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Home > Immigration, Property > Foreigners Who Buy Property in Spain to Get Residency

Foreigners Who Buy Property in Spain to Get Residency

November 19th, 2012

The Spanish Government has officialy released its plan to bring Spain out of the recession by offering residency to non-EU citizens who buy property worth over €160,000. The specific conditions are yet to be legislated on but the Secretary of Commerce, Jaime García-Legaz, has indicated that the property value is “balanced” and will not give rise to a massive demand for residency permits. He also said that the proposition is directed at the Chinese and Russian markets.

Three things we would like to comment on:

  1. If this is to happen, Spain risks being again a victim of its own success because the demand for property in Spain can be unprecedented, far more than in the boom years.
  2. China and Russia will only be tip of the iceberg as their citizens currently find less problems in obtaining tourist visas than citizens of countries like say Iran, Pakistan, Egypt etc.
  3. If this proposition is finally approved, raising property taxes may not be a bad idea altogether.

We can hope is that Spain will now be able to learn from its previous mistakes and manage the potential masses of property buyers more intelligently by implementing rigid controls on property developers – banning the dodgy ones of course-, real estate agencies and other connected professionals.



About Antonio Flores

Antonio Flores is the head lawyer at Lawbird, a Spanish law firm specialised in property and litigation. More on .

Immigration, Property , ,

  1. Elizabeth
    November 26th, 2012 at 15:31 | #1

    Hi Antonio,

    Do you have any more details on this, and thoughts as well?

    Also, do you have any idea how long it will take to become official?

    Thanks in advance,


  2. Antonio Flores
    November 26th, 2012 at 15:40 | #2


    The Government was talking about weeks, rather than months, and it seems to me that the announcement was to test the waters prior to the formal publication of the measure.

    Interestingly, an initial overwhelming rejection by the population has been substituted by expectation and almost interest, once it has become clear that Spain needs to show resolve and boldness to come out of the crisis, and it has been known that over 300,000 immigrants have left this country this year alone.

    We hope that this law is passed soon, half-hearted measures will just not do it for Spain and as they say, beggars can’t be choosers.

  3. Paul
    November 27th, 2012 at 18:16 | #3

    Dear Antonio,

    Is there anywhere I can look for more information on this issue. I have been looking to buy a flat in Bilbao, but have been worried about the residency requirements. I would also like to know if this residency permit will allow me to obtain an EU work permit?

    Thank you for posting this good news!


  4. Antonio Flores
    November 27th, 2012 at 18:52 | #4


    Good question but, unfortunately, we still don’t have an answer for it.

    However, if as the Government says the new residency programme is to be similar to the non-lucrative residency permit, it will not include the work permit nor state medical cover, which means that private medical insurance will have to be sought.

  5. Elizabeth
    November 29th, 2012 at 14:08 | #5

    @Antonio Flores

    Thank you, Antonio, for your quick reply.

    We look forward to any updates you may provide.

  6. Will
    December 9th, 2012 at 16:15 | #6

    Dear Antonio,

    I have recently heard about the immigration opportunity to Spain. As with all rumors, I hope this is not a hoax. I have read your suggestions to other readers here and I thank-you for the same. I am genuinely interested. Can you intimate me directly, if this legislation turns to reality? What would be the basic requirements? Appreciate if you can advise me, so that me and my family can plan towards securing all necessary documentation and arrange necessary finances, as necessary, to qualify as a genuine immigrant.


  7. shan
    December 11th, 2012 at 01:23 | #7

    is imergcation still open in spain.can british national buy house in spain for his pearnets in pakistan

  8. Antonio Flores
    December 11th, 2012 at 12:37 | #8

    Hello Will,

    We still don’t have the specifications of the law that is to be enacted and therefore, cannot give you a precise list of requirements. We do think that it will be very similar to the non-lucrative, in respect to one having to source one’s own medical insurance and having some income.

    As soon as this law gets approved, we will translate it and publish it on the website.

  9. Antonio Flores
    December 11th, 2012 at 12:38 | #9

    Hi Shan,

    A person can lend to another person(s) the required capital to buy property, so as to qualify.

    What we need to confirm is whether the owners will also need to prove that they have a minimum income, i.e. a pension, regular income from dividends or interest on cash deposits or similar.

