consejo de ministros

Government Announcement – End Of The Golden Visa For Property Purchases in Spain

Just over one year after Portugal announced that its ‘Golden Visa’ for property investors would be coming to an end, Spain has signaled the end of the ‘Golden Visa‘ for property purchases in Spain.

On Monday 8th April, President Pedro Sanchez announced, “We are going to start the procedure to eliminate the granting of the so-called golden visa , which allows access to the residence regime when more than half a million euros are invested in real estate. We are going to take the necessary measures to guarantee that housing is a right and not a mere speculative business,

The residency by property investment scheme, offers a 3 year residency permit to foreigners from third countries who purchase a property for €500,000 or more.

The scheme, introduced in 2013 in the fallout of the housing market crash and financial crisis, was seen as a way to invigorate the real estate sector by attracting investment from foreigners, but has not been without criticism.  Not least for the lightweight background checks, and being viewed by other EU nations as a back door into the EU for individuals who would otherwise not gain access.

At home, the scrutiny is more political, with those averse claiming that it distorts, and has negative socio-economic affects.  It is this which Sanchez seems to indicate as the main driver, as he stated that nearly all approved ‘Golden Visas’ and residency permits for property investments were located in regional capitals such as Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga and Valencia, ‘cities where the housing market is stressed’.

He added “We do not want a speculative investment model with housing”, further commenting on the aim of his main policy to ‘guarantee access to affordable housing . . . and assure that no citizen has to spend more than 30% of their income towards having a suitable, quality home’.

In 2023, foreign buyers bought 15% of all homes sold in Spain with British buyers continuing to top the board as the nationality with the largest numbers buyers.

When Ireland, Portugal and Greece got rid of their ‘Golden Visa’ schemes, lack of affordable rental housing stock in its major cities was also cited as a main reason.

Others, including real estate experts have a different view and warn that ending the scheme could be harmful to the Spanish economy as the country will lose foreign investment into the property sector.

Whatever view taken, one thing now seems certain, the countdown has started and it is just a matter of time before Spain’s ‘Golden Visa’ for property investment comes to an end.

Until then, it remains an option for those who have €500k to invest in a property, and anyone looking to do so, needs to act now before it’s too late.

This article references information published by El Pais

Image credit: Sala del Consejo de Ministros, Edificio del Consejo de Ministros Photographs by Borja Puig de la Bellacasa via Wikimedia Commons

Planning for Tax in Spain

Changing from UK to Spanish Residency and Understanding Tax in Spain

Needless to say when taking up Spanish residency, understanding tax in Spain and planning for fiscal residency is important.  Tax in Spain is very different to the UK, so for anyone making the move, planning this part of the transition to full-time Spanish residency is should be firmly on the agenda.

Here we provide an overview of the tax related requirements and key points that most need to consider when moving  in Spain.

Tax related requirements once you’ve taken up residency in Spain

There are lots of things to consider when taking up residency in Spain, and where tax is concerned, the starting point is understanding all the differences Spanish resident status brings with it.

You are generally liable to pay taxes in the country in which you reside.  This means that once you have taken up residency in Spain, you will be subject to Spanish taxation.  The obligation to pay taxes in Spain arises when you meet the residency measure based on the 183 day rule.  This responsibility applies regardless of whether you have registered as a resident or not.

As a resident in Spain you are liable to pay tax on:

  • General income
  • Interest on savings and investments
  • Capital gains on sale of assets
  • Wealth (if your total wealth is €700k or more – €1m including allowance for family home)*
  • Gifts and inheritance

*Allowances are lower in some regions – in Madrid and Andalucia wealth tax is currently waived. 

Large fortune tax is a new national tax on wealth that kicks in on net wealth above €3m.  (Regionally paid wealth tax is applied as a tax credit)

Spanish residents must also declare assets they own outside of Spain such as:

  • Property
  • Investments
  • Savings
  • Pensions
  • Insurance

When do you become resident for tax purposes in Spain?

