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Spain Non-Lucrative Visa: How to Get Spanish Residency?

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Getting a Spanish non-lucrative visa is a tough process that can get many people on their nerves, you need to have special attention on documents, time, and scheduling. My family and I recently did the whole process to get a Spain non-lucrative visa, that’s why I can pinpoint exactly how to do it properly.

This is not only a guide, but a handbook with tons of tips that I wished to know earlier. In this post, each of the requirements is explained with tips from my own experience!

non lucrative visa spain application

Related Read: Selling Everything and Moving to a New Country

What is the Non-Lucrative Visa in Spain?

A Non-Lucrative Visa or NLV in Spain is a type of permit that allows people to live in the country without actively working or earning a salary. This type of entry permit is accessible to anyone who can prove or show that they have enough financial resources to maintain themselves while staying in Spain without working.

A non-lucrative visa is a top option among retirees who want to spend their golden years in the country or any person that have enough money saved for a long stay, also, it’s common among digital nomads and those who have passive incomes.

In order to apply for a non-lucrative visa you must have adequate finance to support yourself without working and have several other documents. It’s not a complicated process but you need to pay attention to details and tips to make sure you get approved.

Required Documents for the Non-Lucrative Visa

I highly recommend you start gathering the documents you will need for the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa as quickly as you schedule your appointment, or even before for some of them. Also, make sure all the documents needed meet the latest requirements set by Spanish officials.

The crucial papers needed to apply for a Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa are:

  • Visa application form
  • Passports
  • Identical photos (x2)
  • Financial Records
  • Medical Certificate
  • Private Health Insurance
  • Rental Lease Information

You’ll also need an official translator, and a notary service for apostilled documents like criminal records, or birth certificates.

Related Read: Have a To-Do List for Moving to a New Country

Financial Records

Can you afford your life in Spain without relying on Spain for your year of being a non-lucrative visa applicant? That is going to be the most important part of it all. What does that mean? You need to show proof that you can afford your stay in the country without working.

Every year, you need to make sure that you check what is the financial requirement.

Now as a family, it’s one type of requirement, as you go in by yourself, it’s another requirement. If you could show even more than what is the minimum expectancy, you have a much higher chance of getting accepted.

First of all, you will need three statements from your bank up to the three months before you apply to show that you have that amount, that entire amount for your family and everybody starting from month one.

Those three months, you have to show that you have all that amount of money that entire time. Three statements need to have at least all the money you need to bring. Also, you could show securities like equities if you have a brokerage account, so there are other ways as well. But obviously, the bank account is probably going to be the most important one.

Have other ways of showing that you have all that money and that you will not need to depend on them.

Each country has a different way of doing it, for Guatemala, we literally had to have the bank account, and the three statements printed out the day before our appointment. When I applied for my US, I was able to do it for up to three months. They weren’t as strict in that respect.

Not only that, but the US also asked me for my tax information, which we did not have to do from Guatemala. I also printed out one year’s worth of my bank statements because the United States wants to see that for sure as well.

Medical Certificate Information

What’s really important though is they do have a form that you need to print out for your doctor to fill out when you are getting your health certificate. Basically, it’s just telling them that you are fine and there’s no problem.

Take my advice, if you are coming from a country, it is not a Spanish-speaking country they have the form that is in your language and in Spanish and your doctor could easily fill out both and just do a stamp.

One thing that is very important though, if you are applying from the US, let’s say you need to get your medical form from the state that you are applying because a lot of times, like, I personally live also in Guatemala, in New York, but I was applying from Florida because that’s where I’m a resident. I was not able to get my medical certificate from any of the other places. It had to come from the state that I am applying from.

You need to have your doctor fill out both in English and in Spanish, also, you will need to give your doctor’s license number.

Basically, it’s only signatures, showing, and following their instructions. Everything is right there for you to print out.

Private Health Insurance

You need to have one year of private healthcare paid upfront, there’s no way around it.

The debate is from the day that you apply or from when you want to arrive in Spain because if you think about it, the day from you apply, that means you’re going to be losing between two and three months of paid health insurance, and that’s what we ended up doing incorrectly.