  10. jorge
    January 3rd, 2013 at 04:50 | #10

    hello Antonio,

    i am filipino/spanish citizen ,how can i get my sons in spain,We are separated with my wife and the requirement is proof of sending the money, I send money for the past years lately i put up a business and so im not sending money to them..what are the other options ..can you help me with this problem. thank you

  11. Antonio Flores
    January 3rd, 2013 at 11:15 | #11

    Hello Jorge,

    If you are a Spanish citizen too, please advise on the type of nationality since it is possible that they can apply too.

    Alternatively, they should opt for one of the routes to acquire residency that are available to any applicant, generally with you as a the main sponsor.

    We can study your case more in detail if you wish.

  12. bahia
    January 12th, 2013 at 13:51 | #12

    I am Algerian , my husband British.
    Can I buy a property to reside in Spain.
    And how to do it and whats the cost?

  13. Elizabeth
    January 13th, 2013 at 15:47 | #13

    Hi Antonio,

    Do you know if there has been any more news on the above?

    Kind regards,


  14. Antonio Flores
    January 14th, 2013 at 09:36 | #14

    Hello bahia,

    The law is not yet out and therefore, there is still no automatic property-for-residency programme available to non-EU citizens.

    In your case, by being married to a EU citizen, your situation is different because you can become a permanent resident of Spain if your husband applies for it first. This would be a quicker and shorter route although, tax considerations have to be borne in mind.

  15. Antonio Flores
    January 14th, 2013 at 09:37 | #15


    As indicated, the Government is dragging its heels and has not approved the announced law proposition. The current status is thus “waiting on someone else”.

  16. Peter Nazarian
    January 15th, 2013 at 20:00 | #16

    Hey Antonio,

    Thanks for this amazing blog . Im highly intrested in buying a property in Barcelona. Im actually a student in Barcelona, im doing my MBA. I was wondering if a Lebanese citizen like myself will be obtain a residency visa. And do you know where can we know more details about this issue.



  17. Antonio Flores
    January 16th, 2013 at 12:24 | #17

    Peter, as a Lebanese citizen -in fact, any citizen of the world, without exception- you may purchase property in Spain. Residency however is a different matter altogether and whilst it helps you attain residency, it is not yet a means to achieve it automatically.

    We are yet to get confirmation of when will this law be enacted, and the specific provisions that it will include.

    You may contact me direct for this matter.


  18. January 17th, 2013 at 13:06 | #18

    Hi Antonio

    Great article as always, can you confirm if the new 10% tax rate of property purchasing in Spain is for all properties second hand and new? As new builds were at 4% tax in 2012? This is a huge jump?


  19. Antonio Flores
    January 17th, 2013 at 13:26 | #19

    Steven, the 10% tax is on new property, it being VAT. Second hand properties are still at 8%, with higher percentages -9% and 10%- on the price band exceeding €400,000 and €700,000, respectively.

  20. Antonio Flores
    January 17th, 2013 at 13:31 | #20

    Steven, the transfer tax figures quoted are for Andalucia.

  21. January 17th, 2013 at 17:14 | #21

    @Antonio Flores thanks so much

  22. robert
    January 29th, 2013 at 21:50 | #22

    @Antonio Flores

    Hi Antonio,
    I read your blog and comments of other people and I may say that this long awaited legislation is everything but attractive. I did little research and found out that apart from this pirate 8% property transfer tax rip-off new owner has tones of other hidden costs plus annual property tax.
    If we add to all this the unwillingness of Spanish government to grant work permit along side resident permit, the whole announcement looks like a SCAM doctored by broke state to milk money out of foreign investors thus saving it’s own economy on their behalf.

    Could you please comment on this? Why anyone with e 160.000 or more would put oneself in such a situation?


  23. February 2nd, 2013 at 19:24 | #23

    Dear Antonio..
    Are we any nearer with the Spanish residency for foreigners buying property in Spain? it seems to have gone really quiet
    I have several wealthy people from Iran waiting on this news to buy property..
    Could they apply for residency in any case? can you advise on this
    Many thanks


  24. Antonio Flores
    February 4th, 2013 at 10:44 | #24

    Hello Judith,

    We have not yet heard anything from the Government in relation to this proposed legislative change, a measure that has many thousands of people waiting know about.

    It is possible to apply for residency through the normal channels, namely self-employed work and residency permit and non-lucrative residency permit, which have not changed substantially for years.

    If you need more assistance do not hesitate to contact us.

  25. February 5th, 2013 at 00:15 | #25

    Dear Antonio,

    Thank you for your blog- it is very useful for me as I am waiting for the immigration law on investment in order to buy the property.