Tax obligations arise for the fiscal year in which you become resident in Spain, not from the date you got your residency.  New residents in Spain need to be mindful that the Spanish tax authorities apply the default assumption that an individual who has obtained residency, (formally registered as a resident), in Spain, has done so because they are switching their habitual residence from the country that they were living in, to Spain.

Depending on your circumstances, this means that you could be deemed to be fiscally resident in Spain despite not having lived in Spain for 183 days of the year.  For example if in August last year you sold your home in the UK, bought a home in Spain, moved over and obtained residency, under the habitual residence rule you will be deemed to be Spanish tax resident in last year.  This is because Spain do not split the tax year, so the fact that you now only have a home in Spain overrides the 183 day rule, i.e. you cannot claim habitual residence in the UK if you no longer have a permanent home there.

On the other hand, if you moved to Spain and obtained residency, however have kept a permanent home in the UK, you could claim that your habitual residence did not change in last year applying the 183 day rule, as you spent more time in your home in the UK than you did your home in Spain.  This year as you will spend more than 183 days at your home in Spain, then you will be resident for tax purposes this year.

What do you need to do after becoming a Spanish resident?

Individual circumstances are of course all different.  It’s therefore important to know the key things that apply and need to be done in your own personal situation.

Generally speaking, when you change residence from one country to another, in most cases there is, or should be an element of financial and tax planning.

Basic planning begins with knowing the taxes that will apply, the returns that need to be done, and when.   Then it’s a case of getting a clear picture of how these will apply in your situation, and the implications so you can plan accordingly.

The following is a summary of the Spanish key tax dates and when they apply according to when you became resident.

Spanish Tax Return Deadlines

Non resident property tax Modelo 210 – 31st December following year (e.g. 2023 must be submitted by end of 2024)

Overseas assets declaration Modelo 720 – 31st March the year after becoming tax resident

Income tax return Modelo 100 – 30th June the year after becoming resident

Tax Return and Declarations Guide for Change of Residency

New Residents Last Year

If you took up residency and became resident for tax purposes in Spain last year, assuming that you were in receipt of income, your personal tax return is due in June this year.  If you owned assets outside of Spain, of value €50k or more, you should also have submitted an overseas assets declaration (Modelo 720) in March this year.

Anyone who took up residency in the second half of last year who can claim that their habitual residence did not change, assuming they spent less than 183 days in Spain in the year, then this year is their first fiscal year in Spain.  If they were an owner of a property owner in Spain the previous year, they will complete their last non resident property tax return this year and in June next year their first resident income tax return will be due.

New Residents This Year

Anyone who moved to Spain in the first half of this year, will generally be deemed tax resident in Spain this year.  If applicable, the Overseas Assets declaration, Modelo 720, is due in  March next year and income tax returns by end of June next year.

If you take up residency in the second half of this year, and are able to show that your habitual residence didn’t change, then next year will be your first fiscal year in Spain.  The Overseas Assets Declaration and income tax returns will not be due until the year after next.

What are the differences between UK taxation and tax in Spain?

Tax in Spain has a general reputation of being excessive compared to the UK.  This is not surprising if for example you compare income tax.  The basic income tax allowance in Spain is €5,550 (low income €14,000), vs £12,500 in the UK, and the tax rate rises to 30% as soon as your taxable income reaches €20,200.  These are clearly negative differences.

There are however also many positive differences.  For example, in a family with 4 children, the parents get an addition €19,100 tax allowance between them  Rental income from a residential property also has a substantial 60% reduction applied before it is taxed, and the top rate of tax on dividends in Spain is 26% versus 38.1% in the UK.

In some circumstances pensions may also attract less tax in Spain than in the UK.  Read more about Taxation of UK Pensions in Spain.

We aren’t going to list every difference in this article, and the above examples illustrate that the differences aren’t necessarily all negative.  How it works out for each individual taking up residency in Spain, depends on their situation and how they plan and prepare for their transition to being a Spanish tax payer.

Planning for tax in Spain before taking up residency

Contrary to perception Spanish taxation is often not as bad as many thought, or were lead to believe that it would be.  The reality is that if you become resident in Spain, you are liable to pay tax in Spain.

