We are constantly asked what are the requirements for non EU citizens for getting residency in Valencia and Spain in general. There are various ways of getting residency including the Golden Visa for non EU nationals of which you can read more below or here at this link. However the Golden Visa in Spain is for investors buying property valued at more than 500,000 Euros. For many people interested in coming to live in Valencia from outside the EU their budget doesn’t amount to that. In this article we will look at the various ways of applying for and getting Spanish Residency. Let’s start with the Golden Visa.
Golden Visa For Non EU Nationals
The basic premise of the Golden Visa is that you spend over 500k on one or more properties and you are granted the Golden Visa automatically. Not only that but your immediate family unit: spouse, children under 18, children 18-25 who still live as dependents and parents over 65 who are dependent also receive the “Tarjeta de Familiar del Inversor” giving them the same rights as the Golden Visa holder.
One of the great advantages of the Golden Visa is that you are automatically granted it without the obligation to live in Spain for more than half a year, in fact you don’t even have to spend any minimum time in Spain after being granted it, you just need to make one visit to Spain. You get the Golden Visa for an initial one year if you apply for it in the Spanish Consulate of your country and two years if you apply for it while in Spain.
As long as you maintain a minimum holding of 500k in property values on the deeds your Golden Visa is automatically renewed every time it comes up for renewal. This means you can buy and sell properties within a portfolio in the time in between renewals but you must hold over 500k in property value each time you renew.
The second big advantage of the Golden Visa compared with the normal non lucrative visa is that you can immediately start working in Spain as an employed person, as self employed or in starting up a business. This means that you can immediately start earning a living which the non lucrative visa doesn’t allow.
Next the Golden Visa for non EU Nationals allows you to move around freely in and out of Spain as often as you like and also within the Schengen area meaning effectively visa free travel around most of Europe.
You benefit from streamlined processing of your application and a successful application takes just between 10 and 20 days. There is a combined processing feature for family groups and if you are applying from Spain when you are currently here on any other type of visa then that visa automatically extends in time through the whole of the application procedure for the Golden Visa.
The requirements for obtaining the Golden Visa are as follows:
- That you are not currently visiting or living illegally in Spain.
- That you are over 18 years of age.
- That you have no criminal record or evidence of one in the last five years in any country where you have been previously residing
- That you have sufficient financial resources for yourself and any dependent family members
- That you have a private health insurance policy without copayment provisions.
- That you have paid the processing fee.
Equally, you must have made at least one of the following investments:
- Property purchases over the minimum limit of 500,000 Euros. (This is the usual way and the cheapest)
- Purchased Spanish State Debt at the minimum limit of 2 Million Euros
- Have either deposited 1 million Euros in a Spanish bank or bought an equivalent amount of shares in a Spanish listed public company or in an investment fund.
You can also be granted the Golden Visa if you have done one of the following three things. They are more difficult to be granted and are known as the Entrepreneurs’ Visa as they depend on less tangible figures but usually require well over the 500k mark of property purchase:
- Creation of jobs
- Socio Economic Impact of the project on the region where the business is located
- Significant contribution to scientific or technological advancement.
You can click on this link for more information (In English) and also to download paperwork that is required to be filled in.
What About the Non Lucrative Visa?
If your budget doesn’t stretch to 500,000 Euros then you can still apply for Spanish residency. The first disadvantage is that the granting of the visa is not automatic and requires more paperwork. Secondly, renewal is not automatic and you have to reapply at the end of the first year, after two years and two more years and then for five years before finally submitting an application for permanent residency.
There are the same requirements for those people looking to get a non lucrative visa in that they must prove they have sufficient funds, a private medical insurance without copayment facilities, no criminal record etc… You may also need to prove you have a place to stay, either a rental contract in the names of both partners for example if more than one residency is sought, or a set of deeds for a property purchase under the 500k barrier for the Golden Visa. You need to apply for the non lucrative in your country of residence at the Spanish consulate.
There are specific requirements for maintaining the visa when you reapply. You must be resident in Spain for at least 183 days in the first year (And be able to prove it) and you must still be able to satisfy all of the conditions you have had in the first year. You will then be granted a two year extension, followed by another two years and then five years. This can be done in Spain of course as you are officially resident here.
One major problem on the non lucrative visa is that you are not allowed to work either as self employed or be employed by a business during the first year. As the name suggests it is non lucrative. At the end of the first year you can apply to set up a business or get a sponsor to apply for you to work in their business.
One way that people have tried to get around this inability to work requirement in the first year is to set up a business with a third party administrator of the business where the holder of the non lucrative visa is a shareholder of the company and receives dividends from the business. At the end of the first year you can then apply for there to be a change of administrator and the visa holder becomes not only a shareholder but also the administrator meaning they pay their social security payments from that point. This person is usually a friend or trusted acquaintance who is a figurehead but might not be involved in the day to day running of the business but the business provides the funds to pay for the administrator’s self employed status in the social security department.
The other way people have got round this is by spending over 500k initially and getting the Golden Visa with its ability to start work from the first day.
Many people raise the money for the 500k limit by remortgaging their properties in their country of origin because the value of the investment in property in Spain cannot include mortgages but the source of the money being from mortgages in another country is not checked. (eg, We had an American client who remortgaged their home in Texas to bring the minimum 500k investment to Spain in order to get the Golden Visa with all of its inherent advantages rather than going through the process of the non lucrative visa.)
Also, as an example, you may have a 300k mortgage for example on your Spanish property as long as the value on the deeds is over 800k. If you remortgage and extend the mortgage amount during the period between Golden Visa applications then you must make sure you still have a minimum 500k invested as stated above.
Of course, once you are here and have your visa in place you get to enjoy the outstanding quality of life in Valencia. If you want to read more about living in Valencia take a look at some of our articles below. Just click on the images for more information and feel free to shoot us a mail for any questions you may have about the Golden Visa or any other residency options.