If you want to arrive, let’s say January 1, get your insurance a little bit before, just in case, but you could definitely do it from the date that you want to actually arrive in Spain, not from the date that you are applying and again, give yourself that extra time. Always give yourself that extra time, because we ended up losing two months’ worth of payments for our health insurance because of this.

They don’t look at it like that, they want to look at it from when you are interested in arriving, not from when you are applying, and even give yourself an extra month because chances are it will be a little bit delayed.

Also, you do need to have a repatriation service, which is like $20 or $40 for the whole year. It means if you die in Spain, how is your body going to be brought back to your own country, that is a requirement that is not written anywhere, but they do look for it.

Pretty much every private insurance company now offers it.

Rental Lease Information

It has been this common misconception that you need to have a year’s lease when you apply for your apartment for the visa. Getting a lease in Spain is really hard. A lot of times they want a lot of money upfront, and usually they do want to see that you already have your non-lucrative visa.

If you’re buying a house, obviously it’s not a problem. Then maybe work with a lawyer to figure out if you could give an address. Also, Airbnb.

The problem is, you really don’t know when you’re going to actually get to Spain because you don’t know when you’re going to be accepted and approved. What if you’re not approved? You don’t want to be losing all of that money because they are all non-refundable.

But there are ways to get around it

Maybe just get some random address and have a letter written or something but do not spend your money on leases yet.

Or could say that your goal is this particular place, this particular city, but you are waiting until you get the approval to get a rental.

Believe it or not, a lot of people have been getting their visas okay with that as well. It is not a mandatory thing as it used to be

Finding a Certified Translator

You need to hire a certified translator if your country is not Spanish speaking, it’s mainly for your apostilled documents, which Is probably going to be the most important thing that you need to have translated into Spanish.

There is a difference between a certified translator and a regular translator. You need to specifically look up a translator that is a certified translator. They are easy to find, and you can hire it online, you do not have to have them in person at all. Everything could be done online, and it’s completely accepted because your certified translator will have a QR code and also a license number that they could track.

By far the most important thing that you will need to have translated by a certified translator is your apostilled criminal records.

For instance, there are several things you could do to avoid hiring somebody. For example, some notary stuff I had written in English and in Spanish in front of the notary. They don’t care what you are signing, as long as you do it in front of them. So you could have it both written in your language and in Spanish right there.

Also, for your medical certificate if you have it in English, in your language, and in Spanish. You do not need to get that certified translated.

Notary Service

You need to have several documents notarized, and you will also need to have several documents apostilled.

The main difference is when you get something notarized, it’s because you have personally written it. You will need to have several things notarized, for instance, the letter of intent stating that you will not be working there. Then you will also have to have some other things but every time they’re different. I don’t want to be giving you the exact things that need to be notarized, because believe it or not, they change often. Make sure that you are constantly contacting the consulate to get updated needs or regulations for this.

However, for the public notary, you must be there before the live notary to sign. Also, it’s crucial to make sure you get it notarized three months after you apply. If it’s over three months, they will not accept it.

Notary public usually costs like $20, but everywhere it’s different.

Another interesting thing, different states in the United States have online notary public, I needed to do an online notary, and it worked beautifully for the state of Florida.

The majority of states today have that option. Usually, it’s cheaper to do it in person versus when you’re doing it online, it’s like three times more expensive.

I’m pretty sure most places you still need to be in person.

Apostilled Documents

Apostilled literally means when you are taking a third-party document, for instance, your criminal records, or maybe getting your birth certificate, and you need to get it government notarized.

For instance, you need to get the criminal records and today is done pretty quickly, a lot of it is done online. In the US, you need to go and give your fingerprint for you to be able to get them sent to you. You get it sent to your email and then you have to take that particular copy. You could just print it out.

Or you could either hire a service, which I did and I spent almost $400 on, and my husband also did that in Guatemala, and he spent like $300 on it. However, in Guatemala, getting a lawyer to help you with a possible service is much more convenient, but in the US we didn’t know this.

Remember that it takes five to nine weeks regardless of which country you live in. I would not recommend hiring a service. Take my advice, you don’t need to. You could just go and send it directly to Washington, DC. Regardless of which state you are doing it from in the United States, and they all come to your address.

