Spain’s Golden Visa Programme for those outside the EU

The Spain Golden Visa Programme grants Spanish residency to people who spend at least €500,000 on property in Spain.

The law, which came into effect during September 2013 was aimed at introducing a framework for qualified immigration, promoting the international mobility of professionals and executives and most importantly attracting foreign property investment in Spain.

For property investors looking to invest in Spanish property, the minimum investment before taxes and charges is €500,000 and you should add onto the purchase price approx 11 – 12%, which goes to the normal purchase costs, which includes, tax, stamp duty, VAT, notary and lawyer.

Under the Golden Visa, yourself and any family members that are covered by the visa may have the right to work in Spain from the first day. 

There is no minimum period of residence which means that a property investor can buy a property in Spain and travel without restrictions to Spain at any point, in addition, their family can do the same. The family can live in Spain permanently, with access to schools both state and private, following either Spanish or English curriculum.

NOTE: in all cases, we advise you to obtain the services of a reputable and qualified lawyer who specialises in the Spain Golden Visa programme. For this type of application, expect the cost to be anywhere between €1,500 and €2,500 + 21% Tax.

Lawyer Costs

Spanish lawyers typically charge 1% of the purchase price plus IVA (value added tax) for their services. You may be tempted to try to avoid this fee, but consider it an investment.

The peace of mind afforded in knowing that your money is safeguarded and your buying process is properly handled really is invaluable.

Choosing a Lawyer

You may wonder who you should choose as your lawyer. There are a few key characteristics that are important. First, your lawyer should be situated in Spain and should speak your native language to ensure no miscommunication occurs.

The lawyer you choose should be independent and not work for the vendors or developers you are purchasing from. Your agent may have referrals or you may obtain a referral from friends or family members in Spain.

It is very important that you use a qualified Spanish lawyer to assist you with purchasing your property in Spain. The Spanish legal system is very different than that of other European countries, and there are complexities that can throw a kink in the process if you’re trying to do it all yourself.

Ensuring Income in Spain

One way you might fund your life abroad, if you’re not earning a salary in your home country, is to use your property for business purposes.

There are no restrictions to setting up a business or working in Spain for EU or UK residents—as long as you’re complying with regulations and tax criteria. You can turn your property into a holiday house or bed and breakfast.

If owning and operating a bed and breakfast is not your cup of tea, you can set up your own company or purchase a franchise.

Running a bar or restaurant—especially in tourist attractions—is always a popular choice for expats. Regardless of what business you choose to start or purchase, you’ll need to do your research.

The economic climate, financial outlook, or language barrier might be too challenging for you, but you can always freelance or work virtually in your home country with a base in Spain.

Setting up an online business can be a great alternative if you don’t want to compete with the local market. You can sell products online or work as a writer, editor, programmer, designer, virtual assistant, accountant, and more.

The great thing about online work is that you can pick up what you can handle, when you want to handle it, and still enjoy the stunning Spanish environment. If you will be relying on pension and/or income from investments in your home country as your source of income, you’ll need to pay careful attention to currency exchange.

Your monthly income may fluctuate with exchange rates, so you need to keep that in mind.

It might be a good idea to work with a currency exchange specialist and obtain “fixed” rates for up to a year for regularly occurring payments.

This can help mitigate your risk of loss due to extreme fluctuations.

Currency Exchange

If you’re living outside of the euro-zone and want to purchase property in Spain, one of the biggest financial mistakes you can make is not to consider the impact of the currency exchange rate. Even the slightest change in the exchange rate can impact the cost of your property. For a property priced to sell for €200,000, a change in exchange rate of just 1 cent could either save you €1,000 or cost you €1,000—that’s just a change of 1 cent, so this is an important aspect of buying property overseas.

Currency exchange specialists and banks are able to offer better rates than the day-to-day tourist rates, because they buy and sell currency in bulk. Exchange specialists do specialise in the area of exchange, so they are often able to beat the bank rates.