Increasingly, European governments are easing access to EU residence status and citizenship to wealthy foreigners. Spain is one such country – since September 2013 offering residency to foreigners in return for a significant investment in the country.
The legislation is quite straightforward; in return for an investment of €500,000 EUR in real estate (taxes not included); or €2,000,000 in Spanish Debt or; €1,000,000 in Spanish company shares or Spanish Financial institutions, non-EU nationals and their families can be granted a resident permit for a year, renewable every two years if the investment is maintained. It does not grant citizenship, but can lead to it later on.
The requirements to fill – excluding the capital – are minimal; a clear criminal and immigration history, subscription to a health insurance and proof that the applicants have enough money to sustain themselves. It should not be difficult for high net worth individuals to prove they will not be a burden on States’ finances!
The new legislation waives the previous requirement of six months of residency. Applicants to the visa only need to have visited Spain once before applying.
The permit gives investors the right to live in Spain and travel freely inside of Spain as well as within the 26-countries in the Schengen area. Family members can access schools both state and private – and given the strong internal links between European universities, will be granted easier access to universities in Europe including the UK.
An attractive offer
This new legislation has opened the door to thousands of potential investors – mainly Russian and Chinese – looking to benefit from Spain’s low property prices and the benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle.
The initiative has revived the sagging property market which surplus inventory of between 700,000 and 1 million unsold homes as recently as 2012. Airports are now covered with real estate wall advertisements translated into Mandarin.
However, there are still some important questions that remain unanswered such as:
- How soon can you sell the property without losing the residency status?
- How can one become naturalized and obtain a Spanish passport after obtaining residency through this program?
- Can foreign investors enjoy the resident status if they lease the property, in whole or in part?
Migreat experts provide answers to these questions in a single webinar happening September 2nd 2015, online at 3PM London Time. To attend, register now on Migreat Immigration Webinar page.