You do need to have the actual apostilled service, apostilled letter when you go to submit it and you need to have the original one.

With that, if you need to get it translated, for instance, in Guatemala, obviously you don’t need to translate it because it’s Spanish, but in the US you do need to go and get it translated.

You will need to get your apostilled things translated just the same.

Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa Application Process

Making Your Appointment and Application

Every country obviously has its own way of applying, in the United States, it’s all 100% by mail. Until they call you, you in once you are accepted, and approved to come in to pick up your visa with your passport.

Because we had the benefit of applying from two different countries, in Guatemala, it has to be an appointment for the initial meeting but here’s the thing with Guatemala, and It might be for other countries where you have to make an appointment.

My husband applied for him and our two sons, so it was a family, but it did not matter because he had to come in alone, they all each individually had to have an appointment and that wasn’t written anywhere at all.

Gratefully we didn’t have to do it online, because appointments could sometimes take three to four months before you can make it.

That’s another thing if you want to start the process, possible it can take up to eight weeks. There are all these things that take several time, don’t make your appointment the day that you want to go. Make the appointment three or four months before you go, and then start the process.

Otherwise for the US, you have to do it with a tracking number so that you can keep track of it and then everything comes via email to you, after that, you follow along with that process.

Please find out what is the process like in your country. If it is by appointment, make that appointment way before you even start to gather up the paperwork, because it does take some time and just in case you have nothing to lose, make an appointment for your kids if you are doing it as a family.

Waiting and Having Patience

Waiting is going to be the hardest part of your process. We had the benefit or the opportunity to be applying from two different countries. I am a US citizen and my husband and my sons are Guatemalan citizens. So we had to take two different routes.

The thing here is everybody is going to be giving you different stories, especially the people that have had it done several years back. It has completely changed, and it changes a lot, don’t listen to anyone.

The problem that we had was for the US, I was able to get mine within seven weeks. But people in Guatemala really don’t know how the process works.

We applied too late because we wanted to be there for the beginning of the school year for our son, but in Guatemala, literally takes the entire 90 days. But we did not know that we thought that they do it right in time for when you want to go. So we applied only about a month and a half before.

Honestly, I would recommend starting the whole process about eight months before you actually want to arrive there, because getting all your paperwork together takes a good two or three months.

They say three months, 90 days, you want to just really focus on those 90 days, because the beauty is, once they give you the visa, you get another 90 days to enter the country. So if you put it all together, you will have plenty of time and then you will not be as stressed out.

We really believed that we were going to get the visa by the time we wanted to arrive in Spain, and we already stopped with our lease contracts where we were living.

If you’re selling a house, wait to sell the house or wait until you’re ready to really go.

We were nomads for almost six weeks after. Yeah, it was fun and we were able to travel and do all that other stuff, but we did not get the visas when we wanted because we really were hoping to have our son enter in the beginning of the school cycle.

Because of that, my son had to come in the middle of the school year. Plan ahead, you could definitely do the planning, I would give myself a good six to eight months for when you actually want to arrive there.

Do I need to enroll my child in school to apply for the Non-Lucrative Visa for Spain?

This is not mentioned anywhere, but this has to be done, you will not get denied because of this. You’ll simply be told to get this done, meaning it will delay your process probably by a month or two for the nonlucrative visa.

What is it? If you have children that are in school, meaning under the age of 17, you need to have them enrolled or you need a school, a private school, showing you that you have enrolled your child in school in Spain, home schooling is completely illegal, not accepted at all.

You need to show that your child is going to be going to a private school because public schools cannot be bothered doing this. Chances are you are going to have to do this with a private school. We did this with a private school and we thought that we would be getting our non-lucrative visa a lot quicker but it’s not the case, we enrolled them and lost an entire month because we ended up waiting the entire 90 days.

Basically, you need to have a letter from the school showing that your kids are enrolled, which usually means that you have paid for the articulation or the inscription fee and at least one month of school.

Also, private schools in Spain, vary from five hundred dollars to one thousand five hundred dollars per month. Be ready to put that upfront before you apply.

Ask your school to do it in Spanish. This way you do not need to have another payment for translating it into Spanish by a certified translator.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2023

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