Spain launched its investor residence program, commonly known as the Golden Visa, in September 2013. As part of laws aiming to attract inward investment, visas were made available to those investing at least €500,000 in real estate, €1 million in Spanish companies or deposits in Spanish banks, or €2 million in Spanish bonds.
Initial reaction to the program was slow. After the first eight months the government announced it had issued 81 visas, 72 of which involved property purchases. Almost half of the new residents were Chinese or Russian, with the remainder coming from, among others, Ukraine, Lebanon, Ecuador, Qatar, Egypt and Iran.
By September 2014, the program had picked up, with a total of 354 successful applications, 324 of which were through real estate purchases.
By the end of 2014, the program had attracted 530 investors, with an estimated €700 million having been invested.