Spain will permit non-EU nationals to apply for residency if they invest at least €500,000 in property

Spain’s Parliament last week ratified a rule change to the country’s so-called ‘Golden Visa’ law allowing non-EU nationals the chance to apply for Spanish residency if they invest a minimum of €500,000 in Spanish property.

The rule change has been mooted for some time, and is designed to spur greater investment among wealthy buyers from non-EU countries, such as the USA, Russia and China…

Spain’s Congress of Deputies and the Spanish senate have both given the rule change the green light, and it will next week be signed off by King Carlos before entering into law.

Spain follows Portugal in moving the goalposts on Spanish residency, although the higher threshold means that all but the wealthiest individuals (and corporate entities keen on investing in Spain) will be able to take advantage.

Those that do will be able to live legally in Spain and make use of the country’s membership of the 26-country Shengen Zone, which permits unobstructed travel throughout most of the continent.

There are, however, a few stipulations. To reach the €500,000 threshold, an investor can purchase multiple residential or commercial properties (including land), which can be used for any legal purpose.

Hence, to stop non-EU nationals pumping in money from afar and renting their properties out, they must first apply for a visa before being eligible for a residency permit. To attain a visa, an individual must have visited Spain at least once, and then during the first year of their visa they are permitted to apply for residency.

The initial residency permit lasts two years, during which time the investor must maintain their €500,000 interest in the country – they simply cannot sell up and hope to have their permit renewed.

After being resident in Spain for five consecutive years, non-EU investors are then able to apply for an unlimited residence permit, which is the first step towards Spanish nationality, should the investor so wish to follow that path.

It is unknown how many investors that fit such a criteria will take advantage of this law change, but it does appear to be a sensible and well thought-out way to encourage further investment in the country’s property market without diluting the values set by Spain’s sovereignty and the European Union.