Spain paves the way for thousands of non-EU property investors as new residency rules become law

The long-anticipated legislation granting non-EU nationals automatic Spanish residency via property investments has now officially been made law. After having been approved by the Spanish Parliament, the law has been officially published in the state Gazette (BOE), opening the door to thousands of potential investors.

The new legislation states that investors outside of the European Union who spend half a million euros or more on residential, commercial property or land in Spain will qualify for a visa allowing them to stay in Spain for 12 months (up from the current 90 days), plus a further two-year residency permit, renewable every two years.

The law is also retroactive, allowing those who have already invested half a million Euros or more on Spanish real estate to be granted residency Spanish luxury estate agencies such as Barcelona-based Lucas Fox expect to see a boost in sales activity as a result of the so-called 'Golden Visa'. Lucas Fox's properties are located in desirable Mediterranean coastal areas traditionally popular with overseas buyers and the company's average residential sales transaction value is around 1 million Euros.

Co-founder Alexander Vaughan comments:

"We welcome the fact that the new residency investment visa has been approved by parliament and become law with no amendments to the original proposal. We anticipate that the new law will have a very positive effect on the Spanish property market, increasing the number of transactions and gradually leading to more new property developments specifically targeted at residency investors"

In anticipation of the new law, Lucas Fox has established a new company, 'Residency in Spain', to deal with the demand from residency investors and has registered as many as 30 enquiries a day from non-EU potential buyers, particularly from China and India. 'Residency in Spain' is a Joint Venture with leading Spanish Law firm ECIJA, offering tailor-made advice and support on obtaining residency through property investments, tax planning and associated legal and immigration issues.

Lucas Fox Head of Business Development Jason Ham explains

"The interest surrounding the anticipated approval of this new legislation has already generated a huge amount of interest in China and India, but we have also received many enquiries from potential buyers from South Africa, Brazil and the Middle East. I believe these savvy buyers will eventually help to stimulate the market in the areas of Spain where the quality of property available is high, and in turn encourage developers to tailor new developments with these overseas buyers specifically in mind"

Key benefits of the new law are:

- initially entitle investors to stay in Spain for a maximum of one year (currently 90 days)

- entitle investors to obtain a further two-year Residency permit, renewable every 2 years as long as the investment threshold of 500, 000 Euros is maintained

- enable investors to travel without a visa within the 26-country European "Schengen zone"

- allow family re-unification. The spouse and children under 18 can apply for Residency at the same time as or after the initial application.

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