andrew henderson menu

Andrew Henderson

Founder of Nomad Capitalist and the world’s most sought-after expert on global citizenship.


What we’re all about


Meet our 80+ global team


We’re here to serve you


Your questions answered


Read our testimonials


Get free email updates



Our flagship service for entrepreneurs and investors


Create your Action Plan directly with the Mr. Henderson himself


Claim a second passport based on familial connections


Click here to see all our products and services


Discover the world’s best passports to have in an ever-changing world


Explore the citizenship options using our interactive citizenship map


Explore the tax details for countries using our interactive tax map


Click here to see all of our research and interactive tools


Learn from our R&D playbook and meet like-minded people at our annual event.


Andrew Henderson wrote the #1 best-selling book that redefines life as a diversified,
global citizen in the 21st century… and how you can join the movement.

Global Citizen

How To Get Second Residency And Citizenship In Spain

Fallback Image

Golden beaches. Happening nightlife. Excellent food from around the world and a Spanish tapas stand everywhere you turn. Barcelona is a happening place. It’s no mystery why many look to get second residency and citizenship in Spain. 

Hundreds of thousands of Europeans have bought up cheap real estate on Spain’s coastline to the south and in charming inland cities like Granada. 

Since the global recession in 2008, Spain’s poor economic decisions have had significant impacts, especially in the form of high unemployment and dirt-cheap real estate in some parts of the country. At the peak, more than half of Spain’s youth were unable to find a job. Things have improved in recent years, and Spain’s unemployment rate has fallen to a 15-year low of 11%.

In an effort to recover and keep up with its European neighbors, Spain introduced its own residency by investment option in 2013. This Golden Visa made obtaining a second residency in Spain relatively easy.

Are you willing to start a business in Spain? Are you a high-net-worth individual who can bring a substantial level of income or savings to Spain?

As a high-tax country, Spain isn’t exactly the best place to plant your flag in Europe. For most people, your entire worldwide income will be subject to tax in Spain. 

There are some legal ways to minimize the amount of tax you pay here if you have business or investments around the world, but you can’t expect to live here and pay no tax at all. That’s because obtaining a second residency in Spain generally comes with the presumption that you will spend six months a year in the country. 

How convenient for the government is that the minimum time to keep your visa active is the amount of time for them to tax your global income. If you’re a perpetual traveler practicing flag theory, a Spanish visa will allow you to theoretically spend as much time as you want in the rest of Europe’s Schengen Area, meaning you don’t really have to live in Spain. But seeing as taxes here are outrageous, it may not be the most appealing option.

European residency programs, especially Golden Visa options, are changing and disappearing fast. Get in on the best European residency option while it is still available, apply to become a Nomad Capitalist client, and we will help you make the most of current opportunities that may not be here soon. 

Spain Entrepreneur Visa

This visa is pretty straightforward: you agree to start a company in Spain and conduct some business there. There are three main criteria for the business, including: 

  • creates economic interest in Spain
  • creates investment opportunities 
  • must be an innovative startup

Spain isn’t exactly known as a tax haven, but there are a few incentives to encourage people to start companies here. While I doubt this tax reduction is the reason for Barcelona’s vibrant startup scene, new Spanish companies enjoy a tax rate of only 15% for the first two years in business. After that, rates will be 25%, with various other caveats. 

The real hit is the salary tax you take as an international director of your company. That said, the cost to set up a Spanish company and obtain residency isn’t outrageous; expect to pay $5,000 – $10,000 or so for full service, depending on various factors.

Spain Residency Visa

Do you earn €2,550 per month? Can you show a bank balance of around $30,000? If so, you could be eligible to live in Spain under a temporary residency program or digital nomad visa. 

After the first five years of residency in Spain, you can switch from a digital nomad visa to a permanent residence once you meet the specific requirements.

If you’re a US person used to paying 37% income tax, Spain’s 47% income tax won’t feel much different as you enjoy another plate of tapas and Spanish wine overlooking the beach. 

If you’re aspiring to pay little or no tax as a global citizen, living in Spain under this residency is not a suitable option. Again, you’d be subject to paying tax on your worldwide income by default, or your visa wouldn’t be renewed. However, if you have already accumulated a fortune and can live off of savings, getting a second residency would be less of a burden, although there is still a long list of filing requirements (including Spain’s version of the FBAR) and its significant wealth tax

Again, if you just want to live in Spain year-round, there are likely better European visas you can obtain. That said, Spain does offer equal footing for non-westerners to come here, so long as they can meet the relatively minimal funds requirements. Of course, if you hold a Western passport, you already enjoy the right to spend up to 90 days in Spain each year as a tourist, with no income tax obligation and even the ability to reclaim any VAT you pay on retail purchases.

The Spanish Golden Visa, introduced in 2013, comes with a number of benefits, including the right for you and your family to live and work in Spain and eventually potentially obtain a passport. To qualify for a Spanish Golden Visa, you can either:

  • Invest in real estate
  • Invest in debt
  • Buy shares or deposit in a bank account 
  • Invest in a business and create employment

The real estate option is the cheapest option. However, this option may soon disappear due to the housing crisis impacting many European countries. 

One of the best aspects of the Spanish Golden visa is that you do not need to maintain a residence. However, if you do choose to take the route of simply renewing by maintaining the investment, this will negatively impact any citizenship prospects. 

How To Obtain Spanish Citizenship

Spanish citizenship requires ten years in the country unless you are a natural-born citizen of the Philippines or any Latin American country, in which case the requirement is two years of residence. 

Bureaucracy is a big thing here. There are no shortcuts to Spanish citizenship, and our contacts in the luxury real estate market, where Spain’s Golden Visa program operates, suggest that will never change, no matter how much money you invest here. Everyone has to do their ten years.

If you compare Spain to some of its neighbors, theoretically, you can get citizenship in Europe far faster than the 10-year Spanish timeframe. 

Are you interested in a second residence in Europe? Not sure if Spain is for you? 

European residency options are changing and closing fast. 

Contact the Nomad Capitalist team today, and we will work as the architects and general contractors, helping you create a holistic strategy tailored to your specific needs helping you take advantage of the best second residence and citizenship options.


Sign up for our Weekly Rundown packed with hand-picked insights on global citizenship, offshore tax planning, and new places to diversify.


Get the Right Passport for You

We’ve helped our clients obtain 28 different country’s citizenships, from often-overlooked ancestry programs, to fast-tracked investment options, and even exclusive programs for HNWIs. Don’t limit yourself; let Nomad Capitalist’s unbiased approach help you find the best option.

What do you want to accomplish?

Let us know your goal and we will tell you how we can help you based on your details.


We handle your data according to our Privacy Policy. By entering your email address you grant us permission to send you the report and follow up emails later.