Date: July 2019
I did it. My application for the Spanish non lucrative visa has been submitted.
This non lucrative visa for Spain allows a person to:
– stay in Spain for up to 1 year
– rent a place to live and sign up for utilities
– renew your residency at the end of the year (you can apply for permanent residency after 5 years)
It does NOT allow you to work in Spain, use government healthcare or government benefits of any kind.
This visa looked like a great option for me and so I applied.
And contrary to what I had heard and read, almost all of which explains that you need a ton of time to complete this process, I managed to do it all in one simple week.
Of course, if you have more than a week, that’s a bonus and you can complete the process in a more relaxed manner. But if you don’t have much time, a week is sufficient to get your stuff together and apply.
Here’s everything I did to make this happen:
You need to apply in your home country. And you need to apply at the Spain Embassy or Consulate that has jurisdiction over your state or province. For me, my home address is in Florida, so I had to apply at the Spanish Consulate in Miami.
Interestingly enough, each Embassy and Consulate seems to have slightly different requirements for the non lucrative visa but the core is basically the same. You can find any extra requirements on the website of the Embassy or Consulate where you need to apply. Also, some Embassies and Consulates require you to make an appointment to apply for the non lucrative visa and some don’t. Definitely check this in advance as it could take a couple of months to secure an appointment.
Luckily, for me, the Consulate of Spain in Miami does not require appointments, so as soon as I had all of my paperwork together, I simply showed up the next day and applied.
Non Lucrative Visa: Documents, Documents, Documents
The paperwork is of course the heart of the application process.
When I applied for my visa, the man at the consulate told me that I was the first person in over 6 months to apply for a non lucrative visa and to have all of the paperwork in order on their first visit. He said that most people are missing some paperwork and need to come back at least a couple of times before they have it all right.
So, presumably, if you follow everything I did, you should also have all of your paperwork in order the first time around!
*No guarantees though and you really need to find out the specific requirements of the Embassy/Consulate where you’ll apply to make sure you don’t need other items that I didn’t need.
But again, it only took me 1 week to get it all together. While that might not be realistic for everyone (I probably had a little luck on my side), you definitely don’t need months or even weeks to get this stuff done.
Here’s what you need:
1. Passport (should have 2 empty pages and be valid for at least 1 year past the date on which you’ll apply)
- bring your actual passport
- make a photocopy of EVERY SINGLE PAGE of your passport (this includes blank pages, personal information pages, everything!)
2. Driver’s License
- bring your actual driver’s license
- make a photocopy of the front and back of your driver’s license
3. National Visa Application Form
- fill out the National Visa Application PDF on your computer and then print two copies of the completed application form
- paste a passport photo of yourself (headshot with white background) in the upper right hand corner box on each application form
4. Form “EX-01 – Formulario”
- This is the authorization for residency form (it’s #11 on that link)
- Fill out the PDF version of this form on your computer
- It needs to be filled out and printed out in one go as you cannot save this form once you enter your details
- Fill out Section 1 and under “Domicilio en Espana“, if you don’t have an address in Spain already, simply type in the city (Localidad) and the province (Provincia) where you plan to live, leaving the rest of the address section blank
- Do not fill out Section 2
- For Section 3, simply fill out the “Telefono movil” and “Email” boxes and leave the rest blank
- Print out this form and make 2 photocopies of it as well
5. Form “Tasas Extranjeria – Modelo impreso 790”
- This Tasas Extranjeria form (it’s #12 on that link) needs to be filled out and printed out in one go as you cannot save this form once you enter your details either
- In the upper right corner, where it says “Ejercicio“, enter the year in the four boxes
- Fill out the section “Apellidos y nombre” in the format of Last Name, First Name, Middle Name (Smith, Johnathan Greg)
- Fill out the “Nacionalidad” box with your nationality
- Repeat the previous three steps on pages 2 and 3 of the form
- On pages 1 and 2, check the box that says “Principal“
- Do not fill out any other boxes on this form
- Print all 3 pages of the form and make 2 photocopies as well
6. Criminal Background Check
- For US citizens, you can obtain either an FBI background check OR an official state background check (here’s an example from Florida) if your home address has been in the same state for at least 5 straight years
- You cannot use a simple background check that you can order and print online (it needs to be one of the two official versions above)
- When you order the background check, it needs to be a version that is notarized by the issuing authority, which is pretty standard
- It must be translated into Spanish (some states, such as Florida, allow you to order the background check in both English and Spanish which makes it much easier; otherwise, when you receive it, you need to get it officially translated and notarized)
- Once you have the official background check in Spanish, you need to send it off for an Apostille certification (this is a specific certification of the document, in addition to the notarization, that is done by the state government where the background check was issued)
- Example: For me, I had to send my notarized, Spanish-language Florida background check to the Florida Secretary of State in Tallahassee; the cost of the Apostille stamp was only $10 if I got it done in person or I could have sent it to them by mail, which takes about 2-3 weeks; since I was on very limited time, I used a service that sent off my document, got the Apostille stamp from the Secretary of State and had it back in my hands all within 48 hours
- When you have your Apostille-certified, Spanish-language background check, make a photocopy of the Apostille certificate and the background check as well as a photocopy of the English-version background check as an extra precaution
7. Medical Certificate of Good Health
- You need your doctor to sign off that you don’t have certain communicable diseases as per the International Health Regulations of 2005
- I simply used a basic template that includes your doctor’s details and a short paragraph explaining that you don’t have any communicable diseases. Then I printed it out, brought it to my doctor to review and he signed and stamped it.
