GOLDEN VISA Purchase of real estate in Spain, Belgium, Greece and Cyprus

This increasing trend has also been reflected in the real estate sector, especially in certain areas. Spain is a very attractive country for foreign investments due to an interesting combination of factors such as climate, lifestyle, good infrastructure of airports and trains, among others. The British are still leading the way in the purchase of real estate in the province of Malaga, according to statistics from the Association of Registrars of Property in Spain, followed by the Swedes and in third place are the Belgians, position they have maintained during the last years.

Specialist property lawyers

The purchase of a second (or main) home by Non-Residents is a very important decision and the buying process should be carried out with the help of specialized lawyers who can guarantee the legality of the operation in all aspects. After years of economic crisis, it is common to find properties that are partially or totally embargoed or that act as collateral for other operations, or properties whose owner is a bank or are in the process of execution and / or auction, being crucial to be advised by a specialized lawyer who is able to detect these incidents and resolve them or discourage the sale.

We believe it is also important to have an extensive knowledge of international and fiscal law to advice on the most beneficial way to carry out the investment. Likewise, it is necessary to contemplate aspects related to immigration law in order to obtain the necessary legal papers prior to the purchase, whether the buyer is a natural or a legal person. At this point, it is worth mentioning the Law to support entrepreneurs approved in 2013, known as Golden Visa, which allows foreign investors to obtain a Residency Visa for a minimum investment of 500,000 €.

In relation to the process of reservation and payment of the property, one of the aspects that most often jeopardise the closure of purchase operations is the opening of a current account in an efficient manner, as well as the transfer of funds from other countries into Spain.

Increasingly stringent anti-money laundering laws often prevent or delay this process. Also, the application for mortgage loans is becoming very difficult for non-resident foreigners, due to the banks’ unwillingness to approve such loans and the vast amount of documentation they request for the study of banking operations.

Navas & Cusí Lawyers offer comprehensive advice on the entire process of buying and selling your property in Spain, Belgium, Greece and Cyprus, covering all the necessary aspects given the high specialization of our lawyers in urban and development law, immigration law and tax law, as well as our ability to deal with banks as a result of more than 30 years of experience in banking law at national, European and International level.

SPAIN

Ley 14/2013, de 27 de septiembre, de apoyo a los emprendedores y su internacionalización.

Key facts:

  • Investment € 500.000
  • Full family residency
  • Norequirement to reside
  • Permanent Residency from 5 years
  • Citizenship from 10 years
  • EU Schengen visa travel

CAPÍTULO II

Inversores

Artículo 63. Visado de residencia para inversores.

  1. Los extranjeros no residentes que se propongan entrar en territorio español con el fin de realizar una inversión significativa de capital podrán solicitar el visado de estancia, o en su caso, de residencia para inversores.
  2. Se entenderá como inversión significativa de capital aquella que cumpla con alguno de los siguientes supuestos:
  3. a) Una inversión inicial por un valor igual o superior a 2 millones de euros en títulos de deuda pública española, o por un valor igual o superior a un millón de euros en acciones o participaciones sociales de empresas españolas, o depósitos bancarios en entidades financieras españolas.
  4. b) La adquisición de bienes inmuebles en España con una inversión de valor igual o superior a 500.000 euros por cada solicitante.
  5. c) Un proyecto empresarial que vaya a ser desarrollado en España y que sea considerado y acreditado como de interés general, para lo cual se valorará el cumplimiento de al menos una de las siguientes condiciones:

1.º Creación de puestos de trabajo.

2.º Realización de una inversión con impacto socioeconómico de relevancia en el ámbito geográfico en el que se vaya a desarrollar la actividad.

3.º Aportación relevante a la innovación científica y/o tecnológica.

  1. Se entenderá igualmente que el extranjero solicitante del visado ha realizado una inversión significativa de capital cuando la inversión la lleve a cabo una persona jurídica, domiciliada en un territorio que no tenga la consideración de paraíso fiscal conforme a la normativa española, y el extranjero posea, directa o indirectamente, la mayoría de sus derechos de voto y tenga la facultad de nombrar o destituir a la mayoría de los miembros de su órgano de administración.

