Obtaining a residence permit and citizenship of Spain by the purchase of real estate

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Alexey Nosovsky

A representative of the Legal Department at iWorld. Author of articles on Migration Law.

Update: 19 April 2024 11 minutes read
Spanish passport, which can be obtained through the purchase of real estate

Foreigners can obtain a residence permit in Spain by purchasing real estate under Law 14/2013 on the Support for Entrepreneurs and their Internationalization. The minimal price of the investment should be EUR 500,000. Temporary resident status is granted to foreign investors within the Spanish state program «Golden Visa», intended for wealthy persons.

You can obtain a residence permit if you are of legal age, have no problems with the law and have enough money to pay the costs of your stay in Spain. The applicant’s family members are also allowed to move to the territory of Spain. In the future, foreigners who have become residents of Spain may apply for citizenship of that country. Residence permit applicants may get the other benefits, which will be discussed below.

The benefits of a residence permit in Spain

The benefits of a residence permit by the purchase of a real estate in Spain are as follows:

  • visa-free travel to Schengen states;
  • opportunity to be employed and run business in Spain;
  • earning extra money if you rent out your Spanish real estate;
  • living in a European country with high social and economic indicators;
  • quick obtainment of a temporary resident status (2 – 3 months);
  • access to state medical care;
  • access to social insurance (maternity, sick leave, pension and other types);
  • free school education for children;
  • right to cross the Spanish border without restrictions;
  • possibility to obtain permanent resident status and citizenship.

Nowadays, a residence permit by the purchase of real estate in Spain is one of the most popular options for citizens of different countries to obtain residence in the EU. The popularity of this method of immigration to the Mediterranean country is explained by the simplicity of the real estate ownership procedure and the residence right that is provided for each member of the investor’s family.

The disadvantages of obtaining a Golden Visa by investing in real estate include a rather high minimal investment cost, which limits the amount of participants in the program. In addition, foreign residence permit applicants cannot obtain a Spanish ID card remotely, without visiting a European country.

What is a Golden Visa

The Golden Visa of Spain is the common name for the entry permit and the residence permit. Citizens of all states except the EEA, EU and Switzerland can obtain this document. The right of foreign investors to become residents of Spain is laid down in the Law on the Support for Entrepreneurs and their Internationalization, adopted in 2013.

The golden residence permit provides citizens of different countries with several legalization options in Spain, including the purchase of real estate. On average, the procedure of granting temporary resident status in Spain to a foreigner takes 3 months. The Golden Visa is initially granted for 2 years and can be extended to 5 years afterwards. After five years of residence in the country, a foreigner can apply for permanent residence permit and, after a few years, for citizenship of Spain.

Beachfront property that can be purchased under the Golden Visa of Spain program

A number of important changes to the Spanish investment program was made in 2015, to simplify the conditions for participation and empower the investor. Since then, in addition to the spouse, children of legal age and parents of the principal applicant may also apply for a Golden Visa, and the applicant has obtained the right to work and run business in Spain. In addition, wealthy foreigners have the opportunity to become residents for 6 months by signing a preliminary sales and purchase agreement.

Conditions for obtaining a residence permit in Spain by the purchase of real estate

The residence program of Spain by investing in real estate has favorable conditions. A residence permit in Spain does not require a multi-million-dollar investment or command of the national language. It is not necessary for a foreigner to remain permanently on Spanish territory in order to maintain a residence status. However, investing in real estate in Spain does not lead directly to citizenship – an investor can become a citizen of the country only by the naturalization procedure, which involves giving up the current passport.

People who meet the requirements of the program can obtain a residence permit in Spain. First of all, you will need to purchase real estate and obtain an Investor Visa. An application for a residence permit may be rejected by the responsible authority if the application package is poorly prepared, your income sources are illegal, you are forbidden to enter Spain and for other reasons.

Requirements for a potential resident

Persons who participate in the Golden Visa program of Spain on the ground of purchase of real estate are to follow the next requirements:

  • aged 18 and older;
  • investment in premium Spanish real estate from EUR 500,000;
  • no Swiss or EU passport;
  • foreigner’s ID number (NIE);
  • no problems with the law in Spain and the country of actual residence for the last 5 years;
  • no prohibition on crossing the border between Spain and the countries with which it has signed the relevant agreements;
  • medical insurance;
  • enough money to live in Spain for the period of the residence.

Necessary documents

The full list of documents required of a residence permit applicant is as follows:

  • «D» visa application form in 2 copies signed by the investor;
  • EX-01 application form in 2 copies signed by the investor;
  • valid international passport and copies of all its pages;
  • 2 x 3 cm photos, 4 items;
  • medical insurance that is valid in Spain;
  • criminal record certificate with apostille, translated into Spanish;
  • bank statement that confirms you have enough money to stay in Spain (from €4,500 monthly per person);
  • proof of permanent income source (tax returns, articles of association, pension certificate, certificate of employment, etc.)
  • foreigner’s ID number (NIE)
  • extract from the real estate register and a purchase agreement for a premium Spanish real estate;
  • prepayment agreement (if a full payment for the real estate has not been made yet);
  • payment certificate of the state fee;
  • motivation letter in which the applicants list their reasons for immigration to Spain.

