Internationalization of Spain’s Economy and Residency Permits for Foreigners
TRANSCRIPTION OF ACT 14/2013 of 27 September
ON INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT
PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL STATE GAZETTE ON 28.09.2013
The Spanish Government has approved Act No. 14/2013, of 27 September, whereby any foreigners investing in Spain may be granted a Residence Permit, subject to certain conditions foreseen in Articles 61 to 76 outlined below. These sections are not applicable to European Union citizens or to any foreigners holding the right to freedom of movement or residency within the European Union.
Act 14/2013, of 27 September, to encourage entrepreneurs and their internationalization
Title V. Internationalization of Spain’s economy.
Section 2. International movement.
Spain has been undergoing a long-term serious economic crisis, with acute consequences for the Spanish society in general. This situation, per se, justifies the need to launch reforms in order to encourage growth and economic recovery. These reform measures should not only strive to boost activity circumstantially, but should also undertake the structural difficulties faced by Spanish entrepreneurs, aiming at strengthening the business network in a long-lasting manner.
Traditionally, immigration policies have exclusively focused on the job market situation. Now is the time to broaden this perspective and to not only take into account the specific situation of the internal job market, but also how it contributes to the country’s economic growth. Immigration policies are gradually becoming a stronger competitiveness factor. The entry into neighbouring countries of qualified professionals is an international reality which, in global terms, is estimated to represent 30% of international economic emigration.
In this scenario, most OECD countries are implementing new regulatory frameworks which clearly constitute a competitiveness factor. Institutional and regulatory surroundings in the host State have been identified by the OECD as a basic asset for entrepreneurs. This is why developed countries already have systems that are specifically designed to attract investment and talent, which are characterised by their speedy procedures and specialized channels.
Section 2. – “International Movement” – regulates certain situations where, for economic interest reasons, the granting of visas and residence permits are rendered easier and faster, in order to make Spain attractive to investment and talent. This measure is addressed to investors, entrepreneurs, workers involved in intra-company activities, highly qualified professionals and researchers, as well as their spouses and older children, through a speedy and fast procedure involving a single authority, for a variable term depending on the various cases foreseen. These residence permits will be valid throughout Spain.
A series of provisional provisions are foreseen to implement Section 2, Title V, to include the processing of permits through a single permit application procedure, and exclusion of the national employment situation when examining regulated permits.
CHAPTER I – Facilitated entry and permanence
Article 61. Entry and permanence in Spain for economic interest reasons.
1. Any foreigners who intend to enter or reside, or who already reside, in Spain will find it easier to enter and remain in Spanish territory for economic interest reasons, according to the provisions of this Section, if they are able to accredit their status as:
c) Highly-qualified professionals.
e) Workers involved in intra-company activities within the same enterprise or group of companies.
2. The provisions of this section will not apply to European Union citizens or to any foreigners who are subject to European Union law due to holding a right of free movement and residence.
Article 62. General requirements to stay or reside.
1. Without prejudice to meeting the specific requirements foreseen for each visa or permit, the foreigners referred to in this section, for periods in Spain not exceeding three months, must meet the entry conditions foreseen in Regulation (EC) 562/2006, of 15 March, establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code).
2. In the case of long and short-stay visas, the requirements foreseen in Regulation (EC) 810/2009, of 13 July, establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) should also be met.
3. In the case of residence visas foreseen in Regulation (EU) 265/2010, amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No. 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a long-stay visa, including residence permits, the applicant must accredit compliance with the following requirements:
a) To not be illegally in Spain.
b) To be over 18.
c) To lack any criminal record in Spain and wherever he/she has resided over the last five years, in relation to offences foreseen by Spanish criminal law.
d) To not appear on a black-list in the territorial space of any countries with which Spain has signed the relevant convention.
e) To enjoy a public or private health insurance, taken out with an Insurance Company that is authorised to operate in Spain.
f) To have enough economic resources to support himself/herself and his/her family members during his/her residence in Spain.
g) To pay the relevant fees for the processing of a permit or visa.
4. The applicant’s spouse and children under 18, or of legal age who are not objectively capable of catering for their own needs due to their state of health, who meet up with or join the foreigners listed in Article 61.1, may jointly and simultaneously- or successively- apply for a permit and visa, if applicable. To do this, fulfilment of the requirements foreseen in the preceding section must be confirmed.
