Legal Residence in Spain for Foreign Buyers of Real Estate

Real Estate Deals

It is legal for a foreigner to buy some real estate in Spain and enjoy living in a nice sunny country. In accordance with the new legislation, foreign nationals purchasing real estate in Spain are eligible to choose one of the following visa programs.

Property owner visa

First, they can acquire a property owner visa. The visa is valid for 1 to 3 years but it does not allow spending more than 90 days in Spain over a six-month period. If you want to spend your vacations in your Spanish house, this option is fine for you. However, if you want to live in the country permanently, you have other options to choose from.

Legal residence in Spain for financially independent foreigners

The second option is to request a legal residence permit for a financially independent foreign national. To obtain the permit, you will have to demonstrate having enough money to sustain yourself and your family while in Spain. Besides, all adult family members will have to bring police clearances and medical insurance policies. You will not be allowed to have a job in Spain but you can send your children to school there.

Your application for a residence permit will be processed within 3 to 4 months. If it is approved, you will be able to live in Spain as long as you wish. When the permit validity term expires, you can have it extended. However, you will have to show that you have lived for more than six months in Spain within each calendar year and that you still have enough money to keep on living in the country.

Golden visa to Spain

The third option is to apply for a ‘golden visa’ to Spain. If you invest at least 500,000 euros into real estate in the country, you will qualify for a permanent residence permit. Contrary to the first two options, the Spanish ‘golden visa’ program does not impose any personal presence requirements on the visa holders. Your visa (or your residence permit) will be extended if you have spent 1 day or 365 days in the country within the previous calendar year. The important requirement to meet is to keep the house or apartment in your possession. International Wealth experts will gladly assist you in applying for a golden visa to Spain.

Other investment options for those wishing to relocate to Spain

In addition to the investment options specified above, other financial routes to legal residence in Spain are available. These include the following ones:

  • Purchasing ownership shares of commercial companies based in Spain (qualification threshold – 1 million euros);
  • Depositing money in a Spanish bank (qualification threshold – 1 million euros);
  • Purchasing Government bonds (qualification threshold – 2 million euros);
  • Opening a business company in Spain: your business plan will have to be approved by the Spanish authorities and your company will have to create jobs in the country.

Clearly, purchasing a piece of property for 500,000 euros is a more attractive investment option in comparison to those cited above. For this reason, it has been the most popular financial route to legal residence in Spain. Let us discuss why this investment option has become available to foreign investors and where the Spanish real estate market stands at the moment.

Initially, the Spanish were thinking of setting the required investment amount at around 200,000 euros. But then they realized that they needed wealthy investors from outside the EU to accelerate recovery of the country’s economy after the crisis. Thus, they set the minimum investment amount at 500,000 euros.

Spain suffered greatly after the 2008-2009 crisis. The real estate market simply collapsed. After a couple of years the prices fell by 30% and by 2014-2015 real estate in the country sold at half the price in 2007.  Today, the Spanish economy is recovering at a steady pace but one cannot say that the property prices are growing rapidly. Prices grow slowly (but surely), which makes Spanish real estate an attractive investment object. The golden visa program is doing good service to Spain (which is not the case in neighboring Portugal, we must note). If the tendencies persist, Spain may well turn into one of the leading European economies in the near future.

There is another important factor to make a note of. The golden visa holder is entitled to find a job in Spain or engage in business operations there. Lack of restrictions may be interpreted as a sign of gratitude to the foreign investors on the part of Spanish authorities. We suspect, however, that they simply want the foreigners to create even more added value in Spain by working and doing business in the country.

Additional requirements for applicants for golden visas to Spain

You cannot use borrowed money to purchase property in Spain: you have to bring at least 500,000 euros of your own money. The fact that a house or an apartment cannot cost less than 500,000 euros does not mean that it cannot cost more. If it does, you are eligible to apply for a mortgage to cover the outstanding part of the cost. Interest rates on mortgages are low in Spain.

Investing the aforementioned amounts is not going to be enough: you will have to prove your solvency to the Spanish immigration authorities. Please be prepared to supply bank statements from the bank in our home country as well as from the Spanish bank where you will have opened an account. You will have to demonstrate that you have enough money for yourself and your family.

The procedure of acquiring a residence permit in Spain

When you purchase real estate in Spain, you will become eligible for a long-term (1-year) visa first and then you can apply for a residence card that is valid for two years and that can be extended. Please note that you are not eligible to apply for a job in Spain while you live there on a long-term visa.

When you apply for a residence card, you will have to meet the following requirements:

  • Have a long term visa; its validity term can be expired but not more than 90 days ago;
  • Visit Spain at least once while the long-term visa is valid;
  • Supply proof of keeping the real property in possession at the moment of applying for a residence card.

Additional requirements for applicants for Spanish residence permits include the following ones:

  • The applicant shall have no history of illegal residence in any country;
  • The applicant shall be above 18;
  • The applicant shall have no criminal history in Spain or any other country;
  • The applicant shall have a medical insurance policy;
  • The applicant shall supply proof of financial solvency: 2,128 euros per month + 531 euros per month for each family member (the figures are subject to change).

You can apply for a long-term (Type D) visa to the Spanish consulate of your home country. To apply for a residence card, you have to visit the local police station or the immigration agency office. If you have half a million euros to invest, Spain offers one of the most attractive opportunities for relocating to the EU.

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