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Spanish Legislation on Foreign Investments

Spanish Legislation on Foreign Investments

Spain is an attractive destination for foreign entrepreneurs despite the effects of the economic crisis that affected the entire country several years ago. According to the data provided by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)Spain ranks as the sixth largest country amongst the European states receiving foreign direct investments (FDI)

Following the end of the economic crisis, Spain has become a more competitive country and numerous investors preffered to invest on this market. This country is an important receiver of FDI not only in Europe, but also at a global levelUNCTAD stated that, in 2016FDI increased by approximately 50% compared to the previous year, from USD 11.9 billion to USD 16.8 billion

Spain attracts numerous investors due to its tourism and to the opportunities in other fields, such as researchrenewable energiesbroadcasting and others. Our team of lawyers in Spain can advise businessmen on how to register a company in one of these business sectors. 

Foreign entities interested in operating here should take into consideration that the Spanish authorities want to make Spain one of the leading countries for reseach activities. In this sense, the local institutions have developed the Malaga Valley project, which has as a main target becoming the largest European center for research and innovation in the field of ICT

Foreign companies in Spain 

Most of the foreign investors choose to open a limited liability company, which is the most preferred business form for doing business in this country, or a subsidiary/branch of their company based abroad

There are over 9,000 foreign citizens and entities that own a company registered in Spain and a third of them are established in the Barcelona area. A large number of foreign companies are registered in the Catalonia region and more than 40% of them have been operating on the local market for more than 10 years. 

Most of the foreigners who arrive in Spain for business purposes are from the Netherlands, Luxembourg, UK, France, Italy, Germany, the United States of America and they invest in economic fields such as financial businesses, manufacturing, real estate, construction and transport.

Why choose Spain for investment purposes?

Foreign entrepreneurs choose Spain for performing an economic activity mainly due to the flexibility, the non-discrimination legislation and the quality of life the country has to offer. Spain offers the possibility of starting a business to all foreign citizens and legal entities, and the registration rules are the same for both locals and foreigners. The free movement of the capital is guaranteed by the Law no. 18/1992 and by the Royal Decree no. 1816/1991Our lawyers can offer in-depth information on these laws

There are several sectors of the economy that are protected from investors outside EU, such as gaming, radio, television, air transport, manufacturing and selling arms. For the latter, the restrictions are applied also for investors in the European Union.

Foreign investors benefit from the provisions of the bilateral investment conventions concluded between Spain and approximately 90 countries. At the same time, Spain is a member state of numerous international organizations for trade matters (thus applying the regulations established by these agencies), such as:


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD);

World Trade Organization (WTO).

If you want to know more about the benefits and the incentives offered by the Spanish authorities for foreign entrepreneurs, you may contact our law firm in SpainOur Spanish lawyers will present you the advantages on opening a business in Spain and they will assist you during the registration procedures