Business Project in Spain: Conditions for Obtaining Residence Permits

The Law to Support Entrepreneurs and Internationalization in Spain establishes various opportunities that may entitle investors and entrepreneurs from non-EU countries to obtain a visa or a residence permit.

The Law outlines easy-to-accredit objective criteria for residence through investment.  These options include investment in Spanish public debt, corporate shares, and real estate.  The investment options include the following:

  • Investment in public debt of a value greater than or equal to two million Euros
  • Investment in corporate shares, social participation of Spanish companies, or bank deposits with a Spanish financial entity of one million Euros.
  • Real estate acquisitions in Spain of a minimum value of 500,000 Euros.

There also exist two other possible business projects (distinct from the above-mentioned other criteria) with more subjective characteristics.  Legal expectations for these projects, at first glance, may not be easily defined.  This may imply difficulties for foreign nationals who want to invest in Spain.  While the uncertainties of the new, unknown system could cause the foreign investor to feel vulnerable, we recommend that a foreign investor seek professional legal services to help guide him or her through the process when opting to invest in a business project in Spain to obtain residence.

Foreign nationals who plan to obtain Spanish residence through a business project may be able to benefit from this specific regime in two different manners:

Business Project of General Interest

The foreign national will benefit from the status of investor in this case.  To this end, he or she will have to fulfil at least one of the following conditions:

  • Creation of new jobs
  • Significant implementation of a socioeconomic investment for the geographic zone in which it will be developed
  • Significant contribution to scientific and/or technological innovation

To satisfy these criteria, the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office of the geographic area in which the foreign investor applies for the visa shall issue a favourable report stating that the business project contains a general interest purpose.

In our view, the drafter of the Law purposely avoided outlining what requirements correspond with each condition previously mentioned above.  For example, the Law does not specify the exact number of new jobs needed to fulfil the conditions.  Furthermore, the Law does not specify the nature or characteristics that the business project must have to produce a relevant socioeconomic impact, nor does it explain the characteristics that constitute a relevant contribution to scientific or technological innovation.  Accordingly, it will be for the designated competent authority to decide these issues.

Carrying out an entrepreneurial activity

The foreign national will benefit from the status of the entrepreneur in this case.  Entrepreneurial activity is that of innovative character with special economic interest for Spain, which a favourable report from the competent entity of the General Administration of the State supports.  The analysis of the activity will mainly take into account the creation of new jobs in Spain including these factors:

  • The applicant’s professional profile
  • The corporate plan, including an analysis of the market, services, products, and type of financing
  • The benefit to the Spanish economy, the innovation, or the investment opportunities

Similarly, we do not have precise specifications within the Law for how to meet the mentioned criteria. However, achieving residence in Spain by way of investment will depend on the evaluation that the competent administration provides.  Therefore, within such a framework, each case of entrepreneurial activity case will receive individual analysis with a personalized report for each foreign national.

The advantage of this system is that it adds a more effective filter for the investments that lead to the residence permit/visa.  The main disadvantage of this system is its potential insecurity for foreign investors who are unfamiliar with the process.  For this reason, we recommend that the foreign investor opt for the legal assistance of an expert law firm with significant skills in foreign investments to provide prior analysis of the investment conditions and to guide the investor during all the procedures related to the business project.

María Valencia

For legal assistance regarding business projects in Spain,

Please note that this article is not intended to provide legal advice.

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