Spain Plans To End Real Estate Route for Golden Visa Program

Spain Plans To End Real Estate Route for Golden Visa Program

Spain is an attractive destination for relocation in the European Union especially for British nationals.

Many non-EU nationals looking to relocate to Europe choose Spain through the Spain Golden Visa Program. This program enables them to live, study, and work in the country, potentially leading to permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship.

However, Spain has decided to terminate its ‘golden visa' program, which previously granted residency to foreigners who made significant investments in real estate within the country. This decision means that wealthy foreign nationals will no longer have the option to secure residency in Spain through the purchase of properties valued at €500,000 or more under this program.

Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, has confirmed the decision, emphasising that Spain will implement measures to ensure that housing is considered a fundamental right and not just a speculative commodity.

Under the scheme, non-EU investors are provided with fast-tracked residency. Around 6,000 visas were issued until 2023 for property investment.

It has been reported that around 284,000 British nationals are living in Spain as of 2023.

The Golden Visa route has allowed British nationals to bypass EU stay limits. Without the visa, they are allowed to visit Spain for 90 days visa-free, before having to apply for a residency or visa.

Non-EU nationals can still obtain residency rights by investing their money in investment funds.

Other Spanish Golden Visa Route

There are several investment options in Spain's Golden Visa Program. With Spain scrapping the real property investment, you may choose to invest either €2 million in Spanish Government Bonds, or €1 million in shares in Spanish companies.

Apart from the financial requirement, qualified applicants are required to be at least 18 years of age and possess a clean criminal record and a private or public health insurance policy.

The following family members of the investor may also obtain the visa: 

  • The spouse or unmarried partner. 
  • Children and adult children who are financially dependent on the investor and who have not created a family unit of their own.
  • Relatives in the ascending line in the investor's care.

There is no minimum stay requirement to maintain residence status in Spain but obtaining the first residence permit requires a visit to Spain.

Countries That Ended Their Residency By Investment Schemes

The European Commission has long called for an end to such programmes, citing security risks especially since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In 2022, the British government discontinued a program that permitted wealthy foreign nationals to relocate to the country by bringing significant assets with them.

The following year, Ireland scrapped its Golden Visa, while Portugal revised its version of it, no longer allowing residency in exchange for property purchases.

However, there are still some EU countries that offer the same schemes such as Italy, Greece, and Malta.

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