UK Nationals are eyeing the opportunity to migrate to one of the best countries in Europe after the UK exits the EU (Brexit). International entrepreneurs see Spain’s potential for financial growth as the main reason to live and work in the country- the diversity of customers from its neighboring countries and the millions of tourists that visit Spain each year are a huge indicator of success in terms of business. In the next post we are going to talk about the opportunities of living in Spain:

According to the UK government, UK citizens that are living in or are planning to move to Spain should first register as a resident in Spain, register for healthcare as a resident and exchange their UK driver’s license for a Spanish one. Once you have been registered as a legal resident, you will be issued a biometric residence card called a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE), which will prove that you are eligible to enjoy the rights and privileges outlined in the Withdrawal Agreement, although it is not required to obtain the TIE as long as you own a EU residence document. Furthermore, UK nationals that are planning to or liviing in Spain can get support from organizations funded by the UK Nationals Support Fund in order to complete their residence application or registration.

British citizens that are planning on living in Spain after Brexit through real estate investment may opt to acquire the Spanish Golden Visa, which allows the whole family to enjoy the desirable and low cost of living while having the opportunity to work and to travel within the Schengen area. The residency permit will not require any length of stay before having to benefit from its advantages. The different investment options for this visa are outlined below:

  • A real estate investment with a minimum of €500,000
  • A €1,000,000 investment in shares of Spanish companies
  • A €2,000,000 investment into government bonds
  • A fund transfer or deposit of €1,000,000 into a Spanish bank account

Aside from these options, there are other residence programs for non-European citizens that want to reside in the country without investing. There are two permits available that are work-related and do not need an investment: the residency for highly qualified professionals, a permit that allows qualified professionals from outside the EU to live and work in Spain as an executive or manager through the Regulatory Law 14/2013 of September; and the inter-company residence, which allows non-EU workers to transfer, working in a company with offices in Spain. For non-European citizen retirees, the non-profit residence is available for them to reside in the country without the need to carry any type of economic activity, as long as they possess sufficient funds to settle in Spain. This permit allows the family members of the applicant to reside with them in the country.

Once you have decided what type of Spanish Golden Visa is best for your and your family, choosing where to live in the country is next. Spain is famous for its low cost of living, good weather, the exceptional culture and delicious gastronomy, but depending on your preference and your lifestyle, you can choose from different cities. Whether you choose to live in Barcelona, where the city life and the beach meet; Madrid, the capital with beautiful streets filled with theaters and high-class restaurants; Valencia, for its affordable lifestyle and famous cultural destinations; Sevilla, the heart of flamenco; or Granada, with its distinguished Arab architecture. All of them possess a myriad of nationalities and cultures, which make them perfect for expats since you will be able to meet other international residents, aside from locals, while enjoying living in one of the best countries in Europe.

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The contemporary city of Barcelona is the choice of destination for internationals that want to experience one of the best cities in the world combined with wonderful beaches and mountains. Its perfect Mediterranean weather welcomes everyone that wants to enjoy the culture, art, and gastronomy that the city offers, backing up its title of being the eighth-best city in the world to live and work in. For many locals, one of the secret paradises that the city hides is the wide park of Collserola, where an 8,000 hectare area of dense forest to hike, bike, or simply explore is located within the city’s metropolitan area. If you want to live in Barcelona, you may like this information:

El Parc de Collserola is one of the largest natural parks in Europe, a place where families go to discover and learn from its natural area with a diverse flora and fauna, as well as to have the opportunity to witness an amazing overview of Barcelona. This park represents a natural and ecological treasure to the city of Barcelona, filled with different landscapes brought by over 1,000 major plants cataloged and the 300 different species of animals living there. The best way to enjoy the park is to hike from the Parc del Laberint to Sant Cugat, where the park trail will be drawn like a maze that will lead you to different paths and sights. This walk through the largest park of the city will offer you an experience of a lifetime, for many may have visited the old streets of El Gotic and dined in one of the restaurants in La Barceloneta, but not everyone has had the chance to hike the hidden gem of Collserola.