For most it is certainly not a matter to be avoided.  Anyone who has recently take up residency in Spain or who is planning to, should be considering the fiscal aspects of their move, the possible tax implication what they need to do to be ready for Spanish taxation.

By taking time to plan, it is possible to minimise potential Spanish tax exposure, limit it, or at very least fully understand it.

We recommend anyone moving to Spain to follow these 5 steps:

Simple Steps to Successfully becoming a Spanish Tax Resident

  • Learn about the tax system – what needs to be done and when
  • Understand how the Spanish tax regime differs in your situation and what tax you will have to pay
  • Find out what tax treatment applies to assets you own and tax breaks that you currently enjoy
  • Make changes in your financial set up to minimise, limit or avoid Spanish tax
  • Get professional advice on financial or tax matters in both the UK and Spain

Spanish Residency Financial & Tax Consultation

If you are not sure about your tax position, have questions about tax in Spain, or would like assistance with any of the steps above, we can provide you with an initial review of your situation.  We’ll highlight key tax points relating to tax, your situation and answer your general questions.

You may need further help understanding how tax in Spain affects you, or planning to limit how much it does.  In which case our team of financial and tax consultants specialised in change of residency planning between UK and Spain, are here to help.

Spanish Residency Financial & Tax Consultation

Read more about Tax in Spain

Read more about Overseas Assets Declaration in Spain

This information is provided for informational purposes only and we do not warrant it’s accuracy or completeness.  It is not intended to provide advice, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own suitably qualified tax, legal or accounting advisors before making financial or tax related decisions. 

Golden Visa Property

Portugal Ends Golden Visa – Will Spain Follow?

Portugal has ended its Golden Visa residency program for property investors. This announcement came just a week after Ireland terminated of its ‘Golden Visa’ Immigrant Investor Program.

Both countries introduced Golden Visas in 2012, as did Spain, as they struggled to recover from the global financial crisis. The aim was to prevent banking collapse by bringing foreign money into their real estate markets.

According to Forbes, the scheme has brought in €6.8 billion direct investment into Portugal since its launch in 2012, with the most of the money going into real estate. The knock on effect of this has been rents and house prices have soared in a country which is among the poorest in Western Europe, where according to Reuters, more than half of workers earn less than €1,000 per month.

Because Portugal’s ‘Golden Visa’ program didn’t require any minimum time to be spent in Portugal, properties were bought and left empty, or just used for 2 or 3 weeks and rented as holiday lets for the rest of the year. This resulted in distortions in both the rental and sale sectors of the property market.

The increase in properties let short term for holidays, reduced the availability of long-term rents, pushing up prices which became unaffordable to locals. In Lisbon, short-term rentals now account for more than 60% of listed properties. Lisbon is the third costliest rental market in Europe after Milan and Paris. Rents increased by 37% in that city in the fourth quarter of 2022 alone.

The ‘golden visa’ investment entry point became the floor price for properties in many parts of Portugal. Sellers priced their properties for wealthy foreign buyers pushing asking prices way beyond what locals could afford.

Aside from upsetting the ordinary Portuguese, ‘Golden Visa’ schemes like those offered by Portugal, Ireland and Spain are seen as a back door entry for nationals of non-EU countries into the EU and also vehicles for money laundering.

The European Parliament announced in March last year (2022) that citizenship by investment programmes (i.e. Golden Visa Schemes) should be gradually removed. This proposal passed with 595 votes to 12. EU pressure has already forced Malta, Cyprus, Latvia, and Bulgaria to scrap their ‘Golden Visa’ residency initiatives, so it is not surprising that Ireland and Portugal followed suit, and maybe is only a matter of time before Spain follows.

The Spanish left-wing party political party, MásPaís this month put forward a bill proposing and end to the property option in the country’s Golden Visa residency program.

So Portugal’s shop is closed, but as things stand Spain’s ‘Golden Visa’ Property Investor Residency remains an option (for now) for those who have €500k to invest in a property.