    I am carefully reading all news but since November/December, have not heard on any development on this matter. Do you have any updates or time scale on activation of this law?

    Thank you, Nina

  26. Antonio Flores
    February 5th, 2013 at 10:55 | #26

    Hello Nina, still waiting for the Government to release this law. Normally, we would find out via the press who gets a copy first, when the Ministry press releases the content of the proposal.

    As of yet though, we dont have such information.

  27. nick
    February 10th, 2013 at 11:17 | #27

    hi antonio,

    any hint on the following:
    1. is that going to be permanent residence or temporary or maybe conditioned permanent residence?
    2. what period of time need to pass so you can resell the property and keep the permit?
    3. will the residence permit include work permit too?



  28. Antonio Flores
    February 11th, 2013 at 09:57 | #28

    Hello Nick,

    No word yet from the authorities so we cannot advance any more information. It would make sense however that this type of residency was attached to owning a property and so, if one sold, residency would be withdrawn.

    It is all speculation though because we still don’t know the content of the regulation.

  29. nick
    February 11th, 2013 at 20:57 | #29

    @Antonio Flores

    Thank you very much. I will be waiting for more news from Spanish government.
    Do you think they will come up with a proposal any time soon or this silence is the side-effect of recent corruption scandal?


  30. March 14th, 2013 at 23:29 | #30

    ¡Hola Antonio

    I do hope there will be some news in reference this — we’re already March 2013 and there’s still not much of anything from the media of the Government’s decision. This would greatly alleviate the country’s economy if residency by real-estate start at least from €800k with a modest tax on non-EU nationals. The solution for Espagne’s economic quandaries can be alleviated when the Government implements this pronto. Please keep us updated. Great site btw. Best regards.

  31. Amrit pal Singh
    March 19th, 2013 at 10:10 | #31

    I would like to know that if I purchase property in Spain, then I’ll get Spanish residency along with my family? If yes then what is the minimum investment i need to make in order to qualify for this residency program?
    Kindly advice.

  32. Antonio Flores
    March 19th, 2013 at 11:10 | #32

    Hello Amrit,

    You will not be entitled to automatic residency just by purchasing a property, but it will help. You will also need to prove that you have a regular income originated abroad which does not require your presence in a jobplace, and medical insurance. Alternatively, you can apply for a self-employed residency permit, where showing a property (in ownership or rented) is not necessary although you will need to have a business plan and enough start up capital.

  33. nick
    April 16th, 2013 at 11:51 | #33

    hi antonio,

    it’s been long time since the proposal has been made. any news on the subject?



  34. Antonio Flores
    April 16th, 2013 at 16:09 | #34

    Hello Nick,

    There has been no update on this except for a press release whereby the Government stated that they were still studying this option. I would not hold my breath on this and would propose that where a person wishes to buy a property and apply for residency, they do it properly, that is, showing an income stream big enough to cover the family needs (30k Euros per year for the first applicant and a further 15k Euros for the rest of the family), medical insurance (private) and schooling for children.

    As for the property, the law does not oblige an applicant to have an owned property -it can be rented- but then again, it would help the application if it were in ownership.

  35. Eve
    April 21st, 2013 at 21:48 | #35

    Hi Antonio, Im a non EU citizen. I want to move with my family to Spain. Can you give me some tips how to get self employed residence and work permit? Many many thanks.

  36. john
    June 5th, 2013 at 20:27 | #36

    Hi Antonio,
    I have just read an article in Yahoo (UK) that states that “It’s hoped that an impending law that will grant automatic residency to non-EU nationals who buy a property at €500,000 or more will bolster foreign investment, particularly from Russian and Chinese buyers….. Most critics believe the scheme would have been more meaningful if the bar had been set lower – it had originally been pitched at €160,000.”

    see original article here (–is-now-the-time-to-pick-up-a-dream-home-in-the-spanish-sun–152041334.html )

    Any comments re the new adjusted price levels?

  37. Dan Adoms
    October 27th, 2014 at 21:16 | #37

    Hello Antonio:

    Please could you tell me how much it costs for NON-EU people to get Spain’s Permanent Residency through buying a home there?

    I thank you very much in advance.

  38. Antonio Flores
    October 28th, 2014 at 09:57 | #38

    Hi Dan,

    The cost of it is really whatever fees you are charged by the acting lawyer. Our firm charges on the conveyancing (1% of the house purchase price plus VAT) and includes the immigration service in the same package.

    I trust this answers your question.