One of the best places to live in Barcelona is the Sarria-Sant Gervasi area, which is part of the urban area near Collserola. Families that choose to reside in this upper northwest of the city will have the opportunity to live in the wealthiest district, with a safe and peaceful environment and easy access to the mountain life that Collserola offers. International families that wish to relocate to Barcelona choose this area for its distinguished and well-maintained buildings and streets, such as the Bellesguard designed by Gaudi. The seven neighborhoods of Sarria-Sant Gervasi consist of Bonanova, Can Caralleu, Sant Gervasi, Sarria, Tibidabo, Les Planes, and Vallvidrera. These neighborhoods have in common that all of them have incredible private properties with high-end luxury features that are far from the busy and crowded city center, as well as a magnificent view of Barcelona, while being surrounded by the beautiful park of Collserola.

Another reason why the Sarria-Sant Gervasi area is one of the best places to live in Barcelona is for the different top-rated international and English-language schools that are in the neighborhood. Residents of this part of the city will have access to the schools that have revamped their education system, improving the teaching quality, innovation, infrastructure, and curriculum to adapt to both foreign and Spanish students that enroll in the institutions. Some of these international schools in the area of Sarria-Sant Gervasi are the Benjamin Franklin International School, St. George’s British School, and Santa Clara International School. For instance, international families that choose to live in this neighborhood will ensure that their families will live in the best area of Barcelona, with access to the best schools and with the opportunity to hike and explore El Parc de Collserola.

If you are planning to buy real estate in one of the neighborhoods in Sarria-Sant Gervasi to live in the city along with your family, this is the best time. According to the real estate company Colibree, the price of housing in Barcelona will fall between 20% and 30% in the coming months due to the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, this decrease and the many advantages of living and working in Spain will attract many investors to purchase real estate and obtain residency in the Catalan city.

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The exit of the United Kingdom from the EU politically and economically, has left British citizens residing in a European country wondering how it will affect them. According to the official website of the European Union, UK nationals, along with their family members, will have to apply for a new residence status. The new biometric residence card, which is similar to the residence cards that are issued to other non-EU nationals living in the EU, grants one access to the rights defined in the Withdrawal Agreement, wherein the cardholder and family members will be exempt from ETIAS and visa requirements when moving to the European country of choice. Here are the rules to be met by non-EU residents that opt to apply for the new residence card:

  • Reporting presence
  • Registering your residence abroad
  • Registering your EU family
  • Registering your non-EU family

In order to obtain the new card, you will have to ensure that you meet all the stated requirements, so you can keep using your current residence card until you get your new biometric residence card. Although it is not obligatory to get the new card, it is recommended.

Once you have updated your residency status and ensured that you have gathered all the required documents, you will continue to be allowed to live in the country you have been living in. Nevertheless, all the benefits you are entitled to while residing in the EU country have to be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement in order to be lawful. For expats that are planning to return to the UK, the right to live, work, and access benefits and services, such as healthcare in the UK or the right to vote, has not changed.

There are different options for British nationals to choose where to live in Europe after Brexit. For all the options, however, you will need to register as a resident in the country, register for healthcare, and exchange your UK driver’s license for one from the country. 

Living in Europe: best options

One of the best options is Greece, with its ideal climate and marvelous landscapes, wherein great business opportunities can be available within the 2,000 islands that the country has to offer. All UK nationals resident in Greece should get the new biometric residence document before the June 30, 2021 deadline, in order to retain the rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. The eligibility for residency depends on how long one has stayed in the country: for those residing for 5 or more years, they will be eligible for permanent residency and a 10-year renewable residency document; for those with less than 5 years residing, they will be eligible for a document with 5 years validity.

The request for documents depends on the location, where you will be instructed to visit the Aliens Department of your area. For example, those living in Attica and Thessaloniki will be visiting the nearest Hellenic Police station that has an Aliens Department.

