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2024 Changes to Spain’s Visa & Immigration Scene

So far, 2024 has seen changes to Spanish immigration policy that could affect people looking to move. We study the regulation changes for prospective expats and explore visa options for those planning on moving to Spain. 

For expert advice on your Spain visa options, eligibility and applications, call us on 0333 305 9375 or reach out to us online.

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What are the changes you need to know before moving to Spain?

Amid protests in the Balearic and Canary Islands, and the end of the popular Golden Visa, the dynamics for those looking to live in Spain have shifted. We look at the changes in regulation, policy and more that you should know before a move to Spain, including:

  • The end of the Golden Visa
  • An increase in salary requirements for Work and Digital Nomad Visas
  • Two incoming EU Directives addressing simpler processing and resident stability
  • The implementation of European Entry-Exit System (EES)
  • Implications of the Spanish island protests 
  • The Mbappe Law to incentivise foreign investment in Madrid
  • New citizenship exam questions
  • Mass migrant regularisation 
  • Your Spanish visa options

Retirement of the Golden Visa

The coveted Golden Visa was retired in April 2024, meaning those who have not already applied must consider other ways to live, work and invest in Spain. 

The end of the Golden Visa is intended to regulate foreign investment, particularly focussed on combating the rise in foreign investment in holiday rentals. It will not affect those currently on the program. 

Foreigners can still purchase property in Spain. However, house ownership is no longer linked to residency status. Therefore, the type of visa you hold may impact your use of a property you plan to purchase. 

There is no replacement for the Spanish Golden Visa (Otherwise known as the Investment Visa). However, the Entrepreneur Visa remains a viable option for those looking to live and invest in Spain. Alternative Spain visas are available.

If you have any questions about your Spain visa eligibility or applications post-Golden visa, our team is happy to assist.

Increase in Salary Requirement for Work and Digital Nomad Visas

Spain’s minimum interprofessional wage has increased from €1,080 to €1,134, increasing the requirements for visas using the wage as a reference. This includes the Digital Nomad Visa and the Work Visa. For example, the Digital Nomad Visa requires a visa applicant to earn 200% of the interprofessional wage, meaning applicants must meet the new thresholds with an annual salary of €31,752, or €2,646 per month. 

As yet there is no change to the IPREM (Indicador Público de Rentas de Efectos Múltiples) used to calculate the income requirements for Non-Lucrative Visa applicants, with an update expected in 2024. 

New EU Directives

Two EU directives are set to streamline procedures and bolster protection for foreign residents. The reform emphasises two aspects:

  • To simplify and reduce lengthy residency permit processing, aligning with the European Directive for creating a single permit.
  • Enhancing rights for long-term foreign residents and their families. While specific details are forthcoming, it is expected to provide more stability and protection for long term residents.

Implementation of the European Entry-Exit System (EES)

The Schengen area is implementing a new digital European Entry-Exit System (EES) to monitor compliance with the 90-day rule at border crossings. 

Starting in Autumn 2024, third-country nationals, including UK nationals, visiting the EU’s Schengen Zone will need to create a digital record and provide biometric data (fingerprints and facial imaging) upon entry under the new EES.

Implications of the Spanish Island Protests 

Weeks of protests have swept through the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands. Locals have voiced concerns about rising housing costs and the strain of over-tourism on infrastructure and community identity. Protesters are calling for more accessible and affordable housing and stricter controls on holiday rentals.

The protests have sparked some anxiety among tourists and prospective expats. However, authorities and locals stress that the protests are aimed at “booze tourism” and foreign investors who rent out properties without intending to live in Spain or contribute to the local economy.

The regional government stated that changes to laws impacting “booze tourism” aim to “fight excesses” and “force a real change in the tourism model of those destinations.”

If you have any questions about immigrating to Spain, our experienced and affordable lawyers are on hand to support you

Proposed Introduction of the “Mbappe Law” 

Expected to be effective from July 1, 2024, the “Mbappe Law” aims to incentivise significant foreign investment. It is set to offer eligible investors a 20 per cent reduction in personal income tax rates when investing in private companies and financial assets in Madrid. 

The “Mbappe Law” follows the news that Real Madrid has acquired superstar footballer Kylian Mbappe. The proposal aims to stimulate economic growth and employment generation in Madrid. It is not the first time the capital city has passed such a law. The “Beckham Law” was passed in 2005 following David Beckham’s arrival.

New Citizenship Exam Questions

The CCSE exam for Spanish citizenship now includes 25% new questions, reflecting updated requirements and ensuring applicants are thoroughly evaluated on their knowledge of Spanish language, culture, and society.

Mass Migrant Regularisation 

Spain’s parliament is actively advancing #RegularizaciónYa, a legislative initiative aimed at regularising the status of an estimated 500,000 undocumented foreigners currently residing in Spain, provided they entered the country before November 1, 2021.

Visa Options for Moving to Spain

Non-Lucrative Visa: This visa is ideal for retirees and those with independent means. Applicants must demonstrate a steady income or substantial savings, typically 400% of IPREM, which translates to a minimum monthly income of €2,400 for individuals and an additional €600 per dependent (€3,000 for couples). 

This visa does not permit work in Spain. It initially grants residency for one year, renewable annually, with the possibility of applying for permanent residency after five years.

Spanish Work Visa: To obtain this visa, you need a job offer from a Spanish employer. The employer must prove that the position cannot be filled by a local candidate, making it more feasible for specialised roles. The visa allows residency for the duration of the employment contract, renewable upon contract renewal.

Entrepreneur Visa: This visa is for those planning to start a business in Spain. Applicants need a robust business plan showcasing economic innovation and potential job creation. The visa typically grants residency initially for one year, with the possibility of a two-year renewal based on the success of the business venture.

Student Visa: Ideal for those pursuing education in Spain, this visa allows residency during the study period and sometimes provides a pathway to post-graduation employment. The duration of the visa is usually tied to the length of the academic program.

Digital Nomad Visa: The visa is intended for remote workers employed by foreign companies. There are two options: the digital nomad visa, valid for one year and obtainable in your home country, and the digital nomad residency permit, valid for three years and obtainable only in Spain. The residency permit can be renewed for an additional two years.

Schengen Visa: You can apply for a Schengen visa if you plan to stay for 90 days or less within any 180-day period. This visa is commonly sought by tourists visiting the Schengen area for short-term stays. It’s also used by those exploring the possibility of relocating to the area and wanting to test the waters before making a permanent move.

You can visit our Spain immigration page for more information on types of Spanish visa.

Working with IAS

IAS has worked on thousands of successful Spain visa applications. We offer support and guidance throughout your application process, helping you get the results you need.

For individuals and families, we offer multiple services including advice to determine eligibility, outline processes and answer all your questions, as well as application packages to ensure a stress-free submission.

For businesses looking to incorporate in Spain or businesses looking to employ from outside of Spain, our team are experts at navigating Spanish immigration law. 

Get in touch for more information about how we can support you or your business to navigate Spanish immigration and secure Spanish residence. Call 0333 305 9375 or contact us online today. 

Get expert assistance to navigate the complexities of Spain visas and immigration rules today.

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