The “Golden Visa” or investor visa
In the year 2013, in the midst of the economic and real estate crisis, Spain approved the, Law 14/2013, of 27 September to support entrepreneurs and their internationalisation.
Among other measures, this law created the so-called “Residence visa for investors”, which allows foreigners to obtain a residence permit in Spain under certain investment conditions.
As it is well known, foreigners who do not belong to the European Union are limited in their stay as tourists in Spain, with a maximum of 90 days during a period of six months. Following the entry into force of the Brexit and given the large number of British citizens who, having properties in Spain, or simply being accustomed to visiting Spain frequently, are now subject to these limitations of stay, the number of requests regarding the obtaining and effects of this “golden visa” has multiplied, so we have prepared this brief report in the form of questions and answers, which we hope will be useful:
1. – What is the Golden Visa?
It is a permanent residence visa for investors that can be obtained by foreign citizens who make a significant investment in Spain.
2. – Who can apply for the Golden Visa?
Any foreign citizen who fulfils the investment conditions and is not legally restricted from residing in Spain.
3. – What are the requirements that the investment must fulfil in order to be considered “significant”?
A significant capital investment will be understood to be one that meets one of the following criteria:
a) An initial investment for a value equal to or greater than 2 million euro in Spanish public debt bonds, or for a value equal to or greater than one million euro in shares or stockholdings in Spanish companies, or bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions. This investment must be made within 60 days prior to applying for the visa.
b) The acquisition of real estate in Spain with an investment value equal to or greater than 500.000.- euro for each applicant. It is important to note that this is the “net” amount invested, free of charges and encumbrances, so that if, for example, a property valued at 1.000.000.- euro is purchased, but it has been financed with a mortgage of 600.000.- euro, then this visa would NOT apply because the real “significant” investment has only been 400.000.- euro.
It should also be emphasised that the investment is per applicant for the visa, so that if the property is valued at 500.000.- euro, but it is acquired by a couple, the investment is insufficient for this visa, as it is calculated individually for each of them.
In this section of property acquisition, the law does NOT set a time limit, so that, in principle, it is possible to apply for the visa on properties acquired years ago.
c) A business project that is to be developed in Spain and that is considered and accredited as being of general interest, for which the fulfilment of at least one of the following conditions will be assessed:
1. º A creation of employment.
2. º Investment with a significant socio-economic impact in the geographical area in which the activity is to be carried out.
3. º Relevant contribution to scientific and/or technological innovation.
In this case, a favourable report from the Economic and Commercial Office of the geographical area where the investor submits the visa application is required.
4. Does the investment have to be made directly by the natural person or can the investment be made through a legal entity?
The investor may be a legal entity, and the visa applicant will be entitled to obtain the visa when the investment is made by a legal entity, domiciled in a territory that is not considered a tax haven under Spanish law, and the foreigner holds, directly or indirectly, the majority of its voting rights and has the power to appoint or dismiss the majority of the members of its governing body.
5. What is the effect of the Golden Visa?
It will be sufficient to reside in Spain for at least one year. Therefore, whoever obtains this visa will not be subject to the limitation of 90 days of stay in Spain every six months.
6. Does the Golden Visa require me to reside in Spain?
No, it only allows you to reside, but does not create any obligation to do so. It is only required to have travelled to Spain at least once during the authorised period of residence.
7. Can I renew the residence permit after the first year?
Yes, as long as the requirements that allowed it to be granted are maintained, it is possible to request a residence permit valid for two years and renewable for periods of five years.
8. What effects does the Golden Visa have on my tax residence? Does it oblige me to be a tax resident in Spain? Does it allow me to reside in Spain without being a tax resident?
The Golden Visa does NOT modify the requirements for tax residence in Spain, which remain the same, i.e. you can become a tax resident, whether or not you have a Golden Visa, if any of the following circumstances are met:
If you are physically present in Spain for more than 183 days in the calendar year. Sporadic absences are considered days spent in Spain for calculating this period, unless you can prove tax residence in another country for more than 183 days. This proof must be a certificate issued by the tax authorities of the other country confirming such tax residence in that country.
If you have your central economic interests, i.e. the basis of your economic or professional activities, in Spain, either directly or indirectly.
If you have your centre of vital interests in Spain, either directly or indirectly. There is an assumption that a person has his or her centre of vital interests if his or her legal spouse or dependent minor children are tax resident in Spain.
Obviously, applying for a visa as an investor could be considered by the Spanish Tax Agency as an indication that you are going to become a tax resident in Spain, but if you do not meet any of the above requirements you do not have to become a tax resident in Spain.
If the Spanish Tax Agency wants to check whether you have become a tax resident in Spain, it would not be sufficient to answer that you are residing under a golden visa, because this does not exempt you from the consequences of a possible tax residence in Spain, and, in addition to proving that you do not meet the circumstances that would make you a tax resident in Spain, it would be convenient to have a certificate that you are a tax resident in your country, for the purposes of the double taxation treaty between the two countries.
This document has been drafted in May 2021 by our specialists Dr. Carles Foz Moreno and lawyer Margarita Juan Gamundí, and its content is only a brief and informative report on the matter in question, without constituting in any way legal advice on the matter. If you would like more specific information, please contact our qualified professionals at the following e-mail address Info@bufetefoz.com