Citizenship

We are often asked about Spanish citizenship and immigration through the investor visa scheme. It is important to point out the difference between residency and citizenship by investment in Spain. The new visa scheme allows residency for anyone investing over 500,000 Euros in a property in Spain. That grants the right to reside in Spain and travel in Europe but not work or gain benefits that the Spanish state offers.

The investor does not need to reside in Spain although his or her immediate family can reside in Spain and go to school and university. Citizenship grants a person the same rights as any Spanish national. Typically through the investor immigration scheme residency can be renewed after one year and again after three years if the investment is retained. Then residency becomes permanent.

Then the investor may apply for citizenship which allows the issuing of a Spanish passport. It is important to make this distinction as many real estate agents are advertising citizenship with the new golden visa programme in Spain. It is residency and not citizenship that is offered. Our lawyers will be glad to advise individual cases.

105 thoughts on “Citizenship

  1. To get the Spanish passport, Does the applicant need to live 10 years in Spain or after finishing the fifth year he can apply for citizenship?

      • Support the investor begins with the golden visa scheme and holds spanish residency for the first 5 years (but he doesn’t need to physically live in Spain). Then he applies for permanent residency and physically stays in Spain for the next 5 years, and then he can apply for citizenship. Does this constitute 10 years residency? Or should the investor physically live in Spain for the first 5 years too.

      • The investor would need to live in Spain (ie more than 183 days a year) in the first 5 years also. The rules for permanent residency and citizenship are easier in Portugal. There you can apply for permanent residency after 5 years having spent only two weeks every two years. And then another year you can apply for citizenship without having to reside. You can read more on our website for the rules on the Portugal Golden Visa or request our brochure which covers both countries. The investment amount is the same at €500,000.

    • I have bought property in Spain to qualify for the Golden Visa, but I am seriously considering retaining one property in Spain and invest in Portugal for the Portugal Golden Visa….Spain requirements for full citizenship are just too demanding.

      • Spain is a great options for residency, but if your long term goal is Citizenship, then Portugal is certainly much more favourable. In Portugal citizenship is achievable after 6 years, as opposed to 10 years in Spain. You also only have to spend 7 days per year on average in Portugal for citizenship, as opposed for 183 days per year in Spain. For more details on Portugal, please do visit this page- http://www.goldenvisas.com/portugal-golden-visa/

  2. So it means an investor must live each year more than 183 days in Spain , during ten years, to obtain the Spanish citizenship?

    • Yes that’s right. The citizenship rules are more relaxed in Portugal where the same €500,000 limit applies but citizenship can be gained after six years without the need to live in the country. In fact for those six years you need only spend an average of 1 week a year to keep renewing the visa. You can read more on the following link: Portugal golden visa programme

  3. So if I don’t want to gain citizenship and I only just obtain citizenship then I don’t need to spend those 183 days per year.
    Did I get it right?

    • With an investor visa for either Spain or Portugal you can spend as much or as little time as you like there. (Subject to a small minimum period to renew). However if you want to apply for citizenship you need to have lived in Spain for 10 years. In Portugal you do not need to live there and can apply after 6 years.

  4. would the rights to a Schengen visa be immediate once the investment is made &
    would the residency rights and Schengen visa rights extend to one’s offspring and spouse

  5. Being a native Latin American citizen, I wonder if after spending 2 years with this kind of “golden visa”, can I directly apply to obtain Spanish citizenship, or need another 2 years with another resident status?

    • I am aware there is a fast track citizenship programme in Spain for certain Spanish speaking nations. But it is separate to what we are dealing with in the golden visa programme. That requires 10 years permanent residency before obtaining citizenship. There may be a way to accelerate it if coming in through the golden visa scheme in Spain.

    • You need to invest a minimum 500,000 Euros to gain a residency visa in Spain or Portugal. But that does entitle the full family to residency and potential future citizenship.

  6. Can you please clarify if the golden visa program can work in combination with the fast track (2 year) citizenship program for certain spanish speaking passport holders? As far as I can see on the government’s website there is no specification as to a particular type of resident permit the applicant must hold?