Another place where British nationals can live in Europe after Brexit is Spain and Portugal. The biometric residence is needed to ensure your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, regardless of how long one has lived in the country or is just planning to do so. If you have been registered as a resident before July 6, 2020, you will have a certificate that ensures your rights regardless if you choose to get the new biometric residence or not.

Different fees are also required to be paid in order to successfully acquire the biometric residence card and start living the European dream after leaving the UK. Furthermore, UK nationals that are seeking additional help to secure their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement can approach the UK nations Support Fund.

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The Golden Visa Spain is the best option for international entrepreneurs that are planning to invest in the country to benefit from the country’s potential for financial and lifestyle growth. Aside from having the opportunity to live and work within the countries in the Schengen region, once you become a holder of this visa, you and your family will be eligible to access the healthcare and educational system of the country. In recent years, Spain has been updating its education system through new and innovative teaching methodologies to offer the best quality education to their Spanish and foreign students. Therefore, the Golden Visa Spain will give your children the opportunity to learn in a school that leads in the world rankings.

How is the Spanish educational system?

Aside from its low cost of living and appealing weather, Spain is known to be among the best in terms of the educational system, as some schools in the country have been declared as among the best schools by the elite of education worldwide, proven to be even better than institutions in Finland, Japan or Korea. International students will have the opportunity to learn from the linguistic, historic, artistic, architectural, natural, musical, athletic, and gastronomical wealth of the country. Moreover, according to the 2015 PISA/OECD survey on the education standard of 70 countries, Spain has shown its great potential in terms of Science and Mathematics performance. All of these have led the country to guarantee that students develop a sense of belonging at school, wherein they are able to grow and achieve their full potential when it comes to career development.

The school system in Spain is divided into four levels:

  • Preschool (0-3 years and 3-6 years),
  • Primary school (6-12 years),
  • Compulsory secondary education or ESO (12-16 years)
  • Post-16 education (16-18 years).

The first 10 years of the students between the ages of 6 to 16 are obligatory and free of charge, for those who have enrolled in a public state school. After graduating from the compulsory secondary school (ESO), the child may choose what path to take: they can choose to take a vocational training of two years or continue on to post-16 education (Bachillerato). Upon deciding on the second option, the major he chooses in the Bachillerato will determine what course he will be taking at the University of their choice after they have passed the entrance examination (Selectividad). Pompeu Fabra University, Autonomous University of Barcelona, and the University of Barcelona are top 3 universities in the country that are part of the World University Rank of 2021, all of them in the Catalan city of Barcelona.

MBA for international students

Furthermore, international students can also acquire their graduate degrees in the country from some of the best business schools in Europe. The Barcelona Campus of IESE Business School – Universidad de Navarra is on top of the list in the Spanish MBAs, placed 12th globally in 2019. As a further testament to its international notoriety, IESE’s Full Time MBA program consistently boasts a student class that is predominantly non-Spaniard. The school offers flexible and comprehensive courses to maximize students’ potential in the fields of investment banking, management consulting, or entrepreneurship, among others.

Why apply for the Golden Visa Spain?

The reason why families aspire to obtain the Golden Visa Spain and decide to study in the country is not only for the quality of education but also for the budget-friendly lifestyle, an important factor for college students that are looking forward to getting international level education for less than in other schools in Europe. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to learn the second most spoken language in the world, after Chinese, which will be a huge advantage when it comes to work application and culture development, particularly useful in the emerging markets of Latin America.

You will also have the opportunity to live in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, such as Barcelona or Madrid. In these cities are some of the most important colleges and universities in Europe.

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According to the Canadian consultancy firm Resonance, Barcelona is the eight-best city in the world to live and work. The report The World’s best cities 2021 says that Barcelona earns its ranking for its “intoxicating mix of beach, architecture and creativity” which has “framed the city as the poster child of overtourism-and its solutions”.

Those ranking led by London in the first place, followed by New York, Paris, Moscow, Dubai, Singapore and Barcelona. They complete the Top 10, Los Angeles and the Spanish capital, Madrid.

