One of our neighbours from the Costa del Sol is a very well-known famous golf player. I’m sure that you’ve heard of him; his name is Miguel Ángel Jiménez, from Churriana but living in Benalmádena.
He was born in Málaga on 5th January 1964 and has won four Ryder Cups as well as more than 20 professional golf awards.
His story of effort & overcoming the odds inspires me a lot as he began to work when he was only 15 years old, with his oldest brother Juan’s supervision, beginning as caddie and then on the practice range. In just three years he became part of the professional golf world (in 1982) but it wasn’t until 1985 when he finally decided to dedicate his life to professional golfing events.
He holds several records as well as a lot of awards & medals and he has even designed a 72-par golf course in the Czech Republic at the Prosper Golf Club and has been involved in assessing and remodelling the courses.
I had the opportunity to serve him as a customer several times when he came to fill up his new red Ferrari where I worked, and I did not even know it was him! He even let me take photos of me in his car, being a very approachable, humble and down-to-earth person.
Maybe you will bump into him shopping at the supermarket one day!
Missing your UK Soaps (or “Daytime Dramas” as I believe is the more politically correct term)? Now the ITV have the solution for those of you that live abroad and are having withdrawal symptoms from not getting your regular “Coronation Street” or “Emmerdale Fix”!
They offer single payment option for people on holiday that don’t want to miss their favourite soaps or a regular monthly payment option. Both cost a moderate 5.49€ and are only available for customers outside the UK, as UK residents can access the normal ITV Player.
Here is just a selection of questions from the official Q&A page:
Which devices can I use?
ITV Essentials is available on a desktop/laptop PC or Mac and via the iPhone/iPad app which can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store. Once you have downloaded the app you will be able to watch on any of your devices.
Which shows can I watch abroad?
Your subscription to ITV Essentials allows you to watch some of your favourite ITV shows like Coronation Street and Emmerdale in selected countries across Europe.
Which devices can I use?
ITV Essentials is available on a desktop/laptop PC or Mac and via the iPhone/iPad app which can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store. Once you have downloaded the app you will be able to watch on any of your devices.
Where can I watch ITV Essentials?
You can watch ITV Essentials in any of the following countries – regardless of where you originally signed up – Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Gibraltar, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Spain.
I’m watching on an iPad/iPhone – can I use 3G/4G/mobile data?
No. You must be on wifi to watch the videos (although you can access and administer your account).
Is it legal?
100%! ITV Essentials is brought to you by ITV and it’s completely legal to use, unlike some other international streaming or download sites.
Will I get my shows on the same day as my pals back home?
You will! We aim to have all of our shows available on ITV Essentials the same day as broadcast and we aim to have Coronation Street and Emmerdale available at the same time as they’re being broadcast in the UK.
The definition of Ideal according to the Cambridge English Dictionary is “perfect, or the best possible”. That’s what I found in my two first “Open Houses” that I visited in Marbella.
I’m one of the agents that specialises in coastal properties and part of my work is to try and gain access to every property available on the Costa del Sol. To do that we need to have the necessary contacts and always have a spot free in the calendar for viewing properties like the ones I have seen recently. Regarding those properties, I have only good things to say about the way the agents treated me and the quality of the first-hand information given to me.
Let’s have a look at the first one:
This elegant and modern villa, south orientated and built in 2001, is situated in the prestigious Hacienda Las Chapas Urbanisation, very close to the best beaches in East Marbella. It is built with high quality materials and offers great privacy in the middle of a green oasis with sea & garden views.
The property consists of a two floors: the ground floor has an entrance hall, spacious living room with chimney, dining area and access to the large, covered terrace at the south end of the villa, leading to the swimming-pool & garden. The hall also has access to one bedroom with bathroom, a modern large kitchen with patio, a guest lavatory and a double garage. On the first floor there are three en-suite bedrooms, each with an open terrace. In the basement there are a storage room, large utility room, 2 bedrooms with access to the west terrace and one bathroom. The villa is surrounded by a tropical garden and a large swimming pool.
