Read the all-in-one Buy Property in Spain and get Citizenship how-to from our Spanish legal experts on Property and Immigration Law.
For those relocating to Spain, getting an NIE number can be a bit of a challenge but it is not always the first necessary step as many may think or have been advised.
You can buy the property and get an NIE number after, if you know how to do it. Another of the pitfalls is the legal background of the property, you can encounter a number of problems such as:
- the property is not registered at all as such and does not appear legally anywhere except of course physically wherever it is located
- there are debts or encumbrances or bills to be paid that nobody knows about or wants to admit
- there are 7 or 8 siblings fighting over the property for the last 17 years not being able to decide what to do with it because their father or mother left no will and now they are all entitled to a share of it
- it is on non-urbanised land and parts of it have never been declared or legalized, the swimming pool might be under Town Hall demolition order or the neighbour might have a claim to half of the olive and trees you thought you bought
- if you wish to rent it out as a holiday accommodation, you need special licences that may never be obtained from the Town Hall because it never issued it in the first place and you will have to go through a time and money consuming process just to obtain something similar to the First Occupation Licence.
- There are complex ‘flying freehold’ problems to resolve – for example where a part of the property overhangs the property of a neighbour (such as a room overhanging a shared-passageway) – in order to register them as part of the property
- They will try to sell you a piece of land with a property on it that once you buy it should be separated from another piece of land belonging to the vendors but it doesn’t have the necessary extension to be legally separated and so will never be registered in your name
- If you buy a farm and house, you might find that there are all kinds of problems with the water and electricity supply.
Other than that, buying a property in Spain is plain sailing! So Buy Property in Spain and get Citizenship, so now the questions is…
How to get Spanish citizenship?
Ways to acquire Spanish nationality :
- Applying for it after 10 years of residence in Spain.
- By birth, even if you or your Spanish parents were born outside Spain
- You can also acquire Spanish nationality by getting married in Spain, to a Spanish citizen
But before considering Spanish citizenship, there are advantages to having the Spanish residency because in the first case you would have to surrender your citizenship of origin.
How to get permanent residence in Spain
EU nationals can apply and get the Spanish residence following a few easy steps, provided they have all the documents necessary.
Before Brexit in December 2020 UK expats can get a Spanish residence card applying for it at the Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) in Spain.
Non-EU nationals who have legally lived in Spain for five years uninterruptedly, can apply for an EU long-term residence permit. This would allow them to stay in Spain indefinitely under the same conditions as Spanish citizens, giving them the right to work freely and enjoy social security benefits.
You will need to apply for an EU long-term residence permit from the Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) in Spain. The only problem is that appointments are very difficult to come by these days. If you are able to get an appointment, you can consider yourself very lucky, even luckier than those who are able to find a parking place close to the seafront on a Saturday evening!