If you’re interested in obtain a Spanish Golden Visa through property investment, the clock is ticking … the time to act is now.


Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa for UK British Nationals

The Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa offers residency to British nationals who have the financial means to support themselves without working.  The Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa scheme is therefore ideal if you are retired or have passive income, for example from a portfolio of properties or other investments.  The Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa allows full-time residency in Spain with an expectation of a minimum of 6 months residence maintained.

What does the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa Offer UK British Nationals?

The Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa gives permission to reside in Spain for up to 5 years, providing ongoing eligibility requirements continue to be met.  The TIE, tarjeta de identidad de extranjero is the residency card that is issued.  The TIE is initially valid for 1 year, and can be renewed twice for 2 years at a time.  When 5 years of full-time residency has been completed, permanent residency can be applied for.

A Visa for Full-Time Living in Spain

The Non-Lucrative Visa is intended for people who want to live in Spain full-time.   Time spent in Spain does not count towards the Schengen limit, so travel in the rest of the Schengen area up to 3 months out of 6 months, is also still possible.

Spouse or legal partner, children under 18 years and dependent ascendants can also obtain residency in Spain under the Non-Lucrative Visa scheme.  This of course providing there are sufficient financial means to support all applicants.

Unlike the ‘Golden Visa‘, there is a minimum amount of time that must be spent in Spain to be able to renew residency, so it may be not ideal for holiday home owners who want to spend more than 3 months in one go in Spain, but typically spend less than 6 months altogether, e.g. 5 months over the winter.

How does a British UK National Apply for a Non-Lucrative Visa & Residency?

British nationals who wish to get a Non-Lucrative Visa, must apply for it at the Spanish Consulate in the UK, or if they reside in another country, through the consulate of that country.  Once the visa has been approved, it’s valid for 90 days from the date of issue.  During this time the holder must travel to Spain and apply for their residency card or TIE tarjeta de identidad de extranjero.  The application for the TIE, must be made within 30 days of arrival in Spain.

Applications for the Non-Lucrative Visa cannot be presented by a legal representative and must be applied for in person.  There is an application fee of £516.

Summary of Non-Lucrative Visa General Requirements

The Non-Lucrative visa applicant must:

● Have a valid passport with at least 1 year before expiry
● Not have entered or stayed illegally in Spanish territory
● Not have been refused entry in any of the 26 Schengen countries
● Have sufficient financial means to cover personal and family living costs (€27,000 for the applicant plus €7,000 for each dependent family member)
● Be 18 years or over, with no criminal record in Spain nor in the countries where they have resided in the previous 5 years
● Have access to public healthcare, or private health insurance with an insurer authorised to operate in Spain

You can read more about the costs and requirements in our article Understanding the Requirements and Costs for British Nationals to Get Spanish Residency

FAQS About the Non-Lucrative Visa for Spanish Residency for British Nationals


No, the non-lucrative residency visa does not allow the holder to carry on any business activity whilst in Spain


Savings may be taken into account in lieu of income, or to ‘top up’ a shortfall in the minimum required amount.  Savings must be sufficient to cover the minimum income requirement for the duration of the residency.  E.g. for 5 years residency with savings only requires savings of 5 times €27,000.


Non-lucrative residency is intended for people that want to live in Spain for 6 months or more.  If the minimum amount of time has not been spent in Spain, the residency renewal may be turned down.  The 183 day rule is the starting measure for determining tax residency.  You are deemed to be a Spanish tax resident if you spend 183 days or more in Spain during any one calendar year.  You would also be deemed to have change your country of habitual residence, and therefore fiscal residence if for example you spent 180 days in Spain, 120 in the UK and the other 65 in another, or other countries.


Non-lucrative residency can lead to permanent residency in Spain.  To obtain permanent residency the holder of the visa must prove effective residence (more than 183 days per year) throughout a qualifying period of 5 years.


The Spanish Consulates in the UK give a timescale of 3 months.  Having assisted with multiple non-lucrative visa applications through all the Consulates, we have found they typically take 2 to 3 weeks from date of submission to be approved.  If applications have queries raised or additional information requested, then they will of course take longer.