An investor fills out an application for a residence permit in Spain when buying a property

Step-by-step procedure for obtaining a residence permit in Spain

The process of obtaining a Golden Visa in Spain starts with finding a reliable law firm that is ready to provide the applicant with advice on all immigration issues and legal support. In some cases, the intermediary firm helps the foreigner to find a real estate in Spain that is suitable for the conditions of the program.

Step 1: Consultation and signing a contract with an intermediary firm

The investor finds a legal firm that specializes in immigration to Spain, as it can be difficult to make the investment on one’s own, collect and prepare the necessary documentation correctly. The lawyers check the investor’s documents, assess their chances to obtain a residence permit in Spain and calculate the final cost of the procedure, including the payment of statutory fees and the provision of legal assistance to the company.

Step 2: Investment in premium real estate

The applicants for a residence permit of Spain find and buy real estate suitable for investment, with the help of an intermediary firm or on their own. There may be more than one purchase, but the total cost must not be less than EUR 500,000.

Step 3: Preparing and submitting documents to the consulate

Residence permit applicants need a «D» type visa to enter Spain. For this purpose, they collect and submit the necessary documents to the consulate of Spain, from where they are forwarded to the authorized body for verification and approval. It takes up to 20 working days for the application to be processed.

Step 4: Obtaining a temporary resident status

Once the application is approved, the investor arrives in Spain, submits biometric data at the local police station and applies for a ready-made ID card at the Aliens Office or the regional migration office. The residence permit is initially granted to a foreigner for one year, with the possibility of extension for up to 5 years.

Other ways to obtain a residence permit of Spain

Investment in real estate is not the only possible way to become a resident of Spain. The residence permit of Spain is granted for the purchase of government securities (bonds), the purchase of shares in national investment funds and companies, deposits in a bank of Spain and the development of local business projects. The investment should be EUR 1-2 million.

As well as investing in the economy, there are other options to obtain a residence permit in Spain: by marriage, employment or study, as well as on the basis of residence or high professional qualification.

For wealthy foreign citizens, the most preferred option for residence of Spain remains the purchase of a premium real estate worth EUR 500,000 or more. This investment immigration option requires less money and offers a number of bonuses:

  • profits from short- or long-term leasing of apartments;
  • possibility to sell the real estate at a higher price after 5 years of ownership;
  • use of real estate as collateral in various financial transactions;
  • additional seaside resting place.

Elite villa on the sea coast as a basis for obtaining a Spanish residence permit

Residence permit by the purchase of real estate in other countries

In addition to Spain, Golden Visas can also be obtained for investments in countries such as Greece, Portugal and Latvia. The European programs differ in their requirements for investors and in the amount of the minimal investment in real estate.

Golden Visa program Amount of investment in real estate (EUR/thousands) Time to obtain a resident status (months)
Greece from 250 3-5
Latvia from 250 1-3
Portugal from 280 3-5
Spain from 500 3-6

Greek investment program participants are interested in real estate ownership in a country with comfortable living and resting conditions. The Golden Visa of Portugal is more suitable for foreigners who have decided not only to own a luxurious apartment but also to develop business in the EU. The residence permit program of Spain is the most flexible in terms of investment options, and that is the main reason for its growing popularity.

Extension of residence permit

According to Spanish law, the documents required to renew a residence permit must be submitted no earlier than 60 days before its expiry date, but no later than 90 days after the expiry date of the ID card. A fine may be imposed on a foreigner for filing documents late.

In order to renew the Spanish resident status, the investor must submit the following documents to the competent migration authority in the place of residence:

  • application for an extension of the residence permit;
  • payment confirmation of the state fee;
  • valid international passport;
  • monthly income confirmation of at least EUR 2,130;
  • extract from the Spanish Land Registry (Nota Simple);
  • medical insurance.

Once the documents have been submitted to the competent authority, the decision on re-granting the residence permit to the foreign investor is issued within 90 days. The immigration police notify the applicant of their decision by post.

Obtaining a Spanish citizenship passport after the purchase of real estate

The Golden Visa program provides foreigners with a pathway to Spanish citizenship. The investors and their family members will receive a Spanish residence permit after the purchase of real estate, and at the end of this period they can apply for a permanent residence permit and subsequently – for citizenship.

According to the law, it is possible to obtain Spanish citizenship by purchasing a real estate after 5 years of residence as a permanent resident. During this time, foreigners are not allowed to leave the country for more than 10 months. The investor must be fluent in Spanish at the time of applying for citizenship status.

Spain does not grant most foreigners the right to obtain a second citizenship: only those from Latin America, the Philippines, Andorra, Portugal and Equatorial Guinea have this privilege. Therefore, once the investors have obtained a Spanish passport, their previous identity card must be revoked immediately. The foreigner who does not follow this requirement will be deprived of the status of a Spanish citizen.

Nowadays Spain is a popular immigration destination for nationals from various countries.

It is worth taking part in the Golden Visa investment program, for those who wish to have a marketable European home, travel freely within the EU, enjoy high-quality medical care and give their children a decent education. As the process of obtaining residence permit and citizenship by investment is strictly regulated by law, the services of professional immigration lawyers are an essential part of a successful move to Spain for a foreigner.

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