Artículo 64. Forma de acreditación de la inversión.

Para la concesión del visado de residencia para inversores será necesario cumplir los siguientes requisitos:

  1. a) En el caso previsto en la letra a) del apartado 2 del artículo 63, el solicitante deberá acreditar haber realizado la inversión en la cantidad mínima requerida, en un periodo no superior a 60 días anteriores a la presentación de la solicitud, de la siguiente manera:

1.º En el supuesto de inversión en acciones no cotizadas o participaciones sociales, se presentará el ejemplar de la declaración de inversión realizada en el Registro de Inversiones Exteriores del Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad.

2.º En el supuesto de inversión en acciones cotizadas, se presentará un certificado del intermediario financiero, debidamente registrado en la Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores o en el Banco de España, en el que conste que el interesado ha efectuado la inversión a efectos de esta norma.

3.º En el supuesto de inversión en deuda pública, se presentará un certificado de la entidad financiera o del Banco de España en el que se indique que el solicitante es el titular único de la inversión para un periodo igual o superior a 5 años.

4.º En el supuesto de inversión en depósito bancario, se presentará un certificado de la entidad financiera en el que se constate que el solicitante es el titular único del depósito bancario.

  1. b) En el supuesto previsto en la letra b) del apartado 2 del artículo 63 el solicitante deberá acreditar haber adquirido la propiedad de los bienes inmuebles mediante certificación con información continuada de dominio y cargas del Registro de la Propiedad que corresponda al inmueble o inmuebles. La certificación incorporará un código electrónico de verificación para su consulta en línea.

Si en el momento de la solicitud del visado, la adquisición de los inmuebles se encontrara en trámite de inscripción en el Registro de la Propiedad, será suficiente la presentación de la citada certificación en la que conste vigente el asiento de presentación del documento de adquisición, acompañada de documentación acreditativa del pago de los tributos correspondientes.

El solicitante deberá acreditar disponer de una inversión en bienes inmuebles de 500.000 euros libre de toda carga o gravamen. La parte de la inversión que exceda del importe exigido podrá estar sometida a carga o gravamen.

  1. c) En el supuesto previsto en la letra c) del apartado 2 del artículo 63, se deberá presentar un informe favorable para constatar que en el proyecto empresarial presentado concurren razones de interés general. El informe procederá de la Oficina Económica y Comercial del ámbito de demarcación geográfica donde el inversor presente la solicitud del visado.

Artículo 65. Efectos del visado de residencia para inversores.

La concesión del visado de residencia para inversores constituirá título suficiente para residir en España durante, al menos, un año.

BELGIUM

Key facts

  • ­investments of up to €500.000
  • Full family residency
  • No requirement to reside
  • Schengen free travel
  • Potential future citizenship

Belgium

Unlike many other countries in Europe Belgium offers a golden visa also known as “investor visa” program where applications are reviewed on a case by case basis.

Applicants can apply by forming a Belgian company.  Successful applicants can gain permanent residence and citizenship after 5 years. Typical investment throughout the five year period is €350,000 – €500,000.

To gain citizenship by investment in Belgium investors must pass a language test in either Dutch, German or French.

The Belgian programme is not as clearly defined as other countries offering the golden visa programme in Europe. It is not offered for real estate investment but for business investment.

GREECE

 

The Immigration and Social Integration Code (Law 4251/2014, Government Gazette  1, no 80) contains provisions that facilitate the stay of third-country investors, whose investments are characterized as strategic investments, via the provision of extended stay time limits for the representatives of investment bodies and their partners.

It is given the possibility of granting residence permits to third country nationals and to the members of their families, who proceed to the purchase of real estate property in Greece, the value of the one exceeds 250,000 Euro.

