Spain Golden Visa Alex Radford

Interview: Spain’s Golden Visa Explained with Alex Radford

Alex Radford (AR) – My name is Alex Radford. I’m an English solicitor and Spanish lawyer, and I’m the founder of And we have a specialist website there called and we help clients from all over the world apply for and obtain visas and residencies to live in Spain.

Anyone wanting to spend more than 90 days in a 180 day period in Spain has to now apply for a visa.

To a certain extent, Alfredo, that was true before whether you were a European or a non-European.

If you wanted to spend more than 90 days in Spain, you have to become a resident.

The difference now really is the Europeans can apply for residency in Spain and the non-Europeans have to apply for it from their home country at the Spanish Consulate, which we can help them with, or if they buy a property or properties worth more than €500,000, they can apply for the ‘Golden Visa’ here in Spain.

Alfredo Bloy-Dawson (ABD) – – When Spain’s Golden Visa was launched a few years ago, it was kind of more thought for people on the other side of world; your Chinese buyers, your Middle Eastern buyers, that kind of thing. Now, suddenly, it’s on the radar for people from Kidderminster down to Southampton. So tell me a little bit more about that if you don’t mind.

(AR) – Yeah, that’s good. You’re right. It actually came into this law, came into force to attract investment into Spain and that law was passed on the 27th of September 2013.

So if you bought a property or properties in your own name, over the value of 500,000 euros, after that date, then you can apply for the Golden Visa. So you’ve got to have basically property in your name or if it’s joint names then it needs to be a million euros, it doesn’t just have to be one property.

It can be various properties. The property has to be free of debts. And then once you purchase the property, then you apply for a certificate. Or we apply for that certificate from the land registry, confirming that you’ve made that investment.

And then we collate the other documents together. And then we can submit the application here in Spain. Would you like to know what the other documents are Alfredo?

(ABD) –– Yes please, yes, let’s get some details.

(AR) – Okay. So in effect you would need private medical insurance. So again, on our website, the website, you scroll down, we’ve got some insurance brokers there. You also need a medical certificate with specific wording to come into Spain.

If you’re married, then you have to apply for a duplicate marriage certificate. And if you’ve got children, then the children, you would need their birth certificates for them. And the financial resources is for the main applicant.

They have to prove that they have minimum amount of income of 2,259.60 euros per month or savings totaling 27,115.20. And then for each dependent, that’s a spouse or a child, they would need a monthly income of €564.90 or 6,778.80 euros. So just in summary, a married couple, doing the math very quickly, would need 33,894 euros in the bank at the time of application and a family of four would need 47,451.60.

And that can be investments, monies, savings, et cetera.

(ABD) –– Okay. And anybody can apply for this Golden Visa?

 (AR) – That’s right. Anyone can apply for the Golden Visa. So long as they’ve got those financial resources, and they purchased that property.

(ABD) –– And how long does the process take?

(AR) – Well, the key here is that the Golden Visa can actually be applied for from your home Spanish Consulate, in your own country. Or you can come to Spain and apply for it here. And we would actually always recommend that we apply for it here, because one, the advantage of that, of it doing it here in Spain and applying for here it in Spain is that you are granted the visa for a period of two years. Whereas if you apply for it from your home country, the visa is granted for what? A one-year period.

(ABD) –– Well, so every one or two years you have to renew it?

(AR) – Yeah. So, so in effect, if the visa is granted from the Spanish Consulate in your home country it’s valid for one year, and then the renewal takes place in Spain for a two-year period. And then at year three, it can be renewed for a five-year period. So basically two years, and then five years. If it’s granted in Spain, it’s valid for two years and then a period of five years at renewal.

 (ABD) –– So you save yourself a year, basically, of messing around.

(AR) – Exactly. And actually the costs of applying for it here in Spain, as in the administrative costs are much, much lower. You’re talking 80 euros as opposed to say 500 or 600 euros in your home country.

(ABD) –– And in this renewal process, what is taken into consideration? Is it purely a fee, a question of paying a fee or is there something that you got to submit that you have, that you still own the property or that you still have that income..?

(AR) – Exactly that, Alfredo. They’re going to check that you’ve still got the income, got the medical insurance in place, that you have still got the property with no debts or charges on it. So everything you had initially for your first application, they’re going to check that and to make sure that that’s still in the force.

(ABD) – And the process from, let’s say, for example, if I was wanting to, to explore that option and I was coming to Spain next week, and assuming I could get all the different bits of paperwork that I need to get, the insurance, the proof of income, et cetera, I presume any paperwork coming from abroad would have to be translated and officially stamped. That kind of thing.

(AR) – Exactly.