5. The provisions of this Act will apply without prejudice to the obliged parties having to fulfil the obligations established in Act 10/2010, of 28 April, on the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, including any applicable tax or Social Security obligations.
6. All Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices, upon receipt of any residence visa applications, will consult the General Police Directorate as necessary in order to check whether the applicant represents a security risk.
The General Police Directorate will issue a reply within a maximum term of seven days following receipt of the consultation. If no response is received upon expiration of this term, a favourable decision will be presumed.
CHAPTER II – Investors
Article 63. Residence visa for investors.
1. All non-resident foreigners who intend to enter Spanish territory in order to make a significant capital investment may apply for a short or long-stay visa or, if applicable, an investor residence visa.
2. The term “significant capital investment” will refer to one that meets any of the following requirements:
a) An initial investment for a value equal to or higher than 2 Million Euros, in Spanish public debt securities, or for a value equal to or higher than one million Euros in shares or participations in Spanish companies, or bank deposits at Spanish financial entities.
b) The acquisition of real estate in Spain with an investment that is equal to or higher than 500,000 Euros per applicant.
c) A business project intended to be developed in Spain, considered and accredited as a general interest project, for which fulfilment of at least one of the following conditions will be taken into account:
1. Creation of work posts.
2. An investment with a relevant social/economic impact in the geographical scope where the activity will be executed.
3. A relevant contribution to scientific and/or technological innovation.
3. Likewise, a visa applicant foreigner will be deemed to have made a significant capital investment whenever the investment is carried out by a legal entity, domiciled in a territory that is not considered a tax haven under Spanish law, and the foreigner directly or indirectly holds most of its voting rights and is entitled to appoint or remove the majority members of its management body.
Article 64. Way in which to accredit an investment.
In order to grant an investor residence visa, the following requirements will be met:
a) In the case foreseen in Article 63.2.a), the applicant must have confirmed an investment made in the minimum amount requested, within a maximum of 60 days prior to the filing of the application, as follows:
1. In the case of an investment in unlisted shares or company participations, a copy of the investment declaration will be presented, filed at the Registry of Foreign Investments of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
2. In the case of an investment in listed shares, a certificate from the financial broker will be presented, duly registered at the Spanish Securities Market Commission or at the Bank of Spain, stating that the interested party has made the investment for the purposes of this rule.
3. In the case of an investment in public debt, a certificate will be presented, issued by a financial entity or the Bank of Spain, indicating that the applicant alone will hold the investment for a period equal to or longer than 5 years.
4. In the case of an investment in a bank deposit, a certificate will be presented, issued by the financial entity, stating that the applicant is the sole holder of the bank deposit.
b) In the case foreseen in Article 63.2.b), the applicant must confirm acquisition of ownership of the real estate with a certification recording a continuous chain of title and charges from the Land Registry recording the property. This certification will include an electronic verification code for on-line consultation.
If, upon application of the visa, acquisition of the property is pending registration at the Land Registry, it will suffice to present said certification, stating that the purchase document entry is in force, along with documentation confirming payment of the relevant taxes.
The applicant will accredit the existence of a 500,000-Euro real estate investment free of any charge or encumbrance. Any part of the investment exceeding the required amount may be subject to a charge or encumbrance.
c) In the event foreseen in Article 63.2.c), a favourable report will be filed to state that the business project presented is for general interest reasons. The report will be issued by the Economic and Commercial Office within the geographical scope where the investor has filed the visa application.
Article 65. Effects of a residence visa for investors.
The granting of an investor residence visa will be sufficient title to reside in Spain for at least one year.
Article 66. Investor residence permit.
1. Any foreign investors who wish to reside in Spain for a period longer than a year may be granted an investor residence permit, which will be valid throughout Spain.
2. In order to apply for an investor residence permit the applicant, in addition to the general requirements foreseen in Article 62, must fulfil the following:
a) To hold a current investor residence visa, or to fall within the ninety calendar-day term subsequent to expiry thereof.
b) To have travelled to Spain at least once during the authorised residence period.
c) In the event foreseen in Article 63.2.a), the investor will prove having held an investment of a value that is equal to or higher than the minimum amount required:
1. In the case of unlisted shares or company participations, a notarial certificate will be filed, proving that the investor has continued to hold, during the foregoing period of reference, ownership of the unlisted shares or company participations that entitled it to obtain an investor visa. The date of this certificate must fall within the 30 days prior to the application filing date.