If you need more information or advice about getting a Non-Lucrative Visa for residency in Spain, or would like to employ the services of a professional company that specialises in Spanish residency visas, we’ll be glad to assist.  Please get in touch.

Get A Free Spanish Residency Visa Assessment

Phone/WhatsApp (+34) 951 77 55 44 / (+44) 033 000 10 777

UK Banks To Close Accounts & Withdraw Services for Brits Living in the EU

The UK press and expat papers in Spain have all carried articles warning that thousands of Brits living in the EU will have their UK bank accounts closed by the end of the year.

In the UK the The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Times and The Daily Telegraph to name a few, have all detailed how banks including Lloyds, Barclays and even the Queen’s bankers Coutts, will be closing expat accounts and withdrawing services.  The reason for this is the UK’s failure to agree a post-Brexit trade deal to allow cross border Financial Services to continue.

Banks are having to make decisions as to which EU countries to pull out of and which to continue operating in.

Lloyds Bank confirmed to The Sunday Times that it will be withdrawing services from Holland, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal – a move that will affect 13,000 British customers.

The bank, which is Britain’s biggest banking group, started writing to its customers living in these countries since August, telling them that their UK bank accounts would be shut on December 31.

Barclays also confirmed that its banking and credit-card customers living in the EU had started receiving letters.

Why Are UK Banks Closing Accounts & Withdrawing Services for Brits Living in the EU?

Until now the UK banks and other financial service providers have been able to use the EU ‘passporting’ system to provide services to customers living in other EU countries.  In the absence of a Brexit trade deal, the UK will no longer be able to use the passporting system,  This means when the transition period ends, it will become illegal for UK banks and other financial service providers to offer their services to British customers living in EU countries unless they have a licence in each country to do so.

Given the relatively small amount of customers that UK banks have that live in the EU, for most UK banks and other financial service providers, it is not commercially viable to go through the process of obtaining licences and establishing branches in each EU country where they have British expat customers.

Which UK Banks Are Closing Accounts and What Services Are Being Withdrawn?

All the major UK Banks have either already confirmed that they will be closing expats accounts and withdrawing services, or are in the process of reviewing the services that they offer.  Closures will affect current and savings accounts, ISA’s, credit cards and investment accounts.

It is not just bank accounts that are affected.  Customers are also having their credit card facilities withdrawn.  And its not just banks that will not be able to continue offering services.  All financial service providers will lose the ability to serve customers in living in EU countries, unless they have opened up shop in each country where the want to provide their services.  This includes insurance providers, investment companies and firms who provide financial advice.

Will Any Banks or Other Financial Service Providers Continue Offering Services?

Most banks have already made the decision not to continue offering services in the EU.  The decisions are simply based on the commercials.  If it’s not commercially viable for big banks with thousands of customers in the EU, to continue operating, then the same will apply to other financial services providers.  Not least financial advisers.

Many Brits who moved to Spain have kept their UK financial advisers.  This is understandable given that they will usually have had a relationship with them for many years and can therefore rely on them and trust them.  The vast majority of UK financial advisers will will not have the means or justification, to go to the expense of setting themselves up in Spain, to continue servicing a few clients who live there.

The reality is that many thousands of Brits throughout Spain and the EU, stand to be abandoned by their UK banks, financial advisers and other service providers due to Brexit.

Read more about UK Financial Advisers and their EU resident clients post Brexit.

What Do Should I do If My UK Banks or Financial Service Provider is Unable to Provide Services in the EU?

A short term measure could be to use the address of a friend or family member.  This could help you keep your account open for the time being giving you some time to plan and sort out new arrangements. If you do this, it’s important that you check the terms of the the accounts that you have.  Most accounts that include a credit facility, (overdraft, credit card etc), actually require you to be resident in the UK, not just have a UK address.

