Home Travel & Adventure Spain Concludes Real Estate Route for Golden Visa Program

Spain Concludes Real Estate Route for Golden Visa Program

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Acquiring residency in Spain through the Golden Visa Program by purchasing a property worth €500,000 or more will no longer be an option for wealthy foreign nationals after the country has decided to discontinue this route.

The decision has been confirmed by the President of the Government, Pedro Sanchez, stressing that Spain will take the necessary measures to guarantee that housing is a right and not “a mere speculative business”, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

I want to announce that tomorrow’s Council of Ministers is going to study a report submitted by the Minister of Housing and Urban Agenda to modify the law, approved by the Popular Party in 2013, which allows obtaining a residence visa if you invest in housing in our country.

Spain’s President, Pedro Sanchez

However, it is still unclear whether other options will be maintained or not.

Real Estate Investment Among Most Famous Golden Visa Options

Among the most famous options in Spain, the Golden Visa is through real estate investment. In order to qualify, wealthy internationals are required to purchase real estate in Spain worth at least €500,000. This can include commercial, residential or land properties.

Cities such as Madrid, Málaga, Alicante, Palma, Valencia and Barcelona are among the most demanded ones for this type of operation, and they are often considered the most stressed zones.

The Golden Visa Program was approved by the People’s Party Government of Mariano Rajoy in 2013, amid the country’s financial crisis, as part of efforts to help the country’s economic growth.

From its introduction until 2022, there were granted a total of 6,200 golden visas, based on the government’s estimations. The main beneficiaries of this kind of visa are Russians and Chinese nationals. Of the total 6,200 visas, nearly 45 per cent were issued to Chinese nationals and 20 per cent to Russians.

Calls for Ceasing Golden Visa Program

In spite of making significant financial contributions to Spain, the program is often criticized for being involved in illicit acts such as corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.

The Minister of Culture, Ernest Urtasun, said that Spanish Golden Visas are “European shame” emphasizing that it cannot be that someone is given a residence permit for the fact of being rich.

“This is staging first- and second-class citizens. We are glad that they listen to us by eliminating this measure.” Minister of Culture of Spain, Ernest Urtasun

Last year, the Spanish left-wing political party, Más País, introduced a bill to abolish the real estate investment option from the Golden Visa Program, arguing that it does not bring any benefits to Spain.

Following the Path of Portugal & Greece

In a bid to deal with the housing crisis, Portugal and Greece also implemented new changes to their Golden Visa Programs. While Portugal removed the real estate investment option from the Golden  Visa scheme, Greece took other measures.

In October 2023, the President of Portugal approved the “More Housing” bill which gave the green light for the abolishment of the real estate investment option. However, other options to benefit from Portugal’s Residency by Investment Scheme (RIP) remain effective.

As part of efforts to better manage the housing crisis, Greece decided to increase the minimum investment for the RIP, reaching a total of €800,000. Besides, the Hellenic Republic also announced plans to impose restrictions on short-term rental properties acquired through the Golden Visa Program.

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