Spanish residency permits and tax residency

Raymundo LarraĆ­n Nesbitt, January, 21. 2022

Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) has over 19 years’ taxation & conveyancing experience at your service. We offer a wide range of 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists has a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain.

You can review here our client’s testimonials.

Article copyrighted © 2022. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.


By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
21st of January 2022

A common misunderstanding on applying for Spanish residency is the matter of tax residency.

I have witnessed how several companies and so-called ‘advisors’ are misselling residency permits in Spain without property explaining and disclosing to applicants the tax implications of their decision.

I’ve written this short article to cast some light on this and clarify once for all this topic.

Spanish residency and tax residency


Although – technically – it is true that admin residency and tax residency are two separate legal concepts, the fact of the matter is that eventually they go hand in hand in most cases.

As a general rule the following applies:

Spanish residency permit = Spanish tax residency

Without going into detail on the whys and whynot’s, the reason is because as a staple requirement all visas in Spain require on renewals you categorically prove you have lived in Spain long term; defined as spending over 183 days within a calendar year in Spanish territory. The tax implication of this is that it automatically triggers tax residency in Spain.

Example: Mr Smith applies and attains a Non-Lucrative Visa in 2021. On the following year (2022), he must file personal income tax in Spain because he has now become a Spanish tax resident.

If Mr Smith challenges the tax residency status on grounds that he did not spend over 183 days in Spain during 2021, on his visa renewal, he will be stripped of his residency permit.

In other words, they go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other or you visa renewal will be turned down.

Are there any exceptions to this general rule?


Yes, it’s a special type of residency permit called Golden Visa (investor visa).

A GV allows its permit holder to bypass the 90/180-day rule. It also allows its holders unfettered access to Spain. They may enter and leave as they please (even circumventing Covid restrictions).

Attaining a Golden visa, unlike every other visa in Spain, does not automatically make you tax resident in Spain and the reason being is because renewals are not tied to proving you live in Spain (which triggers tax residency), but rather that you have maintained the investment over time in Spain.

This nuance is extremely important and goes on to explain why Golden Visas are so special and why they are so sought after by affluent applicants.

As a recap, Golden Visas allow you:

  • To bypass the 90/180-day rule
  • Unfettered access to Spain
  • Do not automatically make you tax resident in Spain (unlike every other visa)


LNA has a 100% track record attaining Spanish residency


Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados, we have assisted hundreds of EU and non-EU nationals to successfully attain a Spanish residency permit.

Interested? Come and speak to Larraín Nesbitt Abogados’ friendly staff who will be pleased to guide you through the different residency options, choosing the one that appeals to you most. Your family’s success is only one call away: (+34) 952 19 22 88.

Residency services available from LNA:


Related visa articles


Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

2.022 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.