- The document needs to be in Spanish, so if your doctor is not willing to sign it in Spanish, you will need to get the English version officially translated
8. Proof of Spanish Health Insurance
- This sounds tricky but it wasn’t too bad of a process in the end
- Every non lucrative visa applicant needs to show proof of having private Spanish Health Insurance
- You CANNOT use travel insurance or any insurance from your home country (some people get away with it but there’s a high chance you’ll be rejected if you don’t have insurance from a Spanish company)
- It needs to be a health insurance plan without deductibles and without co-payments
- I used the company Sanitas and ended up paying about 70 Euros per month for the required insurance
- Sanitas was excellent, they knew exactly what was required for non lucrative visa applicants, the process was quick and I found their coverage to be one of the better deals out there
- From the first email I sent to Sanitas, I had the official certificate/confirmation of health insurance letter in my inbox within 72 hours (they move very quickly if you need them to)
- Make sure they send you all of the documents in Spanish
- Print out the official health insurance certificate/letter they send you, as well as the proof of payment and a copy of your policy (what it includes and excludes), all in Spanish
- Make a couple of photocopies of everything
9. Visa Fees – Money Orders
- The only way to pay for your visa application is with money orders
- You need to get two money orders from your bank or the post office
- As of right now, the non lucrative visa fee for US citizens is $140 to apply and another $12 tax (one money order should be for $140 and the other for $12 – they need to be separate)
- For citizens of other countries, simply find the visa fee page on your local Embassy or Consulate’s website to see what you need to pay
- DO NOT fill out the “Pay to the order of” section of the money orders in advance
- The staff at the Embassy/Consulate will fill that out for you
10. Proof of Financial Resources
- To obtain this visa, you need to show proof of investment income of 2151.36 EUROS per month OR a total of 25816.32 EUROS in bank accounts, investment accounts or a combination of both (it increases by about 540 EUROS per person per month if you’re applying with a spouse or children)
- Technically, the income you show should not be derived from actual work as the visa is designed for those who have sufficient money to spend 1 year in Spain without working
- You should print out your bank statements and investment account statements for the past year (yes, 12 months of statements for each account!), make a photocopy of them all and bring them with you
- Make sure the statements have your name and address listed on them so that it is very clear that they are your bank/investment accounts
11. Proof of Accommodation in Spain
- You can use either a notarized invitation letter from family or a friend in Spain who will be responsible for your accommodation, an actual lease for an apartment/house in Spain or a deed of a property if you own a house/apartment in Spain (once I got to Spain, I contacted the excellent team at Globexs to find a great short-term apartment to get me started)
- OR you can write a letter explaining why you chose a particular town/city in Spain to live in
- Since I don’t have a place in Spain yet, I went with the letter option
- Simply write a few paragraphs about why you want to move to Spain and why you chose a particular town or city to live in
- At the bottom of the letter, include a list of everything that you’re including in your application such as application forms, medical certificate, proof of health insurance, bank statements totaling ‘x’ amount and so on
- The letter needs to be in Spanish
- As I have decent Spanish-language skills, I simply wrote the Spanish version myself
- If you’re not able to do that, you’ll need to get your English letter officially translated into Spanish
- Get the English and Spanish versions of your letter notarized
- Make a photocopy of the notarization certificate, the Spanish letter and the English letter
Time to Apply
Once you have everything listed above, it’s time to actually apply for the non lucrative visa. Again, depending on where you need to apply, the Embassy or Consulate may or may not require you to make an appointment in advance. I did not need an appointment and so, once I had all the paperwork in order, my application process went like this…
- 1. Woke up at 4:15am
- 2. Started the drive to the Consulate of Spain in Miami at 4:45am
- 3. Arrived at the consulate at 6:20am
- 4. Got in line outside the office building where the consulate was located (There were already two people ahead of me, 2 hours before it opened!)
- 5. Wait, wait, wait and wait some more, until the consulate opened
- 6. Received a number and took a seat in the waiting area
- 7. Waited 5 minutes until my number was called
- 8. Handed over everything they asked for and within 15 minutes I was done!
Non Lucrative Visa: The Next Steps
I was told that my non lucrative visa would be ready in about 4 weeks. They will let me know by email and then, I have 30 days to pick it up in person. If I didn’t need my passport during those 4 weeks, I could have left it with the consulate and they would have mailed it back to me with the visa inside once it was ready. But I do need my passport over the next month so I’ll have to come back to pick up the visa myself once it’s ready to be collected.
After that, you need to enter Spain within 90 days. And then, there’s a couple of final steps to the process to actually get your residency card and register yourself properly in Spain. Hopefully my visa will indeed be approved and after I complete the next steps, I’ll be sure to update this post.
I’ve now received my residency card and I’m an official resident of Spain. Here’s my detailed blog post about the residency card (TIE) process: Spanish Residency Card – All You Need to Know
Any questions? Just let me know!