One of the simplest ways to get a Spanish visa, like a residency permit, is to invest in Spanish assets. The most common options are buying €1 million of Spanish stocks, depositing €1 million in a Spanish bank or investment fund or buying real estate.
This visa is known as the “Golden Visa” program and is highly advantageous to its holder. It’s one of the most popular visa schemes in Europe and can lead to citizenship via permanent residency.
Non-EU citizens can spend €500,000 on a home, office or even land and secure the legal right to reside in Spain. But what if you have €500,000 to invest and there’s little that suits your taste, style or location?
It’s a lot of money to compromise with, and when moving to a new country, you want to do things the right way. So, many investors ask themselves one question.
What if I want to build a home instead of buying one?
Well, like many legal questions – it depends! The key is determining what constitutes a “significant investment” as per the laws governing Spanish immigration.
The Golden Visa requires an investment of €500,000 in Spanish real estate and gives the holder a range of great incentives, and not just a residence permit. For example, the holder can reside in Spain without spending a minimum stay within the country. This allows them to avoid becoming a tax resident and enjoy visa-free travel throughout the EU’s Schengen region.
But such advantages attract strict governance and rules. So for many years, an investor couldn’t build their own home. Moreover, Spain’s immigration officials effectively banned investors from securing residency by constructing their property. In short, even if an investor spent €500,000 on buying a plot of land and the subsequent building development, they didn’t qualify for the Golden Visa program.
Spanish officials said that this approach didn’t address the central issue at hand. The Golden Visa is here to help sell Spanish homes and decrease the number of properties throughout the country. Building their own home just exacerbates the existing problem.
However, in 2020, an overseas investor filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Spain. They had bought a plot of land for less than €500,000 and then started building a home on it. The appeal brought into sharp focus the operating assumption of the Spanish administration.
Why was the Golden Visa Created?
Eventually, the authorities decided that the Golden Visa’s purpose was to encourage investment into Spain, not just decrease the volume of housing stock. It’s more advantageous to Spain to encourage people to invest. Although it adds to the existing number of homes, there is investment in construction, sales taxes and the broader economy.
If a non-EU person purchases a plot of land for less than €500,000, they can meet the threshold for the Golden Visa by building a new home. It just needs to meet the zoning and legal requirements.
However, there is a catch: You cannot expand an already existing property and make significant repairs or renovations. Instead, it must be an “Obra Nueva”, or a new build property. This is an entirely new property built from the ground up on a plot of land that was previously purchased.
Many have questioned why modifying an already existing property does not meet the threshold of qualification for the Golden Visa. However, the law focuses on the word “acquisition” and does not cover renovations or repairs to an existing, derelict building.
How Can we help?
One of the great things about is Spain that as a country rich in history and modern in its outlook, every case is unique. If building your own home is your dream, and you have the means €500,000 to invest, very little can stop you from acquiring a Golden Visa.
Your best option is to have a lawyer’s support. Our team at Lexidy LegalTech Boutique is here to deliver your dreams by overcoming the obstacles in your way.
If you’d like to live in Spain and think you qualify for a Golden Visa, don’t hesitate to contact us. We have offices in Portugal and Greece, where attractive opportunities are for people seeking to relocate.