Key facts:

  • Investment in property from € 250.000
  • Full family residency. Children up to 21
  • No requirement to reside.
  • EU Schengen visa travel
  • Citizenship requires residency

Launched in July 2013 the Greek golden visa programme grants a five year residency visa in return for an investment in real estate. There is no minimum stay requirement and children up to the age of 21 are included in the family application.

The visa is granted for five years and renewed every five years if the property investment is retained. It is not necessary to live in the country in order to retain and renew the investor visa. However citizenship can only be granted after seven years of residency.

Investors in real estate in Greece must also budget for the additional taxes on real estate at 24%. However at €250,000 + taxes and fees (just over €300,000 in total) this programme the lowest cost to residency in Europe.

The Greek residency programme is relatively fast, taking around 40 days until a residency card is issued. There are also favourable family rules for dependents. Read more on the investor visa in Greece or for further details enquire here.

CYPRUS

TWO KINDS:

  1. PERMANENT RESIDENCE Keys
  • Investments of €300.000
  • Full family qualification (grandparents, parents + children up to 25)
  • Visit required once every two years
  • Ease of travel throughout European union
  • Simple, fast process (2 months)
  • Investment into new property
2.      RESIDENCE BY INVESTMENT
  • Investment of 2M€
  • Full family qualification (children up to age 28)
  • No requirement to reside.
  • Full member of the EU
  • Simple, fast process
  • Second European passport in just six months

Cyprus offers two golden visa programs through real estate investment. One for permanent residency and one for citizenship. The two Cypriot immigration investment schemes are fast and efficient at granting a residency permit and second passport. Cyprus is a full member of the European Union and English is widely spoken on the island.

Applicants can secure permanent residency in Cyprus through investment in real estate. The programme is one of the fastest and simplest investor visa programmes in Europe. It requires investment of just €300,000 into property to gain the Cyprus residency permit.

The residency visa is granted within two months and covers the whole family. It includes parents of both the main applicant and spouse plus dependent children up to the age of 25. It is valid for life and can be passed down to dependents and spouse.

The permanent residency programme offers ease of travel throughout the European Union and requires just one visit to Cyprus by all family members once every two years.

The investment may be made by a company for which the main applicant and spouse are beneficial owners. The investment can be in to a maximum of two properties provided they reach the €300,000 permanent residency limit. The properties purchased must be brand new.

Citizenship by Investment Cyprus

Cyprus offers the quickest, most assured route to European citizenship and a second passport through the Cypriot citizenship by investment programme. An investment of €2.0 million in real estate is required. Cyprus is unique in its offering of citizenship within just 6 months of such an investment. This grants a Cypriot passport and EU citizenship, allowing the freedom to work, travel, study and live anywhere within the EU including countries such as Germany, France and the UK. The investment can be reduced down after 3 years to just €500,000.

The main attraction for high net worth individuals is the immediate EU citizenship on offer for qualifying real estate investments. Read more on the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program

Applicants are required to have a clear criminal record. There is no language requirement, medical test or interview for citizenship applicants. Enquire here.

Why Cyprus?

Cyprus has a very favourable tax regime for individuals and companiesà Over 80% of the country speaks English and there are excellent education facilities including several UK universities with campuses on the island. Cyprus has the lowest crime rate in Europe and is the 5th safest country in the world. There is a high standard of educational institutions and healthcare facilities. Cyprus is strategically located at the crosssroads of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. Cyprus is set to join the EU Schengen zone soon. Property acquired is freehold, there is a low property tax and there is reduced VAT on property of just 5% (subject to conditions).

DOCUMENT NEEDED TO SUBMIT

  • Certificate of Registration or Residence Card.
  • Rental agreement or property sale contract, or title deed, for the last five years.
  • Utility bills or statements of accounts from the relevant Authority (water, or telephone or electricity) dating back five years.
  • Bank statement dating back five years.
  • Social Insurance Certificate for contributions over the last five years by month.
  • Any other document proving the completion of a continuous period of five years in the Republic of Cyprus.