The report, describes Barcelona as almost ideal European city, one with near-perfect weather year-round, miles and miles of beaches, iconic parks, striking architecture and colorful neighborhoods that march to their own beat—artistic, sophisticated, bohemian.

It is also important to highlight the tenth position achieved by Madrid. In this way, Spain has its two most important cities in the top 10 of the ranking.

 Why it is a good idea to invest in Spain?

As this ranking has demonstrate, Spain offers many benefits for those living and working on it. If you are an international investor considering to invest abroad the Golden Visa Spain is a great idea. The Spanish Golden Visa it is eligible for all your family and gives the opportunity to work and travel through the Schengen area. Moreover, those permit does not require any length of stay before having benefit from its advantages.

In addition, by receiving the Golden Visa Spain, you and your family will be entitled to the right to access the educational system and healthcare of the country. This will mean that your children can enroll in the Child Education Primary Education, Secondary and University. In terms of the Spanish healthcare system, the country offers both state healthcare services that guarantee high-quality health care of universal coverage for all resident free of charge.

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Spain has been one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus, and one of the consequences has been that Golden Visa investment, specifically in real estate has dropped to half its 2019-level by the end of May 2020. However, it is not all bad news and the results are not as bad as preliminary figures had indicated.

According to the first data shown by the Spain’s Foreign Ministry, only 113 property buyers had been granted golden visas in the first five months of 2020, down from 285 during the same period the year before. However, recently data published by Spain Ministry Labor show that Spain approved an additional 683 golden visas for main applicants during the first half of 2020. That represents a 19% rise in approvals on the preceding six months, but also a 19% drop compared to the first half of 2019, when Spain approved 848 application.

Experts said that there are at least two possible explanations to understand this disparity in numbers. The first one, says that there was a major surge in approvals of backlogged applications when Spain reopened in June. On the other hand, the second explanation says that the number of international investors who pick the real estate route is not as dominant as in previous years.

Despite both explanations, what may have occurred is that Spain has seen normal levels of application during the pandemic months, but were unable to process due to the lockdown situation and office closures, and have been approved by default.

Spain Golden Visa applicants

The Ministry of Labor shows that during the first semester, Chinese and Russian investors were the largest applicant groups, and the total number of Golden Visas issued in Spain by the end of June stood at 6.198, which raise nearly half a billion euros. Since the programme opening in 2014, the Spanish Golden Visa has earned 4.5 billion.

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The Golden Visa is the best option for international investors that aim to have a plan B for themselves and their family, with the possibility of top-quality education and low-cost living in exchange for capital investment in a certain country. With this residence permit, the main applicant and his family will be allowed to live, study, and travel without the need for a visa. For instance, for investors that have obtained a Golden Visa in Spain, Portugal or Greece, their whole family is granted visa-free access to the Schengen Zone, which includes Sweden, Germany, and Italy; perfect for hassle-free visits to a neighboring European country to experience traditional food, explore foreign streets, and learn about a different culture.

Benefits of the Spanish, Portuguese and Greek Golden Visa

The main benefit of acquiring a residence permit with the Golden Visa is that you will be able to move freely to the country of residence of your preference with your family, which is a privilege that will ensure the best option for your future. Being a resident of a country includes having access to their health system which is advantageous in places like Spain. In the long-term, investing €500,000 for a residence in Spain will be a wiser option for American citizens, rather than spending it on the price of healthcare in the USA; the low cost of living and the Mediterranean weather is just a plus.

The advantages of the Golden Visa vary depending on the country you want to invest in. The most popular, the Spanish Golden Visa, grants EU residency in 60 days without the need to stay in the country for renewal after investing €500,000 in real estate. The Golden Visa is the fastest and easiest way to reside in the country, which also:

  • Allows the investor and all the family members (spouse, children that are under 18 or economically dependent, and dependent parents) to move together to the country.
  • The possibility of all the beneficiaries of the permit to work if over the age of 16.
  • Access to public and private healthcare, whereas the public system provides free basic healthcare for those who contribute to the Spanish social security system and their families, and to retirees.
  • And also access to the education system which is of international standards.

