Liudmila, with her daughter and in-laws, recalls how the golden visa allowed them to realise their dream of living in Spain. Josele Lanza
Foreign family on Spain's 'golden visa' controversy: 'Without it we would not have bought this property on the Costa del Sol'

Foreign family on Spain's 'golden visa' controversy: 'Without it we would not have bought this property on the Costa del Sol'

Liudmila, a Russian psychology teacher, said the move has allowed her to fulfil her dream of living in Spain, a dream other foreigners may never get the chance of doing now

Pilar Martínez


Wednesday, 10 April 2024, 12:16


The idea of living in Spain began to cross their minds many years ago. So much so that Liudmila, a Russian psychology teacher from Moscow, and her husband, a doctor in the same city, started saving for the huge investment ten years ago - their daughters even studied Spanish at a Moscow school in preparation for the big move.

The Spanish 'golden visa' scheme, which from 2013 until now allowed foreigners who invested more than half a million euros in a home in Spain to obtain residency, was key to making this dream a reality. "If there hadn't been this visa we wouldn't have bought this house in Marbella. Spain was our goal and having this residence permit was very important," said Liudmila, who also pointed out they have been able to start a new life with their youngest daughter "who is happy at school in Las Chapas". "My eldest daughter is studying at a university in the UK and my in-laws also live with us here," she added.

International destination

Liudmila said that in 2013, coinciding with the year Spain launched the golden visa, she and her family visited Marbella for the first time on a one-week holiday. They were delighted. In 2017 they returned on holiday and then in 2021 they selected from Moscow, through a real estate portal, the three-bedroom house in which they now call home. "We invested 510,000 euros in this house in 2021 and a year later we came to live here. Then my husband went back to Moscow, but we are confident that he will be back again soon," she said. When asked why they chose Marbella Liudmila answered quickly: "It's a town where it's easy to sell and buy a house and it's a very international destination where we are happy. We feel very protected, and that's very important."

Despite the turbulent adventure of starting a new life in a country without knowing the local language, it has become clear to her that "I want to think that I have another future here". Liudmila also said learning Spanish has been key. "We have studied without rest and I already have the B1 and my daughter is doing very well at school," she said, adding that for the past few months she has been reading Spanish writers. "I like reading a lot and it has been, along with television, a good way to accelerate the learning of Spanish," Liudmila said.

"I love the life in Marbella"

Although she works online as a psychology teacher in Russia, she is already thinking about getting her degree recognised in Spain and continuing her career in Malaga province. "I love the life in Marbella, its beaches and mountains, and being able to go from one place to another without big traffic jams. Here our dream has come true," she said while thinking of other families who have had their dreams of investing in Spain dashed following the government's plan to abolish the golden visa scheme.

"Many will be in the process of saving, as we did, but they will no longer have the opportunity to live here," she said. When reflecting on the granting of her visa, she said the gathering of documentation was not very complicated, with the process taking about five months.

Highest concentration of investments

Liudmila's case is one of the many foreigners who in the ten years this golden visa has been in force have made Marbella one of the areas in Spain with the highest concentration of investments of more than half a million in homes in order to obtain residency.

Experts in foreigners' affairs, such as Ricardo Bocanegra, said Russians, Arabs and, more recently, Israelis have been looking to the Costa del Sol for this type of investment, some of which are close to half a million euros and many others in excess of two or three million.

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