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Spain Non-Lucrative Visa: 2024 Guide to a Stress-Free Application Process

Mark Damsgaard

Mark Damsgaard

Founder of Global Residence Index

Last updated: January 31, 2024

Spain Non-Lucrative Visa: 2024 Guide to a Stress-Free Application Process

The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa offers a pathway for individuals seeking to reside in Spain without engaging in any work or professional activities. Aimed primarily at non-EU nationals, this visa is ideal for those who have the financial means to support themselves and wish to enjoy an extended stay in Spain. It is an attractive option for retirees or anyone with sufficient passive income who can meet the Spanish government’s financial requirements without needing to obtain employment.

Key Takeaways

  • The Non-Lucrative Visa allows you to live in Spain without working.
  • Sufficient income and comprehensive health insurance are mandatory.
  • The visa can be renewed according to specific residency requirements.

Understanding the Spain Non-Lucrative Visa

Understanding how to navigate the application process for the Non-Lucrative Visa is essential. Applicants must prove they have adequate financial resources and secure comprehensive health insurance. Also, it’s important to be aware that this visa does not allow you to work in Spain. It is renewable, however, provided you continue to meet the necessary conditions, including spending a minimum amount of time in the country. Careful planning and adherence to the visa’s stipulations ensure your stay in Spain is both legal and enjoyable.

Definition and Purpose

Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV), also referred to as the Non-Lucrative Residence Visa or sometimes loosely termed as the Retirement Visa, is designed for individuals who wish to reside in Spain without undertaking any work or professional activity. It is a Residence Permit that aligns with the Spanish government’s regulations to allow non-EU citizens to stay long-term, provided they have sufficient passive income or savings. The purpose of this visa is to permit residency while ensuring that applicants have enough Sufficient Economic Means to support themselves without burdening the country’s social welfare system.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a Non-Lucrative Visa, you must meet specific criteria:

  • No Work or Economic Activity: You must not take on any form of employment or engage in any business activity in Spain.
  • Sufficient Economic Means: You need to demonstrate that you possess sufficient funds to live in Spain without working. This is calculated based on the IPREM (Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples), which is an index used for grants and subsidies. Your income should generally exceed 400% of the IPREM monthly, which for 2024 is approximately €2,400 per month for a single applicant. Any additional family members may require an extra 100% of the IPREM each, which is approximately €600 monthly.
  • Passive Income: Your financial resources can come from pensions, rental income, investments, annuities, or other sources of passive income.

Note: This Non-Lucrative Visa should not be confused with the Spanish Golden Visa, which is another type of residency permit that requires a significant financial investment in Spain.

Application Process Overview

The application process for a Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa involves several key steps, from gathering the necessary documentation to successfully submitting your application. It is imperative to follow these steps meticulously to enhance your chances of obtaining the visa.

Initial Application Steps

Your first step is to ensure your eligibility for the Non-Lucrative Visa. Once confirmed, you need to start your application at the nearest Spanish consulate or embassy. It is essential to book an appointment well in advance as slots can fill up quickly. During this initial phase, you will also need to fill out the official application form for the Non-Lucrative Visa.

Collecting Necessary Documentation

Gather the required documents with careful attention to detail. Typical paperwork includes:

  • A valid passport with at least one year of validity.
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to support your stay in Spain.
  • Medical insurance with full coverage in Spain.
  • A clean criminal record from your country of residence for the past five years.
  • A medical certificate proving you don’t have any contagious diseases.

Submitting the Application

Submit your application in person at your scheduled appointment. At this time, you will also need to provide your biometric data, which includes fingerprints. Along with the application form, ensure you submit all your collected documentation. Each document should follow the specifications given by the Spanish consulate or embassy.

Post-Submission Procedures

After submission, you may be asked to return for an interview, although this is not always required. Once your application is accepted, the consulate or embassy issues a visa that allows you to enter Spain. Upon arrival in Spain, you must apply for the Foreigner Identity Card within 30 days, which will serve as your residence permit. The Non-Lucrative Visa is granted for an initial period of one year and can be renewed for two-year periods.

Financial Requirements

When applying for a Spain Non-Lucrative Visa, you must demonstrate adequate financial means to support your time in Spain without engaging in employment or professional activities.

Minimum Income and Savings

Your financial means are assessed against the IPREM (Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator). For the year 2024, minimum income requirements are set at €2,400 monthly (400% of the IPREM) for the main applicant, totaling €28,800 annually. For each additional family member, your monthly income requirement increases by €600.

Proving Financial Means

To prove your financial means, provide official documents that show you have sufficient funds. This could include bank statements, savings accounts, pensions, or proof of regular income from investments. It’s crucial that these documents clearly demonstrate your ability to support yourself for the duration of your stay.

