Changes to Spain’s Golden Visa – what you need to know

9 April 2024 | Tags: , , ,

Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Prime Minister announced on Monday 8 April that the Council of Ministers would be reviewing a report from the Ministry of Housing in respect of the impact of the Golden Visa program on accessibility to housing with the intention to withdraw it entirely rather than change the criteria. There have been rumbles from his Deputies that they wanted to withdraw the visa however following this announcement the intention is much clearer.

The Background to the Golden Visa Changes

The rationale behind the withdrawal is that Non EU residents are buying properties in Spain’s main cities which is putting pressure on the housing stock, prices and creating a market for speculators. The visa allowed non EU residents to buy a property for more than 500,000 euros and then obtain a visa to live and work in Spain. This is different to the more popular non-lucrative visa which does not require a property purchase of 500,000 euros but allows Non EU citizens to live in Spain but not work. For the record, the announcement from Mr Sanchez does not affect the Non-Lucrative Visa program.

Who are the main applicants of the Golden Visa?

The Golden Visa or investors visa program was introduced by the previous conservative government in 2013 when the banks were the largest landowners in the country following the banking crisis and subsequent housing crash. Between 2013 and 2022 approx 11,464 visas have been granted. 10,810 for investment in real estate and 654 for other investments according to El Pais newspaper. In a report on International Transparency released in 2023, Russian & Chinese citizens were the main benefactors of the visas followed by Iranians, Americans with 170 visas and Brits with 177 visas following Brexit.

Who does this change affect?

In 2023 the European Commission asked EU members to review and withdraw their visa programs. Since then Ireland and Portugal have taken the requested measures and Greece changed their requirements. Sanchez stated that 94% of every visa granted is related to property purchases in Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Alicante, Valencia or Palma de Mallorca. Of interest our latest Golden Visa clients purchased in Malaga city, Marbella and Axarquia. Once the property has been registered in the owners’ name then the Golden Visa application can be submitted.

What next for the Golden Visa applicants?

Mr Sanchez’s Government are starting the procedure to withdraw the Golden Visa so there is a process to be followed in the Spanish Parliament before it is entirely withdrawn which could take some time. Not surprisingly, the main Spanish property portals Idealista and Fotocasa have stated that withdrawing the visa program will not result in a lowering of property prices. Paradoxically, the Golden Visa was extended from an initial 2 year visa to a 3 year visa with the launch of the successful Digital Nomad Visa law in December 2022 under Pedro Sanchez’s government. Now oddly it is being removed when previously extended.

And for My Lawyer in Spain Clients…

We are currently acting for clients who wish to obtain their Golden Visa once their property purchase has been completed and we intend to progress the property purchases and visas as quickly and as responsibly as we can whilst the legislation is being changed. Those who already have been granted the Golden Visa are likely to be able to keep their residency cards and hopefully renew them when they are up for renewal. However we will monitor this point carefully and consider with our clients if there are viable alternative visa options to replace the Golden Visa.

Watch our interview

For further insights, what our interview with Target Property Spain via our Youtube channel as we deep dive into the topic with Keith.



00:00 Introduction

00:20 Spain announces withdrawal of Golden Visa program

00:55 Move quickly to apply for a Golden Visa

02:27 A new Spanish coalition government to blame?

03:00 Is stopping the Golden Visa a political decision?

04:05 A look back to Golden Visas in 2013

04:48 Lots of late interest in the Golden Visa

We will keep our blog and social media channels updated as the changes are made.  We will also share updates as they happen in our regular newsletter

My Lawyer in Spain

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My Lawyer in Spain

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