Everything you need to know about the
Spanish non-lucrative visa

One of the most popular types of residence permit, Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa allows non-EU citizens to live in Spain provided they are able to support themselves financially.

Avalanding can help guide you through the process of getting yours.

Take advantage of our online consultations
for some sound visa advice

The Spanish lifestyle is famous the world over, but there is more than just a sunny social life on offer here. Ranked by HSBC as 2nd in the world for experience the country appeals to those ready and with the time to enjoy it. Most of the expats here (55%) are retired while a growing segment are in full time employment, especially now remote workers. With its fantastic climate Spain delivers on its promises. Three quarters of the expats here have lived in the country for at least five years and most have stayed because their quality of life is so good and they enjoy immersing themselves in the local culture. By far the largest group of expats living here comes from the UK, but with a growing presence among French, German, Italian, Dutch and American citizens everyday life here appeals to a wide range of backgrounds. 

One thing that is common to all the non- EU expats that have chosen to call Spain home, and that is the requirement to obtain a residency permit.  

With Avalanding helping you with your residency in Spain, you can be sure that you have some of the best professional visa advice available.

Table of Contents

What is the non-lucrative visa?

One of the most accessible Spanish residence permits, the non-lucrative visa is:  

  • A visa that allows you and your family to live in Spain but not to work for Spanish companies. However, you can work remotely to foreign companies.
  • Europeans do not need one, only if you come from outside of the EU.
  • You can invest in Spain, like buying a property or own shares of a Spanish company.
  • It also works as a tourist visa for the rest of Europe.
  • First for one year, then renewable every 2 years.
  • If you live in Spain 5 consecutive years, you can convert it into a permanent residency permit, and can start working in Spain as well, if you like. 

Who is it for?

  • Anyone who plans to retire in Spain
  • Foreigners who want to get to know the country first before investing.
  • Foreigners who are on a sabbatical year
  • Digital nomads who want to work remotely for companies in other countries

What are the benefits of the non-lucrative residence permit?

  • You can move with your family – unlike in some visas where you have to live in Spain first for a year before you can bring your spouse and children.

  • You can study and do paid internships in companies in Spain.

  • Even if you cannot work in Spain, you will be allowed to work for foreign companies remotely.

  • There is no need to invest to obtain this permit.

  • Each year you live consecutively in Spain with the non-lucrative visa, counts towards the permanent residency permit which you can get after 5 years and if you wish its possible to apply for Spanish citizenship after 10 years.

  • If you are a Latin American citizen or from the Philippines you will only need 2 years with the non-lucrative visa to obtain citizenship.

  • The requirements are easy to fulfill.

Main Requirements

Having enough money in your bank account is the primary factor in the consideration of your application for the non-lucrative residence permit. Having enough money on your bank account. The official minimum amount of money you must have to get this residence permit is approximately 26.000 €. Nevertheless, the more you have the better for a successful application. In addition, each family member should have minimum 7.000 € on their account.

Proof of funds

For your application for the non-lucrative visa to succeed the best way to show that you meet the financial conditions is to have a your bank provide a certificate of cash on your account. This certificate should be dated as close as possible to the date of submission of your application. 

Some consulates will also allow you to submit bank certified documents regarding assets (stocks, bonds, real estate value). 

Depending on the consulate there may be a requirement to look at bank statements for the last 6 months – this is to see the normal activity and to catch ” in-and -out” funds transfers that bring you up over the funds threshold. 

And don’t forget, the name on the bank statement must match that of the main visa applicant.

Does all the money I show need to be in one bank account?

Not at all. You can have part of the money in an American bank account and the remainder in a Spanish bank account and the consulate will accept it.  

Keep in mind though, that depending on your country of origin, the Spanish Immigration Office can request you to have the exact amount in a Spanish bank account. This can happen to applicants from Russia, for example. 

Our advice is to open a bank account in Spain as soon as possible (Avalanding can help you with that), and transfer the money there.

Bringing your family requires a joint application

The retirement or non-lucrative residency allows you to do a joint application. This is simply done by including your spouse and children that are under the legal age just by adding them to your application. 

Keep in mind, if you do submit a joint application in order to bring your relatives, the minimum amount of money you are required to show as available to you increases. For each member you are bringing with you, you must demonstrate an additional 100% of the IPREM, which is currently equal to an extra 6.454,03€ annually per additional family member on your application. 

Private health insurance

Like all Spanish residence authorizations you will need an insurance policy with full coverage in Spain. 

However,  there is a key differentiator with the requirement when submitting for the non-lucrative visa and that is your insurance policy must be private. This requirement is another way to show that the Spanish government won’t have to take care of you within the public health care system and as a result pay for your care.

There are additional conditions :

  • The policy must be with a Spanish insurance company operating in Spain. 
  • The term of the insurance policy must be at least one year long ( which is the initial period of the non-lucrative visa).
  • It needs to be full coverage with all medical specialties must be included in the contract with no copayments.. 