Bank Statements and Investments Evidence

Bank statements should reflect a stable income or balance over time—ideally, for at least six months before your application. Submit evidence of investments such as property, stocks, or bonds. If using a pension, provide official documentation proving regular pension receipts. Ensure your documents are recent, official, and translated into Spanish if necessary.

Your financial documents are key to establishing that you meet Spain’s requirements for the Non-Lucrative Visa, ensuring your application process is smooth.

Required Documents

When applying for the Spain Non-Lucrative Visa, it’s crucial to prepare a comprehensive dossier of documents to ensure a successful application process.

Complete List of Necessary Documents

Passport: Ensure your passport is valid for at least one year from the planned start date of your visa.

National Visa Application Form: Each applicant must complete and sign a visa application, accurately filling in each section.

Passport Photo: Two recent passport-sized photographs with a white background.

Medical Certificate: A doctor-signed statement confirming you do not suffer from any diseases that could pose serious public health risks.

Health Insurance: Comprehensive health insurance from a company operating in Spain, including full coverage without copayments.

Police Clearance Certificate: A certificate issued within the past three months from every country you’ve lived in during the last five years for over six months, confirming you have no criminal records.

Proof of Financial Means: Evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself without working, including bank statements.

Documents must be officially translated into Spanish if they are not already in this language and, when required, be apostilled or equivalent to certify the authenticity.

Special Conditions for Documentation

Apostilled: Certain documents, such as the police clearance certificate and medical certificate, need to be apostilled, which is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention.

Documentation Accuracy: Ensure all submitted documentation is current, with dates falling within the required ranges, such as the three months prior to your application for the police clearance certificate, and that these accurately reflect your legal and personal details.

Remember, the adherence to each of these document requirements is essential for the success of your Spain Non-Lucrative Visa application.

Health Insurance and Medical Certification

When applying for the Spain Non-Lucrative Visa, securing proper health insurance and obtaining a medical certificate are crucial steps. Your health insurance must meet specific coverage criteria, and you must provide a medical certificate confirming your good health status as per international health regulations.

Insurance Coverage Criteria

Health Insurance: To qualify for the Non-Lucrative Visa, your health insurance policy must:

  • Offer coverage equivalent to Spain’s public healthcare system.
  • Be valid for the duration of your stay in Spain.
  • Have no exclusions, excesses, or co-payments.

Private Health Insurance: It is often recommended to procure a private health insurance policy that adheres to the following:

  • Full medical coverage: The policy should not limit access to essential healthcare services.
  • Acceptance by Spanish Consulate: The policy must be recognized and accepted by the Spanish Consulate during the visa application process.

Obtaining and Submitting Medical Certificates

Medical Certificate: A medical certificate is mandatory for the Non-Lucrative Visa. It should:

  • Certify that you don’t suffer from any diseases that could pose a public health threat according to the International Health Regulations (2005).
  • Be issued by a licensed doctor, confirming your good health.

Submission Process: To correctly submit your medical certificate:

  1. Schedule a medical examination with a licensed healthcare provider.
  2. Obtain the medical certificate, which should be detailed and recently issued.
  3. Translate the document into Spanish if necessary.
  4. Submit the certificate along with your Non-Lucrative Visa application.

Ensure your documents are current and fully compliant with the Spanish Consulate’s requirements to avoid any delays or complications in your visa application process. Compliance with these healthcare requirements demonstrates your preparedness for a stay in Spain under the Non-Lucrative Visa.

Family Members and Dependents

When applying for a Spain Non-Lucrative Visa, your immediate family members may be included in your application. This includes your spouse, registered partner, minor children, dependent adult children, and elderly dependent relatives. It’s crucial to understand the specific requisites regarding their inclusion and the financial requirements needed to support them throughout the stay.

Including Family in Your Application

Your family members who can be included in a non-lucrative visa application are:

  • Spouse or registered partner: A legally recognized marriage or registered partnership is essential.
  • Minor children: Children under 18 years of age are eligible.
  • Adult children: Children over 18 who are financially dependent on you due to being unmarried and without income can be included.
  • Dependent elderly relatives: First-degree relatives such as parents who rely on you financially can also be part of your application.

The process involves completing a visa application form for each family member, ensuring that each section is accurately filled out and signed.

Interview and Biometric Data

When applying for a Spain Non-Lucrative Visa, you are required to undergo an interview and submit your biometric data. These are crucial steps in the application process that facilitate the accurate identification and verification of your identity.

Scheduling and Preparing for the Interview

For your Visa Appointment and Interview, you must schedule a meeting at the Spanish consulate or embassy in your country of residence. Ensure to book this appointment well in advance as slots may fill up quickly. You should prepare the necessary documentation, including proof of financial means, health insurance, and a criminal background check. Also, familiarize yourself with questions that might be asked regarding your intentions and plans in Spain, to convey that you meet all the visa requirements.