This increasing trend has also been reflected in the real estate sector, especially in certain areas. Spain is a very attractive country for foreign investments due to an interesting combination of factors such as climate, lifestyle, good infrastructure of airports and trains, among others. The British are still leading the way in the purchase of real estate in the province of Malaga, according to statistics from the Association of Registrars of Property in Spain, followed by the Swedes and in third place are the Belgians, position they have maintained during the last years.

Specialist property lawyers

The purchase of a second (or main) home by Non-Residents is a very important decision and the buying process should be carried out with the help of specialized lawyers who can guarantee the legality of the operation in all aspects. After years of economic crisis, it is common to find properties that are partially or totally embargoed or that act as collateral for other operations, or properties whose owner is a bank or are in the process of execution and / or auction, being crucial to be advised by a specialized lawyer who is able to detect these incidents and resolve them or discourage the sale.

We believe it is also important to have an extensive knowledge of international and fiscal law to advice on the most beneficial way to carry out the investment. Likewise, it is necessary to contemplate aspects related to immigration law in order to obtain the necessary legal papers prior to the purchase, whether the buyer is a natural or a legal person. At this point, it is worth mentioning the Law to support entrepreneurs approved in 2013, known as Golden Visa, which allows foreign investors to obtain a Residency Visa for a minimum investment of 500,000 €.

In relation to the process of reservation and payment of the property, one of the aspects that most often jeopardise the closure of purchase operations is the opening of a current account in an efficient manner, as well as the transfer of funds from other countries into Spain.

Increasingly stringent anti-money laundering laws often prevent or delay this process. Also, the application for mortgage loans is becoming very difficult for non-resident foreigners, due to the banks’ unwillingness to approve such loans and the vast amount of documentation they request for the study of banking operations.

Navas & Cusí Lawyers offer comprehensive advice on the entire process of buying and selling your property in Spain, Belgium, Greece and Cyprus, covering all the necessary aspects given the high specialization of our lawyers in urban and development law, immigration law and tax law, as well as our ability to deal with banks as a result of more than 30 years of experience in banking law at national, European and International level.

SPAIN

Ley 14/2013, de 27 de septiembre, de apoyo a los emprendedores y su internacionalización.

Key facts:

  • Investment € 500.000
  • Full family residency
  • Norequirement to reside
  • Permanent Residency from 5 years
  • Citizenship from 10 years
  • EU Schengen visa travel

CAPÍTULO II

Inversores

Artículo 63. Visado de residencia para inversores.

  1. Los extranjeros no residentes que se propongan entrar en territorio español con el fin de realizar una inversión significativa de capital podrán solicitar el visado de estancia, o en su caso, de residencia para inversores.
  2. Se entenderá como inversión significativa de capital aquella que cumpla con alguno de los siguientes supuestos:
  3. a) Una inversión inicial por un valor igual o superior a 2 millones de euros en títulos de deuda pública española, o por un valor igual o superior a un millón de euros en acciones o participaciones sociales de empresas españolas, o depósitos bancarios en entidades financieras españolas.
  4. b) La adquisición de bienes inmuebles en España con una inversión de valor igual o superior a 500.000 euros por cada solicitante.
  5. c) Un proyecto empresarial que vaya a ser desarrollado en España y que sea considerado y acreditado como de interés general, para lo cual se valorará el cumplimiento de al menos una de las siguientes condiciones:

1.º Creación de puestos de trabajo.

2.º Realización de una inversión con impacto socioeconómico de relevancia en el ámbito geográfico en el que se vaya a desarrollar la actividad.

3.º Aportación relevante a la innovación científica y/o tecnológica.

  1. Se entenderá igualmente que el extranjero solicitante del visado ha realizado una inversión significativa de capital cuando la inversión la lleve a cabo una persona jurídica, domiciliada en un territorio que no tenga la consideración de paraíso fiscal conforme a la normativa española, y el extranjero posea, directa o indirectamente, la mayoría de sus derechos de voto y tenga la facultad de nombrar o destituir a la mayoría de los miembros de su órgano de administración.

