New Visa Laws for Spain


The new and awaited law on what Spain requires in order to offer residency to citizens outside the European Union was published last week.The document outlining the law is 96 pages long and includes the requirements that certain nationalities must meet to be considered.

The law change will most likely affect predominately those persons wishing to come to Spain from India, China, Russia and Brazil.

Whilst the document outlines the law it does not outline the practicalities of enforcement or application so it may in typical Spanish style be some months before how to apply and to whom becomes clear. There are in fact many matters that are still unclear.

What are the key points on the new Visa Laws.

Residency for up to 1 year to be agreed if

  • You buy a property in Spain and your personal cash investment over and above any Spanish Mortgage is € 500k or more
  • You buy government bonds for a minimum of € 2 million Euros
  • You have Share capital to the value of minimum 1 million Euros
  • You deposit in a Spanish Bank a minimum of € 1 million Euros.

The amounts state these are the levels for one application of residency. It is not clear if you buy a property as say husband and wife if you must in fact double the amount, or one transaction covers both owners as they are seen as a dual entity. It is also not clear if children are involved if the amount must be increased by how many children you wish to bring to Spain.

If after 1 year if you can demonstrate your investment in Spain stays at the required level the residency can be extended for a further year and so on up to a maximum of 5 years. What happens after 5 years is unclear.

Under the legislation there are a number of new types of Visas and again it is not clear which is suitable or offered in each individual circumstance.

If you wish to apply there appears to be a new government department created to look at the applications but even the Police who currently monitor immigration are unclear as to what role the department will play and how too access them.

There are many caveats to the residency application in terms of their restrictions again most of which is unclear. All applications will have to also meet current guidelines on immigration laid down by the European Union and restriction of travel within and outside of Spain will form a part of all new Visas.

How is the new immigration law different to current requirements

At present you can come to Spain on application for a Visa under certain laid down stipulations including owning a property but these are limited to 3 times a year and no longer than 3 months in any given year. From this pointy of view the new guidelines appear to give something that was not available before but the reality is the process is the same. At present you would need to present a petition to the Consulate in your country of residency and outline why this should be agreed.

The process of making an application and petition for residency already applied before the law change, you could always apply for residency and look to meet certain criteria which was then either agreed or not agreed. Whilst the new law would appear to streamline this and be more precise whether in fact meeting the guidelines does then bring an automatic residency is by no means clear.

If for instance you are starting a business in Spain and want residency, apart from meeting one of the investment criteria you must demonstrate the business will

  • Create employment
  • Invest in social and economical requirements
  • Be of relevant scientific innovation and technology

What is deemed to meet these criteria is not known or specified.

It may be some time before the Law Society equivalent in Spain is able to provide sufficient guidance to Spanish Lawyers on the practicalities of the law to enable a lawyer to advise a client and support them through the process.



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