Other features include marble floors & bathrooms, double-glazed windows, oil-fired central underfloor heating, hot & cold air-conditioning, solar panels for hot water, electric underfloor heating in all bathrooms, internal & external alarm system, private well providing free water for irrigation system & pool, and a 24 hour security patrol.
The garden can be extended by buying the adjacent plot to the north and for sale. The sales price has been reduced from € 1,650,000 to €1,175,000
And now for the second one:
A fantastic opportunity to acquire a large & spacious duplex apartment in need of modernising, situated in the prestigious community of Los Belvederes, a small & exclusive urbanisation in an elevated position situated in a quiet Cul-de-Sac in the Nueva Andalucía Golf Valley.
The community is one of the most interesting of its kind; built in an Andalusian style but with no two apartments being the same. The accommodation consists of a large living room leading to a magnificent terrace with fantastic panoramic views, two bedrooms (one of them en-suite), guest cloakroom, kitchen and separate utility room. Stairs lead down to the third bedroom suite which is extremely private. The community has sunny pools, tennis court, gymnasium, well maintained landscaped tropical gardens and 24h security service. The current price is €349,000.
So now you know, two spectacular options, for different tastes and for different budgets. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or want to visit them!
I would like to share with you all a photography project that I found very interesting. Maybe some of you have already heard of it, as I think it has been in newspapers and on TV. For those who don’t know about it, here you have a brief presentation. I am sure that you will like it as much as I do and you will start following it!
The creator of this project is Murad Osmann, a very famous Russian photographer who travels around the world with his girlfriend, the supermodel Natalia Zakharova. The interesting thing about it is not that they have been all over the world (which for me is very exciting in itself), but rather the way they show it in their photos. It all started in 2011 in Barcelona and since then Murad has been taking pictures of the most famous places in the word literally “hand in hand” with his girlfriend and uploading them to his Instagram account.
All the pictures have exactly the same shape. Colours are very bright and backgrounds go from the most emblematic places in the world to the most unknown & exotic ones. Click on the link below to see some of them. ENJOY! http://instagram.com/muradosmann
The British Newspaper “The Telegraph” has chosen Andalucía as the best place in the world to live in its Top 20 list, competing with 20 other areas, most notably Paris (5th place), Tokyo (7th) and Amsterdam (11th). Of course we already know how fortunate we are to live here but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded! In their list there are also parts of the Caribbean Islands and Barbados but Andalucía comes first because it has everything (or “tó” as they say in Andalucian Spanish) and with a very high standard!
For example, these are the 5 most visited places in our region:
With the addition of our new staff member and the fact that the old poster was looking worse-for-wear, we have had a new poster designed. You can see it in place at the Michelin roundabout in Coín. This time we have opted for a summer group photo to brighten up the roundabout a bit, seeing as summer is not far away. Hopefully be able to recognise us all next time you visit us at our office.
To drive a vehicle in Spain you need to obtain the appropriate permits and licences authorising you to drive a particular type of vehicle for a certain length of time. When that period expires, you will need to renew your documentation.
In Spain, as in other countries, there are various types of driving licence depending on what kind of vehicle you want to drive (motorbike, private car, truck, and so on). Sometimes, you need to hold one class of licence already in order to obtain another, for example, to drive more powerful or heavier vehicles. There are also certain age limits for driving more powerful vehicles or those that are more difficult to handle.
The basic requirements for obtaining the appropriate driving licence or permit in Spain are as follows:
- You need to be the established legal age for that particular permit or licence
- You must pass the theory or practical tests
- You must pass the appropriate psycho-technical aptitude tests
- Other additional requirements: in some cases, you will need to have held a previous class of permit or licence, or you may need to have held a licence for a certain period of time.