2. In the case of an investment in listed shares, a certificate will be filed, issued by a financial institution, stating that the interested party has maintained, at least, an average of one million Euros invested in listed shares during the foregoing period of reference. The date of this certificate must fall within the 30 days prior to the application filing date.
3. In the case of an investment in public debt securities, a certificate will be filed, issued by a financial institution or the Bank of Spain, verifying the maintenance or extension, during the foregoing period of reference, of the number of public debt securities that the investor acquired at the time it made the initial investment. The date of this certificate must fall within the 30 days prior to the application filing date.
4. In the case of a bank deposit investment, a certificate will be filed, issued by a financial institution, verifying that the investor has maintained, or extended, its deposit during the foregoing period of reference. The date of this certificate must fall within the 30 days prior to the application filing date.
d) In the case foreseen in Article 63.2.b), the applicant will prove that the investor owns the asset or real estate, in the minimum amount required therein. To do this, it will provide the title certificate or certificates issued by the Land Registry entrusted with the property, which will be dated within the 30 days prior to the application filing date.
e) In the cases foreseen in Article 63.2.c), a favourable report will be issued by the General Directorate for Trade and Investments of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, ascertaining continuation of the general interest reasons that were initially accredited.
f) Fulfilment of all tax and Social Security obligations.
Article 67. Validity of an investor residence permit.
1. An initial investor residence permit will remain in force for two years.
2. Upon expiration of this term, any foreign investors intending to reside in Spain for a longer period of time may apply for a renewal of their investor residence permit, for this same two-year period.
CHAPTER III – Entrepreneurs and business activity
Article 68. Entry and stay to commence a business activity.
1. All foreigners may apply for a visa to enter and remain in Spain for a one-year period, solely or mainly to execute the prior steps required to carry out a business activity.
2. All holders of the visa foreseen in the foregoing section will be eligible for the entrepreneur residence foreseen in this Section, without having to apply for a visa and without requiring a minimum prior period of permanence, if there is evidence that the business activity for which a visa was requested has previously and effectively commenced.
Article 69. Entrepreneur residence.
1. Any foreigners requesting to enter Spain or who hold a short/long-stay or residence permit or visa, and intend to commence, develop or direct an economic activity as entrepreneurs, may be granted a residence permit to conduct a business activity, which will be valid throughout Spain.
2. All applicants will fulfil the general requirements foreseen in Article 62 and the necessary legal requirements to commence the activity, as foreseen in applicable sector regulations.
Article 70. Definition of an entrepreneurial and business activity.
1. An entrepreneurial activity will refer to any innovating activity with a special economic interest for Spain. To this effect, it will be granted a favourable report from the competent authority in the General State Administration.
2. When appraising the application, the creation of work posts in Spain will be particularly taken into account as a priority. Furthermore, the following will be taken into account:
a) The applicant’s professional profile.
b) The business plan, including a market, service or product analysis, and any financing granted.
c) The added value it entails for Spain’s economy, innovation or investment opportunities.
CHAPTER IV – Highly qualified professionals
Article 71. Highly qualified professionals.
A residence permit for highly qualified professionals, valid throughout Spain, may be requested by any companies who need to relocate foreign professionals in Spanish territory in order to execute an employment or professional relationship, in any of the following events:
a) Executive or highly qualified staff, if the company or company group meets any of the following characteristics:
1. An average staff, during the three months immediately preceding filing of the application, of more than 250 workers in Spain, registered under the relevant Social Security regime.
2. An annual net turnover figure in Spain that exceeds 50 Million Euros; or a volume of own funds or net equity in Spain that exceeds 43 Million Euros.
3. An annual average gross investment, from abroad, of at least 1 Million Euros, during the three years immediately prior to filing of the application.
4. Companies that register an investor stock value or position, according to the latest data provided by the Foreign Investments Registry of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, higher than 3 Million Euros.
