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Buy a house in Spain and obtain a residence permit

José Manuel García-Margallo

The Spanish government has recently proposed a change to, and easing of, the red tape associated with obtaining a residence permit for non EU nationals.

However the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, wants to use this as an angle to attract more foreign citizens from outside of Europe to buy a property in Spain and reduce the glut of unsold homes. In the past it’s been tricky for non EU nationals to obtain a residence permit. The plan is therefore to ease the bureaucracy involved and attract property investors to Spain.

This new measure could be very attractive for Russian buyers and other former eastern block countries that are still outside of the EU as well as both North and South American citizens.



19th November 2012.

The Spanish government has today reconfirmed that they are studying measures to grant residence permits to foreign non EU citizens who buy a property in Spain valued at more than 160.000 Euros. Their intention is to target buyers from Russian and China in order to reduce the stock pile of unsold property in Spain.

31 comments on “Buy a house in Spain and obtain a residence permit

  1. Nosha

    I would like to know about the process of buying property and get residence permit of spain for non-EU citizens,
    Is there any real state agency or lawyer who can help on this?
    thanks in advance
    best regards

    • Robert (Administrator)

      The above article is not yet law in Spain, but simply a proposal by the Spanish government. Residence permits are best handled by a lawyer, or a “Gestor” as they are called in Spain which is an administrative office for all types of official paperwork and applications covering almost any subject. You should however ensure that whether using a lawyer or a Gestor that they are familiar with residence permit applications and have previous experience in dealing with such matters. We suggest that you make a web search where you will find many companies in Spain that can assist you. With regard to the procedures involved in purchasing a property in Spain please see our Buyers Guide:

  2. Dr.Simon Raif Morkos

    Thanks a lot for the information given on the website.

    I am a Gynecologist practicing in UAE.
    I have a license to practice medicine in Spain and I am very much wiling to relocate in near future.

    Before that I have few questions in my mind and I would be very happy if u can answer them.

    (1) Do I need to visit personally to make the arrangements
    (2) If not then how to arrange the payments and purchase
    (3) If I have to visit personally then will you sponsor the visit to get the VISA
    (4) Do I have to make all the payments upfront or it can be made in istallments
    (5) Can I buy the property without me having the residency of Schengen
    (6) Will buying property there, help me in getting residency permit / VISA
    (7) What is the possibility of putting property on rent there.

    Kindly reply me so that I can make plans accordingly.

    Dr Simon Morkos
    Obstetrician and Gynecologist

    • Robert (Administrator)

      Thanks for your comments on LPG Spain. I list answers to your query below.

      Please take note that this article is the bases of a proposition by the Spanish government and is not law, as yet.
      1) Depends on which arrangements you refer to. Buying a property or applying for a Visa?
      2) I am sure that you would wish to view a property before purchasing blind?
      3) This practice is now outmoded in Spain and carries certain responsibilities/risks by the person inviting you.
      4) Payments on any property purchase in Spain must be made in full prior to receiving full documentation accrediting you as the legal owner of the property.
      5) Yes, you can, but would need to apply for an NIE number which is an identification number for foreign residents. See our Buyers Guide on this website.
      6) Not under current laws.
      7) Yes, you may freely rent out your property once you have paid for it.

      LPG Spain.

  3. Ivan Koshebye

    I have been seriously thinking in the past period to relocate to Spain.. I currently work as a free lance consultant in Jordan (Middle East).. An important piece of information is that I was born in Spain, and I have an original Spanish birth certificate proving that.

    I know through reading the current law (Civil Code), that people born in Spain would need to have an official residence for one year before applying for a Spanish passport, so I was wondering, would buying a property in Spain would help me in my case to obtain the nationality?

    Another question: What would be my quickest procedure to obtain a Spanish passport?

    I would highly appreciate your patience in answering me..

    Best regards,
    Ivan Koshebye

    • Robert (Administrator)

      Hi Ivan

      There has been much publicity, both in Spain and abroad, about the Spanish Government’s proposal to grant a residence permit to non-EU citizens if they purchase a property in Spain. There has been no further news since the story was published in November. It appears that the government is basing their idea on experiments carried out in Cyprus and Portugal who do indeed grant permits, but for properties of a higher value than what has been proposed for Spain, i.e. 160.000 Euros.

