The route to becoming a European citizen can be approached in many ways, and the latest is to take up residence by linking it to investment in the country of choice. It's not the fastest, but in the long run, it could give the best return, with the added bonus of citizenship. This type of investment immigration is generally known as the Golden Visa, and is best explained as a permanent residency visa that is given to those who are investing money in a country, perhaps by buying real estate or luxury property. This is a shrewd path to pursue, and Engel & Völkers Marbella is always on hand to search for the perfect villa or apartment in the Marbella area.
The idea goes back to the 1980s, with tax havens in the Caribbean and Pacific offering cash for passports, but the trend has been updated for the twenty-first century. Towards the end of 2014, the Entrepreneurs Act issued permits for non-Spanish nationals who were engaged in acquiring real estate, for sums equal to or over five hundred thousand euros - enough for a family dwelling. It has become one of the most important areas of foreign investment in Marbella today, with involvement in the programme allowing citizens to make use of the European border-free Schengen area for limited periods. The Golden Visa scheme was first initiated in Portugal in 2012, but has now spread well beyond the Iberian Peninsula.
In Spain, the visa is renewable every two years, with the initial permit issued to the head of the family for a year, with at least one visit to Spain required within this time limit. Permanent residency is available after five years, and citizenship can be granted after a decade. Although it's not essential to live in the country to keep and renew this visa, permanent residency gives access to schools following the English curriculum, and citizenship allows young people to attend universities abroad. However, there is no minimum time for residence, so investors can purchase property and travel freely.
Investors who are interested in the Golden Visa programme on the Costa del Sol should obtain a travel visa, and with the help of Engel & Völkers Marbella, start searching for that luxury property. Once there is a pre-agreement and the funds have been deposited, the investor can apply for the Golden Visa, and if necessary, a six-month permit can be issued while the transaction is finalised. The visa can be renewed on condition that the minimum investment amount is met.
The Golden Visa is a convenient way of obtaining residency and citizenship, while investing in real estate. The luxury property market in Marbella offers homes in gated communities and exclusive resorts, from the beaches to the mountains. Residents have access to all amenities and services, including schools and medical care. Engel & Völkers Marbella is waiting to use its expertise and local knowledge to advise investors, would-be residents and citizens of the future.