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‘Visa and residence permit for investors in Spain’

On May 24th 2013 the Spanish Government has approved a bill creating a new kind of visa and residence permit for investors.

1. THE INVESTMENT

Eligible applicants for such visa and/or residence permit are non-resident investors who have made any of the following investments in Spain:

a) An investment for: (i) a value of more than EUR 2 millions in Spanish public debt (bonds); (ii) EUR 1 million in shares of a private Spanish company or in a bank deposit in a Spanish financial entity.

b) The acquisition of real estate in Spain representing a net investment above EUR 500.000.

c) A business project in Spain suitable to be considered “of general interest”, implying: 1) creation of employment; 2) socio-economic impact on the geographical area in which the activity will be performed; 3) a relevant contribution to scientific and/or technological innovation.

2. THE PERMITS

Such investment will entitle the applicant to:

(i)  Obtain a new kind of VISA enabling to enter and stay in Spain for a maximum period of 1 year thus increasing the maximum stay period for non-residents which is currently of 90 days. The visa will enable the beneficiaries unrestricted capacity to move within the “Schengen” area (currently, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,  Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland).

(ii) Obtain a new kind of two-years RESIDENCE PERMIT renewable for further terms of 2 years. This permit will not require the beneficiaries a minimum residence period in Spain of 183 days a year to renew it. This means that the holder of this permit may be authorized to maintain its tax residence outside Spain.

3.    THE REQUIREMENTS

3.1 VISA REQUIREMENTS

The applicant must fulfill some general requirements and others that are specific to each kind of investment.

3.1.1. General requirements are:

(i) Not to have entered or stayed irregularly in Spanish territory.

(ii) Be of legal age (over 18).

(iii)  Not have a criminal record in Spain nor in the countries where the applicant has previously resided for crimes existing under Spanish law.

(iv) Not to have been refused entry in any of the Schengen countries.

(v) Have a public or private health insurance from an entity authorized to operate in Spain.

(vi) Have sufficient economic means to cover living personal expenses as well as those of any family seeking residence.

3.1.2. Specific requirements according to the type of investment made are:

a) Investment in public or private debt (stocks and shares)

The applicant must prove to have made ​​the investment 60 days prior to filing the application. Such evidence may be provided through:

– In case of an investment in unlisted shares, through a copy of the investment declaration filed by the Foreign Investment Registry of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

– In case of an investment in quoted shares, by means of a certificate of the financial agent duly registered with the National Securities Market Commission or the Bank of Spain.

– In the case of an investment in public debt (bonds), a certificate of the financial institution or from the Bank of Spain stating that the applicant is the holder of the investment for a minimum period of 5 years.

– In the case of an investment in a bank deposit, a certificate of the financial institution stating that the applicant is the sole holder.

b) Real estate investment

In the case of a real estate investment, the applicant must prove ownership of one or more immovable properties in Spain with an overall net investment contribution above EUR 500,000. Amounts in excess of EUR 500,000 may be subject to liens or encumbrances.

Proof of the investment must be made through a Registry of Property certificate attesting ownership. Alternatively, in the event the ownership title is not yet registered, through a copy of the acquisition public deed and proof of filing the deed in the Registry.

We would like to point out that the current draft of the law does not gives no relevance to the date of acquisition of the property, opposite  c to what happens in the case of investments in public or private debt which are required to have been made within a certain period prior to the application.

c) Business project of general interest

3.2. The applicant shall submit a favorable report from the Economic and Commercial Office of the geographical area where the investor submits the application for visa RESIDENCE PERMIT REQUIREMENTS. The draft sets out similar requirements for investors to obtain the residence permit, consequently it would appear that the application may be submitted directly at immigration offices in Spain without need of the applicants leaving the country to re-initiate the procedure at the Spanish embassy or consulate at their the country of origin.

3.2.1. General requirements for such permit are:

(i) Be a holder of a visa for investors in force or within 90 days from the end of the expiry term.

(ii) Have travelled to Spain at least once during the period the applicant has hold the investors visa.

3.2.2.     Specific requirements are:

(i) In case of investment in unlisted shares, provide a notarial certificate stating that the investor has maintained ownership of the shares throughout the period of validity of the visa.

(ii) For investments in quoted shares, provide a certificate from a financial institution stating that the applicant has maintained a minimum average of EUR 1 million invested in quoted shares during the period of validity of the visa.

(iii) For public debt investments, provide a certificate from a financial institution or from the Bank of Spain certifying the maintenance of the investment made prior to the application for the visa during the whole period of its validity.

(iv) In the case of bank deposits, provide a certificate of the financial institution stating that the investor has maintained the bank deposit during the reference period.

(v) For real estate investments provide a Registry of Property certificate of ownership dated at latest 90 days before the filing of application.

(vi) In the case of a business project provide a favorable report issued by General Directorate for Commerce and Investment of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

The draft law has already been sent to the Spanish Parliament. It is expected that the definitive bill will not be substantially different.  It is worth mentioning that the draft law expressly states that the holding of the residence authorization for investors will not be enough to have access to the Spanish long-term residence or nationality, in both cases effective residence in Spain (more than 183 days a year) during the period requested by the relevant law will be requested.

Please read visa special alert here: ‘Visa and residence permit for investors in Spain’