 

The application process: How to get the Spanish non-lucrative visa

The application process is straightforward and is divided into two parts: the initial visa application outside of Spain and then obtaining the residence card (TIE) once you enter Spain.

 

Your application for the non-lucrative visa must be handled through the consulate in the country where you are a legal resident or your country of origin. Entering in Spain as a tourist and then trying to launch the procedure from inside the country will not work. You must start from outside the country. 

Once you have submitted all the relevant documentation to the Spanish consulate they have 1 month to respond to you with their results. In the rare case that no response is received In the case of not obtaining one within this period, the request can be considered rejected due to “administrative silence”.

Once you get a favorable answer, the visa will be added to your passport, and you will be able to move on to the next step: travel to Spain

Obtaining the TIE (Foreigner’s Identity Card)

Once you have your visa you will be allowed to enter Spain freely. And you must do so within a maximum of 3 months.

The good news is it won’t be necessary to obtain the NIE number once in Spain as this number comes on your visa and on the day that you are given the visa in your passport, the clock starts ticking towards your obtaining permanent residency or citizenship should you so choose.

Once in Spain, the first thing to do will be to register in the municipality where you will be living, and within one month, you need to go to a police station, register your fingerprints, and launch the phase to obtain TIE or foreigner’s identity card.

This is the sole and exclusive document that attests to the legal status in Spain and the identity of non-EU foreign nationals who have a residence permit valid for more than six months or of all foreign nationals who have obtained a long-stay residence permit.

It is a personal and non-transferable card. 

This card contains the identification data, the photograph and the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE), as well as the type of authorization to stay or reside in Spain.

It is considered a priority procedure that, in addition, must be carried out in person, since in order to obtain the card, fingerprint registration is requested.

The identity card for foreign nationals (TIE) will have the same period of validity as the permit or the recognition of the right that justifies its issuance.

Which documents should I submit?

Which are the exact documents you will need in order to get the non-lucrative residency visa? The requirements for this permit are the following:

  • National visa form.
  • Form Ex-01.
  • Private Medical Insurance (from a Spanish company)
  • Bank certificate, demonstrating the possession of over €25,000 for the first year.
  • Two photos, 3×4 cm with white background.
  • Original Passport.
  • A medical certificate, demonstrating that you do not suffer from any of the recognized diseases that would prevent your entry into the country.
  • Certificate of the absence of a criminal record, properly translated and legalized.

Main causes of non-lucrative visa denial (and what to do)

The main cause of denial of the Spanish non-lucrative visa is the lack of sufficient economic means; since it is something that varies according to each consulate, and in some cases, they can request up to double what is legally established.

However, keep in mind that the failure to comply with any of the requirements covered above will be a reason for denial.

If your application has been denied for the non lucrative visa, or any residency permit for that matter,  it is best to go to a lawyer in order to ensure that you can securely obtain your residence permit,. An immigration lawyer may initiate an appeal that the application was unduly rejected and thus obtain the visa. Only in very particular cases can the application be resubmitted without a legal process behind it.

At Avalanding we can help resolve any denial problem for you..

How to renew the non-lucrative permit

That is also a common question. I get my non-lucrative visa for one year. But then, what?

Once your non-lucrative visa nears the one year mark and set to expire you have two different options. You can renew it or change it to a working permit.

 Renew your permit: If you still fulfill the conditions (financial, private insurance policy, etc…), the renewal will be possible. 

With the renewal , you will have to prove an amount of money sufficient for two years, not for one as in the initial application. That is because, as the renewal lasts two years and not one, the monetary requirement also doubles. 

Second, you can also change the initial authorization into a work permit. And you can change to a work permit to work for a company or to become a self-employed individual

A transition of your status by residence modification is the best alternative for those individuals who have enough savings to stay one year abroad (in Spain) but then would like to continue working in order to earn a living. 

In that case, you can spend part of your last non-lucrative months searching for a job in the country. Once you find it, the procedure for your employer will be easy as you already possess an authorization to live in Spain.

Your future employer will just need to present an authorization to make you able to work in the country. That will grant you an authorization to live and work in Spain for two additional years. 

You can also transition into a work permit as a self-employed individual (sole proprietor) . You would then become “autónomo” in the country. 

Taxes to be paid with the non-lucrative residence visa

Because this residence card requires you to stay a minimum of 183 days a year in the country to renew, you will become a tax resident.

  • This  means that you will have to pay income tax on your worldwide income. It’s important to remember that there are many double taxation agreements with Spain. These will prevent you from paying twice for the same income.
  • In the event that you decide to invest and you generate a profit from your investments, you will have to pay capital gains tax.
  • In addition, in the case of buying a property, there may also be taxes associated with the transaction.

It is best to contact our tax lawyers for advice on your particular case.  Avalanding has a capable team of specialists looking forward to being able to be of service to you.

Our Immigration team

Fiona Sitbon

Toni Musalaev

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