In Spain, driving permits and licences are issued by provincial and local traffic headquarters [Jefaturas Provinciales y Locales de Tráfico] once they have checked that you fulfil the mental and physical requirements and you have demonstrated that you have the knowledge, skills, aptitude and behaviour required. The main classes of permits or licence are:
Permit AM for mopeds and vehicles for people with reduced mobility: 15 years (a moped driver may not carry a passenger until the age of 18)
Permit A1 (motorbikes with a maximum power of 11kW and an engine up to 125cc): 16 years
Permit A2 (motorbikes with a maximum power of 35kW a power-to-weight ratio of under 0.2kW/kg): 18 years
Permit A (all motorbikes, with at least 2 years experience driving motorbikes of category A1 vehicles): 20 years
Permit B (vehicles with a maximum weight of 3,500 Kg and with a maximum of 9 seats): 18 years
Permit C (vehicles with weight over 3,500 Kg): 21 years
Permit D (vehicles for the transport of passengers): 24 years
Spain has agreements with a large number of countries, so by fulfilling a series of requirements and completing certain paperwork, you can hand over your foreign licence and get a Spanish one. Licences issued in the following countries can be exchanged, in accordance with the terms of the agreement in place:
- EU countries, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein
- Andorra, Korea, Japan and Switzerland – Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, Morocco, Peru, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Brazil, El Salvador, Philippines, Guatemala, Serbia, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine and Macedonia
A licence must be renewed at the Provincial Traffic Headquarters (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico) of the holder’s province of residence before its validity lapses. If the address on the licence is current, the licence holder should receive a letter advising them of the renewal date (aviso de caducidad del permiso o licencia de conduccion). Application may be made in person or by post. When applying by post, it is advisable to keep copies of all the documents sent.
The licence will need regular renewal; a standard Spanish driving licence for a private car or bike is valid for ten years when the holder is under 65 years of age, and every five years from the age of 65 on. Different conditions apply for passenger bus and heavy duty vehicle licences. Residents of Spain who hold a non-Spanish EU/EEA licence must renew their driving licence according to Spanish renewal periods.
- Completed application form issued by the Provincial Traffic Office
- The licence to be renewed
- Photocopy (and original) of a Spanish identity card, residence permit (residencia) or a copy of the passport along with the NIE Number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero)
- Proof of address in Spain (empadronamiento) dated within 3 months of the date of application
- Certificate of aptitude issued by the Authorised Drivers Check Centre (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Autorizado) of the province of residence of the applicant with a recent photograph. The local centre in Alhaurín el Grande is http://www.policlinicalacibis.es/
- Two recent photographs (32 x 25 mm) taken at the same time as the one on the aptitude certificate
Information taken from: www.dgt.es
Without a doubt, one of the best things we have in Ideal Country Property is the good working atmosphere and this is very important both in and outside of the office.
Last weekend, my colleague & friend Kelly and I spent three days in Barcelona. We have been planning this little trip for some months. It wasn’t supposed to be the typical weekend for tourism: we were going to the concert of one of our favourite singers: Beyoncé. During this tour, she had only one date in Spain, so we had to be quick to get our tickets in time!
If I need to choose a word to describe our weekend, I would say it was COMPLETE, because we did a bit of everything. We have been visiting the most important places in Barcelona, we enjoyed the sun (and we had some rain as well), we enjoyed the meal and the most “exciting” thing: we camped in the queue the night before the concert to get the best place in the stadium! (Hopefully we did. We were just 5 metres away from the stage.) It was quite an interesting experience that we had never done before. It was freezing and we didn’t have a tent, unlike most of the people there, so we had to create our own tent with a clothes drier and some blankets! I think these are the kind of things that bring friends closer together.
I loved the idea of spending some days together outside the office and I am sure we will look for some other adventures like this one over the coming months!
They are called Pine Processionary Caterpillars and you’ve more than likely seen dozens of them parading across a pine forest path. This natural spectacle not only catches our eyes but those of dogs too. The more curious ones can even lose their lives in an attempt to find out what these funny worms taste like.
Caterpillars are always around but at this time of year they often come into contact with humans & their pets. In the early spring, warming temperatures provoke their natural instinct to bury themselves in the ground. Caterpillars come down from their nests (those white balls in the pines) and crawl across the ground looking for a place to bury themselves and make a chrysalis, later to emerge in July as beautiful butterflies. They move about in a chain, led by the female, and would be an extremely easy prey to predators if they weren’t poisonous.