      I myself find it surprising that if you were born in Spain, you say that you have to live here for one year with official residence in order to gain a Spanish passport which, aligned to the fact that the proposed concession is not law yet, makes this a bit of a “catch 22” situation.

      Without going into details, a member of my family is actually applying for a Spanish passport as we speak. What I do know is that the conditions for such vary enormously on the circumstances of the individual. I would suggest that you make contact with the Spanish Ministry of the Interior website -- http://www.interior.gob.es/ (Ministerio del Interior) which explains in detail the requirements for obtaining a Spanish passport. I’ve also done a bit of digging for you on the web (in Spanish) and found the following website that answers questions about passport applications and cases similar to yours: ociolatino.com -- http://www.ociolatino.com/2012/02/obtener-la-nacionalidad-espanola-por-opcion.html. If you don’t speak Spanish (despite having been born in Spain) try Google translator or similar. Alternatively, contact them to see if they have English speaking advisors.

      Good luck! – LPG Administrator.

      • Ivan Koshebye

        Thanks a lot sir for your answer.. I really appreciate it.. and thanks for the links.. they are pretty helpful

  4. Melody and David Salmon

    We have Lebanese purchasers for our house, but they will not buy it until this new Law comes into force regarding automatic residency, but when will that be can anybody tell us?

    We also know other people who are having the same problem with other buyers outside the EU.

    • Robert (Administrator)

      There is still no news/updates from the Spanish government on this subject.

  5. khalid sadi

    we greatly appreciate your advice. do you have any idea about the time frame for making this propsal a law (months?, a year? )

    • Robert (Administrator)

      No, not yet. There’s the odd news item stating that the government is still working on a draft. Personaly, if the government doesn’t decide to make it law this year, I believe they probably never will. The idea of the proposal is to stimulate house sales and attract foreign investment rather than assist those seeking a visa, and if the economy was to pick up by the end of this year, they may scrap the idea altogether. However, this is only my opinion.

  6. khalid sadi

    As always, we appreciate your prompt response and explanation. If the issue with Spain is not clear as you mentioned, would you please comment on the similar issue with Hungary visa for buying the government bonds which seems attractive based on the information that they will grant the permanent residency status without prior physical residence there. Regards, Khalid Sadi

    • Hi Khalid

      I can’t comment on the situation in Hungary. However, I will update /publish new details on the situation in Spain as and when the government releases further details.

  7. Robert (Administrator)


    29 de abril de 2013.
    El gobierno de España contempla elevar a 500.000 euros el precio mínimo de compra de una vivienda para obtener el permiso de residencia, después del revuelo que se levantó al proponer dar los papeles a cambio de comprar un piso de 160.000 euros. Además, también dará los papeles a quienes inviertan un mínimo de un millón de euros y que conlleve la creación de dos puestos de trabajo.
    Fuente: Idealista.com

    29th April 2013.
    The Spanish government plans to raise to € 500,000 the minimum purchase price of a property to obtain a residence permit in Spain after the uproar that has arisen from their proposition to grant papers in exchange for buying a property of 160,000 Euros. Furthermore, they propose granting papers to those who invest a minimum of one million Euros and create at least two job positions.

  8. Robert (Administrator)

    Los extranjeros perderán el permiso de residencia si venden la casa antes de cinco años.

    El ministerio de economía ha explicado que la concesión del permiso de residencia para aquellos extranjeros que compren un inmueble por un precio superior a los 500.000 euros estará sujeto a que la inversión se mantengan al menos cinco años.

    Durante ese periodo de tiempo este inversor contará con un permiso de residencia no permanente. Así, el primer año tendrá un visado provisional y luego obtendría un permiso de residencia transitorio de dos años, prorrogable otros dos. No obstante, si el ciudadano extranjero vende la vivienda perderá el permiso.

