Spain's Golden Visa for British, it's retroactive!

Raymundo LarraĆ­n Nesbitt, February, 18. 2021

Solicitor Raymond Nesbitt gives us an overview of the advantages offered by Spain’s Golden Visa scheme to UK nationals.

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By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
21st of February 2021


We recently published an article on Golden Visas for British nationals which has garnered much attention. It constitutes a legal breakthrough, as it allows Britons – for the first time ever – to access Golden Visas in Spain. Since then, we have received numerous queries raising a number of questions. Chiefly, the most important one being on whether Golden Visas are in fact retroactive, or not. The good news is that yes, Golden Visas are indeed retroactive.

Any UK national who bought a property in Spain, on or after the 28th of September 2013, may qualify to apply for a Spanish Golden Visa.

We are going to reproduce below some of the most frequently asked questions raised by UK nationals we’ve collated over the last week to help shed some light on the matter.

  1. I’m British and bought a 500k property in 2016, do I qualify?

Yes, you do.

  1. We bought a 500k property under joint names, do we qualify?

No, you do not. British couples normally buy property under joint names; however, when it comes to Golden Visas, this is a challenge.

The law requires that 500,000 euros are only under the name of the main investor, the balance however can be registered under the name of the partner.

E.g. A UK couple buy under joint names a 500,000 euros property in 2014. They would not qualify because the do not meet the 500k threshold (as each one has ‘only’ 250k).

E.g. A UK couple buy a 700k property, 500k under the name of the wife and the balance (200k) is under the name of her spouse. They would qualify.

  1. We’ve already bought property in Spain but fall just short of the 500k threshold. Do we qualify?

No, but you may still qualify providing you buy another property that assists you reaching the 500k limit. It doesn’t matter if you buy the second property years later, don’t worry. What matters is reaching the 500k goal, even if by combining all the property values you own.

For example, you’ve already acquired a 450k property in the past. What you can do is buy one, or more, properties, to help you reach the 500k threshold, so you qualify for this special residency visa permit.

  1. I snagged a bargain property for under 500k during Spain’s downturn in 2014, but it is now worth substantially more than 500k, do I qualify?

No, you don’t. Same as in point three above, the value in the purchase deed needs to tally 500k. Any capital appreciation over time is not computed, sorry. You would need to buy one, or more, additional properties that allow you to meet the 500k threshold.

  1. We bought a property for 480k in the past but have made extensive improvements to the property since that now make it worth well over 500k. Do we qualify?

No, you don’t. Same as in points three and four above, the values in the purchase deed need to tally 500k. Any extensions or improvements made to a property are not computed. You would need to buy one, or more, properties that allow you to meet the 500k threshold i.e. a parking space.

  1. At present, our property, which cost €795K, is held equally between my wife and myself.  However, if we reorganised our affairs such that my wife, say, held a €500K, interest in the property, could we, again, in principle, be both eligible for a Golden Visa?

No. You cannot belatedly rearrange property holdings to meet the 500k threshold post-sale. The law requires an investor buys one, or more, properties that combinedly meet the statutory threshold. The Title deed/s need to add up to 500,000 euros on buying property in Spain. To overcome this, you could buy a second additional property for 102,500 euros that would allow either one of you to hit the required 500k yardstick.

  1. If I attain a Golden Visa, does the time spent in Spain count towards the Schengen 90/180 rule? I travel to Europe on business regularly and this is a key point for me.

Short answer is no. When you land a GV, you may come and go as you please from Spain; you are not subject to the 90/180 rule that applies to the remainder of UK nationals. Regarding travelling in or around the Schengen Area, the time you spend in Spain would not count towards the 90 out of every rolling six-month period (the 90/180 rule you mention). In other words, as an example, within the same six-month period you may legally flaunt said rule on spending say 90 days in Spain and 90 days in the Schengen Area. Without a Golden Visa you simply could not hope to achieve this. Which is yet another advantage for businesspeople, or for those who simply like to roam free around Europe getting lost in its beauty.

  1. I sold a property and hold a substantial bank deposit since 2015, do I qualify?

Yes, you do. providig your bank balace is over one million euro

      9. I bought a property using a mortgage loan. Do I qualify?

No. The law specifies you need to buy real estate in Spain unencumbered (no mortgage loan). However, if you invested 500,000 euros out of your own money you would indeed qualify, even if you attained a mortgage loan on the excess (over and above 500k).

Buying property in Spain is one of many ways to acquire a Golden Visa, albeit it is by no means the only one. There are several other viable options that enable an investor, and his family, to attain a Golden Visa in Spain. Speak to us.

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados, we have assisted hundreds of non-EU investors, and their families, to attain a Golden Visa since its inception in 2013. We can put you in touch with the most reputable real estate agencies across Spain to make your dreams come true. Apply for the keys to your Golden Visa through Larraín Nesbitt Abogados’: Golden Visa Service.

Interested? Come and speak to Larraín Nesbitt Abogados friendly staff who will be pleased to guide you through Spain’s Golden Visa programme. Your family’s success is only one call away: (+34) 952 19 22 88.

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Article also published at Spanish Property Insight: Spanish Golden Visa for British, it’s retroactive!

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