More details have emerged on the composition of the residency visa in Spain for non-EU citizens who invest in real estate in Spain. The legislation will be included in the new Ley de Emprendedores which will be approved by the Senate in July.
Increase in Investment Amount
While rumours emanating from the government in Madrid last November of 2012 had suggested that residency regulations would be relaxed for those investing in real estate in Spain valued at €160,000, the government has signalled that the minimum investment will be considerably higher with the figure of €500,000 believed to have been approved by the Cabinet. So what should investors expect from any such investment?
The first thing that should be understood immediately is that the right to residence is not absolute and does not include a right to work in Spain. It would also appear to be limited to two years, though with the possibility to extend this to five years. The right to residency would also apply to the immediate family of the investor so that all can enjoy the use of the property.
As with other visas, no right to residence will be conceded to those with a criminal record (either in Spain or in any country they have lived in the previous five years), nor should any applicant be currently living in Spain as an ‘illegal alien’. Furthermore, anyone availing of the residency visa will be required to acquire private health insurance as they will not be permitted to benefit from the public health system. Any property must be acquired with-out any mortgage.
Given the conditions attached to the grant of residency, the government can be seen to be trying to attract high-net worth individuals to purchase property in Spain who would then wish to spend reasonably long periods of time in Spain (say around 4 or 5 months a year). The government is keen to avoid opening the floodgates of uncontrolled immigration which would explain the increase in the threshold and the limitation of two years.
Investing in property is just one of a number of ways in which residency may be conferred under the new rules being approved by the Spanish government in this new legislation. Anyone investing in Spanish public debt (by investing €2 million or more) or in a company that is ‘in the public interest’ i.e. one that creates jobs. In addition those who wish simply to make an entrepreneurial investment in Spain will be granted a limited residency where the project is of ‘strategic interest’ to the Spanish economy.
However, as with existing legislation which permits residency to those non-EU citizens who have sufficient means, once residency has been granted initially, the option exists to extend and eventually make permanent their residency. This will surely not be lost on those contemplating taking advantage of the new rules, once approved by the Senate.
non-EU citizens who wish to apply for residency visas in Spain should contact Advocate Abroad to get assistance from English-speaking lawyers who can help with the new options that are now available.