The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About the Golden Visa

(This content has been developed in collaboration with LRM Comunicaciones)

The growing interest in Golden Visa programs offered by various European countries has revealed a series of frequently asked questions, both through social media and in webinars conducted by AIM Global on the subject. In this blog, Caterina Utili, General Manager of AIM Global, answers the 10 most frequently asked questions about Golden Visas, covering everything from application requirements to the countries that offer them, and the possibility of including a spouse and children in the application.

  1. Is the Portuguese Golden Visa Program an investment program in real estate, technology, and what other options? The Portuguese program no longer includes the option of investment in real estate, yet it still leads the ranking of “The Best Golden Visa Programs.” Currently, the program focuses on investments in private funds which, to be eligible for the Golden Visa, must not invest directly or indirectly in real estate. These funds can invest in venture capital, usually related to startups or various innovative technology companies. There are also more traditional investment funds, private equity funds, and fixed-income funds, providing options for more liquid funds. Fortunately, there are as many eligible funds as there are interests and different risk profiles of our clients.
  2. What about the Spanish government’s announcement to end the investment visa? The Spanish government announced potential changes to its Golden Visa program but NOT the elimination of the program. Additionally, to date, these changes have not been implemented. Interested parties can continue to apply to the currently valid program, and those with ongoing applications will be respected.
  3. Is it possible to grant residency to my working children, even if they are single, through this program? Both parents and children can be included in the same investment, allowing all members to obtain residency. However, these family members must be financially dependent. This includes parents over 65 years old or dependent minors, as well as children under 18 years old or older, but dependent and single; independent and non-single children must apply separately.
  4. Is there any truth to the Spanish government’s announcement about the end of its Golden Visa? There are no additional details on the implementation of the changes announced by the Spanish government. Any modification will require the drafting of a new law and parliamentary approval, a process that can take several months.
  5. Is there an age limit to apply for the Golden Visa? As the principal applicant, there is no age limit to apply for the Golden Visa.
  6. Do all European countries have Golden Visa programs? No, not all European countries have such programs. Many programs have seen significant increases in investment amounts. For example, Portugal raised the investment from €280,000 in properties to €500,000 in funds in October 2023; Greece also underwent changes, and Spain has announced them. Therefore, nothing guarantees that the countries that currently have investment residency schemes will maintain them in the future. Once again, the call is to act as soon as possible, as the European Union (EU) has already recommended that its member countries with Golden Visa programs consider eliminating them.
  7. Has the Golden Visa for real estate investment in Portugal ended in 2023, never to return? What happened to those who started the process before the end of the Golden Visa for Real Estate? Many believe the program was eliminated, but it was not. The program only changed the investment amount and vehicle, from real estate investment to fund investment. This has its pros and cons; the investment funds eligible for the Golden Visa have no tax implications for the investor. It is worth mentioning that those who started their procedures before the change will continue under the conditions established by the law at that time.
  8. Are there taxes on real estate transactions in Spain? Yes, when buying property in Spain, local taxes such as ITP (Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales) and VAT must be paid, depending on whether the property is new and the Autonomous Community.
  9. Is it necessary to travel to the country to apply for the Golden Visa? It is not necessary to start the process. At AIM Global, we offer to represent the client in everything that can be assisted by us throughout the process. However, it is necessary to travel to register your biometric data and then to meet the minimum stay conditions, which in the case of Portugal are vacations of 14 days every 2 years.
  10. Do I need to change my tax residence to the country where I am applying? It is necessary to clarify the difference between tax residence and civil residence. The general rule is that once you have 6 months of effective residence in a country, you should move your tax residence to that country. However, through the Golden Visa, there is no need to move your physical residence. As mentioned, in the case of Portugal, with only a 14-day vacation every 2 years, you can have Portuguese residency while maintaining tax residence in your home country.

If, after answering your questions, you are determined to invest, schedule a meeting with our team of experts. We offer comprehensive advice and case-by-case treatment. We will accompany you throughout the process; leave the legal details to us and focus on making your projects a reality.

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