By James Hartland,
Financial Expat Coach & Founder of Astra Group.
The current negative to holding a UK passport or non EU passport is that without some form of formal residency arrangement being in place, the holder is limited to a stay in Spain of a maximum of 90 days in any 180 day period.
Golden Visa – an option for you?
For those keen to settle for a limited amount of time in Spain, subject to some provisos outlined below and hold a non-EU passport, the so-called “Golden Visa” may just be the answer to your concerns.
Introduced in 2013 and revised in 2015, Spain’s Investor’s Residency programme, known colloquially as the “Golden Visa”, allows for a renewable residence visa for those who, among other qualifying criteria, purchase a property for a minimum of €500,000.
Naturally attractive to those who don’t hail from an EU country, since inception many Golden Visa’s have been granted to those from the Middle East, Asia, Russia, China, South America and South Africa. The impact of Covid and Brexit has however created an interest now from Brits who have been long term expats in places like Asia and the Middle East.
Typically, these Brit expats maybe in their 50’s or early 60’s and what a base in a warm country which has an excellent standard of living and is well located with good communication and infrastructure. Often expats like this, will want to retire early and are in good health and will want to spend a significant part of their early retirement traveling to be with family and friends plus exploring new countries.
So, how does the Golden Visa work?
Originally conceived to attract foreign investment into Spain after the global financial crisis the scheme has proved very successful. The deal requires an investment of not less than €500,000 in Spanish real estate. There are alternative routes to obtaining a Golden Visa including the investment in Spanish Government stock or on in a recognized Spanish company listed on the Spanish stock market but the rules for this route are outside the scope of this piece.
So here's why you should consider the Golden Visa
The ‘Golden Visa’ provides the convenience of free movement across the EU.
It potentially allows for tax planning opportunities with regard to ‘world-wide income’ which is dependent on the number of days spent in Spain.
Excellent climate and appeals to people of all nationalities, certain parts of Spain are definitely more appropriate for those seeking the ‘Golden Visa’.
Generally a very cosmopolitan lifestyle, with English widely spoken and accepted so ideal for those used to living the expat life.
Good health system especially in areas which appeal to those looking for the Golden Visa.
Potentially good property investment by purchasing an asset which should appreciate or hold its value.
Option to also rent out your ‘property investment’ during the peak summer months and generate extra income.
Many long term expats are unsure as to where they may want to spend their retirement years and may initially not be keen to go back to their home country. This could be due to concerns like weather, lifestyle and also tax.
For many expats who may have spent decades outside their country of origin and whose kids have already left home they will be more focused on the quality of their lifestyle in retirement.
Over the past few decades Spain has become one of the most popular retirement destinations globally due to climate, reasonable cost of living as well as many other factors. The launch of the ‘Golden Visa’ program has only accelerated this trend as Spain focuses its economy on attracting this types of investor.
I, James Hartland am the author of this article and I am the founder of Expat Life Coaches and have worked and lived all over the world for over 30 years. I can help you to decide and plan your retirement by providing you with independent and expert advice on many different retirement jurisdictions.
The advice will include referrals to the relevant professionals you will need whether it be buying a property, finding a solicitor or arranging your ‘Golden Visa’.
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