TYPE OF INVESTMENTS
The following investments are eligible for the visa:
(A) FINANCIAL INVESTMENTS
Financial investments that can be made in order to obtain a residence visa include:
- Investment in Spanish public debt securities for a minimum value of €2,000,000. This investment shall be evidenced by a certificate issued by the financial institution or the Bank of Spain stating that the applicant is the sole holder of the investment for a period of 5 years or more.
- Investment in shares of Spanish companies for a minimum value of 1,000,000 euros. The investment shall be accredited by means of a certificate issued by the financial intermediary, duly registered with the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores or the Banco de España, stating that the interested party has made the investment, in the event that the product acquired is listed shares, or; a copy of the investment declaration made in the Foreign Investment Register of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, in the event that the product acquired is unlisted shares.
- Investment in shares in Spanish companies with a minimum value of €1,000,000. Such investment shall be evidenced by a copy of the investment declaration made in the Foreign Investment Register of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
- Investment in bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions with a minimum value of €1,000,000. Proof of this investment shall be provided by a certificate from the financial institution stating that the applicant is the sole holder of the bank deposit.
In any of the above cases, the applicant must prove that the financial investment has been made within 60 days prior to the submission of the visa application by providing, in each case, the documents listed above.
(B) INVESTMENT PROPERTY
A residence visa may also be obtained by means of the acquisition of real estate in Spain for a minimum price of €500,000 per applicant. In this case, the investment shall be evidenced by a certificate of ownership and charges issued by the Land Registry.
In this regard, it is important to take into consideration that the applicant will be able to obtain financing for the purchase of the property. However, in order to be able to apply for the visa, he/she must prove that he/she has made an unleveraged investment of at least €500,000, which means that he/she can only finance the part of the purchase price that exceeds this amount.
(C) INVESTMENTS OF AN ENTREPRENEURIAL NATURE
The residence visa for investors may be requested as a result of the development of a business project in Spain that is considered and accredited as being of general interest.
In order for the investment and the business project to be considered to be in the general interest, it must:
- Job creation
- Have a significant socio-economic impact in the area in which the activity is to be carried out.
- Make a relevant contribution to scientific or technological innovation.
In this case, the applicant must prove that the significant capital investment has been made by submitting a favourable report issued by the Economic and Commercial Office of the geographical demarcation in which the visa application is submitted, stating that it is a business project of general interest.
3. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING A VISA
Regardless of the type of investment being made, applicants for an investor visa must meet a number of requirements, which would be common to all of them:
- Not to be irregularly present in Spanish territory.
- Be over 18 years of age.
- No criminal record in Spain, as well as in the countries where he/she has resided for the last 5 years.
- Have public or private health insurance with an insurance company authorised to operate in Spain.
- Have sufficient financial resources for themselves and their family members during their residence in Spain.
4. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS COMPARED TO OTHER TYPES OF RESIDENCE PERMITS?
The Golden Visa has a number of benefits over other types of residence authorisations:
- Allows for long periods of absence from SpainWhile other residence authorisations require a constant stay in the country for more than 6 months per year in order to renew the application, in the case of the Golden Visa, both the investor and his family members can be absent for almost the entire duration of the visa without losing their residence permit.
- Allows residence for the investor's family members to be obtained from the outsetAnother benefit of the Golden Visa is that the investor's family members can obtain residency from the outset. However, in all other cases of ordinary family reunification, the applicant must be in Spain for a minimum period of one year in order to be able to apply for reunification.
- Includes work permit for the investor and his family members.The granting of the residence visa for investors shall constitute a sufficient entitlement for them and their family members to reside and work in Spain for the duration of the permit.
If the requirements are met and once the investment has been made, the visa application can be made both in the investor's country of origin and in Spain.