5. In the case of small and medium-size companies established in Spain, when they belong to a strategic sector.
b) Executive or highly qualified staff that belongs to a business project which entails, alternatively and as long as the condition alleged for this specific case is considered and confirmed to be in the general interest:
1. A significant increase in work posts directly created by the employer company.
2. Maintenance of employment.
3. A significant increase in the number of work posts created in the activity sector or geographical scope where the employment activity will be executed.
4. An extraordinary investment, with relevant social/economic effects, in the geographical scope where the employment activity will be executed.
5. The existence of interest reasons for Spain’s commercial and investment policy.
6. A relevant contribution to scientific and/or technological innovation.
c) Graduates and post-graduates of renowned universities and business schools.
Article 72. Training, Research, Development & Innovation.
Any foreigners who intend to enter Spain or who hold a short or long-stay and residence permit, and wish to carry out training, research, development & innovation activities in public or private entities, will be granted the necessary visa or residence permit for training or research, valid throughout Spain, in the following cases:
a) The research staff referred to in Article 13 and the First Additional Provision of Act 14/2011, of 1 June, on Science, Technology and Innovation.
b) Any scientific and technical staff carrying out scientific research, development and technological innovation, in business entities or R&D&I centres established in Spain.
c) Any researchers covered by an agreement executed by public or private research bodies, in the regulatory conditions established.
d) Any teachers hired by universities, bodies or higher education or research centres, or business schools established in Spain, according to applicable regulatory criteria.
CHAPTER V – Intra-company transfers
Article 73. Residence permit due to intra-company transfer.
1. Any foreigners who are relocated to Spain further to an employment or professional relationship, or for professional training reasons, within a company or company group established in Spain or elsewhere, will be granted the relevant visa based on the length of their relocation, as well as a residence permit for intra-company transfers, which will be valid throughout Spanish territory.
2. In addition to the general requirements foreseen in Article 60, the following requirements will be met:
a) The existence of an actual business activity and, if applicable, a business group activity.
b) Higher qualifications or their equivalent or, if applicable, at least 3 years’ professional experience.
c) Existence of a prior and continuous 3-month employment or professional relationship, with one or more group companies.
d) Company documentation confirming the transfer.
Article 74. Intra-company transfers of professional groups.
Any companies or company groups that meet the requirements foreseen in Article 71.a) may apply for a joint processing of their permits, based on the planned management of a provisional quota of permits filed by the company or company group.
CHAPTER VI – General rules on the permit granting procedure
Article 75. Short and long-stay and residence visas.
1. The short and long-stay and residence visas referred to in this Section Two on International Movement will be issued by Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices in Spain pursuant to Regulation (EC) 810/2009, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 13 July 2009 (Visa Code), and Regulation (EU) 265/2010, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 25 March 2010, amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No. 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a long-stay visa.
2. A uniform visa may be issued for one, two or more entries and will remain valid for a maximum of five years. The term of this visa and length of the authorised stay will be decided according to the examination conducted further to Article 21 of Regulation (EC) 810/2009, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 13 July 2009.
3. A territorial visa for a limited term will be granted if there are general interest circumstances, according to the provisions established in Article 25 of the Visa Code (Regulation (EC) 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 13 July 2009).
4. The residence visas foreseen in this Section will be issued as foreseen in Regulation (EU) 265/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 March 2010, amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No. 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a long-stay visa. These visas will be valid for one year and will entitle their holder to reside in Spain without having to apply for a foreign identity card.
5. All visa applications will be resolved and notified within a term of 10 business days, except for applicants that are subject to the consultation foreseen in Article 22 of the Visa Code, in which case the term in which to resolve the application will be the general one foreseen in the Code.
Article 76. Permit procedure.
1. The residence permits foreseen in this Section will be processed by the Unit of Large Companies and Strategic Groups, will include the use of telematic means and will be granted by the General Directorate of Migration.
The maximum resolution term will be twenty days following the filing of the application. If no decision is reached during this time, the permit will be deemed as granted by administrative silence. All resolutions will be reasoned and may be challenged in a remedy of appeal, according to the provisions established in Articles 114 and 115 of Act 30/1992, of 26 November, on the Legal Regime applicable to Public Administrations and Common Administrative Procedure.
2. The holders of a permit, regulated in this Section, may apply for its renewal for two-year periods, as long as they continue to meet the conditions that generated this right.
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