(ABD) – Is that right? How long would that process be from typically, if there are no issues from the day that we hand over, say to you, that we instruct you and we pay your fees, are we talking six months or a year or two? What’s the criteria for that?

(AR) – For the Golden Visa, it’s really quite fast. You know, we’ve had a client recently who managed to collate all their documents and we got the translations and it got stamped with the Apostille of The Hague.

So for example, the medical certificate had to be stamped with the Apostille of The Hague, duplicate marriage certificate stamped with the Apostille of The Hague, same with birth certificates for the children.

We’ve got all those documents together, got them translated. We had those all ready and done within a period of four weeks. The client came out to Spain, he’d already purchased the property. We’d applied for a certificate, confirming that he owned it.

We submitted the application online whilst he was in Spain, we needed a copy of his full passport. So he went down to the local notary, got a color copy of his passport, sent that through to us. And we submitted it online and we had the Golden Visa granted within three weeks.

(ABD) – You said something at the beginning. If I was buying a house with say my wife, am I right in understanding from what you said, it should only be in my name or only be in her name.

(AR) – Yes. Absolutely. So, you’ve got to be married, you’ve got to be married or you’ve got to be in a civil partnership. Here it’s commonly known as a pareja de hecho And arguably the pareja de hecho should be registered in the autonomous region where you live in.

Because there’s 17 autonomous regions and each have their different laws, but they want to see that you’re got a dependent, you’re married or in that civil partnership. And then you submit the documents.

But yes, depending on if you’re married, then only one person can own a property worth 500,000 with no debts.

(ABD) – So if we were, we accidentally bought a house in both our names, we would need double the amounts.

(AR) – Yes.

(ABD) – Am I understanding that correctly?

(AR) – Right. Okay. So there’s a big fat piece of advice there. If you are thinking of the Golden Visa, make sure that you buy the property in just one of your names and not in both your names because otherwise it doubles the thing.

(ABD) – Are there any implications to, is there any relationship between this and working here and taxes? Or is it a completely separate thing?

(AR) – No, listen, you’re actually right. It’s really a good point. So with the Golden Visa, in order for it to be renewed, you only have to visit Spain once a year. So you could be in Spain for as little as one day and you can work in Spain.

So you can work in Spain with a Golden Visa, which is very attractive to quite a lot of our clients. And then secondly, if you’re moving to Spain and you spend more than 183 nights in the Spanish tax year, and the Spanish tax year starts on the 1st of January finishes on the 31st of December, if you spend more than 183 nights during that period, then you become a Spanish tax resident.

And the year after you’ve become a Spanish tax resident, you would pay tax in Spain on worldwide assets and income. So that’s not what a lot of people might want to do. So if they don’t want to become a Spanish tax resident, they just have to spend less than 183 nights in Spain during the period running from 1st of January to 31st of December. And if they do want to become a Spanish tax resident, or they want to spend more than 183 nights here then before they arrive, I’d certainly recommend that they speak to a local financial advisor or accountant to plan the finances and assets because Spain, depending on the region where you’re in, you could be subject to, when you pass on, then your family could be subject to inheritance tax.

And also that there could be wealth tax involved. So, depending on the region, all of Spain has wealth tax and those rates vary according to the region you’re in.

(ABD) – This applies to any non-European isn’t it? So, I mean, it could apply I suppose to a European, but there’s no point is there for a European, cause they’re entitled to residency anyway, but so any non-European, whether it be a British person or a Brazilian person, it’s basically the same set of rules. Am I understanding that correctly?

(AR) – That’s right. Yes.

(ABD) – But we’re more likely to see British people looking to buy here in the Costa del Sol and on the Spanish coastal areas that you move in than a Brazilian. And if they are investing half a million or more in a property, would the Golden Visa be your recommended avenue for them to look into, or are there other options available?

(AR) – I definitely think that it’s a great option because they don’t have to worry about spending more or less than 90 days in a 180 day period and they can work. So it’s definitely a good option and you can renew the Golden Visa just by spending one day here a year. Whereas for example, for other types of visa, you need to spend a lot more time here.

(ABD) – So it’s fairly quick, there is a burden of proof in terms of either money in the bank, for those perhaps who are looking to semi-retire here or something like that, or those who are working will have to prove income of a certain level.

And the income is based on one person. The more dependents that you have there’s a percentage that amount has to increase by quite logically. You’ve got to have medical insurance and you have to be investing either in one property or more than one property, more than half a million euros.

Am I right in saying that, say a British person had bought a house two years ago for €600,000, can they use that since it was post 2013 to apply for Golden Visa now?

(AR) – Yes they can.

(ABD) – For another day, what other options are there for British people that they don’t have that sort of budget. And they are looking to spend less than half a million.

(AR) – Certainly, the other options would be what we know as the Non-Lucrative Visa.

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