Artículo 64. Forma de acreditación de la inversión.

Para la concesión del visado de residencia para inversores será necesario cumplir los siguientes requisitos:

  1. a) En el caso previsto en la letra a) del apartado 2 del artículo 63, el solicitante deberá acreditar haber realizado la inversión en la cantidad mínima requerida, en un periodo no superior a 60 días anteriores a la presentación de la solicitud, de la siguiente manera:

1.º En el supuesto de inversión en acciones no cotizadas o participaciones sociales, se presentará el ejemplar de la declaración de inversión realizada en el Registro de Inversiones Exteriores del Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad.

2.º En el supuesto de inversión en acciones cotizadas, se presentará un certificado del intermediario financiero, debidamente registrado en la Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores o en el Banco de España, en el que conste que el interesado ha efectuado la inversión a efectos de esta norma.

3.º En el supuesto de inversión en deuda pública, se presentará un certificado de la entidad financiera o del Banco de España en el que se indique que el solicitante es el titular único de la inversión para un periodo igual o superior a 5 años.

4.º En el supuesto de inversión en depósito bancario, se presentará un certificado de la entidad financiera en el que se constate que el solicitante es el titular único del depósito bancario.

  1. b) En el supuesto previsto en la letra b) del apartado 2 del artículo 63 el solicitante deberá acreditar haber adquirido la propiedad de los bienes inmuebles mediante certificación con información continuada de dominio y cargas del Registro de la Propiedad que corresponda al inmueble o inmuebles. La certificación incorporará un código electrónico de verificación para su consulta en línea.

Si en el momento de la solicitud del visado, la adquisición de los inmuebles se encontrara en trámite de inscripción en el Registro de la Propiedad, será suficiente la presentación de la citada certificación en la que conste vigente el asiento de presentación del documento de adquisición, acompañada de documentación acreditativa del pago de los tributos correspondientes.

El solicitante deberá acreditar disponer de una inversión en bienes inmuebles de 500.000 euros libre de toda carga o gravamen. La parte de la inversión que exceda del importe exigido podrá estar sometida a carga o gravamen.

  1. c) En el supuesto previsto en la letra c) del apartado 2 del artículo 63, se deberá presentar un informe favorable para constatar que en el proyecto empresarial presentado concurren razones de interés general. El informe procederá de la Oficina Económica y Comercial del ámbito de demarcación geográfica donde el inversor presente la solicitud del visado.

Artículo 65. Efectos del visado de residencia para inversores.

La concesión del visado de residencia para inversores constituirá título suficiente para residir en España durante, al menos, un año.

BELGIUM

Key facts

  • ­investments of up to €500.000
  • Full family residency
  • No requirement to reside
  • Schengen free travel
  • Potential future citizenship

Belgium

Unlike many other countries in Europe Belgium offers a golden visa also known as “investor visa” program where applications are reviewed on a case by case basis.

Applicants can apply by forming a Belgian company.  Successful applicants can gain permanent residence and citizenship after 5 years. Typical investment throughout the five year period is €350,000 – €500,000.

To gain citizenship by investment in Belgium investors must pass a language test in either Dutch, German or French.

The Belgian programme is not as clearly defined as other countries offering the golden visa programme in Europe. It is not offered for real estate investment but for business investment.

GREECE

The Immigration and Social Integration Code (Law 4251/2014, Government Gazette  1, no 80) contains provisions that facilitate the stay of third-country investors, whose investments are characterized as strategic investments, via the provision of extended stay time limits for the representatives of investment bodies and their partners.

It is given the possibility of granting residence permits to third country nationals and to the members of their families, who proceed to the purchase of real estate property in Greece, the value of the one exceeds 250,000 Euro.

Key facts:

  • Investment in property from € 250.000
  • Full family residency. Children up to 21
  • No requirement to reside.
  • EU Schengen visa travel
  • Citizenship requires residency

Launched in July 2013 the Greek golden visa programme grants a five year residency visa in return for an investment in real estate. There is no minimum stay requirement and children up to the age of 21 are included in the family application.