Biometric Data Collection

During the visa application process, you are required to provide Biometric Data, which includes a facial image and fingerprints. This information will be used to issue your NIE Number — a unique identification number for foreigners. After arriving in Spain with your non-lucrative visa, you will need to convert your visa into a Foreigner Identity Card at the police station within 30 days. Both the NIE Number and the Foreigner Identity Card are essential for your residence in Spain.

Obtaining the Residency Permit

To reside in Spain without engaging in work or professional activities, you can apply for the Non-Lucrative Residence Visa. This Residence Permit is granted if you have sufficient resources to support yourself. It is key to demonstrate financial means that are continuous and long-term. Typically, for the initial visa, you must not have resided in Spain. Once granted, this permit is valid for one year and can be renewed if you stay in Spain for at least 183 days annually.

Becoming a Permanent Resident

After legally living in Spain for five uninterrupted years, you may become eligible for Permanent Residency. The count towards permanent residence does not start until you have the Temporary Residence Permit. To reach this milestone, renew your initial non-lucrative visa every two years, after the first one-year period. To gain the Permanent Residence Permit, you must continue to meet the absence and financial criteria you initially met.

Rights and Limitations

With a Temporary Residence Permit, such as the Non-Lucrative Residence Visa, residing in Spain is your primary right, but employment is prohibited. As a Permanent Resident, you gain the right to work and the protections of Spanish social laws. However, until permanent residency is achieved, you are limited in your ability to engage in economic activities. For both temporary and permanent permits, your eligible family members may also join you in Spain.

Renewal and Long-Term Considerations

When you’ve made Spain your home under the Non-Lucrative Residency Visa, understanding the renewal process and long-term residency options is crucial for continued legal stay and potential pathways to permanent residency or Spanish citizenship.

Renewing the Non-Lucrative Visa

To maintain your legal residence status in Spain, renewal of your Non-Lucrative Visa is necessary before your current permit expires. Initially granted for one year, it can be renewed for two additional years, and you must apply 60 days before the expiry date of your current visa. Here are the key steps and required documents for renewal:

  1. Application Form: Fill out the renewal application form provided by Spanish authorities.
  2. Proof of Sufficient Economic Means: Demonstrate financial stability for the period of renewal.
  3. Health Insurance: Provide proof of a full-coverage health insurance policy with a company operating in Spain.
  4. Criminal Record: Submit a clean criminal record from the past five years.
  5. Habitability Certificate: Show evidence of adequate housing through a habitability certificate.
  6. Tax Compliance: Verify the lack of debts with the Spanish Tax Agency and Social Security.

Remember, your children must be enrolled in school if of school age, and you should not have any debts with Spanish Government institutions.

Transition to Permanent Residency or Citizenship

After legally residing in Spain for five continuous years under the Non-Lucrative Visa, you may be eligible to apply for Permanent Residence. This status allows you the freedom to live and work in Spain indefinitely. Here are the steps:

  • Submit the permanent residency application shortly after completing five years on the Non-Lucrative Visa.
  • Provide evidence of ongoing financial means and full healthcare coverage.

For those considering Spanish Citizenship, a 10-year residency requirement typically applies before you can apply. However, certain conditions can reduce this period:

  • Marriage to a Spanish citizen: Residence requirement is reduced to one year.
  • Refugees: A reduced residency period of five years applies.

For citizenship, you will be assessed on your level of integration into Spanish society, which may include language proficiency and knowledge of Spanish culture and legal systems. Gaining citizenship entails a commitment to the country, including potentially renouncing your original nationality, depending on the laws of your home country.

Living in Spain

When you choose to live in Spain with a Non-Lucrative Visa, you’re committing to a lifestyle change that includes adapting to local costs, taking advantage of public services, and integrating into Spanish culture.

Adjusting to the Cost of Living

The cost of living in Spain can be quite reasonable compared to other Western European countries. You’ll find that housing, groceries, and transportation offer good value, especially in smaller towns or suburban areas. Here’s a broad overview to give you an idea:

  • Housing: The rental for a one-bedroom apartment can range from €500 to €1,200, depending on the city.
  • Groceries: Monthly groceries can cost between €200 to €400.
  • Transportation: A monthly public transport pass may be around €20 to €60.

Access to Education and Healthcare

As a resident, you’ll have access to Spain’s public healthcare and education systems.

  • Healthcare: Known for its high-quality healthcare services, both public and private healthcare systems are accessible in Spain. Emergency services are free, and residents in possession of a healthcare card can receive treatment at a low cost.
  • Education: If you have children, they have the right to free education in the public school system from ages 6 to 16.

Cultural and Social Integration

Integrating into Spanish society is an essential part of making your stay enjoyable.

