Spain Visa And Residency Information

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Residency In Spain

Reviewed by Lief Simon

Lief Simon is the managing editor of Global Property Advisor, Simon Letter, and Offshore Living Letter. He has purchased more than 45 properties, investing in 23 different countries around the world.

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Anyone who spends fewer than 183 days in Spain a year is considered non-resident for tax purposes; the rule applies to EU and non-EU citizens alike.

A non-resident property owner is taxed on Spanish assets only, for most that’s just your Spanish property.

There are two property-related taxes on non-residents and both are calculated on the cadastral value, not the actual value. If a non-resident owner rents out their property then the income is subject to tax at a flat rate of 24%.

If you spend more than 183 days a year in Spain you are fiscally resident and will be taxed on worldwide assets. Spain and the United States do have a double taxation treaty.

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Spain Visa Requirements

U.S. citizens can enter Spain for visits of up to 90 days visa-free for tourism, business, and short-term study purposes. The U.S. has an agreement with the EU that allows Americans to visit countries within the Schengen Zone and Europe (which includes Spain), for travel without a visa.

For this, you’ll need a valid passport, proof of a return ticket, proof of the reason you’re traveling to Spain, travel insurance and proof of financial means and accommodation while you’re in Spain.

However, if you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you need a “long-stay visa” in your passport before you leave the United States.

The Non-Lucrative Long Stay Visa

Spain’s Non- Lucrative Long Stay Visa is for non-European Union residents who wish to live in Spain without working or making a large investment.

It is available to anyone who can prove they have a minimum monthly income of 2,400 euros per month or 28,800 euros in annual income or savings. If you have a spouse or children under 18 joining you, an additional 600 euros in income per month per person is required.

This visa doesn’t allow you to work in Spain but can lead to permanent residency eligibility in five years if you keep renewing it. To renew this visa, you must spend at least 183 days per year in the country, which makes you a tax resident in Spain.

To obtain the Non-Lucrative Visa, you must:

  • Have a valid passport or travel document, recognized as valid in Spain.
  • Have no criminal record.
  • Proof of income to show sufficient economic means are available.
  • Documentation demonstrating that you have private or public health insurance taken out with an insurance company authorized to operate in Spain.
  • A medical certificate that proves that you do not suffer from any of the diseasesthat may have serious public health repercussions in accordance with the International Health Regulations of 2005.

It can take up to three months to process the application for the non-lucrative residency visa.

The Self Employment Visa

The Self Employment Visa is the option for individuals who want to open a business in Spain. Firstly, the visa is valid for one year initially, but you can apply to renew it for an additional four years.

You must register for local social security and local taxes, including VAT and income tax. This visa includes your spouse and dependents.

Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa

As of June 2023, Spain has a digital nomad visa that lets remote workers and freelancers live and work in the country for a year (renewable for up to five years). After five years of legally living in Spain, you can apply for permanent residency.

Most importantly, Spain’s digital nomad visa has a minimum income requirement, currently set at US$2,332 per month for an individual.

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Spain’s Golden Visa

Spain introduced a residency by investment visa in November 2013, modified in July 2015 to make it more attractive.

Known as the Golden Visa, there are several options for how to qualify:

  • A minimum of 1 million euros in shares of a Spanish company (or companies);

OR

  • Invest 1 million euros on a bank deposit or investment fund, or 2 million in Spanish treasury bonds,

OR

  • Property purchase with a minimum value of 500,000 euros. This can be one property or an accumulation of two or more less expensive properties, but the initial 500,000 euros investment must be mortgage-free (although any portion over 500,000 euros may be funded via a mortgage).

This investor visa covers the legal spouse of the visa holder, civil and common law partners, dependent parents, and dependent children, including those over 18.

To initiate the process, you can apply in Spain for a six-month visa once a contract to purchase a property is signed and deposit funds are in a Spanish bank account.

Thereafter, a five-year renewal is given, and this can be done from outside Spain.

The visa includes the right to work and the right to access social security and health care once employed.

No minimum stay in Spain is required during this period so it is possible to hold a residency visa and remain fiscally non-resident, although you may be asked to provide evidence of where you are actually reside.

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The Golden Visa – Investment in Spanish Property

The Golden Visa is a residence visa for non-EU members and can be granted to anyone who invests 500,000 euros or more in Spanish property, and it’s a fast track for permanent residency.

The visa allows you to live and work in Spain.

To qualify, as well as buying a property for 500,000 euros (or more), you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a resident of a country outside the European Union.
  • Be over 18 years of age.
  • Have no criminal record.
  • Have private medical insurance in Spain.
  • Demonstrate that you have sufficient financial means to live in Spain and support your family.

To get the Golden Visa through the investment of real estate, you’ll need to provide purchase of property proof.

The main benefit of obtaining a Golden Visa is that your residence permit is fast-tracked to three years. After that you may qualify for permanent residence and Spanish citizenship.

In short, the visa also allows free movement through the rest of the 26 European countries in the Schengen zone.

There are tax liabilities to owning property in Spain and the amount you pay depends on how long you spend in the country. If you spend less than six months in Spain annually, you only pay taxes on the initial purchase of your property and on the value of your assets in Spain.

Above all, if you’re planning on spending more than six months of every year in Spain you’re counted as a Spanish resident and your worldwide assets and income will be taxed in Spain.

Spain - FAQs

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The south of Spain is known for its scorching temperatures in July and August, while the north of Spain is notorious for its high levels of rainfall throughout the year.

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