The visa is granted for five years and renewed every five years if the property investment is retained. It is not necessary to live in the country in order to retain and renew the investor visa. However citizenship can only be granted after seven years of residency.

Investors in real estate in Greece must also budget for the additional taxes on real estate at 24%. However at €250,000 + taxes and fees (just over €300,000 in total) this programme the lowest cost to residency in Europe.

The Greek residency programme is relatively fast, taking around 40 days until a residency card is issued. There are also favourable family rules for dependents. Read more on the investor visa in Greece or for further details enquire here.

CYPRUS

TWO KINDS:

  1. PERMANENT RESIDENCE Keys
  • Investments of €300.000
  • Full family qualification (grandparents, parents + children up to 25)
  • Visit required once every two years
  • Ease of travel throughout European union
  • Simple, fast process (2 months)
  • Investment into new property
2.      RESIDENCE BY INVESTMENT
  • Investment of 2M€
  • Full family qualification (children up to age 28)
  • No requirement to reside.
  • Full member of the EU
  • Simple, fast process
  • Second European passport in just six months

 

Cyprus offers two golden visa programs through real estate investment. One for permanent residency and one for citizenship. The two Cypriot immigration investment schemes are fast and efficient at granting a residency permit and second passport. Cyprus is a full member of the European Union and English is widely spoken on the island.

 

Applicants can secure permanent residency in Cyprus through investment in real estate. The programme is one of the fastest and simplest investor visa programmes in Europe. It requires investment of just €300,000 into property to gain the Cyprus residency permit.

The residency visa is granted within two months and covers the whole family. It includes parents of both the main applicant and spouse plus dependent children up to the age of 25. It is valid for life and can be passed down to dependents and spouse.

The permanent residency programme offers ease of travel throughout the European Union and requires just one visit to Cyprus by all family members once every two years.

The investment may be made by a company for which the main applicant and spouse are beneficial owners. The investment can be in to a maximum of two properties provided they reach the €300,000 permanent residency limit. The properties purchased must be brand new.

Citizenship by Investment Cyprus

Cyprus offers the quickest, most assured route to European citizenship and a second passport through the Cypriot citizenship by investment programme. An investment of €2.0 million in real estate is required. Cyprus is unique in its offering of citizenship within just 6 months of such an investment. This grants a Cypriot passport and EU citizenship, allowing the freedom to work, travel, study and live anywhere within the EU including countries such as Germany, France and the UK. The investment can be reduced down after 3 years to just €500,000.

The main attraction for high net worth individuals is the immediate EU citizenship on offer for qualifying real estate investments. Read more on the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program.

Applicants are required to have a clear criminal record. There is no language requirement, medical test or interview for citizenship applicants. Enquire here.

Why Cyprus?

Cyprus has a very favourable tax regime for individuals and companiesà Over 80% of the country speaks English and there are excellent education facilities including several UK universities with campuses on the island. Cyprus has the lowest crime rate in Europe and is the 5th safest country in the world. There is a high standard of educational institutions and healthcare facilities. Cyprus is strategically located at the crosssroads of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. Cyprus is set to join the EU Schengen zone soon. Property acquired is freehold, there is a low property tax and there is reduced VAT on property of just 5% (subject to conditions).

DOCUMENT NEEDED TO SUBMIT

  • Certificate of Registration or Residence Card.
  • Rental agreement or property sale contract, or title deed, for the last five years.
  • Utility bills or statements of accounts from the relevant Authority (water, or telephone or electricity) dating back five years.
  • Bank statement dating back five years.
  • Social Insurance Certificate for contributions over the last five years by month.
  • Any other document proving the completion of a continuous period of five years in the Republic of Cyprus.

OTHER COUNTRIES WITH RESIDENCE PROGRAMMES:

PORTUGAL

MALTA

LATVIA

HUNGARY

 

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