Spain Non-Lucrative, Golden Visa Approvals Accelerated Sharply in 2021

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The number of foreigners holding a valid investment-based residence permit in Spain grew by 833 (the second-biggest half-yearly increase in the program’s history) in the second half of 2021, recently published government statistics show. A total of 7,425 main applicant golden visas were active (en vigor) in Spain at the end of 2021, up from 6,592 at the end of the first half of the same year.



Note that while there are 7,425 currently valid golden visa permits in Spain, the total number of golden visas historically issued is far higher (roughly double) because many of the investors who qualified for golden visas in the program's early years have since graduated to permanent residency and, in a considerable proportion of cases, to citizenship as well.

As of December 31st, 2020, Spain had approved a total of 10,892 golden visas, a cumulative that likely crossed the 13,000-mark sometime in the second half of 2021, a figure the Ministry will confirm once it reports the full-year 2021 approval volume (in December 2022).



Chinese and Russian investors together accounted for more than half the 7,425 golden visas active at the end of 2021. The relative magnitudes of several large applicant groups, particularly those of Venezuelans and Colombians, are under-represented in the active golden visas pool; their former-Spanish-colony origins allow them to gain Spanish citizenship after just two years of (physical) residency in Spain.



Meanwhile, the number of Entrepreneur visas still active has been dropping since the first half of 2020 when it peaked at 380.



After falling sharply during the peak months of the pandemic, the number of active Spanish Non-Lucrative Visas (among the world's most popular Independent Means Visas) began a vigorous upward trajectory in 2021, reaching 62,218 at the end of last year, just 525 shy of its pre-pandemic peak.



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Meanwhile, the number of golden visas issued to American applicants has tripled in the same period. That is unlikely to be a coincidence.
So far in 2022, Panama has approved 1,229 such visas for main applicants, nearly as many as in the three preceding years combined.
While American interest keeps growing, Chinese demand is rebounding. So far in 2022, they have gained, respectively, 174 and 175 approvals.
 

Christian Henrik Nesheim AdministratorKeymaster

Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine - online or offline - for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.

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