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Golden Visa Programs: Spain vs Portugal

Spain Golden Visa Program

The Spanish Golden Visa Program is a popular residence and investment route for non-EU Citizens.

It is designed to attract foreign investments into the country as well as provide an opportunity to gain residency rights in the country - Spain and Portugal have similar Golden Visas.

This Spain investor visa allows investors and their family members to live in Spain without the need for a work permit, allowing them to live and work freely in the country.

The main applicant, who is awarded a residence visa through a Golden Visa application, can apply for a ‘family reunification’ visa for their spouse, children, and dependent parents, which will enable them to stay in Spain with them during the investor's residence permit time.



The eligibility requirements for the program are relatively straightforward.

In order to qualify, applicants must invest €500,000 or more in Spanish real estate or financial assets such as bonds, shares, or deposits.

They also need to be over 18, hold a clean criminal record, hold private health insurance, and show proof of sufficient funds to sustain their legal residence in the country.

It is essential to maintain the initial investment for 5 years.

What If I Meet The Qualification Requirements?

Once approved, investors will receive a 1-year visa, which can be converted into a residence permit. This residence permit is valid for 2 years and is renewable as long as you keep your investment in the country.

If all requirements are met after five years (including full-time living in Spain) you can then apply for a Permanent Residence Permit.

Life In Spain

Living in Spain offers expats a unique and exciting lifestyle that is full of culture, beauty, and modern amenities.

With its sunny Mediterranean climate, stunning landscapes and vibrant cities, it’s no wonder why so many people choose to make this their home.

Spain is made up of 17 autonomous regions, each with its own laws, customs and culture. The country's major cities include the capital Madrid, Barcelona in Catalonia, Valencia in the east coast, Seville in Andalusia, Granada in the south and Málaga on the Costa del Sol. Each one offers something different for expats looking for adventure or relaxation.

Plaza de España


There you will find a bustling city full of life and energy that’s perfect for anyone who loves nightlife and exploring different cultures.


For those looking to enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle, it has a great mix of modern city life blended with traditional Spanish charm.

Valencia and Seville

These seaside towns are popular among retirees who want to enjoy the beautiful beaches without sacrificing city amenities like museums and restaurants.


Located in Costa del Sol, the city is known as one of the best beach destinations with an array of outdoor activities available such as hiking and sailing.


And finally, beautiful Granada, which is nestled between mountains offers a more relaxed atmosphere that forces you to slow down and take time to appreciate nature’s beauty while also giving easy access to some of Spain’s most impressive historical sites such as Alhambra Palace.

La Barceloneta

No matter where you live, there are plenty of things to do everywhere in Spain.

From lounging on beaches to taking part in sporting events such as soccer or tennis; from exploring historic monuments to visiting art galleries; from sampling delicious local cuisine to listening to Flamenco music - there is always something new for expats living in Spain!

The climate in Spain varies depending on what region you are located but generally, it can be described as temperate with cool winters (not too cold) and hot summers (which can be quite humid). There is also plenty of sunshine all year round making this an ideal destination for sun-seekers!

Being situated at the gateway of Europe makes it a very appealing destination if you'd like to explore other countries nearby (such as France or Portugal) but still have your own place to call home when your trip is done!


Differences: Golden Visa Spain vs Portugal

Although the Spain and Portugal Golden Visa programs are very similar, there are some key differences that generally make people prefer Portugal:

  • The fact that you need to actually live in Spain for 5 years in order to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit, and only after that, become eligible to apply for EU citizenship
  • The number of years before you can apply for a Spanish passport is 10 years, while for a Portuguese passport is 5 years
  • Spain has just introduced a new wealth tax, meaning that all residents (including GV holders) are subject to paying taxes on all their global assets
  • Language test. In Portugal, at the end of the GV, when you're applying for a passport you only have to pass a language test of A2 level - "approximately enough for a conversation in the supermarket checkout". In Spain, however, the language test is much more advanced, which can be a challenge for many people

Investment Options

The Spanish Golden Visa Program is an attractive option for investors looking to gain residency in the country by providing evidence of their financial investments.

For those wanting to purchase real estate for Spain's Golden Visa program, note that you will need to pay taxes on your purchase.

Transfer Tax (ITP), Stamp Duty (AJD) and Local Rates (IBI) must be paid.

These can vary significantly depending on where exactly you decide to invest so it's important that these costs are factored into your budget when deciding how much money you would like to invest in property.

In terms of government bonds, these are one of the most popular options available among Golden Visa investors due to their low-risk nature and ability to generate a steady income through interest payments from fixed-rate products.

This investment option also benefits from capital gains protection, meaning any money invested into them will not be subject to tax when sold at higher prices than originally purchased.

Other types of bonds available include corporate bonds which are issued by companies rather than governments and offer higher returns but come with more risks attached.

There are several viable options available for realizing Golden Visa status through investments in Spain, each offering different levels of risk vs reward which should be carefully assessed against investor goals before committing funds to any particular product.

Tax Advantages

When comparing tax benefits, Portugal offers a much more comprehensive plan. The Portuguese NHR (Non-Habitual Residence) program grants tax exemption for up to 10 years, while Spain charges 24% on worldwide income.


While the visa processing time in Spain seems more interesting (3 months vs 12-18 months in Portugal), the timeline and conditions for citizenship in Portugal are way more attractive (no need to live full-time in the country and the timeline is 5 years against 10 years in Spain).

Overall, while applying for the Golden Visa Program may seem complicated, there are several benefits associated with it (such as gaining permanent residency and having an opportunity to receive Portuguese or Spanish citizenship), making it an attractive option for those wanting security within an EU country, and all the other privileges that come with living in the European Union.

If you would like to learn more about the Portuguese Golden Visa, feel free to contact us or to pick a law firm to assist you.

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