Golden Visa, the vehicle to obtain Spanish residence and nationality

Golden Visa, the vehicle to obtain Spanish residence and nationality
24 Mar 2022

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Is it possible to obtain Spanish residency and nationality through the Golden Visa? La respuesta es SI. he answer is YES. Spanish legislation contemplates different ways of acquiring Spanish nationality, among which we find the acquisition of Spanish nationality by residence.  

This form of acquiring nationality requires the person to have resided in Spain for ten years legally, continuously and immediately prior to the application. There are shorter periods for persons of certain nationalities, among others.

Our legislation allows nationals of certain countries, such as filipino nationals or citizens of Central and South America whose official language is Spanish or Portuguese ("LATAM clients"), to have access to a "reduced" period of 2 years for granting nationality through residence in Spain. This fact, together with the possibility of obtaining an initial residence permit for investors for a period of 2 years ("Golden Visa") is a successful and competitive formula for obtaining residence by investment and nationality.

What is the residence permit for investment or o “Golden Visa”?

The Golden Visa is designed for all those citizens from outside the European Union who intend to make an investment in Spain as a means of obtaining residency.

Firstly, you can obtain the investor visa by purchasing real estate worth more than €500,000.

Secondly, buying shares or stocks in a Spanish company or having a bank deposit in a Spanish institution worth more than €1 million will also give you access to this residence permit.

Holding Spanish public debt worth 2 million euros or more.

Finally, by investing in a business project to be developed in Spanish territory. Here, the requirements are that the project must generate employment, promote scientific and technological progress in the country, or have a minimum socio-economic impact.

What are the advantages of the Golden Visa?

  • It allows you to work and live legally in Spain. With this we can identify the Golden Visa as a work permit.
  • It is the only residence permit that grants the holder the opportunity to live for an initial 2 years in Spain.
  • Residence in Spain is not required. Let us remember that this is equivalent to residing in the country for more than 183 days in a year. The Golden Visa is the only residence permit that only requires its holder to enter Spain once a year.
  • Freedom of movement within the Schengen territory.
  • It allows you to obtain the same permit for your family, making it one of the best options when you want to move your whole family to Spain. 
  • To apply for the Golden Visa, the applicant does not need to apply in person in Spain. He or she can simply appoint a representative to collect the relevant documentation for him or her.

Do I have to reside and pay taxes in Spain if I have the Golden Visa?

  • I am not obliged to stay in Spain.
  • I am not obliged to be a tax resident in Spain.

The holder of the Golden Visa Spain is not obliged to reside in Spain. 

The Golden Visa does not entail any obligation to be a tax resident in Spain. If the tax regime of your country of origin or any other country in which you are resident for tax purposes is more favourable for you, you can maintain it without any problem.

Consequently, you do not have to worry about your net worth or income. Logically, you will have to pay tax in Spain on the investments you make in our country.

Indeed, we must distinguish between a residence visa (or residence authorisation) and tax residence. A person is considered to be a tax resident in Spain, and therefore obliged to pay tax in Spain, if either of the following two circumstances apply:

  1. Spending more than 183 days in the country during the calendar year (sporadic absences are not taken into consideration).
  2. The main core or base of their activities or economic interests is located in Spain, directly or indirectly. The legal system understands that the core of vital interests is in our country when the spouse (not legally separated) and the minor children who depend on the taxpayer have their habitual residence in Spain.

The most important keys if your ultimate goal is to obtain Spanish nationality

As indicated, one of the main advantages of obtaining residency by Golden Visa is the possibility of maintaining this permit without the need to reside in Spain for more than 183 days.

However, if your final objective, in addition to residency, is to acquire Spanish nationality, we must be clear that the requirements for obtaining Spanish nationality by residency are set out in Article 22 of the Civil Code. From its reading, 3 requirements can be deduced, which are:

  1. Legal residence, continuous and immediately prior to the application;
  2. Good civic conduct and;
  3. Sufficient degree of integration into Spanish society.

Continuity is the key determining factor when it comes to obtaining the residence permit for investment, if your aim is to obtain a Spanish passport, since one of the most acclaimed advantages of this residence for investment is the fact that you are not obliged to reside in Spain for a certain period of time. 

Consequently, if you are considering obtaining the Golden Visa as a vehicle for acquiring Spanish nationality, you must reside in Spain for at least 183 days a year and, therefore, you will acquire not only legal residency but also fiscal residency. 

It is for this reason that you will have to receive good advice beforehand and determine the strategy you should follow, always identifying your final objective and your main need when considering obtaining residence by investment. 

Our lawyers are at your disposal to clarify any doubts and provide comprehensive advice with a specialised team. Do not hesitate to contact them here

Patricia Ruiz

Labor Lawyer and International Mobility expert 

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