Can purchasing a property in Spain help me to obtain Spanish residency?
Currently, owning a property in Spain is one of the factors that the Spanish immigration department bears in mind when considering residency requests. There is a Spanish residency law enabling non-EU citizens who acquire a property in Spain to obtain their residency permits.

Are there restrictions for foreigners buying properties in Spain?
No, there are no restrictions for foreign citizens buying a property in Spain. The purchasers must obtain a Foreigner Identification Number (NIE) and complete forms that prove the funds used to acquire the property meet money-laundering prevention regulations.

What is the NIE and how can it be obtained?
The NIE is the identification number for a foreigner in Spain. It can be obtained through the Spanish consulate in the country of origin, or it can also be obtained personally in Barcelona by prior appointment, and also by means of a power of attorney that the purchaser grants to his/her Lawyer or trusted third party.

In order to buy or rent, do I need a bank account in Spain?
Yes. As in order to pay the purchase or rental amount for a property you must do so with a Spanish bank cheque, cheques from foreign banks are not accepted. In addition, all utilities, community fees, taxes, etc will be paid by direct debit and only national accounts can be used for this purpose.

What documentation do I need to provide in order to open a bank account?
The procedure depends on the client’s country of origin and the bank. Physical people and people from western countries can normally open a bank account simply with a passport, the NIE is not necessary. It is important to be aware that all banks are obliged to meet their clients in person, and this is the only step in the entire purchase or rental procedure that cannot be done through a power of attorney. The client must present themselves at the bank at least once, and thereafter everything can be handled using a power of attorney.

What is the duration of a residence permit?
The residency visa for investors has a term of 1 year.

How can it be renewed?
The residence authorisation will be valid for 2 years and can be renewed every 2 years. To request renewals, as well as meeting the general requisites for staying or residing in Spain, you must also meet the following: Hold a residence visa for investors that is either current or within 90 days from expiry of same. To have travelled to Spain at least once during the authorisation period. Demonstrate a minimum investment of 500.000 euros.

Is this new law applicable to all nationalities?
Yes, the law makes no distinctions between nationalities.

What is the energy certificate of a property and how can I obtain it?
From 1st of June of 2013, any property owner wanting to sell his/her property must obtain the corresponding energy efficiency certificate detailing the conditions of construction and facilities of a property (heating, ventilation, production of sanitary hot water, lighting, refrigeration, etc.). The certificate is issued by an architect or technical engineer; in relation to the cost, there is no official rate, and therefore each architect or engineer can set their price. The energy certificate is valid for 10 years

Can the use of a property be changed from commercial to residential?
In principle there is no problem in doing so, always providing the pertinent certificate of habitability is obtained. Likewise, if the property is part of a horizontal property regime, it will also be necessary to obtain consent from the Board of Owners. Check the statutes of the community of owners, where applicable, to verify whether there is any statutory limitation.

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