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Spain to end Golden Visa scheme (alternative visas and more)

30. april 2024 · 7 minute

In a step towards greater economic transparency and stability, the Spanish cabinet has given the green light to eliminate the country’s Golden Visa scheme, according to Euronews.

This initiative to grant Spanish citizenship through investment, was initially introduced in 2013 amidst a housing market crash and euro currency crisis. It aimed to boost the property sector by granting residency rights to wealthy foreigners investing in real estate.

The program is also known as the "500k Golden Visa", as the Spanish Golden Visa requirements included a minimum investment of €500,000.

However, concerns have arisen regarding the negative impacts of the Golden Visa in Spain. Critics argue that granting Spanish citizenship by investment in real estate contributes to inflationary pressures and provides a loophole for illicit funds to enter the economy.

Responding to these criticisms, Pedro Sanchez’s government announced in October its decision to phase out the Spanish Golden visa program.

According to the Minister of Housing, over 14,000 such permits were issued between 2013 and 2023, with the majority going to citizens of China and Russia.

Spain's move follows a similar decision by neighboring Portugal, which recently revised its Golden Visa scheme to exclude real estate investment in an effort to address a housing crisis.

The European Commission has also long advocated for the discontinuation of these visa schemes, citing security risks and emphasizing the lack of genuine residency obligations for beneficiaries.

Let’s now take a closer look at what the Golden Visa is in general, Golden Visa benefits, and what alternatives there are to the Golden Visa España. We also mention why Flatio is a great choice for finding accommodation in Spain.

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What is Golden visa?

A Golden Visa, also known as an investment visa, is a special type of residency permit that allows individuals to live and work in a country by making a significant investment in its economy.

Typically, this investment involves purchasing real estate, starting a business, or making a substantial financial contribution.

Golden Visas are often sought after by individuals who wish to relocate to a different country for better opportunities or quality of life. They offer a pathway to residency and, in some cases, eventual citizenship by investment, depending on the country's regulations.

Golden visa advantages

Advantages of Golden Visa programs include ease of residency acquisition, providing a pathway to live and work in another country without the complexities of traditional immigration processes. They often offer access to better healthcare and education systems, as well as increased personal and financial security. This is considered by many as the greatest advantage of Golden Visa program.

Additionally, Golden Visas can open up opportunities for business expansion and investment in a new market, fostering economic growth and diversification. Moreover, they may lead to eventual citizenship, granting individuals and their families long-term stability and the ability to fully integrate into their new home country.

Golden visa cost

The cost of Golden Visa varies depending on the country's requirements and the type of investment needed to qualify. Typically, it involves a significant financial commitment, such as:

  • purchasing real estate
  • investing in businesses
  • making a substantial donation

Additionally, there are often associated fees for application processing, legal assistance, and government charges. It's essential for individuals considering a Golden Visa to carefully assess all costs involved and weigh them against the benefits of obtaining residency or citizenship in their desired country.

Golden visa cost 

How to apply for Golden visa

Applying for a Golden Visa involves several straightforward steps.

Firstly, individuals need to research the specific requirements of the country offering the program, including the investment options available and any eligibility criteria.

Next, they typically gather necessary documentation, such as proof of investment funds, a clean criminal record, and valid identification.

Then, they submit an application to the relevant government authority, often accompanied by the required fees. It's essential to ensure that all forms are completed accurately and that any supporting documents are provided as per the guidelines.

Once the application is submitted, it undergoes review, and if approved, the applicant receives their Golden Visa, granting them residency or citizenship in the country. It is advisable to seek advice from legal and financial experts when applying for a Golden Visa.

Best Golden visa programs

According to Henley & Partners, these are some of the Golden Visa countries, including Golden Visa Europe programs:

  • Australia Business Innovation and Investment Program
  • Australia Global Talent Independent Program
  • Austria Private Residence Program
  • Canada Start-Up Visa Program
  • Canada Quebec Investor Immigration Program
  • Costa Rica Residence by Investment Program
  • Cyprus Permanent Residence Program
  • Greece Golden Visa Program
  • Hong Kong Visa Programs
  • Italy Residence by Investment Program
  • Jersey Residence by Investment
  • Latvia Residence by Investment Program
  • Luxembourg Residence by Investment Program
  • Malaysia My Second Home Program
  • Malaysia Premium Visa Program
  • Malta Permanent Residence Programme
  • Mauritius Residence by Investment Program
  • Monaco Residence
  • Montenegro Residence
  • Namibia Residence by Investment
  • Netherlands Residence by Investment Program
  • New Zealand Active Investor Plus Visa Program
  • Panama Residence by Investment Program
  • Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program (Note: The real estate investment option was recently removed
  • from this program.)
  • Singapore Global Investor Program
  • Swiss Residence Program
  • Thailand Residence by Investment Program
  • UAE Residence by Investment
  • UK Innovator Founder Program
  • US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Best Golden visa programs in the world

Spanish visa alternatives

Now that the option to buy a house in Spain and get residency will no longer be available, let’s look at some other Spain visa options that you can use if you want to move to the country.