That’s where the problem for dogs begins (or anything that touches them, including humans). The caterpillars are covered with hairs that when touched, release a toxin that is devastating to the dogs who sniff them. The Canillas Veterinary Clinic in Madrid says that this year they have found a rise in such cases. They are treating one dog per day. It all begins with dog scratching its mouth, as if it was trying to remove something from its tongue, and it starts salivating profusely. At that point it is best to seek a vet’s help straight away. “They can even die” explains Vet Juan Luis Segado.
The caterpillar produces several injuries in dogs, mainly due to an allergic shock. The tongue, mouth, throat & stomach become inflamed to the extent that the dog can no longer breathe and thus dies. In most cases this does not happen because a veterinarian steps in, but the tongue where the dog has licked the caterpillar becomes necrotic (the tissue dies off) and some even lose their entire tongue.
Vets recommend that the owners take their animal to a clinic as soon as it starts showing the symptoms, but beforehand they should wash its mouth thoroughly with plenty of water to dilute the effect of the stings. If you are in the middle of the countryside or nowhere near a clinic, specialists may prescribe medication in the form of a tablet or injection that some owners take with them in case of an accident.
Questions & Answers about the Spanish Golden Visa.
1. WHAT IS A GOLDEN VISA?
The law 14/2013 (27th September 2013) introduces in Spain a new type of visa and residence permit for investors known as a Golden Visa. The essential purpose of this new law is to facilitate foreign investments in Spain made by individuals that are not citizens of the European Union.
2. BENEFITS OF A GOLDEN VISA
A new type of visa which allows entering and staying in Spain for a period of 1 year, this is an increase from the actual period of 90 days for non-residents. This visa allows the successful applicant to circulate freely and without restrictions along the “Schengen“ area (Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland). A new type of residence permit can be requested at the end of this visa, which is valid for two years renewable for a period of two years more. So there is a maximum of 5 years. The investor, his spouse, children under 18 years or dependent adults (due to health reasons) can request the visa.
3. TYPES OF GOLDEN VISA
There are different types of investments included in this law that allow the investor to obtain the visa.
- a) An investment equal or higher than two million euros in Spanish public debt titles.
- b) Acquisition of shares in Spanish companies, or bank deposits in Spanish financial entities, for an amount equal or higher than one million euros.
- c) Acquisition of real estate assets valued 500,000 euros or higher.
- d) With the purpose of developing a business project in Spain that fulfils the following criteria:
Creation of work positions
Realization of an investment with a relevant socioeconomic impact
Relevant contribution to the scientific and/or technologic innovation.
The business project cannot have its registered address in a tax haven and the petitioner should have the majority of the votes.
4. SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS
a) Investment in real estate assets
Proof of purchase of property/properties which can be the title deeds (escritura) and a current nota simple from the Land Registry Office showing the name of the investor as the owner. The property/properties must have been acquired after September 2013. The investment of 500,000 euros must be free of charges and encumbrances (the amount that exceeds the required investment can be subject to charges and encumbrances).
b) Investment in public debt
Submission of a certificate issued by the financial entity or Banco de España where it states that the petitioner has been the sole holder of the investment for a period of 5 years or more.
c) Investment in social shares of Spanish companies or bank deposits.
- Copy of the investment statement realized in the Registry of Foreign Investment of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
- Certificate of the intermediary financier, duly registered by the National Commission of the Securities Market or by the Banco de España where its states that the petitioner has realized the investment.
- Certificate issued by the financial entity or the Banco de España where it states that the petitioner has been the sole holder of the investment for a period of 5 years or more, in case of public debt investment.
For the assumptions considered in sections b) and c) the petitioner should confirm to have executed the investment for the minimum amount required, in a period not longer than 60 days before the submission of the application.
d) Other type of investment
Business activity /Enterprising: Favourable report to confirm that in the submitted business project has general or economical interest for Spain. This report will be issued by the Economical and Commercial Office corresponding to the geographic area where the petitioner submits the visa application.
5. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
The investor’s visa obtained in the corresponding diplomatic or consular office constitutes a valid title to live in Spain for at least one year. After this period it can be extended for two years with a specific residence authorization for investors and then it is possible to request its renovation for two years more. In this case, the following requirements have to be fulfilled:
- Not having entered or stayed illegally in Spanish territory.
