Fast-Track Spanish Citizenship for Latin American Citizens and Puerto Ricans
Spain offers a fast-track option for citizens of countries that were once ruled by Spain to obtain Spanish citizenship in just two years. This includes Latin American countries, Brazil, some Caribbean countries, and even Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. However, the process usually takes closer to three years, with two years of living in Spain and an additional year for processing.
Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa
One way to live in Spain for the required two years is through the non-lucrative visa, which allows you to stay in the country without working. All you need is to show a sufficient amount in a bank account to prove that you can support yourself.
High Taxes: The Main Drawback of Spanish Citizenship
Spain is known for its high tax rates, and this is the biggest deterrent for many considering Spanish citizenship. Here’s a breakdown of the taxes you might face as a Spanish citizen:
Capital Gains Tax
Capital gains tax in Spain ranges from 19% to 23% depending on the amount of gains.
Personal Income Tax
Personal income tax in Spain can be as high as 51%, depending on the region you live in. On average, expect to pay around 50% in personal income tax.
In some regions, Spain imposes a wealth tax on top of income and capital gains tax. However, Madrid does not have a wealth tax.
The Cost of Spanish Citizenship for High Net Worth Individuals
For high net worth individuals, obtaining Spanish citizenship could cost millions in taxes over three years. Furthermore, exiting the Spanish tax system can be difficult, and you may face an exit tax.
Alternatives to Spanish Citizenship
For those considering European citizenship, the Portugal Golden Visa program offers a more attractive option. It allows you to obtain Portuguese citizenship in five to six years without paying high taxes.
Portugal’s Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Program
In Portugal, you can take advantage of the NHR program, which allows you to live in the country with minimal tax obligations. This makes the Portugal Golden Visa a more cost-effective choice compared to Spanish citizenship.
While obtaining Spanish citizenship in two to three years is possible for citizens of certain countries, the high tax rates and complex tax system make it a less appealing choice for many. Alternatives such as the Portugal Golden Visa offer a more cost-effective path to European citizenship without the burden of excessive taxes.