The Golden Visa: immediate residence for investors

Investors, entrepreneurs and highly qualified personnel can easily obtain a residence permit in Spain thanks to the Golden Visa, a programme for attracting talent and investment.

Red carpet for investors.

Since 2013, Spain has had a specific investor attraction plan that grants highly qualified profiles a residence permit almost immediately, as long as they meet a series of economic requirements when they land in our country. The “Residence Programme for Investors and Entrepreneurs”, better known as the Golden Visa, is a specific mechanism that speeds up the entry of non-EU investors into Spain, reducing the period for obtaining a visa to just 10 days; 20 days for the residence permit. The ultimate objective of this programme is to promote economic growth and job creation by attracting foreign investment.

The “golden visa” is a special permit that allows its holder to live and work in Spain for an initial year plus two years’ residence permit, which can be extended to five years in the case of investors. After that period, permanent residence may be applied for. This visa does not require the minimum stay in Spain required by the general law on foreigners to grant residency (183 days a year), but it is sufficient for the applicant to travel to Spain once a year. With that, both the bearer and his or her family members will be able to move freely throughout the 26 countries of the Schengen area.

Why is there a difference between a Golden Visa and a normal visa? Because the purpose of the Golden Visa is to attract investors, entrepreneurs and highly qualified personnel to our country. This is why its regulatory development is not regulated in the law on foreigners, but in Law 14/2013 on Support for Entrepreneurs and their Internationalisation, which creates a specific office for its application and processing, the “Unit for Large Companies and Strategic Groups”, UGE-CE.

As a general rule, in order to obtain both the initial visa and the subsequent residence permit, applicants need several mandatory documents:

  • Passport or NIE
  • Public or private health insurance.
  • Criminal record certificate. No criminal record in Spain or in the countries where you have resided in the last 5 years.
  • Proof of sufficient financial means for themselves and their family members during their period of residence in Spain.

In addition to this, depending on the applicant’s profile, additional documents will be required.

In this way, different strategic groups have been identified as eligible for the residence permit granted by the Golden Visa. In this article, we explain what requirements each of them must meet.


An investor is considered to be any foreigner over 18 years of age who has made a minimum investment in our country of:

  • Two million euros in Spanish public debt
  • One million euros in companies with real activity, in investment funds or in bank deposits.
  • 500.000 euros in real estate
  • A business project considered to be of general interest by the Directorate General for Trade and Investment. This must be requested before applying for the visa.

In these cases, if the applicant resides outside Spain, he/she can apply for a one-year visa at the diplomatic mission or consular office of Spain in his/her country. This application must be resolved within ten days. Once in Spain, and before the visa expires, you must apply for a two-year residence permit at the Large Companies Unit. Residence may be renewed for a further five years, after which permanent residence may be requested as long as the investment is maintained.


Here the programme is aimed at non-EU citizens who want to develop an innovative business activity of special economic interest for Spain. This requirement must first be assessed by the Spanish economic and trade office in the entrepreneur’s country of origin or, if already residing in Spain, by the Directorate General for International Trade and Investment, following an ex officio request by the UGE-CE.

Unlike the investor, who makes an immediate financial outlay on one of the aforementioned assets, the extension of residency for entrepreneurs is for a more limited period of time. After the initial year of validity of the visa and the two subsequent years of residence, the entrepreneur may apply for an extension of another two years as long as the conditions that granted the authorisation in the first instance are maintained.

Highly qualified personnel

When a Spanish company needs to immediately incorporate highly specific and qualified profiles, it can apply for these permits to immediately incorporate workers from outside the European Union. In this case, companies must prove that they meet certain requirements related to size, annual net turnover, equity, net worth or investment.

The profiles eligible for this formula are managers and highly qualified personnel, as well as graduates and postgraduates from universities and schools of recognised prestige. All must have a job offer in Spain.

In addition to these professional profiles, the Residence Programme for Investors and Entrepreneurs includes special conditions for researchers, staff affected by an intra-corporate transfer and workers in the audiovisual sector. In addition, a law for digital nomads is currently in the pipeline.

More information on the PRIE PORTAL of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

Also, if you have any doubts about how to apply for this special visa, do not hesitate to contact Invest In Madrid. We are here to facilitate your landing in Madrid.