Spain breaks the record for golden visas for the seventh time: delivered more than 8.000 in 2019

Spain beat for the seventh consecutive year, all since the Entrepreneurs Law was launched in 2013, the granting of golden visas to foreign citizens. Too known as golden visa, These residence permits simplify the usual procedure based on certain assumptions such as being a highly qualified professional, start a startup in Spain or make an investment. Total, last year they were awarded 8.061 of these visas. It supposes an increase of 22,6% with respect to 2018. Again, excluding the causes of family reunification or business transfer, the most common assumption was buying a home valued at more than 500.000 euros.

Total, 681 foreigners got last year a golden visa in Spain for real estate investment. This procedure requires spending more than 500.000 euros for the acquisition of one or more properties on Spanish soil. Last year's figure is the highest in the series, which until now was that of 2016 with 658 permissions. In 2018 were 599, so in year-on-year terms the growth in 2019 in this kind of golden visa was from 13,7%.

The only cases for which more visas were granted last year under the 2013 are those of intra-company transfer (1.361 permissions), highly qualified professionals (1.650 permissions) and family reunification (3.530 permissions). In the first two cases, these are changes of residence for work reasons, the third is a tailor's box where all the first-degree relatives of those who have obtained a golden visa in any other category.

In addition to family reunification, the quick procedure to obtain residence in Spain includes other advantages such as the fact that it can be applied for from within the country (normally you have to wait abroad until it is granted) and that it is renewed after two years as long as the cause for which it was granted persists. In return, you must prove that you have sufficient financial means (2.130 monthly euros for the applicant and 532 additional euros for each family member), have no criminal record and go through an anti-money laundering procedure.

One visa for every two purchases

Daniel Cuervo, general secretary of the Association of Promoters Builders of Spain (APCE) points out that from the point of view of real estate investment "the data does not allow us to say that [this procedure] it has an important impact for the sector and for the general economy ”. But the representative of the employers' association of real estate developers believes that the profiles that attract this type of initiative is interesting "due to their purchasing power" and compares it with the search for higher-level tourism. Thus, even advocates lowering the current limit, more in a context of economic uncertainty like the one ahead. “Portugal itself has been a very active focus of foreign investors looking for that golden visa and there the limit is 250.000 euros. If we see how it works in other countries, Why don't we lower that figure to make those home sales a little more dynamic?”, Wonder Raven.

According to the data of the College of Registrars, last year foreigners bought in Spain 3.858 homes of more than half a million euros. Of them, 1.393 operations had non-EU buyers behind (those who are eligible for fast-track residency, since the rest have that right due to their status as EU citizens). On that basis, it could be said that almost one out of every two luxury home purchases (a 48,9%) gave the right to obtain a golden visa. It is a very approximate calculation, since sometimes the same person may have bought more than one house and in others the visa is not obtained for a single purchase of more than 500.000 euros but for several acquisitions of a lower amount that when added together exceed that amount, but in any case it expresses a progression with respect to the data of 2018. So, with the same calculation method, the percentage of golden visas obtained over the total home purchases of more than half a million was 41,9%.

China Cup Permissions

By nationalities, China wins another year the majority of permits granted, with 1.686. In second place were the Indian citizens (947 visas, a vast majority for professional reasons) and Brazil climbed to third place with 549 permissions. In general, In recent years, there has been an upward trend in the granting of permits to nationals of American countries to the detriment of other sources., like Russia, they were more dominant in the early years of the law. So, Colombians were the fourth most recurring nationality (531 visas), followed by Americans (507 visas) and Mexicans (with 503). Already in seventh place Russia appears, with 340 visas.

The Eurasian giant does remain relevant by exclusively looking at the permits granted for spending more than 500.000 euros in real estate. Occupied, with 42 visas for that course, second place behind China, who very widely dominates that statistic: its citizens got last year 455 golden visa for real estate investments. Six other countries added at least 10 visas granted on that basis. They are Iran (21), United States (16), Mexico (13), Saudi Arabia (11), Egypt (10) and the Philippines (10).

In the parliamentary response given by the Government, following a question registered in early March, data for the first two months of 2020. In January there were 50 gold visas for buying houses of more than half a million and in February, 31 plus. The total of golden visa granted in those two months for all the cases was 1.345 (782 in January and 563 in February) which means that, to follow that bi-monthly rhythm, Spain was heading towards a new record before the outbreak of the covid-19 epidemic. Total, since this type of residence permit was released at the end of 2013 and until the past 29 February, Spain had delivered 35.422 visas. And in more than one of each 10 cases, 3.746 exactly, were granted under the assumption of real estate investment.

Source: the country.- 18/05/20.