Spanish housesEncouraged by the recent surge in foreign investment in real estate, Spain has relaxed norms for issuing residency permits to non-EU nationals. Now a foreigner investing more than €500,000 ($560,855) will automatically qualify for permanent residency. 

Moreover, residency permits will be granted not only to the investor, but also to his or her parents and children, adults as well as minors. Until now, only the spouse and minor children could qualify for residency permits. 

Over 350 residency permits were issued to non-EU investors during the year since the scheme was launched in February last year. The residency permits are also open to those investing in public debt, and businesses in Spain. 

Spain is one of the several European countries to have introduced schemes by which residency permits are granted to wealthy foreign real estate investors, in return for buying prime properties. Other countries are Portugal, Greece, Hungry, and Cyprus.

The investor has to retain the property in order to continue enjoying residency benefits. In Greece and Hungary, the minimum value of the property has to be €250,000 ($280,481). In Spain and Portugal, the minimum investment is €500,000 ($560,855), while it is €300,000 ($336,577) in Cyprus.

Investors, mainly from China, Russia, Brazil, Angola, South Africa, and India, are applying for Golden Visas in Spain, with Chinese topping the chart by a big margin.