  7. We as family holding passports from St. Kitts and Nevis.
    I am a civil Eng. Graduated from Germany and having master degree.
    I have stayed almost 10 years in Europe – Germany.
    My elder son is also a civil Eng. Graduated last year.
    My second son is studying civil engineering.
    We would like as a family to get a European citizenship through an investment program or other.
    Kindly advice.
    Thanks and regards.
    Waell Bulbul

    • I see my colleaugue has emailed you a reply, but to summarise, the best option for citizenship through an investor visa program is Portugal. It can be achieved in Spain but after 10 years of living there. Portugal can be six years without the need to live in the country. Your elder son may not qualify on the one family investment of €500k as there may not be dependency. Your second son will subject to proving dependency. So it is likely to require two real estate investments of €500k or a combined €1 million for one or several properties.

  8. Hi. In portugal citizenship by investment program, can the spouse and kids (less than 18 years) get the portugese passport after six years (same as father – the main applicant)?

    thanks

      • after 5 years of golden visa (and a few weeks of being in portugal a year), is it possible to apply citizenship? i am not sure, the golden visa attende limits are suitable for applying citizenship? can you clarify this issue?

      • It is five years for permanent residency in Portugal and six years for citizenship. But for citizenship there does need to be some committment to the country and you would need to pass a basic language test for both permanent residency and citizenship.

  9. Would buying any private property financed through mortgage qualify as an investment for the purpose of the golden visa routes in Spain and Portugal?

    • No. In both Spain and Portugal you need to invest €500,000 to gain the golden visa. If you buy above this limit you can mortgage the extra capital. For example buying a property for €600,000, you can take a mortgage of €100,000. The reason behind this of course is both governments want you to bring funds into the country. In return for investment they provide the residency visa.

  10. Hi, I see someone ask this already; however, there was not a clear answer regarding this matter. I would like to know regarding Iberoamericanos, this is people from countries who were Spanish colonies. If we get the Golden Visa, is it possible to get citizenship after two years of residency, it is a fast track for Iberoamericanos if they have legal residency but with Golden visa as well?

  11. I currently own a house in Spain which is valued above the threshold for the Golden Visa. I am a Nigerian citizen and i would like to know how to apply for the Golden Visa. Can this be done in the Consulate/Embassy here as i have all the title documents for the property with me in Nigeria?

    • If your house was purchased (rather than valued) above the €500,000 limit then this may qualify. As for approaching a Spanish embassy rather than through the authorities in Spain I doubt you will get too far too quickly. One of our staff will email you directly and suggest a legal firm with experience in this and you may wish to contact them.

  12. Hello, If the Golden Visa is applied for the whole family and the residency is granted; however, the children turn 18+ after, let say 3or 4 years, will this affect on getting the citizenship (passport) or this based on when the residency was issued.
    Thanks for the answer…

  13. Yes it will and it will depend on their status at that time. for example whether they are resident, dependent, in full time education etc. But do bear in mind if you are looking for citizenship in Spain you have to be resident there for 10 years. In Portugal it is six years and you do not need to be resident. One of our consultants will contact you direct.

  14. Hello’ what happened if somebody buy one property this year for 150000€ and two or three more properties next year altogether over 500k €?

    • Yes that would be fine. Multiple properties are allowed and over an extended period. You cannot apply for the golden visa until the full €500,000 has been invested.

  15. I understand that if you go through the Golden Visa process in Spain, the residency permit entitles you to residency only – ie. you cannot work there. Is that the same rule for Portugal? Secondly, could you live in Spain but instead of working in Spain, could you work and derive an income from other European countries – does that constitute ‘working’?

  16. Hello, we have recently bought a property for more than 500 000 euros, if we were to apply for the Spanish citizenship would be be required to pay regular taxes? Thank you

    • You will need to live in Spain for a minimum 10 years before applying for citizenship. Living there means effectively residing more than 6 months. Hence you will also become tax resident. After 10 years should you gain citizenship then you don’t need to live in Spain and hence you may not be tax resident.

      Contrast with neighbouring Portugal. You can apply for citizenship after 6 years without living in the country. Then should you live in the country there is a special tax law that effectively saves you having to pay any additional taxation on overseas income for the first 10 years of residence.

      • Sorry I meant residency, I understand that you can apply for that as soon as you buy the property. Would residency require tax paying ?

  17. Thank you for the information on your website, it has been most helpful. I was wondering if permanent residency is conditional on living in Spain for 6+ months a year? Is there a minimum stay for obtaining Spanish permanent residency?

    • Yes you would need to live in Spain for five years to apply for permanent residency and ten years for citizenship. You may want to consider Portugal. There is no requirement to live in the country and you can gain PR after 5 years, citizenship after six years. Follow this link: Portugal Golden Visa. We also have full details here on citizenship by investment in several countries.