It really does depend on your situation, and the reason why you use the account provided by your UK bank.  If you need an account denominated in GBP (pounds), to make and receive payments, then online account providers like for example Revolut, may have a solution.  They offer accounts in the main currencies including GBP, and support direct debits in both EUR and GBP.

Some Spanish banks also offer GBP accounts, and there are also a few international banks such as Standard Bank, that provide accounts in all the main currencies.  With the advent of online banks, it’s also quite easy to open accounts with EU online banks, so there are quite a few options to set up alternative banking arrangements.

One thing to also be aware of is that come 1st January, Spanish banks will be able to charge to receive payments from UK banks, so it’s worthwhile taking the time now to fully review your banking setup.

Of course, whilst there are options, when relationships stretch back many decades and your banking has been a habit of a lifetime, being abandoned is a bitter pill to swallow.

If you are affected by this or think you may be, the first thing you should do is contact your UK bank or financial adviser to find out where you stand.  If you then need to set up new banking arrangements, it’s advisable to do so without delay.

If you’re not sure what this means to you, whether you’re affected, or not sure what to do and would like to speak to a professional who can guide and advise you, please feel free to get in touch and ask to speak to one of our Financial Services Advisers.

Contact Us

Phone & WhatsApp (+34) 951 77 55 44 / (+44) 033 000 10 777

Exchanging Your Spanish Residency Certificate for the TIE for British UK Nationals

The TIE, Tarjeta de Indentidad de Extranjero, is the Spanish identification card for citizens from third countries (non-EU) who reside in Spain.  Since July 2020 British UK nationals moving to Spain have also had to apply for this card, as the UK is no longer in the EU.

If you already have a Spanish residency certificate, you do not have to apply for the TIE, but you can voluntarily exchange your certificate for the card.

Both the Spanish and UK Government websites and their Consulate pages confirm that the green residency certificate, A4 and credit card sized remain valid for UK nationals and prove the holders residency and retained rights under the withdrawal agreement, having settled in Spain before the UK left the EU.  However considering the issues some have encountered during the recent Covid19 travel restrictions, e.g. multiple incidences of authorities and airlines not understanding the rules and denying certificate holders entry to Spain, it is advisable to get the TIE.

Aside from this the card is a full bio-metric national ID card, therefore so much more useful than the paper certificate.  The card also has the words ARTICULO 50 TUE, a reference to note that the holder was resident in Spain before the end of the transition period and has retained rights.

The Residency Certificate TIE Exchange Application Process

The application process is relatively straight forward, and appointments are readily available in most areas at the Foreigners Offices and National Police Stations.

You need to have a pre-booked appointment.

You can make an appointment through the following link:

For your appointment you will need:

*Completed EX23 application form
*Your existing EU residency Card and a copy
*Passport and a copy ( a copy of your passport and the application is acceptable if you are in the process of renewing it)
*Small passport (carnet size) photo 32mmx28mm
*Recent padron (if you have changed address since you obtained your residency certificate)
*Modelo 790 form with 12 euros tax paid and stamped at the bank

When you present your application your fingerprints will be taken, and if everything else is in order, you will be given confirmation of your processed application and told to make an appointment to go back and collect your card in 5 to 6 weeks.  You may have to wait longer.

If you currently have a temporary residency certificate, your new TIE will be valid for 5 years.   You can apply to get a permanent one, either when you reach the 5 year anniversary of the date you got your residency certificate, or at the 5 year expiry of your TIE.

If you currently have a permanent residency certificate (with the word ‘permanente’), your new card will be issued for 10 years and thereafter is automatically renewable.  If you have held a temporary residency certificate for more than 5 years (but didn’t upgrade it to permanent), you may also be issued with a 10 year permanent TIE.

The TIE for British UK Nationals

Withdrawal Agreement TIE for British UK Nationals
The new Withdrawal Agreement TIE ‘tarjeta de idenitidad de extranjeros’ for British UK Nationals

Need a Hand With Your Residency Certificate TIE Exchange Application?

Residency Certificate TIE Exchange Service

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(+34) 951 77 55 44 / (+44) 033 0001 0777