  • Language: Learning Spanish will greatly enhance your ability to integrate and connect with locals.
  • Social: Engage with the community by participating in local festivities, which are rich in tradition and a core part of Spanish life.

Remember, integrating takes time and effort, but it can be one of the most enriching aspects of living in Spain.

Legal and Tax Implications

Navigating the legal and tax requirements of the Spain Non-Lucrative Visa necessitates a clear understanding of your obligations. Ensuring compliance is crucial to maintaining your residency status in Spain.

Tax Residency and Obligations

As a holder of the Spain Non-Lucrative Visa, you are classified as a tax resident after spending more than 183 days per year in the country. This status implies that you are subject to Spanish taxes on your worldwide income. The tax rate for income, including pensions, starts at 19% for EU residents and 24% for non-EU residents. Tax rates may vary for other forms of income.

Key points:

  • Tax residency: More than 183 days in Spain per year.
  • Income tax: Starting at 19% for EU, 24% for non-EU.
  • Capital gains: A minimum of 19% on worldwide income.

You must file an annual tax return if you meet the tax residency criteria. You may also be liable for wealth tax, depending on your assets and the specific autonomous community where you reside. It is highly recommended to seek assistance from a tax advisor or immigration lawyer to understand your full tax obligations in Spain.

Finding Legal Assistance

To ensure accurate processing of your visa and compliance with tax regulations, seeking professional legal assistance is advised. An immigration lawyer can provide guidance on meeting residency requirements and implications for your visa status. For all official documents not in Spanish, you will require certified translations. These must be completed by a Spanish Sworn Translator.

To find a suitable lawyer:

  • Look for a professional specializing in immigration and tax law.
  • Verify credentials and seek recommendations.
  • Ensure they are fluent in both English and Spanish, facilitating clear communication.

By enlisting the right legal help, you will be better equipped to manage the legal and tax-related aspects of your residency in Spain, thereby securing your status and peace of mind.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation if you wish to learn more about the Spanish residency options and how they compare to those of other countries, or would like an introduction to our trusted local immigration lawyer.

Additional Visa Options

While the non-lucrative visa is a popular choice for those looking to live in Spain without working, you have other visa options that might suit your circumstances better, especially if you’re considering some form of professional activity or a more flexible lifestyle.

Alternatives to the Non-Lucrative Visa

If your goal is to engage in professional activity, you may need to look into obtaining a work permit. This permit allows you to legally work and reside in Spain. To apply, you typically need a job offer from a Spanish company or have plans to establish your own business in Spain. The work permit also opens the door to a residency visa.

For those who are self-employed or freelancers, the self-employment work visa could be a viable alternative. This visa requires you to present a detailed business plan and prove that you have the financial means to support your project and stay in Spain.

Another option is the Golden Visa in Spain, which requires a significant investment in Spain, such as purchasing real estate, investing in a business, or buying government bonds. It can lead to residency and has the benefit of relatively low stay requirements, making it ideal for those who do not wish to live full-time in Spain.

Exploring the Digital Nomad Visa

The Digital Nomad Visa is a new type of visa designed for remote workers and digital entrepreneurs who want to live in Spain while working for companies or clients outside the country. This visa is meant for individuals engaged in non-profit work, leveraging the freedom of remote working. It allows you to reside in Spain with fewer restrictions compared to the non-lucrative visa, offering more flexibility for those who can work from anywhere with internet access. The exact requirements and benefits of the Digital Nomad Visa continue to evolve as the legislation is refined.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the income requirements for obtaining a Spain Non-Lucrative Visa?

Your income should generally exceed 400% of the IPREM monthly, which for 2024 is approximately €2,400 per month for a single applicant. Any additional family members may require an extra 100% of the IPREM each, approximately €600 monthly.

How does one transition from a Spain Non-Lucrative Visa to permanent residency?

To transition to permanent residency, you must legally reside in Spain for five continuous years. After this period, you can apply for permanent residency, given that you meet the other required legal conditions.

What are the common reasons for a Spain Non-Lucrative Visa application to be denied?

Applications may be denied due to insufficient proof of income, incomplete documentation, or a criminal record. It’s crucial to thoroughly prepare your application and ensure all criteria are met.

What is the application process for a Spain Non-Lucrative Visa from the UK?

From the UK, start by completing the visa application form and gathering all required documents including proof of income, health insurance, and a criminal background check. Then, book an appointment and submit your application at the Spanish consulate in the UK.

How much does it cost to apply for a Non Lucrative Visa in Spain?

The cost of the application varies based on your nationality and the consulate’s specific fees. Generally, there is a visa fee which should be confirmed with the Spanish consulate where your application will be submitted.

How long must I stay in Spain to maintain my Non-Lucrative Visa status?

To maintain your visa status, you must live in Spain for more than 183 days within a calendar year. Absences can affect your renewal application and your eligibility for permanent residency.

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