  18. Dear Sir/ Madam,
    I am a Venezuelan citizen interested in acquiring the Spanish citizenship . I understand if I invest €500,000 in a real estate , I will be entitled for the citizenship after two years from acquiring the residency.
    Is there a minimum stay requirement in Spain during these two years of residency or I can visit Spain from time to time .

    • Yes there is a special rule for citizens of countries connected to Spain which reduces the time before citizenship is granted from the normal 10 years. But you will need to reside in Spain under either circumstance to gain citizenship.

      • Thank you for your prompt reply . I would like to know whether I need to reside the two full years in Spain or I need to stay a minimum number of days per year in Spain during these two years?

  19. You would need to be resident. So at least 6 months in the year and tax resident. For citizenship without the need to be resident I suggest Portugal. There you do not need to be resident to gain citizenship. It will take 6 years, same investment level of €500,000. See this link: Golden Visa Portugal.

  20. Does Spain have a direct citizenship program like that of Cyprus? That is with 5 million investment in property or bank deposit you can apply for citizenship?

  21. Dear Sir/Madam

    Consider my family that consist of mum, dad, and three boys, the boys ages are 20, 28, 28 and they still study, they do not work, they are studying in universities.

    if mum and dad will be buying a property in Portugal or Spain, would the three boys be considered eligible to take the visa with mum or dad? It is true that we are over 18 but we are still dependent on mum and dad.

    Yours,
    Hayder

    • We would need to look closely at the situation but broadly if the children are studying full time or enrolled on a course then inclusion for the investor visa is possible.

  22. Thanks you so much for your quick reply, I would like to have a meeting and visit you at London, will try to see my diary and obligations for the coming weeks and contact you afterward to point a date probably in early November.

    Peace

  23. Hi

    I am married to a spanish in denmark we both live in Dubai, UAE and going to inveted 6.5 million in a property in alicanta valancia spain.

    Please advice me

    It will take 10 years for me to get spanish citizenship ? In the mean time once i perchace the property can i live in spain ?

    Regards
    Ali

    • Under the investor visa programme you will have to live in Spain 10 years. As a separate issue if you are married to a Spanish national then there may be an accelerated path to citizenship. We can put you in touch with our lawyers in order to assess.

  24. Hi …. Can the 500,000 investment be in a company, instead of used to buy property? For example, would a foreign investor be eligible for the Golden Visa / Residency by putting 500,000 EUR as capital into a new Spanish company?

  25. Hello,

    I have a property in Spain valued at 300.000 euro. It’s a property of my Dutch based company. I myself live in luxemburg. Can my Russian wife buy my property at 500.000 euro and obtain residency rights for Shengen zone?

    • An interesting question. Yes if she buys it for €500,000. But you are artificially inflating the purchase price to obtain the golden visa. There’s no mechanism for authorities to check valuation versus price and you or your wife will be paying higher IVA tax so in theory all parties are happy. It’s not something our business can be involved in as we deal with property sales. But if you need the contact for a lawyer in this area then I can provide it.

      • Dear La Vida,
        There is a lawyer in Spain, who is introducing to me the Spanish Passport within 2 weeks. He is telling me that, he will write a real estate valued 500,000 Euro on my name, then he will issue my passport immediately, then he will return real estate back to his name. so Mr. La Vida, do think this way or procedure is legal? Do you think my passport will be valid? Do you think if I will be in safe side if I travel using this passport? Kindly, advise.

      • Well, if it looks too good to be true then it probably is. Any such transaction would not meet the rules of the scheme. For someone to buy a property then sell it back immediately is not what the government set it up for. If discovered I’ve no doubt you will lose any right to residency. Note that by buying and selling a property in Spain you would incur around 10% costs each time. So that’s around €100,000 in total. Also note that by spending €500,000 on property you get a residency card NOT a passport. You have to live in Spain 10 years before you can even apply for a Spanish passport. For the right to a passport you would be better looking at Portugal at €500,000 where you can apply after 6 years without living there or Cyprus where you can get a passport in a few months if your budget can stretch to €2 million.

  26. If I buy property worth the threshold and get the golden visa and then if I don’t stay and in Spain for 183 days/year, so what happen if the officials don’t want to issue me the visa and if I don’t want to sale the property.

