What is the Spanish Non Lucrative Visa?
The Spanish Non Lucrative visa allows Americans (and other nationals) to “live in Spain without engaging in any lucrative activities.”
Some consulates, such as the one in Miami, refer to this as the “Non Profit” visa. Others as a “visa to retire” in Spain. This is just one of the many ways in which this process is painfully confusing.
How long can I stay in Spain on the Non Lucrative Visa?
One whole year!
If you want to stay longer, you may renew your Non Lucrative Visa two more times, and each renewal is then valid for two whole years.
That’s five glorious years of Spanish sun, beaches, food and wine! Well worth the small mountain of paperwork you need to present in support of your application.
Even better, this visa even paves the way for permanent residence with employment rights after that five year mark. (More info on that coming soon.)
So… What do I need to do to get one?
The key to obtaining this residence visa is to prove to the Spanish government you have the financial means to live in Spain without needing to work.
In other words, you need to demonstrate the minimum income requirements from non working sources. I drill down on all the nitty gritty on what exactly that means here.
If you’re confident you can prove you’ve got the money, the rest is just a whole lotta of REALLY TEDIOUS paperwork. (And multiple visits to the Spanish Consulate where you’ll apply.)
But here’s the tricky part…
Every Spanish Consulate is an island…
Metaphorical island, that is.
Ya see, each Consulate of Spain has it’s own unique requirements for the Spanish Non Lucrative Visa Application. They all share common features, but can vary tremendously in the details of exactly what you present in support of your application.
The painful truth: Some consulates make it a whole lot harder and more costly than the others.
And no, there’s nothing you can do about that. You may only apply for Spanish visas at the consulate with jurisdiction over the state in which you permanently reside. (Or country, if you’re currently living and will be applying outside the US.)
My detailed checklists and answers to Common Questions will give you the information you need to complete your visa application, whittled down to minute detail.
The visa application is a two part process
Act one takes place here in the States, or the country you currently, legally reside.
No. You can’t just show up in Spain and apply for the NL. (“NL” as in short for Non Lucrative. Might as well start getting used to the lingo!)
Once you receive your visa, you hop on over the pond where you have 30 days to complete part two of your immigration journey.
It all culminates in your TIE!!! What’s a TIE?!? Your Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero. (In English, your Foreigner’s Identity Card.)
This little piece of credit card sized plastic is proof of your legal right to be in Spain beyond the 90 day tourist limit.
You’ll present it:
- Any time you travel in and out of the EU
- Get stopped by police
- At doctor or hospital visits (initial visits anyway)
- To access monuments at local/resident rates
- When you sign for packages or go to the post office
- Possibly even when you’re buying a train ticket, soccer match ticket, and a whole bunch of other random situations you wouldn’t think to expect ’til after you’ve been living there a while
Yes, a bit Big Brother-ish, but the tapas and tinto make it all worth it.
Word to the wise, don’t lose it. The process to replace it is even more arduous then getting the original.
Finally, who am I, and how exactly am I qualified to guide you down this process?
I’m Jackie and in the summer of 2016, I single-handedly orchestrated relocating my little family of four to Sevilla. From the entire visa application process to every other vital life detail you can think of.
Believe me, there was FAR less information from expat bloggers such as myself back then.
Now, I’m no control freak, but I pride myself on efficiency. And if you’ve even remotely begun your move to Spain investigations, you’ll know there is nothing efficient about this process.
I will save you time.
I will save you hassle.
I will probably save you some money through the quality, vetted resources I’ve aggregated, as well as by my knowledge of what you need, and what you don’t.
That said, in case it isn’t crystal clear…
I don’t work for or in any way represent any branch of the Spanish government.
I will not guarantee that working with me or using my guides will result in you getting a visa. That decision rests exclusively with the government of Spain and the specific consulate where you apply.
I will guarantee that you’ll show up at your visa application appointment:
- With everything you need
- Filled out correctly
- Translated legally
- Organized in a way that will make those funcionarios at the consulate really happy you took the time to be so meticulous
- And that you’ll do all of that in a fraction of the time it will take you to figure it all out by yourself