    Transcurridos los cinco años el inversor obtendrá el permiso de residencia permanente. Sin embargo, los extranjeros que compren vivienda no tendrá acceso a la sanidad y a la educación pública durante los cinco primeros años, ni tampoco obtendrá un permiso de trabajo.
    Fuente: http://www.idealista.com

  9. Robert (Administrator)

    Foreigners will lose their residence permit if they sell the home within five years.

    The Spanish finance ministry explained that the granting of a residence permit for foreigners to buy a property for a price in excess of 500,000 € will be subject to maintaining the investment for at least five years.

    During this period the investor will have a non-permanent residence permit. Thus, the first year will have a temporary visa which would then be upgraded to a temporary residence permit for two years, extendable for another two. However, if the foreign investor should sell his property during this period, he will lose the permit.

    After five years, the investor will get permanent residence permit. However, foreigners who purchase a property will not have access to healthcare and public education for the first five years, nor be able to obtain a work permit.

  10. Faiz Rasool

    Currently I reside in Pakistan. I visited Spain and i liked it. I want to buy a home to get residency permit. Please guide me in this regard and oblige, and with residency permit can i do business in spain and can this process lead to spnish passport. I am 48 years and what about children under 18 years. I wait for your kind reply.

    • Robert (Administrator)

      Please see the various comments on this post which answers most of your questions. A residents permit for non EU citizens who take advantage of this new law, as and wnen it becomes law, will not allow you to work in Spain. For this you will need a work permit, which is a seperate issue.

  11. Federico

    Hola, quiero saber en los primeros 5 años, si hay que permanecerse en terriotoiro español siempre???

    • Robert (Administrator)

      Como no se han aprobado esta ley aún, no se sabe las condiciones toda vía. Habria que esperar que el gobierno español decide finalmente sobre el asunto.

  12. Robert (Administrator)

    We have heard through the grapevine that the Spanish government may be making an announcement in September regarding the possible implementation of this law. So, we’ll keep you posted!

  13. The Senate in Spain last week approved the final draft that will allow non EU nationals to obtain a residence permit if they purchase property in Spain to the value of 500.000 Euros or more. This draft will now go before the Spanish Congress for final approval and once passed, will be published in the BOE, the state boletin gazette. The new law would then come into force the day after publication. If there are no further complications this new law could come into force in early October (2013).

  14. El Senado de España aprobó la semana pasada el proyecto definitivo que permitirá a los ciudadanos no comunitarios obtener un permiso de residencia si compran propiedades en España por valor de 500.000 euros o más. Este proyecto ahora irá ante el Congreso español para su aprobación final y una vez aprobado, será publicado en el BOE, el Boletín Oficial del Estado. La nueva ley entrará en vigor al día siguiente de su publicación. Si no hay más complicaciones esta nueva ley podría entrar en vigor a principios de octubre (2013).

  15. Golden Residence Visas in Spain.
    For detailed information with regard to obtaining a Golden residence visa in Spain, don’t hesitate to contact us for details. We provide a full and professional service backed by over 30 years of experience dealing with visa applications in Spain.
    In our legal department, we have Russian speaking staff and are considering the employment of those speaking Chinese to cope with applicants from Chinese speaking territories:
    Q&A: http://www.leadingpropertygroupspain.com/en/2013/10/qa-spanish-golden-residence-visa/
    Contact: http://www.leadingpropertygroupspain.com/en/contacto/

  16. Visados de Oro en España.
    Para obtener información detallada con respecto a la obtención de un visado de oro de residencia en España, no dude en contactar con nosotros para más detalles. Ofrecemos un servicio completo y profesional respaldado por más de 30 años de experiencia en la tramitación de solicitudes de visado en España. En nuestro departamento jurídico, tenemos personal que habla ruso y estamos considerando el empleo de los que hablan chino para hacer frente a los solicitantes de los territorios de habla china.
    Preguntas Y Respuestas: http://www.leadingpropertygroupspain.com/es/2013/10/qa-spanish-golden-residence-visa/
    Contacto: http://www.leadingpropertygroupspain.com/es/contacto/

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