Investment Residency

Nonchalant Giant of the Residency by Investment Sector: Spain Golden Visa

Updated: 11 July 2021

Although not very aggressive in marketing and advertisement, Spain’s Golden Visa program currently stands as the second most popular program in Europe. The only program that outperforms Spain Golden Visa Program is the Greece Golden Visa Program. This is mostly due to Greece’s real estate options that are considerably cheaper than Spain’s.

Spain’s introduction into the Golden Visa scene is relatively late. While the other Iberian country Portugal started its Golden Visa program in 2012, Spain only initiated its in late 2014. However, unlike Portugal, Spain’s Golden Visa program did not really attract the attention of the Spanish public that much.

What is the Reason behind Spain’s Nonchalance?

Most countries which have citizenship by investment or residency by investment schemes need to advertise effectively and promote their program.
Especially in remote but popular markets like East Asia, marketing activities for these programs are essential. Yet, Spain’s confidence is apparent in its advertisement strategies that are very mild and moderate. There are two main reasons for this.

The first reason is the country’s huge economy that already generates profit from many different branches and sectors. In this prolific territory, Spain’s Golden Visa program only accounts for roughly 0.15 per cent of the country’s GDP. Therefore, although the program is very effortlessly popular, it does not attract the attention it deserves. Moreover, Spain has a very active real estate market. As a result, Spain’s Golden Visa program’s contributions seem smaller than they actually are. In the grand scheme of things, 88 per cent of Spain’s property transactions are made by Spaniards. The interchanges that involve at least one non-EU party amount only to 2 per cent of the total number.

The second main reason is country’s international reputation and recognition. So, the reason why Spain does not advertise is because it does not need to. No matter which market the product gets into, it is already widely recognized without any further promotion. This leads to success without even trying so much.

Spain Offers a Very Fast Decision Process

Spain’s program, when compared to other existing programs, does not offer the best prices or the easiest process. Yet, even without using these leverages, Spain performs amazingly, and it shows how profitable Spain’s brand name is on its own. Still, it does not mean that Spain has no actual advantages apart from its reputation.

Usually, the legal process of evaluating the applications for Golden Visa or citizenship by investment programs takes at least months. There are even several instances where applicants sue the authorities because their processes are not finalized in years. In Spain, there is a deadline after a 20-day period where the decision has to be made, and the law is on the side of the applicant here. It means that if the authorities of the program do not decline an application within 20 days, they have to approve it.

2019 Performance of Spain’s Golden Visa Program

Spain’s Ministry of Labour very recently published the performance report of Spain Golden Visa Program in 2019. According to this report, Spain approved 1,422 applications in total throughout the year. This number was 1,188 in 2018. Including 2019 to the total number, Spain Golden Visa Program approved 5,515 main applications since its inception in late 2014.

The program that mostly attracts the attention of Chinese investors has a minimum investment requirement of 500,000 euros. Although there are many applicants who invest way over the minimum limit, the exact amounts are not revealed for each application. Yet, even assuming that each participant invested the minimum amount, it means that Spain generated at least 700 million euros in 2019 through its Golden Visa program. In total (since 2014), the amount is more than 2.8 billion euros.

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