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How Spain plans to toughen conditions for its golden visa

The Local Spain
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How Spain plans to toughen conditions for its golden visa
Spain is considering change the conditions of its golden visa to make it tougher. Photo: Pascal Habermann / Unsplash

The Spanish government is considering changing its golden visa scheme, meaning that those who want to invest in property here may have to pay up more or have a limited time in which to do so.


Spain offers non-EU citizens various visas and residency permits, many of which require applicants meet certain conditions and plenty of paperwork.

If applicants can afford it, one of the 'easiest' to obtain Spanish residency is through investment in property and the so-called golden visa.

This allows you to live in Spain if you spend €500,000 on a Spanish property (properties), or invest a €1 million in shares in Spanish companies, or invest €2 million in government bonds, or transfer €1 million to a Spanish bank account. 

The golden visa's €500,000 property option is the most popular of all of these as a means of obtaining a residence permit for a period of three years, extendable for another two.

But now the Spanish Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration is considering making the conditions for this type of visa even tougher.

The objective is to raise the bar, sources from the ministry headed up by José Luis Escrivá confirmed.

READ ALSO: Portugal and Ireland have scrapped their golden visas. Will Spain be next?

Real estate experts and lawmakers believe that the €500,000 threshold is now insufficient, especially in Spain’s main cities, where many homes cost this amount, and therefore half a million can no longer be considered a price tag for luxury properties. Furthermore, they believe that these visas only end up driving up prices and kicking residents out of their neighbourhoods.

The Ministry of Social Security is due to hold talks with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Transport, which will decide the ultimate fate of these visas, whether it’s to define the new scheme, up the investment amount or phase them out completely.  

The increased figure mentioned in the Spanish press is an investment in property of €1 million, twice what it is currently.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Affairs is quoted in El País as saying that they are willing to address the matter, but insists that currently nothing has changed. 

According the head of Spain’s Mas País political party, Íñigo Errejón, the golden visa encourages "speculation" of housing prices in Spain, it does not benefit the national economy and "expels the local population", generating a "very negative" chain effect on the housing market. 

Back in February, his party lodged a legal proposal at the Spanish Parliament calling for Spain’s golden visa scheme to be scrapped and many have been in favour of this. 

The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, is firmly against the existence of Spain's golden visa as well, stating that "it's elitism, classism and racism". 


In recent years, more and more foreigners have decided to invest in property in Spain rather than financial or corporate investment options, which have remained practically unused.

Spain granted 2,462 residence permits in 2022 to golden visa investors who bought properties for more than half a million, which represented an increase of almost 60 percent since the previous year.

Only a few dozen visas were given out to investors who used other channels, such as the purchase of public debt, investment in companies or deposits of more than one million euros. For example, last year, only six foreigners applied for residence permits for investing in public debt.  

Since Spain's golden visas came into force, 11,464 have been granted, along with another 19,805 authorisations for family reunification.  


In recent months, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Malta have all either scrapped the equivalent of their golden visas or made the conditions much harder for millionaires who want to make a real estate investment.

These decisions come after years of warnings by the EU that such foreign investment residency deals were a risk to security, transparency and the bloc’s values. The European Commission also asked EU partners to stop granting them a few months ago.

This has been highlighted by the joint ban of golden visa applications by Russian tycoons looking to flee to Europe following their government's invasion of Ukraine. 

The golden visas were originally approved by Mariano Rajoy's government in 2013 through the entrepreneurs' law, at a time when the Spanish real estate sector was in trouble and many foreign investors were leaving the country.


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