Foreign businessmen and high net worth individuals interested in immigrating to Spain can benefit from specific programs under which they will be granted permanent residence in Spain. The first program is called the Golden Visa Scheme and is available to foreign investors from countries outside the European Union who are interested in making a significant investment in the Spanish economy. The second program is the Wealth Visa Program which targets high net worth individuals who are seeking permanent residence in Spain without the right to work.

  • At least one of the following conditions must be adhered to when immigrating to Spain under the Golden Visa Program:
  • A capital investment of at least €2 million must be invested in the purchase of government-approved bonds.
  • A capital investment of €1 million in the purchase of company shares in Spanish companies approved by the government.
  • Real estate investment is also allowed – the minimum property value is set at €500,000.
  • In the case of real estate investment, the property must be purchased 90 days before submitting the golden visa application.
The golden visa scheme is one of the quickest ways to obtain permanent residence in Spain, however, it is important to note that different conditions other than investment must be respected. Among these, having a clean criminal record and medical insurance. Also, the applicant must also provide evidence of his ability to support himself for an indefinite period of time. The advantage of the golden visa is that the applicant can move to Spain with close family members.

Wealth visa is another Spanish permanent residence option for foreign nationals wishing to move to Spain. The conditions for this type of residence permit are less stringent, as the applicant must have a monthly income of 2,200 euros. Family members can also move to Spain with the applicant, however, an additional 500 euros per month must be secured for each dependent.

How to apply for Spanish permanent residence

A long-term or permanent residence document allows the applicant to continue to live in Spain without having to meet other conditions. More specifically, a foreign individual who has obtained permanent residence in Spain will be allowed to live in the country indefinitely under conditions similar to a Spanish national. Or the process of obtaining citizenship is a different process.

The list below outlines the basic requirements for obtaining permanent residence in Spain:

  • Live in the country for five years: This is a mandatory requirement for all who wish to apply for residency and will need to prove the appropriate documents.
  • Has the appropriate means to support himself: the applicant must prove that he or she has a stable income in Spain either in the form of employee salary or pension income.
  • Be insured: The foreign applicant will need to have private or public health insurance and bring relevant documents to support this.
  • Submission of the application: If all the above-mentioned conditions are met, the individual needs to fill out and submit the application to the Aliens Office.

Obtaining permanent residence is important for anyone wishing to immigrate to Spain. For those who plan to live in the country, the above steps are already implemented in most cases once they become employed (and therefore have a stable income) and also sign up for a private healthcare plan.

Documents required when applying for residence in Spain

In order to take advantage of the benefits of being a permanent resident of Spain, you will need to provide proof of legally living in Spain for the past five years. The guide consists of various documents, including the following:

  • Information about your current living status (employment contract, self-employed person, student, or retired individual).
  • A registration certificate issued by the local police office in the city where you live.
  • Proof of a residential address in Spain (water and electricity bills, rental contract).
  • Evidence of means of self-support (salaries, bank statements, etc.).

On the basis of these documents, the immigration authorities through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain will issue the permanent residence card.

Acquisition of Spanish residency by EU citizens

Starting in 2007, an EU citizen no longer needs an EU residence card as it has been replaced by a residence certificate (for those who wish to stay for more than six months in Spain). However, if they already have an EU residence card, they will not be required to re-register until the card expires.

Under Spanish law, within the first three months of your arrival, you need to register with the Aliens Office to be added to the Central Register of Foreign Nationals. The certificate of residence includes your name, address, tax identification number (NIE), and nationality. If changes appear in the statement of certification, such as divorce, marriage, etc., you must re-apply.

Spanish residence card

Once a foreign national moves to Spain, he or she can apply for their residence cards. For this, they must ensure the following:

  • Your NIE number (or foreign tax identification number)
  • You have health insurance
  • I paid the residence card issuance fee.

Applicants are required to provide proof of the above requirements, a residence card application form, proof of income (minimum required as proof of self-support) and two passport size photographs. The procedure for obtaining a residence card takes a few days.

Spanish residency or Spanish citizenship

As mentioned above by immigration agents in Spain, residency and citizenship are two different things for expats living in Spain. When they have long-term permanent residence in Spain, individuals can keep their citizenship and passport issued by their country of origin. When they choose to become citizens, they must renounce their original citizenship and passport issued by the authorities there.