The Golden Visa Scheme – Explained
Following the finalisation of Brexit many UK owners of Spanish property, have been detrimentally affected by new immigration and travel legislation. British citizens who have traditionally divided their time between the UK and Spain now feel unable to spend as much time visiting their second home as they would like.
New laws, introduced under the agreement on withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, do not permit a stay exceeding 90 days without applying for a travel visa for each proposed visit. The Golden Visa scheme could provide a way around this problem for a number of those affected. The basic requirement is an investment of at least 500,000€ on a property in Spain, which must be in cash and not subject to a mortgage agreement.
The Golden Visa offers a simple solution to limited residency in Spain for sufficiently wealthy applicants and their dependents. The process can be completed in just twenty days and can be renewed after one year for a further two years. New applications are also accepted from owners who have already purchased property, meeting the same criteria, since the introduction of the scheme in 2013, when the UK were still part of the European Union and visas were not required.
There are, however, a number of provisos to the scheme for none EU owners of Spanish property. Firstly, residency will not be granted to any individual with a criminal record. All Golden Visa holders, dependents and family members under the age of 65 years must be covered by private health care insurance, even for a week’s holiday, and any stay that exceeds 180 days will render the individual liable to tax as a ‘fiscal resident’. Unlike Non-Lucrative Visa holders, however, residents and visitors holding a Golden Visa are allowed to undertake employment with a Spanish company or lease their property for profit (subject to relevant legislation on rentals).
In order to apply for residency under this scheme, a TIE (foreigner’s identity card) will be required and applicants must register with the Padron (census) in the local municipality within a month of arrival. Details of how to apply for the TIE can be found on Government websites. To obtain a Golden Visa the individual, or an appointed legal representative, must apply through a Spanish Embassy or Consulate and present an NIE (fiscal) number which will have been issued for purchase of the property. A proof of ownership certificate from the Land Registry will also need to be submitted.
In the case of an ongoing transaction, a preliminary contract, including deposit, and a letter confirming the possession of sufficient funds, provided by a financial institution in Spain, will be accepted. Proof of relationship status, such as birth and marriage certificates, will need to be presented by family members in their own applications. For those with the means to obtain a Golden Visa it can, certainly, offer the opportunity to enjoy extended periods in Spain and can be renewed indefinitely.
It does not, however, provide all the legal rights of official residency in Spain, a status that can be applied for after five years. Full Spanish citizenship requires ten years of permanent settlement before any application will be considered.
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