Do you need a visa for Spain?

Are you wondering: do you need a visa to go to Spain?

If you're from a country in the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), or from certain other countries with visa waiver agreements, you generally don't need a visa to visit Spain for short stays.

However, if you're from a country outside of these agreements, you may need to apply for a visa before your trip. The specific visa requirements depend on factors such as:

  • the purpose of your visit
  • the duration of your stay
  • your nationality

It's essential to check the current visa requirements well in advance of your travel dates to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip to Spain.

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How long can you stay in Spain as a tourist?

As a tourist visiting Spain, the length of time you can stay depends on your nationality.

If you're from a country within the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), you can generally stay in Spain for an unlimited period without needing a visa.

However, if you're from a country outside of these regions, you're typically allowed to stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without needing a visa. It's important to adhere to these time limits to avoid overstaying your welcome and facing potential penalties or difficulties with future travel.

If you wish to stay longer or have specific visa inquiries, it's advisable to consult the relevant embassy or consulate for guidance.

General entry requirements for Spain

The general entry requirements for Spain depend on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. If you're from a country within the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), you typically only need a valid passport or national ID card to enter Spain. However, if you're from a country outside of these regions, you may need to apply for a visa before your trip.

Additionally, all travelers should ensure their passport is valid for at least three months beyond their intended stay in Spain. It's also a good idea to have proof of sufficient funds for your stay and a return or onward ticket. It's essential to check the specific entry requirements based on your nationality well in advance of your travel dates to ensure a smooth entry into Spain.

How to apply for Spanish visa

To apply for Spanish visa, you can generally do so either online or in person, depending on your location and the type of visa you need.

Firstly, you need to determine the type of visa that suits your purpose of visit, whether it's for tourism, business, study, or other reasons.

Then, gather all required documents, which typically include a completed application form, a valid passport, passport-sized photos, proof of travel insurance, financial documents, and a travel itinerary. You may also need to schedule an appointment at the nearest Spanish consulate or embassy if applying in person.

For online applications, you'll usually submit your documents electronically through the designated platform.

After submission, your application will undergo processing, and if approved, you'll receive your Spain visa, allowing you to travel to the country for the specified purpose and duration.

Available visa options for Spain

These are some alternatives to real estate investment visa for Spain that you may want to consider, according to Immigration Lawyers Spain:

Spanish Schengen visa or Spain tourist visa:

  • For visits to Spain up to 90 days.
  • Required depending on your country of origin.

Spanish work visa:

  • Apply as a self-employed worker or employee for a Spanish company, or as an entrepreneur.

Non-Lucrative visa in Spain:

  • For those not engaging in economic activity in Spain.
  • Requirement: demonstrate sufficient financial funds.

Family visa:

  • Bring relatives to Spain through the family member of an EU citizen visa or family reunification process.

Student visa:

  • For studying or conducting research.
  • Can later apply for a work permit.

Digital nomad visa in Spain:

  • The Spanish digital nomad visa allows remote work from Spain with a special tax regime to save taxes. You can read more about the digital nomad visa in Spain on our blog.

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Flatio: Flexible rentals in Spain

Before you leave, here's one more thing to consider!

If you're searching for flexible and reasonably priced stays in Spain ranging from 5 days to a year, explore the listings available on Flatio

But why choose Flatio?

Here are some standout features that set us apart:

  • Flexible, reasonably priced stays (from 5 days)
  • Wide range of accommodation options
  • Utilities and Wi-Fi included
  • No deposit required for stays under 180 days (unless required by law)
  • Balanced, legally binding lease agreement, translated into multiple languages
  • Very attractive cancelation policy
  • Online signing of lease agreement
  • StayProtection for Tenants: assistance with emergencies and accidental property damage
  • Move-in Guarantee with a 24/7 emergency line
  • 100% money protection
  • Customer support available every day of the week
  • No hidden fees
  • Secure and simple payment system, including Bitcoin option

Disclaimer: The legal information published on Flatio is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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