Buy a Property and obtain a Golden Visa for Europe

Buy a Property and obtain a Golden Visa for Europe

Traveling freely to and around the European Union is a dream for many of us. Would you like to visit Europe, travel around freely to see cities like Rome or Paris, or simply enjoy the European way of life?

Both Spain and Portugal offer a free Schengen visa for Europe if you buy a property above a minimum value. For many people this is an opportunity to make a dream come through. You can either buy a property as an investment or for your own use, to qualify and benefit. Everything you need to know about buying a property and obtain a Golden Visa for Europa

Benefits of a Schengen zone residency permit

Holders of a Schengen zone residency permit enjoy the following benefits:

  • Travel visa-free. You can travel freely to all countries within the Schengen area
  • EU rights. You are free to live, work and study in your country of residency
  • Security. A safe place to go to in times of economic or political uncertainty

  • The 26 countries making up the Schengen zone are:

    1. Austria
    2. Belgium
    3. Czech Republic
    4. Denmark
    5. Estonia
    6. Finland
    7. France
    8. Germany
    9. Greece
    10. Hungary
    11. Iceland
    12. Italy
    13. Latvia
    14. Liechtenstein
    15. Lithuania
    16. Luxembourg
    17. Malta
    18. Netherlands
    19. Norway
    20. Poland
    21. Portugal
    22. Slovakia
    23. Slovenia
    24. Spain
    25. Sweden
    26. Switzerland

    While Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are not a member of the European Union (“EU”), they are Schengen countries. Hence, a holder of a Schengen residency is able to travel freely to these countries as well.

    At present, four more countries have applied to join the Schengen zone. These are Andorra, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia. Until their application process is complete, passport controls remain in place for travel to these countries.

    The Schengen zone does not include Ireland and Cyprus, even though they are EU members. The United Kingdom was never part of Schengen and has recently left the EU as well.

    Comparison of residency alternatives

    Below you will find a table that summarizes the main components and some important decision criteria for buyers/investors. Below the table you will find a more detailed overview for each of the countries.

    Golden Visa Spain and Portugal
    Golden Visa for Europe

    * Portugal investment minimum starts at €280,000 goes up to €500,000 for biggest cities. Portugal will change investment rules from the start of 2022. See Portugal section below for more information.

    Golden visa Spain

    Spain’s visa program was established in 2013 to encourage investment by foreigners to boost economic prosperity. Under the program, investors and their families who invest at least €500,000 in Spain are offered an easy and quick way to obtain a Spanish residence permit. Spain offers a fast-track to citizenship for applicants from the Philippines and (most) Spanish speaking countries in Latin America.

    After five years of living in Spain, investors can apply for permanent residency. Citizenship in Spain can be obtained after ten years (to qualify, applicants must have resided in the country for at least 6 months every year). Once applicants have either permanent residency or citizenship, the investment is no longer required. The Spanish visa application process is known for its speed and clarity.

    Its main benefits are the fast processing time (within 60 days) and family residence plans. Your spouse and children under the age of 18 are guaranteed residency permits. Other family members can also obtain residency, provided documents can be presented that demonstrate they are your legal dependents.

    Golden visa Portugal

    Portugal’s visa program started in 2012 and has the following benefits:

  • A relatively low initial property investment, between €280,000 and €500,000 depending on location
  • 5 years until you qualify for a European passport
  • Option to retire in Portugal and pay no taxes for 10 years
  • Short stay requirement

  • The Portuguese visa program is more flexible than the Spanish program when it comes to eligibility of family members. It includes:

  • Spouse or legal partner
  • Children under 18 years of age
  • Dependent children under 26 as long as they are single and enrolled as full-time students
  • Parents of either spouse if over 66 years old (or 55 and dependent)
  • Siblings under the age of 18 years from either spouse or partner if legally responsible

  • From 1 January 2022, the Portugal Golden Visa program will change. The minimum investment threshold to qualify for residency will increase to €500,000. In addition, new real estate investment restrictions will kick in. Properties in Lisbon, Porto, and other high-density coastal towns will not qualify for property investments under the Golden Visa scheme anymore.

    Recommendation

    People often ask us for our advice. Our answer is simple: if you are looking to get a European passport and an optimized tax solution, the answer is Portugal. If you want to own a property to live or invest in, we recommend Spain.

    We believe Spain has the most economical potential in comparison, mainly because of the higher population numbers and better infrastructure. Within Spain, we favour Valencia and the region immediately south of it. Valencia is the third city in Spain and is about to be discovered as a tourist destination. It has an old city centre, a wonderfully large (and car-free) city park, a large beach, many museums and some impressive modern architecture.