For this, investing in real estate in Spain has been an all-time retirement choice for foreign entrepreneurs, or for families that want to secure an alternative plan.

Another option for overseas investors is the Greek Golden Visa, which offers the lowest cost and fastest program to obtain a residence in the EU. With more than 2,000 islands in total, Greece has plenty of space for entrepreneurs to expand their business while having the chance to enjoy the good economy, wonderful landscapes, and the warmth of the Mediterranean people and weather. Like its neighbor country, Spain, Greece offers a golden visa where the whole family can benefit from its advantages, which also includes access to a high standard of schooling and health service for free; although the investment is more economic, with a minimum of €250,000.

The Golden Visa is also offered by other countries outside the EU. From the lowest to the highest minimum of investment with a range of €175,000 to £2,000,000, investors from across the world can choose to live in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Canada, UAE, United Kingdom, and Germany among other countries. This crucial investment is the free pass for whole families to enjoy a more prosperous life, having the opportunity to choose in crisis situations or when there are unexpected life-threatening situations as the actual pandemic is. This right to choose, should you prefer to escape to the calm and budget-friendly Portugal, or to invest in a potential business in a foreign country, will give you the assurance of a lifetime investment that benefits the whole family.

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The Golden Visa Europe is a program where a residency permit is granted to international entrepreneurs that invest in real estate within a EU member country that offers these programs. The main benefit of this residency by investment permit is that you and your immediate family members (spouse, children, and parents) will also be beneficiaries of the residence permit, which comes with several advantages within the different countries that offer the golden visa.

For any Golden Visa Europe, the holder and all the members of the family can travel to any Schengen countries freely without the need of a visa, these would include the opportunity to explore Germany, France, and Sweden among the 26 European countries. The most famous Golden Visa Europe programs are in Spain, Portugal, and Greece with an investment range from €250,000 to €500,000.

The minimum investment needed for real estate in Greece is the lowest among the three favorites, with €250,000 and a fast 60-day process for approval. The permit will allow the investor and his family (including partner, children under 21, parents, and parents-in-law) to enjoy the ideal climate topped with marvelous landscapes. A great opportunity for business is also available within the 2,000 islands that the country has, perfect for entrepreneurs that are seeking to widen their business opportunities. In the case of Greece, it is required to reside for 5 years in the country before you can apply for the citizenship program. The investment options for the Golden Visa Greece are:

  • Purchasing real estate of €250,000 to be held for the duration of residence and for a minimum period of 5 years.
  • Lease a real estate or timeshare of €250,000 to be held for the duration of residence and for a minimum of 5 years.

Another option for the Golden Visa Europe is in Portugal, which has topped the Annual Global Retirement Index for 2020. The affordable lifestyle, high safety rating, and quality professional healthcare in the country make Portugal one of the best choices to invest your future in. With a minimum of €280,000, the Golden residence Portugal allows families to work, reside and study in the country while having the opportunity to experience the Mediterranean lifestyle in one of the world’s friendliest and safest countries. There are more investment options compared to Greece which widens the possibility for more international investors, and these are:

  • Real estate investment of €500,000 in real estate property
  • Real estate investment in an urban area of more than 30 years old or situated in an urban regeneration area for €350,000
  • Real estate investment in rural areas of more than 30 years old or situated in rural regeneration areas for €280,000
  • Investment in a private equity fund for at least €350,000
  • Creation 10 full-time jobs within a Portuguese business
  • Investment of €350,000 in research by accredited institutions from a national scientific and technological system
  • Investment of €350,000 in an existing company registered in Portugal

Lastly, the Spanish Golden Visa is the choice of investors that want new opportunities along with the enviable quality of life in the Mediterranean country with famous destinations as Barcelona and Ibiza. Likewise, this Golden Visa allows the whole family to enjoy the desirable and low cost of living while having the opportunity to work and to travel to the Schengen area. This permit does not require any length of stay before having to benefit from its advantages, as long as the investor choose between these investment options:

  • A real estate investment of a minimum of €500,000
  • A €1,000,000 investment in shares or business of Spanish companies
  • A €2,000,000 investment into government bonds
  • A fund transfer of €1,000,000 into a Spanish bank account

These three famous Golden Visa Europe follow a similar acquisition process which starts with the help of our experts in Orience International for you to choose the best investment route. After deciding on the place and investment option that you want to proceed with, you will be submitting all the legal documents as well as the residence application. And after your residence application has been examined and approved, you will be issued with the residence permit.

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If you were planning to buy a beach house on a dreamy Balearic Island or invest to live a more metropolitan life in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, professionals affirm that the year 2021 is the best year for investors to buy real estate in Spain.

State of the real estate market

Among the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the real estate market in Spain has experienced a total paralyzation of movement along with other sectors that involve foreign ties, such as tourism and hospitality. Professionals and experts expect investors and potential buyers to resume activity and raise their interest to buy real estate as 2021 nears, as they expect demand for Spanish housing to lower and therefore, decrease in price.

According to S&P Global Rating analysts, a decrease of 3.5% in 2020 will favor possible buyers; while Professor Gonzalo Bernardos from the Department of Economic Theory at the University of Barcelona predicts a shocking 13% decrease for this year. For that, experts advise that it is better to buy real estate than to sell, which is good news for international investors that are wise enough to grab the opportunity of investing in the third largest investment country in the EU, where the low cost of living, good weather, good educational system and exceptional food are guaranteed.

Also, after the Brexit, UK Nationals are evening the opportunity to migrate to another Europe country and one of the most demanded is being Spain.

Steps to buy real estate in Spain

Investors from Philippines that decide to buy real estate in Spain must obtain a NIE (Numero de Indetificacion del extranjero) beforehand, for it must appear on all documents that are signed or are issued in Spain. Also, opening a bank account in the country (if you do not have one yet) will make transactions less complicated, although it is not compulsory. For Philippines buyers that are not residing in Spain, a tax representative will be needed once you officially own real estate in the country.

Deciding on how much to spend in the purchase of a real estate in the country should be the first step, whereas real estate agents and lawyers would advise to ensure the best choice for you.

Since February of 2020, the price of a house in Spain has decreased by 0.3%, more significant in Castilla y Leon (-1.3%), Catalonia (-0.7%) and Galicia (-0.4%); whereas the Balearic Islands, Valencian Community and Madrid have mostly maintained their pre 2020 pricing. The average price range to buy real estate in most provinces of Spain is between €900 and €1,250 if you are looking forward to living in places like Barcelona, Mallorca or San Sebastian; but in provinces such as Ciudad Real, Lugo or Toledo, the prices of housing do not reach the €660 per square meter, which it is a more convenient and economical alternative where buyers can still enjoy the benefits of living in the Peninsula. From most expensive to least, the Balearics is the most high-priced region with a €3,060 per square meter average, followed by the capital of Spain, Madrid (€2,796) and Euskadi (€2,567). For the cities, San Sebastian, with a current property price of €4,545 is the most expensive, followed by the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona (€4,104). If you want to know the best neighborhoods to invest in Barcelona read the following post.

After deciding where you want to buy real estate in Spain, whether it is a house in the city or a property in the northside of the country, and discussing with your experienced team of lawyers and real estate agents, you will be directed to sign a pre-purchase contract. The document includes the terms and conditions of the transaction, the deadline for the purchase and the signature of both buyer and seller. In addition, investors usually pay 10% of the total agreed upon price.

Golden Visa by buy real estate

For overseas entrepreneurs that want to buy real estate in Spain, a minimum investment of €500,000 in real estate will allow you to apply for the Golden Visa, which allows you and your family to enjoy its advantages, which includes the possibility to live, work and study in the country, and to travel to other European countries such as Germany and France.

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