Want to reside in Catalonia as non-EU investor? All you need to know about Golden Visa

Visa residence permit promoted by Barcelona city council to attract international talent

Passengers leaving a plane in Girona airport, June 2021 (by Aleix Freixas)
Passengers leaving a plane in Girona airport, June 2021 (by Aleix Freixas) / ACN
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Catalonia

October 7, 2022 10:32 AM

Moving to Catalonia as a non-EU resident might seem complicated, but it does not have to be if you are an investor thanks to Spain's so-called Golden Visa. 

A recent webinar hosted by ‘Avalanding’ Immigration Law Firm Senior Lawyer, Toni Musalaev, and Banc Sabadell’s International Clients Manager, David Hernández, shed new light on the Golden Visa, a residence permit issued to non-EU investors that has been gaining popularity in the last few years.

Catalan News has summarized the webinar’s key points for those interested in applying for a Golden Visa, as well as some financial tips about investing in Spain shared during the online session organized by Barcelona’s city council.

What is it?

The Spanish Golden Visa was created to encourage foreign investment in the country. The visa entitles the holder to reside in Spain and travel through the Schengen area. Applying for this kind of residency visa often takes 10 to 15 days.

Who’s an ideal Golden Visa candidate? 

Spain’s Golden Visa is intended for investors, entrepreneurs, researchers and highly qualified professionals.

Is the visa renewable?

As long as the visa-holder’s investment is maintained, the Golden Visa is valid for 2 years (as opposed to 1 year if the applicant obtained it at the Spanish consulate of their home country) once that period comes to an end, the applicant must renew it. 

However, after this initial renewal, the new card will be valid for another 5 years, hence the applicant can avoid the need to renew it every 2 years. 

The renewal process should start between the 60 days before and 90 days after the card expires, otherwise, the renewal won’t be possible.

Applying from abroad

When abroad, the applicants can obtain a permit to live and work in the country. The duration of the visa permit is one year, except for the acquisition of real estate through a deposit contract, which is six months.

After the year, the applicants must apply for a residence permit. Once the deposit contract has been formalized, they must apply for a visa or residence permit.

Applying from Spain

When the applicants are legally in Spain, they will obtain a 2-year permit to live and work in the country. 

Musalaev recommended traveling to Spain on a tourist visa and applying for a Golden Visa once in the country in order to avoid bureaucracy issues and long waiting times at Spanish consulates. 

Do I need to pay taxes with the Golden Visa? 

The Golden Visa does not oblige people to become tax residents unless they live in Spain for more than 6 months a year. 

Can my family tag alone? 

Yes, the main investor can bring along their partner, children under 18, and those over 18 that are economically dependent on them as well as economically dependent parents.

To demonstrate that parents are dependents, Musalaev said that applicants must present proof of monthly transfers to them and show that without that money, they cannot get by in the country they are based in. 

Can a GV be a path to citizenship? 

Living in Catalunya or Spain on a Golden Visa could eventually lead to obtaining an EU passport. This process is quicker for people from Spain’s ex-colonies, Latin America or the Philippines, since it can start after the second year of residency, but if the applicant comes from any other country they can only apply for citizenship after living in Spain for ten years

What types of investments qualify for the visa? 

The Spanish Golden Visa program allows different types of investments:

  •  at least €500,000 with mortgage free real estate which focuses more on promoting  property investment.
  •  €2m in Spanish public debts
  • A €1m investment in  Spanish companies’ shares

       -Deposit €1m in a Spanish bank account

  • Start a company in Spain which creates employment, contributes to technological or scientific innovation or with a socio-economic impact on the community. However, there is more to be considered before this visa is granted, the webinar presenters warned.

What documents do I need to prove my investment? 

Those who choose to invest in shares or stocks must present the declaration of the investment issued by the Investment Register of the Ministry of Economy or the certificate of the financial intermediary registered with the National Securities Market Commission. 

Those who decide to invest in public debt will need to present a certificate issued by the Bank of Spain or the entity through which the investment was made, in which it is clear that the applicant is the purchaser. 

If the chosen method is investment in bank deposits, the applicant will have to present an ownership certificate. 

What kind of properties qualify?

Any piece of real estate that is registered in the land registry qualifies

At least €500.000 must be invested mortgage free. As long as the applicant invests money from their savings, the rest can be financed. For example, if the person buys a property for €1m, €500,000 from their savings and a €500,000 mortgage is possible.

A person can buy several units to reach this sum and any properties acquired since 2013 qualify. 

Can I open a bank account as a foreigner to manage investments?

Banc Sabadell’s International Clients Manager, David Hernández, recommends opening a bank account in Spain to facilitate business and personal affairs linked to the Golden Visa. 

He said that to open a bank account, foreigners need a passport, mobile number and email, a Tax Identification Number or TIN, and to provide their complete address in their country of residence, although further documentation might be required.

Do I need private health insurance for the GV? 

Proof of valid medical insurance contracted with an insurance company licensed to operate in Catalonia or Spain is a requirement when applying for a GV.  Banc Sabadell has partnered with Sanitas, a Health insurance’s company to offer guidance during the visa application process.