SPANISH residency applications should be straightforward – we’ve handled over 200 successfully – but every now and then we’re thrown a curve-ball by Spanish immigration and consular staff, with decisions that take a detour around the simpler and more preferable direct application of the law.  

In two recent cases we received inexplicable resolutions to residency applications (Investor’s and Non-Lucrative) that we thought were water-tight.

CASE 1: Russian couple purchase €750,000 property to apply for Investors Residency.

The case involved a Russian couple applying under the Golden Visa scheme, which grants permits to non-EU citizens who buy property valued at €500,000 or more. Spanish Consulate staff, on receiving our application, worked around the law to reject the applicants verbally. Firstly, they argued that because the law said that ‘an investor who wishes to become a resident shall apply…’  it was not possible for a married couple to apply jointly unless they had invested double the threshold amount of €1,000,000.  The couple had invested €750,000 together.

Russian law states that, by default, ‘assets acquired by spouses, during marriage are their community property’ which means that, regardless of whether either spouse buys in his/her name or jointly, the property is their community property.

The response of the Spanish Consulate in Moscow was: ‘…we will be guided by future case law on the matter’; i.e. case law that will take five years to be produced. Either that or the couple could spend thousands of euros transferring one applicants’ share to the other to achieve the same result.

CASE 2: Moroccan single applicant who applies for non-lucrative residency.

The lady in question owned 12 properties in Tangier, giving her a monthly income of just under €12,000 (well above the €2,000-a-month minimum required to apply). She also had €170,000 in a Moroccan bank account, €130,000 in Spain, a jointly-owned property in Estepona and no need to work for the rest of her life. The application included original documentary evidence of the above (duly translated) and so, according to the precepts of the law, should have been be plain sailing.

But it was not: the Spanish Consul seemingly wanting to stamp his authority on lawmakers as well as his staff, rejected the application for the following incomprehensible reason: ‘applicant did not show enough income’!

Perhaps in a fit of remorse, immediately following the rejection he called our client back in to offer a four-year multiple entry visa, allowing her unlimited travel to Spain. But it was was clear to us that the Consul had decided he would not apply the law in force to this case, for reasons only he knows.

Fortunately, both these cases are exceptions to the rule.