The most frequently asked questions about the Golden Visa

At the beginning of May, AIM Global held a webinar entitled “Golden Visa: Explore New Investment Opportunities in Europe and Obtain Your Passport.” On this occasion, Caterina Utili, General Manager, and Benjamin Valdivia, Client Manager, accompanied by Matías Aguayo, Migration Specialist, discussed the various residency and citizenship by investment schemes available in Europe, especially in countries like Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta.

Following the main presentation, there was a Q&A session to address attendees’ questions. Here are some selected questions, answered by the AIM Global team. You might find some of your own doubts reflected here!

Is the Portuguese Golden Visa Program an investment program in real estate, technology, or what other option?
A: The option for real estate investment no longer exists for the Golden Visa program in Portugal; only investments in Investment Funds, which are not directly or indirectly related to real estate, are permitted.
There are different types of funds in the local financial sector. Some focus on technology or Artificial Intelligence, while others invest solely in stocks and bonds. Nonetheless, at AIM Global, we track record and always strive to find the best fund managers to ensure the fund’s safety and alignment with the client’s risk profile.

What about the Spanish government’s announcement about ending the investment visa?
A: Indeed, these programs are constantly evolving, and changes can occur. Therefore, it’s better not to wait too long and apply as soon as possible to ensure certainty in case of effective modifications. Currently, there’s only an announcement, and nothing concrete or any deadline. This process could take months: any changes to the program require a new law, which hasn’t even been drafted yet and must be discussed and approved by Parliament. We see changes like those announced providing a window of several months, even up to a year, to take action. Therefore, it’s still possible to apply for the Spanish Golden Visa, and since laws cannot have retroactive effects, those already in the process will be respected. This doesn’t mean an immediate end to the program.

Would it be possible to grant a visa or residence, with this program, to my working children, even if they’re single?
A: The visa offers the possibility of citizenship. With the Golden Visa programs, if children are independent and no longer single, they can’t be part of your dependents. They would have to apply on their own.

What information do you have about the progress of the Spanish government’s announcement regarding the end of its Golden Visa?
A: No one has more information, really. (Note: as of the date of publication of this blog, May 2024). The Spanish Prime Minister stated they would start working on eliminating the program. This requires a new law, which hasn’t even been written yet and must be discussed in Parliament. Everything is still in a very early stage.

Is there an age limit to apply for the Golden Visa?
A: As the main applicant, there’s no age limit.

What is the international tax mentioned in your presentation about the Spanish Golden Visa?
A: It’s important to clarify that there’s no “international tax.” It refers to people changing their tax residency to Spain for the first time, who can benefit from the “Beckham Law” and be exempt from taxing their international income for 6 years. What do we mean by “international income”? Income not generated in Spain. For example, if you buy a property in Spain and rent it out to others, that rental income is subject to taxation; in other words, taxes must be paid.

Did the Golden Visa for real estate investment in Portugal end in 2023 to never return? What happened to people who started the process before the end of the golden visa for Real Estate?
A: As explained, this change must be made by law, and laws don’t have retroactive effects. Therefore, all those who applied for Real Estate were granted the conditions imposed by the law at the time they started their process. These people are either in process or have already been granted the visa, and it remains valid as long as they go to Portugal for 14 days every two years.

Are there taxes on real estate transactions in Spain?
A: Yes, when buying property in Spain, various taxes must be paid; these taxes depend on whether the property is new and the Autonomous Community where the property is located. The Autonomous Community tax is called ITP (Property Transfer Tax) and ranges from 6 to 10%. And VAT (Value Added Tax) is 10% in Spain.

My husband is Dutch, and I’m Chilean; we want to buy a house in Spain, can I bring my mother with the Golden Visa?
A: Yes, as long as she meets the age conditions, and as long as the property or properties meet the minimum investment amount.

Do all European countries have Golden Visa programs?
A: No, not all European countries have them; in fact, many programs like those in the UK, Ireland, Austria, and other countries have ended, so there’s no guarantee that countries currently offering residency by investment schemes will maintain them in the future. Once again, the recommendation is to act as soon as possible because the European Union (

EU) has already advised its member countries with Golden Visa schemes to consider eliminating them, and in fact, it’s due to this recommendation that the aforementioned programs were terminated.

To add: it’s important to consider that the Golden Visa was created to attract foreign capital after the Subprime crisis. Nowadays, there’s not as much need, and programs like this are having some impact on the real estate market in countries like Spain and Portugal. Our advice to people who want to invest is to do so as soon as possible.

Is it necessary to travel to the country to apply for the Golden Visa?
A: It’s not necessary to start the process. At AIM Global, we receive a power of attorney from you and assist you throughout the process. However, once you’ve started the application, a trip is required to register your biometric data, which happens when you’ve already been approved with the visa.

Do I need to change my tax residence to the country where I’m applying?
A: Here it’s important to clarify the difference between tax residence and effective residence. I can have my tax residence in one country and my physical residence in another. However, once you’ve spent 6 months of effective residence in Europe, you’re required to move your tax residence there. Nonetheless, as we’ve seen, you can obtain residency in Portugal through the Golden Visa without the need to move your physical residence. Therefore, you can have Portuguese residency while keeping your tax residence in your country of origin.

As you can see, there were many varied questions raised during this webinar. If you have more questions about the Golden Visa, stay tuned to our website and social media, as we’ll be holding more sessions like this throughout the year. You can also check out our blog, where we dedicate several posts to the topic.

And if you’ve already decided to invest, schedule a meeting with us. AIM Global and our team of experts are your best choice for international mobility.

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