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Spain’s Golden and Non-Lucrative Visas

By John Lansley
This article is published on: 17th March 2021

Prior to Brexit, British residents had the freedom to live, work and travel anywhere in the EU, subject to local requirements, but those wishing to move to an EU country since 31.12.20 face a number of hurdles. Fortunately, there are two schemes that make a move to Spain much easier than would otherwise be the case, which is good news for those who have held long-cherished hopes of a retirement in sunnier climes!

Both schemes have similar basic requirements:

• You must not be a citizen of an EU or EEA state, or of Switzerland, and must be over 18 years of age
• You cannot have a criminal record (past 5 years)
• You must have health insurance, either via a state scheme or from a Spanish insurer
• You must not have entered or stayed in Spain illegally

Spain visa

Golden Visa
Coming from the UK, you will of course not be a citizen of an EU state, but you would need to comply with the other points above and certain others, depending on your situation. The most important aspect is that you must purchase a property in Spain for at least €500,000, without using a mortgage or other loan, and that you can demonstrate you can support yourselves financially. No specific amounts are quoted, but clearly you must be able to prove that the cost of running a property of this value plus general living expenses can be met, the figures mentioned below being a useful guideline.

There are alternatives – rather than investing €500,000 in property, investments of €1million in a Spanish bank deposit or in a Spanish company, or €2million in Spanish bonds, will also qualify you for a Golden Visa.

What are the benefits?
1. The Visa will apply to the main applicant and his/her spouse, plus minor children. Adult children or dependent parents can accompany them, but full details will need to be provided.
2. It allows the holder to work in Spain, subject to meeting local requirements.
3. The Visa holder does not need to reside in Spain or spend a certain amount of time here in order to renew it.
4. The Visa provides a residency permit for one year initially, and can then be renewed for a further two years and then 5 years. After 5 years, you can apply for permanent residency and, after 10 years, Spanish citizenship (if you have actually resided in Spain during that time).
5. The Visa allows travel within the Schengen area for 90 days out of any 180 (the same as the current restrictions for those resident in Spain).
6. The property can be sold once permanent residency is obtained.

Non-Lucrative Visa
Again, if you are coming to Spain from the UK, or any other non-EU country, you will satisfy the first general requirement above, but you will also need to meet the other requirements. However, the non-lucrative visa is aimed at those who do not need to work and as such will appeal specifically to those who are retired but who have sufficient income, because you are not allowed to work. It’s also known as a retirement visa for this reason, but it is also possible to undertake work as long as it is for clients based outside Spain.

In addition to the above qualifications, it is necessary to demonstrate income of at least €2,151.36 pm for the main applicant and an additional €537.84 pm for each additional family member. This can be in the form of pensions or investment income, but if in the form of dividends from a company it may be necessary to provide confirmation that no work is performed for the company concerned.

The visa needs to be applied for at the Spanish Consulate in the country of residence of the applicant, and only when the visa is granted can the applicant move to Spain.

What are the benefits?
1. As above, the visa can be applied for the main applicant and spouse, plus minor children and dependent children over the age of 18.
2. The visa provides an initial one year residence permit, followed by the ability to renew for a further 2 years, then another 2 years, and after that for a further 5 years. After 5 years, permanent residency can be applied for.
3. The ability to travel within the Schengen area, as above.
4. Even though you are unable to work in Spain, you are permitted to work remotely with clients located outside Spain.

Other Issues
Remember that being able to live in Spain, and spending most of the year there, will mean you will be fully exposed to Spanish taxes. Also, coming from a non-EU country will almost certainly mean your investments and perhaps some sources of income may no longer be suitable. For these reasons, it is essential to take professional advice well in advance of a move to Spain in order that any rearrangements can be considered.

Article by John Lansley

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