Spain Business and Investor Immigration
The nation of Spain hardly needs an introduction or explanation as to why foreign nationals would desire to relocate to this beautiful country that boasts one of the oldest and richest cultures in the world. Spain’s climate, beaches, cities, architecture, and festivals are just a small number of attractions that draw millions of tourists to the country every year. Along with these favorable aspects, Spain also maintains one of the world’s highest quality of life standards.
The country’s thriving economy is built upon its tourism, energy, transportation, and agricultural industries. For all these reasons and more, Spain provides foreign investors a unique opportunity to relocate to a fascinating country that offers excitement and relaxation all in the same day.
Spain’s Immigrant Investor Program
In the later months of 2013, the Spanish government finally passed its long anticipated residency visa that is reserved for foreign nationals who are investing into the country by purchasing Spanish real property.
The visa, called the Spanish Gold Visa or the Spanish Entrepreneur visa, will be granted to foreign investors who spend a minimum of 500,000 Euros on the purchase of a residential real estate or a portfolio of properties. While the investment can be used to purchase property located anywhere in Spain, the six most popular areas are Barcelona, Costa Blanca, Madrid, the Balearic Islands, Costa del Sol, and Murcia.
Available Barcelona properties include villas and apartments. While the prices for these properties tend to be greater than those in other locations, Barcelona remains a popular choice due to its close proximity to all major European cities (which are within an hour or two hours flight).
Costa Blanca is a scenic and picturesque area of Spain that boasts the country’s best international schools which are conducted in the British curriculum. Moreover, Costa Blanca is equidistant from the Alicante and Valencia airports, with nearby ferry connections to the Majorca and Ibiza islands.
As the capital of Spain, it hardly needs to be stated that Madrid offers ideal opportunities for property purchase and investment foreign nationals. The rich culture of Madrid entices hundreds of thousands of travelers a year and provides a fantastic base for further European travel, especially considering that the Spain Golden Visa does not require the investor to reside in the nation.
The Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Ibiza are located off the eastern coast of Spain in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Mallorca, the largest island, is an increasingly popular tourist destination in the summer months, drawing crowds of hundreds of thousands of visitors.
The Balearic Islands and Mallorca and Ibiza in particular have long been tourist destinations, owing in no small part to the 18 golf courses, numerous beaches, and popular nightlife on the islands. Investors choosing to purchase property in the Balearic Islands would likely take the time to enjoy all of the activities the region has to offer.
The Costa del Sol region is also a popular destination for tourists and foreign nationals seeking a second European residence. It has miles of beautiful beaches, popular shopping plazas and more than 70 golf courses. This area, which functions as a vacation hotspot all year long, also is a perfect destination for a family as the Costa de Sol area maintains international schools that offer international baccalaureate programs or UK accreditation which prepares students for entrance and admission into UK and international universities.
The Murcia area is unique amongst the other regions in the country as the house properties are located almost exclusively on residential golf resorts. This option is ideal for foreign investors looking to expand their real estate portfolio to include properties that can be easily rented to vacationers in the summer months and then to avid golfers throughout the rest of the year. However, the Murcia resorts have also cultivated a family friendly environment with multiple international schools and gated residences protected by security officers.
It must be noted that the investment monies cannot be mortgage funded but the properties may be rented or leased to induce rental income. In addition to meeting the investment requirement, visa applicants must also prove the lawful source of the committed investment funds, that they do not have a criminal record and have never been refused entry into a European country in the past, and that they can afford to purchase private health insurance in Spain and possess sufficient funds to support their stay in the country.
The Spanish Golden Visa is unique among other countries’ investment visas as it does not require a minimum stay in the country. The Spanish Golden Visa may be renewed and extended in up to five year increments.
After approval of the Spanish Golden Visa, the investor and family may enter the country and live and study in the nation. Foreign investors are authorized to own and operate a business in Spain but are prohibited from working with a separate Spanish employer until the investor is approved for permanent residence.
Once five years have elapsed since the investor and family entered Spain with the Spanish Golden Visa, the foreign nationals may apply for permanent residency in the country (but note that in order to obtain permanent residency, the applicants must have resided in Spain for a minimum period of 183 days).
Notably, once the investor obtains permanent residence, he/she can sell the property originally purchased if the investor chooses.
Obtaining Spanish Citizenship and Its Benefits
After the investor and family have been permanent residents for five years, they can apply for Spanish citizenship through a legal process called naturalization. Once the naturalization applications are approved, the investor and family can receive Spanish passports.
Importantly, Spanish citizenship automatically confers European Union citizenship which allows the investor and family to live and travel throughout the European Union without restriction.