I want a Spanish visa, but I don’t want to pay any taxes in Spain

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, August, 1. 2021

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By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
1st of August 2021

More and more non-resident foreigners are enquiring on the different types of visa available to circumvent the pesky 90/180-day rule that aggravates us in a post-Brexit world.

A question we get, almost on a daily basis, is as follows: “I want a Spanish visa, but I don’t want to pay any taxes in Spain, I don’t want to become tax resident in Spain. I want to continue to pay taxes in my home country.”

This is a bit like saying you want to get married but want none of the fights and commitments that go with it, you just want the good stuff. As its own name implies, attaining residency in Spain means you are applying for an admin permit to live all year round in Spain (to bypass the 90/180-day rule). However, the tax implication of this is that indirectly it may trigger tax residency in Spain should you remain more than 183 days a year in Spain within a tax calendar.

The fact is that visa renewals are tied to proving you live in Spain long term, which indirectly will trigger tax residency in Spain. If you are unable to prove you are in fact living in Spain long term, your visa renewal will simply be turned down by Spanish Immigration Authorities. So, it’s a catch-22.

Spanish residency = tax residency in Spain  

But is it really closed to debate? No, there is a loophole.

The only exception to this general visa rule is the investor visa, popularly dubbed as the Golden Visa(GV, for short). The reason being is that renewals of a GV are not tied to proving you live in Spain long term (which triggers tax residency), unlike every other visa in Spain, but rather on proving you keep the investment that made it possible to attain it in the first place. This is a very important nuance.

In plain English, a GV neatly bypasses the requirement to live in Spain all year round, which triggers tax residency. With a GV you can in fact spend as much, or as little, time as you fancy in Spain. So long as you do not spend more than 183 days a year in Spanish territory within a calendar year, you will not be regarded as tax resident in Spain (it should be noted other criteria may also apply to determine a taxpayer’s tax residency).

This is precisely what makes a Golden Visa the most coveted visa available in Spain, because of its unique ability to override (within the law) the 90/180-day rule and in tandem also not trigger tax residency in Spain. This distinctive ability, unique, not found in any other visa, makes it hands down the most sought-after visa in all of Spain.

Bottom line, if you want to apply for Spanish residency, but do not want to become tax resident in Spain, your only (legal) option is a Golden Visa, period. Every other visa type hinges on you categorically proving you live in Spain long term, which will trigger tax residency eventually.

LNA has a 100% track record attaining Spanish residency


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At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados, we have assisted hundreds of EU and non-EU nationals to successfully attain a Spanish residency permit.

Interested? Come and speak to Larraín Nesbitt Abogados’ friendly staff who will be pleased to guide you through the different residency options, choosing the one that appeals to you most. Your family’s success is only one call away: (+34) 952 19 22 88.

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Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. No delusional separatist politician was harmed on writing this article. VOV.

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