    • If you simply want to obtain the initial Golden visa which is effectively a residency visa and keep renewing this on an ongoing basis then you do not have to reside in Spain for 183 days a year. You only need to reside in Spain for 183 days a year if you want to apply for Citizenship in year 10. If you have not fulfilled the minimum stay requirement for Citizenship, for the full 10 years then you will not be able to apply for the passport. You will not need to sell the property if you do not wish to, in fact it will be best to hold on to the property until you have at least obtained citizenship as without a property investment of €500,000 you will not be able to renew your residency visa every 2 years.

      If you do not wish to stay in Spain for 183 days a year, yet you want to obtain Citizenship, then I would highly recommend looking at Portugal which has been hugely popular with our clients due to the low minimum stay requirements of just 7 days per year. You can also apply for Citizenship here after just 6 years as apposed to 10 years in Spain. Please see this link for more details on the Portugal Golden visa scheme.

  27. I am told that Greece too has a citizenship by investment program. Does this require a minimum stay to apply for citizenship?

  28. I would to ask please about spainish golden visa
    Can I buy now property for 250k and after a year I buy another one for 250k and apply for golden visa? Or should be same time?

    • €500,000 is the net purchase property. You will need to add all taxes and fees on top. See this website for buying in Spain which will give you details on property purchase costs. Fees for the application of the golden visa and residency should be added and are typically a few thousand Euros through an experienced Spanish lawyer that we use for clients.

  29. Hi, I’m also interested in the question Yaseen has raised. I haven’t found anything that I like and can afford that is around the 500K threshold, however I have found a property for now that is around 200K. What is the timespan that the total of 500K properties must be acquired within, in order to be eligible in applying for the spanish golden visa?

    • You would need to purchase the properties within 3 years. However, we would advise that you wait until you have the funds in place to purchase the property. You cannot start the golden visa application until you have invested the full amount of €500,000.

  30. A mother with her two daughters whom are above 18 years of age, can get residency of Spain after the investment?

    • The Spanish investor visa can be renewed every two years and after five years it is possible to gain permanent residency and after ten years citizenship. If you are looking for citizenship, please note that you would need to reside in the country for a minimum of six months per year for the ten years. This would make you tax resident. Children up to the age of 18 years old are eligible under the investment. If they are a few years older, but still dependent and in full time education, then it may be possible to still include them. We would need to look closely at their situation.

  31. My husband and I recently purchased a property in Barcelona for 475,000 Euros and paid transfer taxes of 10% on top of that. The property is mortgaged (270,000 Euros). If we pay off the mortgage will we qualify for the investor residency visa? We are both U.S. passport holders and I also have a UK passport, but fear that Brexit may harm our future residency in Spain. If we wait too long will our chances expire?

  32. Aside from paying off the mortgage and the timescale of when you bought, the key issue is the price of the property which is short of the €500,000 limit for the Spanish golden visa.

  33. With €50,000 that we paid in transfer taxes we paid out €525,000 Euros. Do the taxes paid count towards the €500,000?

  34. If we made building improvements of €25,000 would that count towards the investment? (Assuming of course we payoff the mortgage and it is free and clear)

  35. I would like to ask is there an access to the public healthcare for the investor under the golden visa program after holding the temporary residency ?
    Best regards

    • While you hold the golden visa you are required to have medical insurance in Spain. Should you eventually become permanently resident then you will no longer need the insurance.

  36. Is it possible to work or do business in Spain with Golden Visa? Can I put my kids(10 year & 12 year) in school in Spain with Golden Visa?

  37. I have now read the posts on both the residence and the citizen pages. I have a few clarification questions regarding renewals of the Spanish Residency Visa based on the Golden Passport process. I have already obtained this visa for the first year through the required property purchase (investment) process.

    I have no interest in obtaining Spanish citizenship but I would like to make the residency visa permanent (i.e. last beyond its initial five year renewable period). I also have no intention of “living” in Spain for 183 days or more annually). I sought the visa to overcome the Schengen limitations on an American citizen traveling in Europe (I am a single man 72 years of age who spends several months a year living on my boat in the Mediterranean).

    My first question is how much time do I have to spend in Spain to renew the visa for the initial two year renewal period as well as for the second two year period and how do I “prove” I have spent the time. For example is there a process or form involving the local police or a municipal office.

    My second is what happens next. That is, does the visa become a permanent “residency” visa even if I have not “lived” (meaning more that 183 days) in Spain. If not is it continuously renewable every two years?

    Thank you

    • Hello Michael. We deal with real estate investment for the golden visa but as this is already a purchase what I am going to do is get one of our staff to pass on details of a lawyer we recommend to help you with those questions.