    The region south of Valencia includes the towns Denia, Javea and Calpe. They are part of a coastal area called Costa Blanca and are upcoming destinations for higher-end tourism. Especially Javea and nearby Moraira are our favourites. Both Denia and Javea also offer some great international schools, for all ages. This region is also well-connected to the international airports of Valencia and Alicante, which can both be reached in approximately one hour by car. The island of Ibiza is also located nearby and can be reached in 30 minutes by ferry.

    The choice to where you buy a property is yours to make and we are happy to help you find your ideal property.

    FormosaOne

    For our Chinese customers we work with FormosaOne. This company specializes in helping Chinese nationals to be successful in buying a property and obtaining a golden visa. Together we provide all the services that an investors needs to acquire high-end properties and a residence permit.

    What makes us different is our personal approach. We treat you like you should be treated: as a VIP! A luxury car will pick you up from the airport and you will stay at one of our homes. Our team will drive and accompany you on your appointments throughout your stay.

    Our team speaks Mandarin (also Taiwanese, English, Russian and Spanish). We are proud to say that we have gained the trust of some of the rich & famous. And we hope to include you in our circle of happy customers as well (and friends ever after).

    Golden Visa Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the requirements for a golden visa?

  • You are not already a citizen of the EU, Switzerland or the European Economic Area
  • At least 18 years old
  • Qualifying investment
  • Clean criminal record
  • Spend a minimum of seven days in Portugal for the first year, then no less than 14 days each subsequent two-year period (this is called the stay requirement)

  • In addition, Spain applies some additional conditions:

  • A valid medical insurance and an official health certificate
  • Must have enough funds to reside in Spain

  • Do I need to live in Spain to get a golden visa?

    There is no need to officially live in Spain to enjoy the golden visa benefits, unless you plan to apply for full Spanish citizenship in the future. In that case you are required to spend 6 months per year in Spain.

    What are the tax implications?

    We provide a summarized overview below, but in principle the following applies:

    Spain

  • Annual property taxes are typically around €200-400
  • Income tax is only applied if you are resident in Spain for over 183 days.
  • Any (rental) income derived from the property is taxed at 24.75%
  • Capital gains taxes are between 24-27%.

  • Portugal

  • Visa holders don’t need to pay taxes on income produced outside of Portugal, if this income is already taxed elsewhere
  • Any Portuguese-sourced income would be taxed at a flat rate of 20% during the first ten years
  • You can also pass on your wealth to a spouse or dependent without incurring inheritance or gift taxes.

  • There’s also an option to register as a fiscal resident for tax purposes in Portugal, which allows you to benefit from Portugal’s Non-Habitual Tax (NHR) Regime. NHR is a generous tax program with numerous benefits pertaining to your global income. It offers tax-free incentives on certain categories for a period of up to ten years. Types of income that may qualify under the NHR program include: dividends, real estate income, capital gains from the disposal of real estate, pensions, royalties, business/self-employment profits

    What are the legal cost to apply for a golden visa?

  • Spain. Legal costs are normally around €9,000 for a family of four for the initial application and €2,500 for each renewal.
  • Portugal. Government fees per family member for application of the Portugal golden visa are €5,173.60. Renewal fees every two years apply at 50% of those rates. In addition there is a processing fee on application and renewal of € 520.40 for the main applicant plus € 80.20 per family member. Dependents younger than 18 years-old will be included free of charge.

  • What does the FormosaOne service cost?

    We cover the cost of your accommodation, transfers to/from the airport and traveling to visit properties and/or building locations. The only cost you pay are the cost of your meals.

    We apply a standard service fee of €2,500 for your accommodation and transportation, which are top rated. When you decide to buy a property of your liking we will refund these cost, making our service essentially free of charge.

    What other cost should I expect?

    Most of our clients want to buy a new property, which still has to be built. In addition to the purchase prices, there is a transfer tax of 6%. For existing properties, the transfer tax is slightly higher than for new properties: 10%. While the legal fees vary, these typically are 4% of the purchase price. In other words, if you buy a new property, you should expect to pay 10% in total fees. For an existing property this is around 14%.

    How long can I travel within the Schengen area?

    With a valid resident permit you are free to travel to any country in the Schengen area. You may spend up to 90 days in each 180 days period outside of the country that issued your residence permit. These are the same rights as nationals in the Schengen countries.

    Any other questions? Please contact us!

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