By Moustafa Daly
Venezuela has been in turmoil for over a decade. Shortages of goods and services and a crumbling economy on the back of record-breaking inflation rates have steadily worsened living conditions in the country. This has made global mobility attractive for many Venezuelans.
One Venezuelan who took this to the heart is Rodolfo Castro, a software consultant who, five years ago, decided to seek a solution.
“I had been planning to live in another country for a while because it was getting really difficult to travel outside of Venezuela,” explains Castro. “I travel a lot to America, Mexico and Spain to meet my clients occasionally even though my work is totally remote.”
With strong business ties to Miami, he initially sought to pursue an EB-5 visa in the U.S. and started to approach lawyers and do research to understand the intricate application and investment process.
“I was looking at the EB-5 visa, but I had to invest in an active economic activity, and the process takes a long time,” he said.
Daunted by the complexity of the application process, Castro once landed in Miami to run a few business meetings when he met Alexandre Rangel, director general of SIEspana, an immigration law agency based in Miami.
“He talked to me about the Spanish golden visa, and I found that it fulfills all my criteria,” Castro said, leading him to work with SIEspana, which helped him locate and purchase a property that meets his budget and requirements, and shortly after, he began the golden visa application process.
How the Spanish Golden Visa was the ticket to global mobility
Not only was the Spanish golden visa attractive to Castro due to the shorter process, but it also gave him some clear advantages over the EB-5 visa, which is owning an apartment and getting Spanish residency by way of a passive investment – which he did by purchasing a €750,000 apartment in Madrid, with the minimum required for such investment in Spain being €500,000.
“It gave me the opportunity to own a property and it also offered a clear and direct path to citizenship,” explains Castro. “It took me no more than two months to get the visa. It was a very simple process to do it.”
It wasn’t only the quick path to citizenship that enticed Castro, but also living in a country with a high standard of living and well-functioning economy.
Now, while based in Spain, Castro travels frequently to do business and pursue leisure across the globe, finding his new-found mobility to be liberating. He also intends on pursuing the Spanish permanent residency or citizenship in the future.
As it stands, Castro would be able to apply for Spanish permanent residency within five years given he maintains his investment, but to do that, he’d have to live in Spain or Europe for at least 183 days a year - but he’s not in a hurry to do it as he’s still pretty much pursuing a digital nomad lifestyle at the moment.
Within a decade of legal, uninterrupted residency in the country, he would be eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship.
“I will be entitled to citizenship some point in the future, but I have to live in the country which I’m still not ready for,” says Castro. “But I’m definitely going to be taking up permanent residence in Spain and pursuing the citizenship route at some point in the near future,” he concludes.
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