    • There is no set date or time frame for how long the programme will last. The scheme has been very popular in Spain and has generated the country a lot of new income and helped to boost the economy, so there are no signs of the scheme ending any time soon. However, like with any immigration scheme in the world, nothing last’s forever and these programmes can be scrapped at any point. We always advise any clients who are interested to act fairly quickly just in case any changes take place. If and when the scheme ends or changes, this will usually only effect new investors and not any one who is already in the system.

    • There is no indication. It is live right now and anyone who applies will qualify. But a new government or change of policy could change or stop the golden visa programme for future applicants. Just like Hungary for example where it is closing to new applicants from 31st March.

  38. As disillusioned UK residents we are looking at a property purchase in Barcelona of just above 500,000 euro in order to qualify for the Golden Visa.

    If we live in Barcelona as our main place of residence pay taxes on our worldwide income to Spain i.e. tax residency, would it follow that we are treated as EU citizens after Brexit despite being UK passport holders?

    This would be for my myself, wife and 18 year son. My son is aiming to attend university in Barcelona and would need to be treated as an EU resident in order to qualify for the much lower university fees than he would pay in the UK.

    Thank you for any help you can offer.

    • As you are a British passport holder, you are still currently classed as an EU citizen until Britain has official left the EU. As it currently stands, the Golden Visa residency programmes are not open to other EU citizens, so if you wanted to apply for the Golden Visa in Spain, you will need to wait until the UK have officially exited Europe. The Golden Visa schemes are aimed at overseas investors outside of Europe.

      Spain’s Golden Visa scheme will enable you to obtain residency once you have invested €500,000 into real estate. If you have residency in Spain then in theory your son should pay the lower university fees as opposed to overseas fees. To apply for citizenship you will need to have resided in Spain for at least 183 days each year for 10 years before you can apply, which will mean you will have to become tax resident.

      If you wanted a quick solution for EU citizenship, then the only two schemes that UK and EU Citizens can currently apply for are the direct citizenship by investment programmes in Cyprus (€2m) and Malta (€1.2m).

  39. Hello,
    I have few concerns in my mind regarding Spain golden Visa
    If I buy property worth 500,00 Euro, I understand me, my spouse and children under 18 would be granted golden visa which is renewable till 5 years. My question is that what will happen after five years if I don’t meet the criteria ( living 183 days per year) to switch the golden visa to permanent residency.
    Will I be kicked out of Spain and then what will happen to the property that I owned. And my second question is the if I don’t live 183 days per year in Spain but my family (my wife and children) are living permanently there (365 days per year) then what will happen after 5 years.
    And lastly please let me know how this 183 days be calculated? Thank you very much in advance for your cooperation.

    • For just the residency visa, you only have to technically spend 1 day per year in Spain so there is no way that they can throw you or your family out as long as you are fulfilling this requirement.

      You only need to reside for 183 days or more if you wish to apply for PR after 5 years or Citizenship after 10 years. You do not have to take these steps though. If you prefer, you and your family could just keep renewing your residency visas every 5 years on a on-going basis.

      If your family are living full time in Spain then they could go ahead and apply for PR after 5 years or Citizenship after 10 years, but you would not be able to be included in these applications if you had not resided for 183 days per year yourself. So in this case, you could just keep renewing your general residency visa.

  40. Hello – in order to get permanent residency the first 5 years, do I have to live in Spain at lease 6 month each year? another question, if I become permanent resident, do I have to pay taxes on income generated from outside Spain? Thanks

    • Yes, in order to be granted Permanent Residency you need to have been residing in Spain for at least 183 days per year for the 5 years leading up to your application. Once you reside in a country for 183 days per year or more, you automatically become tax resident. If you do not want to apply for PR, you can just keep renewing the general residency visa every 5 years, and for residency you only need to spend 1 day per year in Spain (so no need to pay tax in Spain). If your ultimate goal is PR or citizenship, but you are unable to reside long term in Spain, then you may want to turn your attention to the Portuguese Golden Visa scheme which is more flexible in this sense.

  41. I want to buy properties for 500000€
    And reside in spain with my family for long term to get the permanent visa.
    I plan to rent some of the properties.
    Does my taxes going to be 25% like forigners
    Or like local resident?

    • If you decide to reside in Spain full time you will become a tax resident, so will get taxed at the same rate as any Spanish tax resident. If you do not reside long term then you will not be classed as a tax resident and would therefore be taxed as a foreign resident on any income you receive in Spain.

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