- Being of legal age (more than 18 years)
- Not having criminal records in Spain and in the countries where the petitioner has lived during the last 5 years due to crimes as stipulated by the Spanish legal system.
- Not to have been refused entry into any country that has a valid agreement with Spain.
- Have sufficient economic resources for the person and for the members of his family during his residence period in Spain.
- Being the holder of a valid investor’s visa or being within the period of 90 calendar days subsequent to its expiration.
- Having visited Spain at least once during the applicability period of the visa.
- Pay the tax for the authorization process.
* In case of a residence application for relatives (spouse, children under 18 years or children older than 18 years who are not objectively able to provide their own necessities due to their health condition) they have to fulfil the general requirements.
6. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What are the different types of golden visa?
The law distinguishes two big groups. The capital investments (in public debt, social shares of Spanish companies, bank deposits in Spanish financial entities and through the acquisition of real estate assets) and other kind of investments (creation of a company of general interest, high qualified professionals and transactions within the same company).
- Does the golden visa authorize me to circulate freely within the Schengen area?
Yes. The investor’s visa authorizes to circulate freely within the “Schengen” area (Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland).
- Can I keep my tax residence outside Spain?
Yes. The holder of the permit can keep his tax residence outside Spain, as long as he stays in our country for a period less than 183 days per year. Also, the residence permit can be renewed even with absences longer than six months per year.
- How long can I stay in Spain with my golden visa?
The residence visa for investors authorizes a stay in Spain for one year. Once this period has expired, one can request a residence authorization for a period of two years, renewable for two years more if you prove the maintenance of the investment.
- Does the Golden Visa authorize me to work?
Yes. The Golden Visa authorizes to live and work in Spain. This results from the Fourth Additional Provision of the Law, which gives the right to live and work in Spain.
- Is the 500.000 euro investment for a property purchase needed per petitioner or per application?
Per petitioner, but he can also include his family members, who can jointly and simultaneously or successively request the authorization and, in this case, the visa. Nevertheless, they have to fulfil the general requirements and prove the relationship bond through their corresponding certificates.
- Who can be considered as a family member in order to request the investor visa?
A family member is the spouse and the children under 18 years or children of legal age that are not objectively able to provide their own necessities due to their health condition.
- Can I buy more than one property?
Yes. The reference of real estate assets made by the law does not mean only one property, and not only one type of property. However, the investment has to be realized before requesting the visa.
- Does the property investment have to be free of charges and encumbrances?
Yes. In the assumption of acquisition of real estate assets, the petitioner should prove his capacity to realize an investment of 500.000 euros free of any charge and encumbrance. However, the amount that exceeds that required figure can be subject to charges or encumbrances.
- At the termination of the maximum period of five years, can I request the long-term residence?
It can be requested, but will not be granted automatically at the termination of the investors permit. In this case, the investor has to prove the continuity of the residence in Spain for the acquisition of the long-term residence.
- What requirements do I have to comply to access the long-term residency?
In order to access the long term residency, it is required that the person from abroad has lived legal and effectively in Spain for five years. That the residency is effective meaning that the periods outside of the Spanish Territory must be less than six consecutive months and not exceed a total of ten months during the said five years.
- Does the time period of legal residency in Spain count at the time of requesting the nationality?
Yes. The time lived in Spain legally will count to request the long-term residency and also the nationality.
- Can I opt to continue renovating the residence permit for each investor every two years indefinitely?
Yes, however with certain clarifications. The residence authorization for investors must have an initial duration of two years, after which the permit can be renovated every two years indefinitely in the case that the investment and the rest of requirements are complied.
- Can I access directly the residence authorization for two years without having to obtain an investors authorization?
No, it is necessary to have the investor’s authorization, which is valid for one year. During this year, the residence authorization can be requested at any moment without having to wait to complete the year.
- Does the Law 14/2004, of 27th September have retroactive character?
No. The Law is only applicable to the investments carried out from 29th September 2013 onwards, date when the law entered into force, as it is states in the thirteenth final disposition of the same.
Information courtesy of Martinez-Echevarria Solicitors